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Best fabric for athletes? Cashmere?

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by Cyclist, Jan 13, 2011.

  1. Cyclist

    Cyclist Member

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    I'm a road cyclist - I ride about 500 miles per month, which means an hour or so most days after work, and several hours on weekends. I work hard climbing hills, sprinting, etc, then I stop about once an hour to eat and stretch. It might be 50 F and partly sunny when I set out, and 30 F by the time I get home ... so if I work up a sweat, it'll chill me to the bone. ( I also do hike-in back country camping, and some kayaking. )

    I always wear a merino base layer, and usually a goretex outer layer. Recently I discovered cashmere, as a mid layer, and fell in love. [​IMG] I don't sweat much in it, and when I do, I don't feel it, then it dries quickly. A merino sweat gets drenched with sweat. Polar fleece feels clammy and gross. Cotton kills.

    Here's where I need advice: cashmere is made out of pure awesome, but does anything else have the same or better magic? I've been told that alpaca, angora, and qiviut ( musk ox down ) are better for my purposes than cashmere. Before I go investing in clothes, is there anything else I should try out first?

    Thanks!
     
  2. zjpj83

    zjpj83 Senior member

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    I would never wear something dry-clean only to exercise, but up to you.
     
  3. FunLovinStyle

    FunLovinStyle Senior member

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    [​IMG]
     
  4. uhurit

    uhurit Senior member

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    Seriously, stick with merino wool base and jerseys...there's nothing better for cycling, even in relatively warm weather
     
  5. Frihed89

    Frihed89 Senior member

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    Hair. Lots of hair. In time, you will be less athletic and lacking hair. Flaunt it while you've got it.
     
  6. Cyclist

    Cyclist Member

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    I would never wear something dry-clean only to exercise, but up to you.

    I heard foie gras makes a good chain lubricant, too. [​IMG] The thing is, I spend enough time outdoors, especially on the bike and working hard, that it's worth having good clothes if they'll keep me comfortable.

    Plus, they don't that dirty cycling. I'm just letting the sweat dry out of the thrift store ones I have so far when I'm done riding; they don't stink the next day. When they get dirty, I'll throw them in the gentle cycle with some woolite, then let them air dry. I'm sure I'll baby the stuff I pay more for.

    What I'm wondering is if there's anything else that does as good a job of wicking sweat, and has a wider range of temperatures it can be comfortable in, than cashmere? It's the best thing I've had, and I'm starting to see a few clearance deals ... but before I jump in, I wonder if I need to try any of the other exotic wool-ish fabrics? Because people have been telling me a few specific ones are even better, but they're hard to find in a store.
     
  7. cptjeff

    cptjeff Senior member

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    If you were really serious about biking you'd wear vicuna.
     
  8. westinghouse

    westinghouse Senior member

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    Acrylic has the same properties as cashmere for less.
     
  9. sygyzy

    sygyzy Senior member

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    You are a serious cyclist (I probably do 500 miles a year if that), and you really haven't done any investigating into technical materials/fabrics? Pretty much any jersey and bib by any respectable manufacture will work. I am really confused here.

    Merino, wool, any number of dry-wicking materials.
     
  10. Cyclist

    Cyclist Member

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    You are a serious cyclist (I probably do 500 miles a year if that), and you really haven't done any investigating into technical materials/fabrics? Pretty much any jersey and bib by any respectable manufacture will work. I am really confused here.

    Merino, wool, any number of dry-wicking materials.


    I don't like synthetics. Or bike-specific clothes. Partly the distance ( 500 miles really isn't that much at 15+ mph average ) is because I love cycling, but the other part is I'm prone to cabin fever, and being outdoors makes me happy. I also hike, camp, and kayak ... but cycling is something I can do from my front door, so it's how I spend most of my leisure time. So, I want to have clothes I can wear doing any of these, or just going for a walk around the neighborhood in the evening.
     
  11. Gibonius

    Gibonius Senior member

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    Cashmere probably isn't durable enough to be considered for a sport fabric.
     
