When looking for the right outdoor garment, it pays to pay attention to the technical features of the product. For active sports, you’ll likely want something that’s breathable, dries quickly and transfers sweat away from the skin. Your run could be cut short if you decided to wear a waterproof jacket that doesn’t breathe at all – talk about getting your sweat on! If, on the other hand, you are walking your dog in the pouring rain, you’ll probably appreciate a waterproof and warm garment the most.
It is important to us that we offer products suitable for a variety of outdoor activities. A wide selection with lots of options can, however, be a blessing and a curse. To make it easier for you to make sense of all the details, here’s a short introduction to some of the technical features present in our products:
Are my clothes waterproof or water-repellent?
When discussing the waterproofness of a product, two things must be taken into consideration: firstly, the waterproofness of the fabrics themselves and secondly, how the seams have been finished.
What are waterproof fabrics and water column ratings?
The waterproofness of a fabric can be based either on a watertight breathable membrane that has been laminated under the outer fabric or on a non-breathable coating on the surface (think the rubber-like PU coating on raincoats).
The waterproofness of a fabric is usually measured by a water column test. In its simplest form, this test consists of placing a tube on a piece of fabric, pouring water into the tube and seeing how many millimetres high the water level can go before water starts to seep through the fabric. Since with modern waterproof membranes, the tubes would have to be up to 30 metres tall, the test is usually simulated using pressurised water.
We use this type of symbol on our products to indicate the water column rating of the main fabric:
The number on the top indicates that the main fabric can withstand pressures equal to a water column of 10 000 millimetres, making it a highly waterproof material. The other number is the breathability rating, which you can learn more about below.
In practice, the waterproofness depends on the force of the rain (including the effect of wind) and on how much the fabric is being pressed and stretched, amongst other factors. For example, carrying a heavy backpack, sitting in the snow or kneeling down on wet ground will exert more pressure on the fabric, requiring a higher water column rating to keep water out. Please also note that wear and washing may reduce the waterproofness over time.
Are the seams taped or sealed tight?
A product is fully waterproof only if all of its seams have been sealed with waterproof tape. Taping seams may sometimes also be referred to as welding the seams, as the tape is bonded to the fabric by the use of heat and pressure. Some products may also have seams that are directly welded or fused together without any regular stitches. Our products with fully sealed seams have the following symbol:
In some products, only the seams most important to weatherproofing are taped (such as in the hood and shoulder areas). These products are highly water-resistant and will keep you dry in most circumstances, but they are not considered fully waterproof. Products with partially taped seams are indicated by this symbol:
It is important to remember that if the product’s seams are not taped, it is always merely water-repellent, not waterproof, even if the fabric itself is waterproof. This applies, for example, to most softshell products.
Softshell is an umbrella term for a variety of products made of flexible, water-resistant fabrics and suitable for a wide range of outdoor activities. Products designed for the colder months, like softshell ski clothes, often have a lining made of fleece or similar materials. Lighter softshells for warmer weather can have a thin fabric lining or no lining at all.
What are water-repellent treatments?
Many fabrics can be given a special treatment that helps prevent water droplets from being absorbed between the yarns. Similar treatments are sometimes referred to as DWR (durable water repellent).
The treatment makes smaller amounts of water bead and roll off the fabric surface to a certain degree, but doesn’t completely stop water from permeating the material under prolonged exposure. In simple terms: pop outside for a while in a light drizzle and you’ll be fine, stand around in the rain for longer and you’re going to get wet.
Products with waterproof membranes are also treated with water repellent. Without it, moisture could enter the outer fabric and make the garment heavy and impair its breathability, although it would eventually be stopped at the waterproof membrane underneath.
The surface treatment is not permanent, as it gets worn away by use and washing. If you notice that water droplets are no longer pearling off the fabric, you can take your garment to a dry cleaner to have the treatment reapplied.
Products with a water-repellent surface treatment feature the following symbol:
How is breathability measured and marked?
