Here’s a timely question from a reader wondering about how Under Armour Charged Cotton compares to Nike Dri-Fit Cotton:
What is the technical difference between UA Charged Cotton and Nike Dri-Fit Cotton? UA is really hyping theirs while Nike has had it for awhile and hasn’t hyped much.
Well, first off, let me clarify something. The terms “Charged Cotton” and “Dri-Fit” are not so much specific technologies as they are product line names that have been trademarked by each company:
Under Armour Charged Cotton Trademark
Nike Dri-Fit Trademark
As you can see, the assigned trademarks span a wide variety of product types including caps, dress, headbands, pants, shorts, oh and of course- t-shirts.
Companies create product brands so they become easily recognizable by consumers. Think about it, if you had to ask “Hey, I’m looking for that Under Armour product that is made of cotton and spandex, oh and it’s supposed to be moisture wicking too”, that would be a little tough for consumers to wrap their heads around. Instead, companies create product line categories and give them easily identifiable names.
So this annoys me a little, but I believe the apparel market goes a little too far with the whole “technology” thing. They throw out these crazy terms, build up a bunch of hype about it, and then the consumer has to figure out what it all means. It’s pretty damn confusing.
Case-in-point: “Moisture Wicking”. Manufacturers started promoting moisture wicking undershirts a couple years ago, and my site got bombarded with traffic from people trying to figure out what the benefits of moisture wicking undershirts were, if any. Not surprisingly, today I don’t see the same amount of emphasis from companies touting their undershirts as moisture wicking, because I believe most of it was short-lived hype.
Now, I’m not trying to piss off those companies who make moisture wicking undershirts, I’m just trying to illustrate my point of technology hype.
No doubt, there is a good amount of technology that goes into the creation of some clothing products, but I’d like to see a little more balance here and less consumer confusion.
Of course, if the products didn’t sound cool, we probably wouldn’t be interested in learning about or buying them, so a part of me understands and appreciates the need for companies to do this.
So What Is It Really?
After a bunch of research over the last couple of days, here’s what I came up with:
Under Armour Charged Cotton – This clothing line consist of mens, boys, and womens t-shirts, shorts, and pants. In most all cases, the fabric blend consists of 95% TransDRY treated cotton and 5% spandex. TransDRY is actually a product from Cotton Inc. (trademark filed 10/2007) and it’s a treatment that is applied to cotton to give it moisture wicking properties. So, in essence, cotton treated or made with TransDRY will not absorb moisture like untreated cotton.
One part of the Under Armour marketing doesn’t set well with me. In most of their marketing, they say this:
We took Mother Nature’s most perfect fabric and supercharged it with our signature moisture transport system to create the world’s first true performance cotton.
If this is a Cotton Inc. product, what the hell is Under Armour’s “signature moisture transport system”? I’m thinking this is all hype and, from my point of view, it’s really misleading if all they did was apply TransDRY to their own cotton fabric.
If they did more, great. Maybe someone from Under Armour can email me and give me the specifics so I can add it here.
Nike Dri-Fit Cotton – The Dri-Fit clothing line consists of a whole lot of mens and women’s products. In fact, the Nike website says there are 1,014 Dri-Fit products available. When I searched for Dri-Fit Cotton products, that narrowed down the list to 7 items, and they were only for women. It looks like Nike did offer a Dri-Fit Cotton shirt for men, but it doesn’t appear to be generally available any longer.
In looking at the Dri-Fit Cotton line, it shows that the fabric blend across all products was 62% cotton (5% organic)/34% polyester/4% spandex.
When Nike refers to Dri-Fit, they describe it as a high-performance, microfiber, polyester fabric that wicks sweat away from the body and moves it to the fabric surface, where it evaporates. What isn’t clear, is what is special about the polyester to make it any different or better than any other polyester? Also, in looking at the Nike website, the Dri-Fit product line includes a variety of polyester fabric blends (100% polyester, 60% cotton/40% polyester, etc.)
I might be missing something here, but it looks as though Dri-Fit might simply be Nike’s main polyester fabric, so anytime it uses that polyester in a clothing item, it becomes a Dri-Fit item.
What Does It All Mean?
If you distill all that crap above, it really boils down to this: Moisture Management-treated Cotton vs. Polyester/Blend
Which is better? Well, I assume that is really subjective after it’s all said and done.
Which will perform better? That depends on your definition of “perform”. I suspect there is little noticeable difference between the two.
Which will feel better on the skin? I suspect the Under Armour Charged Cotton tee will feel a little softer, more natural feeling on the skin because there’s no polyester in it – but that’s just a guess.
If anyone has experience with Dri-Fit Cotton T-Shirts, please feel free to chime in. Also, if you do have one and are open to going out and picking up an Under Armour Charged Cotton tee to compare the two, be sure to email me or post your comments below.
Category: Sweat Management