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Innovation Timeline

Just because it has never been made, doesn’t mean we can’t make it.

We know this because we get asked to do the impossible all the time.

To invent fabrics with characteristics never seen before. To create materials that perform at levels greater than anyone ever imagined. To remake entire industries by redefining what we wear when we go outside. We are the Science of Fabric.

A Game Changer for the Outdoors

In 1981 we created a synthetic fabric technology that was more lightweight, breathable, and faster drying than all its predecessors. Polartec® fleece established itself as the cornerstone for insulating materials and forever changed the way the world dresses for cold weather. This invigorated the entire outdoor industry and cemented our roots as pioneers of innovation. Our fleece remains a premier insulating fabric with versatile capabilities and an ever growing list of applications.

Inventing High Loft

By reengineering our fleece we applied high loft technologies to create a stunning fluffy quality that can be compressed into small spaces for travel. Polartec® High Loft™ provides increased warmth and comfort by creating more air pockets across the fabric to trap heat and balance breathability. This plush appearance enhances performance while reducing the weight of the fabric. Inventing a material that expands for higher warmth has allowed new approaches to insulation design solutions.

Industry Leader in Post Consumer Recycling

It is important for industries to find proactive solutions to environmental impact. With advancing technologies there is always a new approach to solving problems. In 1993, we revolutionized the way the world thinks about source materials by upcycling old plastic bottles into new fabric blends. In 2010, we began working with Repreve® to take our commitment even further by creating 100% upcycled polyester fabrics. We have transformed more than 1.3+ billion bottles into the next generation of performance fabrics utilized across our technology platforms.

Inventing Grid Construction

The fabric technology used to handle moisture is paramount. That’s why we invented Polartec® Power Dry®. By designing patented mechanical wicking properties into the fabric, the performance lasts the life of the garment and renders temporary chemical wicking applications obsolete. We pushed our base materials even further by developing advanced grid technologies in Polartec® Power Grid™ that utilize voided construction to create more warmth, less weight, and greater breathability.

Reinventing Stretch Fabric

We expanded our base category’s range of motion with the invention of Polartec® Power Stretch®. Many elastics can stretch during physical activity, but lack the tensile strength to recover their original shape. We make stretch fabric that goes the distance and always retains its form, fit, and function. With Polartec® Power Stretch® Pro™, we take our stretch expertise and strengthen it for further durability and abrasion resistance.

Revolutionizing the Soft Shell Category

Hard shells were the world standard for protection from rain, snow, and wind, but they lacked versatility in calmer weather conditions. Soft shells were growing in popularity, but they couldn’t perform in changing inclement weather. We created Polartec Power Shield® and revamped the entire soft shell category with a fabric that increased warmth, protection, and breathability while also reducing stiffness and noise. The widespread benefits of this membrane technology forever changed perceptions of protective fabrics.

Defining the Waterproof Breathable Category

For too long there had been a stranglehold on the waterproof breathable market. We invented the first truly breathable membrane that can be proven in the field, and not just lab conditions. Our dynamic proprietary construction of Polartec NeoShell® withstands all forms of moisture from outside while still allowing airflow to circulate within it. This invention revolutionizes waterproof used in outerwear and opens the door to new possibilities. Waterproof alone is old news. Breathability requires some serious science.

Leading Military Research & Development

Soldiers simply can’t afford to shed or add layers while on the go. The U.S. Special Forces require active insulation that works during both the resting and dynamic phases in the field. Together, we developed an advanced breathable insulation technology that dries quickly, retains warmth, and circulates airflow. Polartec® Alpha® performed so well that it is now standard issue for the U.S. Special Forces. This invention alone spurred an entirely new insulation category available to the demanding an innovative apparel markets.

Development of Flame Resistant Fabrics

We started developing flame resistant fabrics for the U.S. Military when their uniforms began melting against the intense heat of IED detonations. Polartec has worked with our military partners for more than a decade to develop combat ready layering systems that protect soldiers from sudden heat sources in hostile territories. The proven performance of our layered FR fabrics quickly brought interest from leading brands in construction, gas, electrical, and other commercial markets where comfort, durability, and certified fire protection are a worksite requirement.

Taking on Microfiber Shedding

Our newest invention, Polartec® Power Air™ harnesses the warming efficiency of encapsulated air to create a uniquely more sustainable, new form of fabric. Raised surface structures are knit into a single fabric, forming individual pockets filled with air - Nature’s most efficient insulator. Power Air™ is different from traditional fabrics that rely solely on mechanically-lofted (napped and sheared) yarns to trap and hold warm air. Our unique construction contains these fibers within air pockets, providing added warming benefit, while reducing potential for shedding in the wash and over time. It's proven to shed 5x less microfibers than other premium mid-layer fabrics.