If you’re new to biking, you may be asking yourself, “Are moisture wicking fabrics really worth it?” Short answer, yes, moisture wicking fabrics are absolutely worth it for mountain biking and generally any other athletic endeavor. If you’ve been biking for a while, then you likely already know the benefits of wearing moisture wicking apparel.

What does moisture wicking mean anyway?

Most people have probably heard the term “moisture wicking,” but many probably aren’t sure what it actually means or how it works. If you really stop to think about it though, the name provides a few clues. The best way to explain “moisture wicking” is by relating it to a candle, with, you guessed it, a wick. Just as a candle wick draws the wax up it to fuel the flame, the wicking fabric draws the moisture away from your body to the surface of the shirt so it can evaporate more easily.

Cady-V Jersey, Burgundy, Front, Neck Detail

Cotton vs. moisture wicking fabrics

  • Cotton fabrics: Once upon a time, cotton reigned supreme when it came to apparel for a couple of different reasons: This plant-based material is naturally occurring, rather affordable, can be easily dyed, and is generally comfortable and breathable (different than moisture wicking). However comfortable it may be when you’re lounging at home, it’s a different ballgame when it comes to athletic performance. When you’re working out or biking in cotton, your sweat soaks directly into the fabric, trapping moisture between your skin and the fabric, making it difficult for sweat to evaporate and leaving you feeling either too hot or too cold. I’m sure we’ve all had that experience of going for a hike in a cotton t-shirt, getting really hot and sweaty on the way up, and then freezing at the top because our body temperature has cooled and the sweat can’t evaporate properly through the soaked cotton t-shirt.
  • Moisture wicking fabrics: What’s great about moisture wicking fabrics is that it draws the sweat away from your skin to the surface of the material. The tiny capillaries in the fabric help capture that moisture and heat and release it away from the body, keeping you drier and cooler on hot days. Moisture wicking fabric is good for cold weather too. Our bodies still produce sweat to cool us down even in chilly temperatures so it’s just as important to get the sweat away from the body rather than wearing clothing that retains excessive moisture and can’t dry quickly.

Florence Jersey, Slate Grey, Sleeve Detail

Benefits of moisture wicking clothing

In addition to wicking sweat away from your body, moisture wicking fabric has lots of other benefits as well. Because it doesn’t allow sweat to absorb into the material it doesn’t get damp and heavy like cotton does, weighing you down. Also, not wearing a damp, sweat soaked shirt helps reduce the chafing that often comes with wet clothing and an active sport like cycling. High quality moisture wicking fabrics are lightweight, breathable, and soft, making them oh so comfortable to ride in. Furthermore, they can help hide the signs of perspiration so it’s not as obvious as someone sweating in a cotton fabric that they’re working hard. Moisture wicking clothing helps reduce or eliminate visible sweat marks making that never-ending hill look easy.

Check out our line of moisture wicking jerseys designed to keep you cool and dry on even the longest rides. Shop now!