Diamond-hard coating for alpine pursuits fabrics
11th November 2010, Bologna
Bologna, Italy based high-tech sportswear label Sportful, has launched a new collection of mountaineering and ski outfits which incorporate a knitted fabric finished with a unique abrasion resistant coating embedded with diamond hard ceramic particles.
The weft knitted fabric in Sportful's Dolomiti Windstopper garments was developed and produced by Swiss warp and weft knitted fabrics manufacturer Eschler, and is used for the exposed outer areas of both jackets and pants that are subject to heavy wear.
The rib fabric is used in the shoulder, elbow and hip areas of the garments. The innovative ceramic coated fabric is used alongside a tightly woven Gore Windstopper fabric to combine maximum breathability with wind protection.
The polyurethane-based fabric coating is embedded with diamond-hard ceramic particles and is said to be particularly environmentally friendly since it is completely free of solvents. Eschler claims that the coating can withstand extreme friction from backpacks or hip belts, providing the combined benefits of high wearer comfort with fantastic abrasion resistance.
Sportful is known for producing uncompromising high-tech sportswear for ambitious athletes and says that with its Dolomiti Windstopper jacket and pants, it is introducing the perfect outfit for backcountry lovers. Specifically adapted to the needs of randonnée skiers, mountaineers and outdoor athletes, the collection pieces are said to come with exceptional, pre-shaped fit that provides maximum freedom of movement despite the athletic, fairly tight fit that avoids bulkiness.
Ironically Sportful itself started off as a knitwear factory in 1946, evolved into a high quality underwear producer and finally into a ski apparel brand in the 1970s. The story goes that the real turning point came in 1972, when Dr. Giordano Cremonese, who had taken over the management of the business from his parents, wanted to participate in the newly established Marcialonga cross-country ski race but did not have appropriate clothing.
He decided to use the family business to produce the necessary apparel and what had begun as a personal need grew into an unprecedented success. This was the beginning of the Sportful brand.
In 1985, seeing the great demand for technical cycling apparel and encouraged by the company's remarkable success in cross-country skiing, Sportful embarked on a new adventure. This move into cycling would further strengthen the company's reputation in the athletic apparel industry.
In 1998, after having achieved a dominant position in the Italian cross-country ski market, the company decided to expand its presence in foreign markets. Sportful is currently the official apparel supplier for the prestigious Finnish national team. With regard to cycling apparel, the company says its greatest achievement came in 2002, when the Italian national team began to wear Sportful apparel and Mario Cipollini won the World Championships in Zolder shortly thereafter.
Other successes followed this victory, including Paolo Bettini's Olympic gold at Athens, and 2006 at Salzburg saw the Sportful jersey once again on the podium.
Author: Billy Hunter