PPE Thermal Liners and Pro Sports Players

High performance thermal liners worn by firefighters and sports players do have some similarities.

  1. Some thermal liners use wicking finishes that absorb a drop of water quicker than a thermal liner, like Glide™, that does not have a wicking finish.  However, wicking finishes are only effective brand new and out of the box. After wash the wicking finish goes away…along with the quick absorption of water.
  2. A drop of water that quickly disappears on a thermal liner does not mean it has good moisture management. The proof: drop some water on a cotton t-shirt and watch the water quickly disappear…does anyone think cotton fabric has good moisture management? Of course not.
  3. It is the combination of wicking moisture away from the skin and drying quickly that dictates whether a thermal liner maintains good moisture management. The only way to know the true performance of a thermal liner is to wear it or ask local departments or departments referenced above. For sure, don't be fooled by tricky demonstrations with tricky finishes that don't last.

Fighting fires can be as much an athletic activity as playing basketball, sprinting, or playing football. Is moisture management the most important characteristic of a high performance thermal liner? If not, what is the most important performance characteristic?