12 “Warmth Tech” Fabrics to Wear This Winter

From underwear to coats, what
makes these fabrics so special?

Written by Janet Hu [Feature image by Victor Xok]
Trees and rooftops dressed in
glistening, feathery crystals are a beautiful scene, but the winter cold can
sure be a b*tch.
That’s why we did some
research on the best warmth technology fabrics to wear so that you can enjoy the
moment without feeling plain miserable.
What did we find? A lot of
needlessly complicated wording in the marketing, a lot of ®™, and a generous
use of the word “innovative.” However that isn’t to say these fabrics aren’t
innovative, or “innovatively engineered.” And they probably will keep you
pretty damn warm.
So here are 12 Warmth
Technology Fabrics to wear this winter:


warm tech clothing smartwool

Material: Merino wool that’s
undergone a “proprietary treatment”
Technology: Merino wool has a
natural loft, or airiness, that traps heat between its fibers, making it warmer
than synthetic fabrics of the same weight. Smartwool’s treatment then makes the
wool resistant to shrinking, odor, and bacteria.
The company also uses thermal body
mapping to efficiently construct its clothing for warmth and comfort. Their
“smart” distribution uses more wool in areas where the body tends to get cold
and less wool where the body tends to get hot.
Qualities: Merino sheep have
the finest and softest wool. In addition, Smartwool’s treatment makes the
fabric itch-free, moisture wicking, and odor-reducing.
You’ll find that many fabrics
on this list have antimicrobial qualities, meaning they are resistant to
bacteria and odor. Just note that this chemical finish has caused some
controversy, as MIT has found that clothing chemicals, which are basically
pesticides, could be harmful to human cells.
Price range: Pricey, though
not alarmingly so. The warmth-tech tops are about $90, while the jackets are
Uniqlo® HeatTech

warmth technology clothing uniqlo heattech
Material: Synthetic fiber

Technology: Hollow synthetic
fibers trap warm air the way heavy wool would, but they are lightweight instead
of bulky. To make this synthetic insulation fabric soft, Uniqlo treats HeatTech
with milk proteins and amino acids.
Uniqlo teamed up with global
textile maker Toray to develop this new material, and they apparently created
more than 10,000 prototypes. The company claims “HEATTECH cannot be made with
ordinary equipment.”

Qualities: This fabric traps
warmth while being lightweight. It is moisture wicking, odor-reducing, and

Price range: Definitely the
most affordable line on this list, with shirts at $15-$25, and long underpants
at $15

NanoStitch® Heating Fabrics

warmth technology clothing nanostitch
Material: Polyamide yarn
infused with coffee-bean shells

Technology: Natural polyamides
are proteins in wool and silk. NanoStitch creates a synthetic polyamide, or
“heat yarn,” made from coffee-bean shells, which hold coffee charcoal. The
charcoal and oxide particles embedded in this yarn absorb body heat while
trapping it in the fabric.
Human bodies radiate heat in
cold weather to keep warm. NanoStich’s fabric provides insulation and prevents
the heat from escaping us. According to their site, several tests have shown
that this heat-retaining yarn increases warmth by 10°C when compared to other
standard fabrics.

Qualities: This heat-trapping
fabric is antimicrobial, anti-odor, and moisture wicking

Price range: It was impossible
to find pricing online, so we reached out to the NanoStitch’s parent company,
Liebaert. It turns out the fabrics aren’t in any products that are commercially
available at the moment, but you can contact them for bespoke orders.

3M™ Thinsulate™

warmth technology thinsulate
Material: Synthetic fibers
Technology: Thinsulate fibers
are thinner than polyester, at 15 micrometers in diameter. These extremely thin
fibers are woven with high density to form a heat-trapping fabric that still
allows for moisture to escape. Thinsulate has different lines such as “flame
resistant,” “featherless,” “stretch,” etc. Odor-resistant Thinsulate uses
something called “precious metal technology” for warmth and anti-odor

Qualities: Lightweight heat
insulation, moisture wicking

Price range: Like NanoStich,
Thinsulate is a fabric instead of a clothing brand. You can find Thinsulate in
Carhartt products, with jackets ranging from $130-190, and hats at $20.
North Face Thermoball™

warmth technology clothing North Face Thermoball

Material: Synthetic microfiber
as an alternative to down

Technology: PrimaLoft® is a
patented synthetic microfiber. It was actually developed as a thermal
insulation material for the U.S. military in the 80s. North Face teamed up with
PrimaLoft to create Thermoball, a synthetic alternative to down.
Most synthetic insulation
comes in a flat roll, like roofing or wall insulation. But PrimaLoft fibers are
small and round, and they bunch closely to mimic down clusters. This traps heat
in small air pockets to retain warmth. Unlike natural down, synthetic down
keeps its loft, or airiness, even when wet, so you’ll be warm regardless of
damp snow and rain.