Breathability is a measure of how quickly moisture vapour can be transmitted out through the material and makes for a good indication of whether a product meets your personal needs. If you’re running, skiing, hiking or doing anything else that gets you sweating, you definitely don’t want all that hot, moist air to be trapped inside your clothes.
There are many methods of measuring breathability, but the ratings we use are based on this general principle: the fabric is secured over a cup filled with water and left in a controlled environment. After 24 hours, the cup is weighed to find out how much of the water has evaporated. From this, we get a moisture vapour permeability (MVP) rating such as 5 000 grams per square meter per day, or 5 000 g/m2/24 h. The higher the number, the more breathable a fabric is. On our products, the breathability rating is usually displayed together with the water column in one symbol:
The upper number is the water column, while the lower indicates the breathability. A 5 000 g/m2/24 h rating indicates a good level of breathability for casual outdoor use. For more intense sports use, it’s better to opt for something with a breathability rating of 10 000 or more.
Note that breathability ratings are generally only measured for waterproof fabrics. In addition to the fabric’s breathability, the overall breathability of a product is affected by the use of different vents and materials. Running or ski jackets often have vents on the back or zips under the arms to allow for more efficient air circulation when needed. Products with additional ventilation are marked with this symbol:
Should I pick a 3-layer, 2-layer or 2.5-layer shell?
Shell jackets and trousers come in three different main constructions. They all share the fact that there is a waterproof and breathable membrane in each of them that is bonded to an outer fabric layer. The difference is on the inside of the membrane: what kind of lining is used and how it is attached. One construction isn’t necessarily better than any other overall, but they each have their own qualities that make them suitable for different uses.
3-layer fabrics consist of a durable outer fabric with a waterproof and breathable membrane laminated underneath it. The lining is bonded directly to the inner side of the membrane to protect it from abrasion, sweat and dirt, creating a durable product that is ideal for demanding outdoor use. This also makes the fabric stiffer and slightly heavier.
2-layer fabrics consist of a waterproof membrane laminated to the underside of an outer fabric. Products made with 2-layer fabrics usually have a lightweight and breathable lining, made of mesh or similar materials, that is not completely attached to the shell but hangs loosely on the inside. When compared to a 3-layer fabric, the 2-layer construction cuts down on bulk and weight, making it ideal for more casual use.
2.5-layer fabrics are an evolution of the 2-layer fabric and represent the ultimate lightweight option in waterproof outdoor clothes. Just like a regular 2-layer fabric, they consist of a lightweight outer fabric with a waterproof and breathable membrane bonded underneath. But instead of a separate mesh lining, 2.5-layer products have a thin protective print pattern or laminate directly on the inner surface of the membrane. 2.5-layer clothing is extremely lightweight and very packable, but requires more delicate handling and care to retain its waterproof and breathable qualities.
Other technologies and features
Products marked with this symbol have some kind of reflective elements, but they are not reflectors and are not intended to replace a safety reflector. These products have no protective function, so remember to always wear a proper reflector when it is dark.
Products made of a windproof fabric provide wind protection, keeping the chill away and maintaining a warming layer of air within.
Quick dry finish
The moisture management function of the Quick-Dry finish moves sweat away from the body for a dry and comfortable feeling. The fabric can be washed at low temperatures and it dries quickly. Easy-care products made of Quick Dry fabric are suitable for varied use.
The fabric allows moisture to evaporate quickly, keeping you dry and comfortable at all times. This is especially important when engaging in physical activities, both at high and low temperatures. Being able to transfer moisture away from your skin is important for the thermoregulation of the body.
Safe for children
The product conforms with requirements for children’s clothing and has a detachable hood with no strings near the neck, safety pockets for the hem strings as well as reflective elements. Note that unless specified, the reflective elements are not safety reflectors, have no protective function and are not intended to replace reflectors.
The Cooltech material creates a special cooling effect that helps maintain a comfortable body temperature.
Conscious cotton production is based on socially sustainable practices and compliance with strict environmental standards. Please check the product for details.
Products that contain recycled materials make less of an impact on our environment. Please check the product for details.
