The bodies of athletes – whether pro or amateur – quickly begin to cool when the clothes in contact with the skin become wet with sweat. Their performance drops at pace with the cooling of their body, disturbing the fluid balance even more.
These were just a few of the problems that made Anders Bengtsson go out on a new exercise session in the spring of 1973 – just outside his home in Borås, Sweden. His aim was to solve this problem. Next to his skin was new underwear made of a material just released from a factory in Halmstad. After a few kilometers, his body began to react as it should. The sweat started to roll.
As usual, after the session he weighed his underwear, measured the moisture content of the garment with a moisture gauge and compared it to previous results. There was no doubt. He seemed to have found the perfect garment to have next to the skin – a garment that handles moisture from the skin’s pores and transports it onwards with as little absorption into the fibers as possible. He just took one step closer to solving the problem.
The secret behind the discovery Anders Bengtsson made after one of his strenuous exercise sessions is that the material – polyester – does not become wet on the outside and only absorbs a minimal amount of moisture in the fibers. Add to that a weaving technique that greatly helps to transport moisture and keep the skin fresh. The most effective stitch ratio proved to be three stitches outward and two stitches inward.
In addition to underwear, garments for the next layer (so-called absorption garments) were developed. These work to transport moisture further out from the body. The third and outermost layer was made of an insulating garment to protect against weather and wind without trapping moisture from the inside. These three layers were the start of the idea that Craft then used and developed into today’s modern function garment.