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Le Col pushes the limits with plant-based membrane

Waterproof fabric layer can withstand stretching, washing and the abuse of outdoor sport.

31st January 2024

Innovation in Textiles
 |  London


London-headquartered brand Le Col is launching a collection of cycling wear based on the all-new plant-based Polartec Power Shield.

To come up with a breathable and waterproof membrane that was completely plant-based was a big challenge for the scientists at Polartec, a Milliken brand. The new system uses molecular diffusion, rather than micropores, to move out water vapour while maintaining a barrier against water droplets. This type of technology isn’t new, but a membrane that can layer within technical fabrics and withstand stretching, washing and the abuse of outdoor sport is. 

In addition, because the new technology is free from micropores, it also can’t clog up and lose breathing performance.

Developed to an expedition-grade standard, performance is at the forefront, with the fabric able to withstand heavy rains and high winds while remaining breathable. 

As a result, this is Polartec’s first-ever waterproof fabric to test greater than 20,000mm in the hydrostatic pressure test for waterproofness and a 20,000gsm moisture vapor transmission rating for breathability over 24 hours. 

The advancement and versatility is being paired with a wide range of fabrics – from supple stretch to heavy wovens and on to low-snag and high-stretch knits. The all-new Polartec Power Shield brings a soft hand and tough barrier to outside rain and snow that is incorruptible over time.

Le Col has been using Polartec fabrics in its winter products for a number of years now to deliver industry-leading weather protection.  The high performing materials have already been used in its Pro Bib tights and previous iterations of its jackets and winter base layers.  From insulating and heat regulating fabrics like Alpha and Power Grid to waterproof and windproof fabrics like Power Shield, the fabrics are used strategically by Le Col to ensure it offers the most benefits to cyclists to help improve comfort and performace on the road.

The latest versions of the AW23 Hors Categorie Jacket II, Pro Jacket, along with the Pro All Weather Jersey and Pro All Weather Gilet all benefit from this new technology.

“We couldn’t be happier with the new Power Shield technology and the benefits it brings to our product range,” said Hannah Greenshield, product developer at Le Col. “Not having to sacrifice performance in the pursuit of more sustainable products is a fantastic result.”

“We’re thrilled to once again be working with Le Col as one of the first brands to utilise our new Power Shield technology,” added Polartec sales and marketing manager Matteo Tolio. “As a brand whose focus is so strongly on sustainable performance innovations we’re glad to be able to live up to those high standards and support Le Col in creating industry-leading cycling apparel.”

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