Qualities: This synthetic down
provides lightweight and waterproof insulation.
Price range: Also pricey but
not exceedingly pricey. The heat-insulating vests are $150, and the jackets are
Arc’teryx Coreloft™ Insulation

warmth technology clothing coreloft

Material: Polyester fibers
Technology: Coreloft is a
non-woven insulation fabric. It’s formed by crimping polyester fibers of mixed
sizes so that they trap air pockets of heat. The larger, stronger fibers help
resist compaction so that the material retains its loft or airiness.

Qualities: Lightweight heat
insulation and poofy-ness in damp conditions
Price range: Coreloft fabric
is found in many Arc’teryx products. These have a higher price tag, with
sweaters and light jackets ranging from $100-200, pants at $300-400, and
heavier jackets at $550-950.

Under Armour ColdGear®

warmth technology clothing under armour coldgear infrared
Material: Micro-fleece and
Technology: UA’s ColdGear has
a soft, “thermo-conductive coating” that absorbs your body heat and retains it.
A brushed micro-fleece lining offers warmth and comfort, and a strip of ceramic
embedded between layers helps heat the body.
Under Armour also used
infrared imaging to detect and pinpoint heat loss when designing and testing
this clothing.
Qualities: This heating fabric
is soft, lightweight, moisture wicking, and antimicrobial

Price range: A shirt is around
$50, and a jacket is $200

Duofold® by Champion

warmth technology clothing champion duofold
Material: Stretch polyester
Technology: Two layers of
fabric plate together, trapping a layer of heat in between. This gives you the
warmth of three layers (two layers forming a “heat sandwich”) while feeling
like a single layer.
There’s also this thing called
“Champion Vapor Technology,” which makes the fabric ultra moisture wicking. So
it traps warm vapor, but it keeps you dry.
Qualities: This insulation
fabric is lightweight and moisture wicking
Price range: These fall on the
affordable end, with a shirt at $15-30, and long underpants at $25-40

ColdPruf Thermachoice®

warmth technology clothing coldpruf thermacoice
Material: Trademarked
synthetic fibers, polyester, merino wool

Technology: Similar to
Champion’s Duofold, ColdPruf also uses “two-layer engineering.” The heat
trapped between layers provides a barrier of warmth.
Coldpruf’s technical fiber
polyester has SILVADUR™ for “intelligent freshness,” which basically means that
it also uses anti-bacteria and anti-odor chemicals.

Qualities: This heat
insulation fabric is anti-odor and anti-bacterial

Price range: ColdPruf’s
Thermachoice is quite affordable, with a shirt at $25-35, and long underpants
at $18

Eastern Mountain Sports

warmth technology clothing ems techwick

Material: Hydrophobic and
hydrophilic synthetic fibers, cotton, polyester

Technology: Techwick uses
drirelease® yarns, a patented blend of 90% hydrophobic (water-resistant) fibers
and 10% hydrophilic (water-absorbing) fibers. This fiber blend wicks moisture
away from the body and dries 4x faster than cotton. Eastern Mountain Sports
then adds a cotton polyester blend to the drirelease® material for comfort.
Although this fabric is
antimicrobial, it claims to use no harmful chemicals.

Qualities: This heat
insulation fabric is moisture wicking, antimicrobial, and has UV protection

Price range: Affordable, with
shirts and sweaters at $15-30, and light zip-ups at $60

Icebreaker BodyFit Zone™

warmth technology clothing icebreaker bodyfit zone
Material: Merino wool, Lycra®
(like Spandex)

Technology: Icebreaker uses
Merino wool for warmth and stretchy Lycra to hug the body. Lycra is an elastic
polyurethane fiber that expands with movement.
Icebreaker uses body mapping,
so this “engineered” clothing will give you optimal warmth by focusing on the
spots that get the coldest.

Qualities:  This fabric offers thermal regulation,
mobility, and comfort. It’s also moisture wicking and antimicrobial

Price range: This thermal
athletic clothing is on the pricier end, with a shirt around $90-110 and
compression pants at $90-110

Polartec® Thermal Pro®

warmth technology clothing polartec thermal pro

Material: Synthetic fleece

Technology: This synthetic
polyester knit uses “innovative techniques” that ensure moisture wicking and
insulation. Polartec’s special weave traps warmth in air pockets while also
safeguarding breathability. And a soft inner lining provides a comfortable,
smooth fit against the skin at all times.
Patagonia and Moreno are
brands that use Polartec’s power grid fabric.

Qualities: This lightweight
insulation fabric is moisture wicking.
If you’re looking for safer,
chemical-free insulation clothing that is also anti-bacterial, try Patagonia.
Their products come with a higher price tag, but they’ve apparently worked with
an institution called bluesign® technologies since 2000 to create products that
are safe for the environment, safe for factory workers, and safe for end

Price range: Patagonia fleeces
are $95-120, while Moreno jackets are $90-120, and vests are $70.
So do you believe in the hype?
Let us know in the comments below.

Janet Hu

Kayode Ojo
Kayode Emmanuel Ojo is the Co-Founder and Managing Director at SHEFFA Limited. He is presently studying Computer Science at the National Open University, Victoria Island, Lagos.