Polartec LLC received the annual Industrial Fabrics Foundation (IFF) Innovation Award honors for its Polartec® Alpha® synthetic insulation. The product makes possible the first-ever breathable “puffy” garments, designed to provide active warmth. Unlike down or synthetic fillers, which can trap moisture and cause overheating when the wearer is active, it provides a breathable layer that moves moisture away from the body and allows a free exchange of air.
Unlike down and existing synthetic insulation batting, Alpha is a highly stable layer allowing for the use of more open and breathable fabrics on outer and inner layers. Classic puffy garments require “down-proof” or high-density woven layers that create a vapor barrier. Although they work well in static conditions, these garments trap moisture inside the garment during even minimal activity.
It also maintains insulation values while wet and has a faster dry time than existing puffy-style fabrics. Highly compressible, it provides excellent wind resistance for reliable protection against the elements and warmth without weight.
Developed first for U.S. Special Operations Forces, the jackets are now being fielded to every Special Forces operator. The product was introduced to the retail market this fall.