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How Does Moisture Wicking Work When You Sweat?

Sweating is a necessary function of the human body, but that doesn’t mean we have to like it. Sweating can often be frustrating to deal with, especially during a workout: It doesn’t smell great, it looks awkward, and it can make you feel uncomfortable. Still, we’ve all accepted sweating as part of life (and a part of our workouts). 

Still, many brands understand that feeling sweaty is no fun. Lots of research and development have been done to make this minor inconvenience even smaller. One of the most significant developments is moisture-wicking clothing technologies. 

If you’ve bought any workout apparel or gear recently, you’ve likely seen advertisements and branding that tout this moisture-wicking feature. But practically speaking, what is this feature, how does it work, and why is it important? 

Here is everything you need to know about moisture-wicking and why you should look for it anytime you think you might work up a sweat. 

What Is Moisture Wicking? 

In its most basic definition, moisture-wicking involves removing moisture (AKA sweat) away from your skin. Breaking a sweat is a sign that you’re putting in some serious work, which is the goal of most workouts. Therefore, wearing clothing that can move that sweat away from your body is essential for optimal performance. 

Moisture-wicking works in two ways.

The first is to transfer sweat through fabric quickly and effectively. The idea is to move the moisture onto the material’s top layer so that it isn’t making contact with the wearer’s body. Even if it’s still on your clothes, moving the moisture away from direct contact with the body can make working out much more comfortable. 

The second function of moisture-wicking is designing fabric that dries at a much higher rate than everyday clothing. This way, your clothes and gear aren’t completely drenched. 

Regular cotton or wool tends to soak up and hold onto water over time, making clothes incredibly uncomfortable. There’s nothing grosser than wearing clothing wholly drenched in sweat, even during a workout! That’s why moisture-wicking clothing dries incredibly quickly so that you can be comfortable even during the most intense workouts. 

How Does Moisture-Wicking Work? 

Moisture-wicking works due to a process called capillary action. This is the movement of moisture, liquids, and sweat through small holes and spaces caused by forces working inside the material itself. It is the process of moisture moving from one layer of the fabric to another, typically in one direction. This moves the moisture away from your body and out into the open. 

The wicking process is measured based on the fabric’s permeability. This is typically determined by the variety of sizes of spaces within the material, as well as the connection points between these layers. A highly permeable fabric will allow the moisture to work its way through the fabric quickly and efficiently. 

Once the moisture is on the surface or outer layer of the fabric, it can be absorbed into the air and dried off the clothing. This can help reduce chafing, offensive odors, and less than desirable sweat marks all over the body — helping you reach that personal best.

When Is Moisture-Wicking Gear Most Important? 

The most common place you’ll see moisture-wicking gear is in the world of fitness. Clothing and gear that remove moisture from your body can help you feel more comfortable, putting you in the right frame of mind to crush your workout. 

When you feel better, you’ll work harder — and when you work harder, you’ll be able to see results much more quickly. 

Moisture-wicking clothing is also beneficial when you’re living in hot and humid environments. Especially if you live somewhere where the summers are muggy, moisture-wicking clothing can keep you looking your best even when temperatures hit the hundreds. Moisture-wicking helps hide and eliminate sweat marks and odors, even when staying dry is hard. 

Moisture-wicking clothing is also beneficial for sleeping. If you tend to overheat in your sleep, moisture-wicking clothing and fabrics can help keep you feeling dry, calm, and comfortable at night. 

Compounded by the fact that moisture-wicking materials are also incredibly soft and comfortable, looking for moisture-wicking clothing and gear at night can be a game-changer. 

What Fabrics Are Best for Moisture Wicking? 

If you’re looking for clothes or gear that’s sweat-ready, there are a few materials that you should seek out. While shopping for apparel or gear, clothes will almost always specify that they are designed with moisture-wicking properties. 

Still, if you just want to be sure, here are some of the most common moisture-wicking materials available today. 


This is one of the most common moisture-wicking materials on the market today. It’s lightweight, incredibly breathable, and generally durable. If you’re looking for a moisture-wicking fabric that will serve you well in a wide variety of situations, polyester or a polyester blend are likely the best choices for you. 


Nylon is another vastly popular material for clothing that works in high-intensity situations. It is similar to polyester in various ways, touting features like comfort, durability, and breathability. If you’re looking for a sweat-wicking material when you’re working out or living in a hot place, you can’t go wrong with nylon! 

Merino Wool

While most wool isn’t the first material to come to mind for the heat, Merino wool is one of the best moisture-wicking materials available today. Plus, it’s great if you’re sweating in a colder environment — sweat doesn’t stop when summer ends, after all. Merino wool is better at retaining heat while still keeping sweat away. 

While this won’t work in all situations, it’s definitely got perks for people living and working out in colder climates. 


These incredible properties make moisture-wicking fabric the obvious choice for Cool Links®. Our products are perfect for those sweaty days in the sun when you want to stay cool — and dry. 

One of Cool Links®’s primary goals is to provide unparalleled and unprecedented comfort in any situation. If you’re looking to stay chill on a hot summer day, cool down after an intense workout, or even support your favorite team in style, Cool Links® is here to help. 

Check out our website today to learn more about all of the ways Cool Links® can help you chill out. We’re here to keep you comfortable and cool no matter where you roam! 



“Skin-like” fabric for personal moisture management |

Moisture Wicking Fabric: What It is? | World’s Ultimate

The Effects of a Moisture-Wicking Fabric Shirt on the Physiological Responses During Acute Exercise in the Heat | ScholarWork