  12. afc345

    afc345 Senior member

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    It seems like the problem lies within the issue of you stopping every hour of your rides to eat and stretch. Seriously, no one does that on longer base mile rides. If you gotta eat, do it on your bike. For what it's worth, I've done riding in below 0 degree celsius, and a windproof jacket, merino baselayer and tights kept me warm throughout.
     
  13. Cyclist

    Cyclist Member

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    But can anyone tell me if any of the other exotic wool or wool-like fabrics are going to do a better job of wicking sweat and being comfortable under a wide range of conditions than cashmere?
     
  14. BH1

    BH1 Active Member

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    But can anyone tell me if any of the other exotic wool or wool-like fabrics are going to do a better job of wicking sweat and being comfortable under a wide range of conditions than cashmere?

    Let me answer your question with another question. Do you really think Style Forvm, which is about classic mens clothing, is the right place to ask a question about athletic wear?

    [​IMG]
     
  15. Coldcava

    Coldcava Senior member

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  16. countdemoney

    countdemoney Senior member

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    Wool is the original performance fabric and will be the best natural fabric for your purposes. Marmot and many other sport clothing manufacturers carry wool base and mid-layer clothes.

    But really, if you don't like technical fabrics, talking about the properties they offer is meaningless.

    The ultimate fiber for you would actually be a cashmere/spider silk blend.
     
  17. otc

    otc Senior member

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    I would never wear something dry-clean only to exercise, but up to you.

    I wash my cycling wools in the machine...most are blended a bit to make this possible just don't dry them (also wool doesn't pick up odors like synthetics)

    I don't like synthetics. Or bike-specific clothes. Partly the distance ( 500 miles really isn't that much at 15+ mph average ) is because I love cycling, but the other part is I'm prone to cabin fever, and being outdoors makes me happy. I also hike, camp, and kayak ... but cycling is something I can do from my front door, so it's how I spend most of my leisure time. So, I want to have clothes I can wear doing any of these, or just going for a walk around the neighborhood in the evening.

    You may not like bike specific clothes but you should look at a pair of Ibex merino knickers (or shorts but since you are layering with wool...it sounds like you are doing it in the cold)...I'd probably go with the bibs over the plain elastic waistband. They are beyond awesome and having a proper chamois makes riding so much more comfortable.
     
  18. The Silverfox

    The Silverfox Senior member

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    Let me answer your question with another question. Do you really think Style Forvm, which is about classic mens clothing, is the right place to ask a question about athletic wear?

    [​IMG]


    Well.. he's not asking about atheletic wear.

    He's simply asking about the properties of various fabrics that are used much more often in classic mens clothing than they are in athletic wear.

    If he was aking which brand makes the best technical underwear or most breathable outer shell, that'd be one thing, but what he's asking is stricktly speaking about the properties of various materials, materials that I would say you are most likely to find competency on here, as opposed to some sports related forum.
     
  19. cptjeff

    cptjeff Senior member

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    Well.. he's not asking about atheletic wear.

    He's simply asking about the properties of various fabrics that are used much more often in classic mens clothing than they are in athletic wear.

    If he was aking which brand makes the best technical underwear or most breathable outer shell, that'd be one thing, but what he's asking is stricktly speaking about the properties of various materials, materials that I would say you are most likely to find competency on here, as opposed to some sports related forum.


    And nobody on here is stupid enough to test the properties of those materials in such cases. I have cashmere, I have alpaca, I don't run marathons with that stuff right next to my skin. It would be stupid, requiring lots of time and effort to handwash stuff if I did that regularly, or plenty of cash taking them to the cleaners so they can have their lifespan shortened.

    Stuff like this is what synthetics are for.
     
  20. Nicola

    Nicola Senior member

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    Well.. he's not asking about atheletic wear.

    .


    Sure sounds like he is. He is just asking about pre 1970s or so stuff. I'm guessing he would be better off with a history book but people did used to wear wool etc for sporting wear.
     

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