Thermostretch is a lightweight, moisture-wicking 4-way-stretch material that keeps you dry and provides warmth. Thermostretch panels can be added to jackets or trousers for increased mobility, or it can be used as the main material for midlayer shirts and jackets.
When used and washed, some fabrics have a tendency to form bobbles or fuzzballs on their surface, which is referred to as pilling. Pilling is mostly an optical problem, but an anti-pilling treatment can be used to reduce this and keep the product looking like new for longer.
Fabrics with 4-way stretch can flex both lengthwise and crosswise and return to their original shape, allowing unrestricted movement in all directions. This is especially important in sportswear and clothing meant for active pursuits. 4-way stretch is most commonly achieved by blending a stretchy fibre like elastane with the main material.
Two-way stretch fabrics can flex either horizontally or vertically and return to their original shape. If the yarns themselves have no stretchy fibres (like elastane) in them and the stretch is all due to the way the yarns are spun, the fabric is said to have “mechanical stretch”.
Garments engineered with GORE-TEX® fabric are durably waterproof and windproof, combined with optimized breathability – enduring products that maximize protection and comfort for the wearer. Multiple fabrics and construction methods include insulated, non-insulated, 2-Layer, 3-Layer, and Z-Liner.
GORE-TEX® INFINIUM™ technology
GORE-TEX INFINIUM™ products are extremely breathable and completely windproof. They are designed to offer next-level comfort even in vigorous activities, when full waterproofness is not required.
PrimaLoft® insulation is a synthetic microfibre material for thermal insulation. PrimaLoft is especially warm, dry, soft and compressible, making it suitable for cold-weather hiking and outdoor clothes.
3M Thinsulate™ insulation keeps you warm in the coldest of weathers. It is warm yet lightweight, powerful yet thin, making it especially suited for products like winter gloves, where thicker insulation would make the gloves uncomfortable.
REPREVE® fibre is a recycled polyester fibre made mainly from post-consumer plastic bottles that would otherwise end up in landfills or as litter. As an excellent contribution to the circular economy, REPREVE® fibres help conserve water and energy and spares natural resources by giving a new lease of life to existing materials.
TENCEL™ Lyocell fibres
TENCEL™ Lyocell fibres are derived from sustainably managed forests and manufactured in a closed-loop process that recycles and reuses the water and solvent needed. Fibres made from wood are biodegradable and they have a significantly smaller environmental footprint than traditional textile fibres.
LENZING™ ECOVERO™ fibres
LENZING™ ECOVERO™ fibres provide an eco-responsible alternative to regular viscose. The fibres use cellulose from sustainably grown wood as their base material and are certified with the EU Ecolabel as meeting high environmental standards throughout their life cycle.
Footwear – A.W.S. Waterproof
The shoe’s upper has a waterproof membrane between the surface material and the lining, which ensures dry feet even in challenging weather conditions.
Footwear – A.W.S. Water-resistant
The shoe’s water-resistant surface material protects the feet from moisture, ensuring higher wear comfort in normal day-to-day use.
Footwear – A.W.S. Coolnet Mesh insole
This removable insole has a honeycomb structure that breathes, dampens impacts and supports the feet. Combined with an upper layer made of mesh, the insole provides superior breathability, making it ideal for warm temperatures and athletic use.
Footwear – A.W.S. Coolnet Felt insole
This removable insole has a honeycomb structure that breathes, dampens impacts and supports the feet. The inner structure is covered with an upper layer of felt, which isolates the feet from the cold ground, making the insole ideal for the colder months.
Footwear – A.W.S. Coolnet Pro insole
This removable insole has the same basic structure and mesh outer layer as the Coolnet Mesh insole, which means it acts as a shock absorber while allowing the feet to breathe. This insole however comes with an arch support and is designed for hybrid shoes for outdoor and athletic use.
Footwear – A.W.S. Ultra Soft footbed
The Ultra Soft footbed relieves pressure and acts as a shock absorber. The material has antibacterial and anti-odour properties. Ideal for everyday wear.