Nike’s latest patent turns your workout clothes into towels

Lets face it, going to the gym may be good for our health, but the amount of perspiration that we produce while exercising can bring a host of challenges at times. No one enjoys the feeling of sweat dripping into our eyes and too much moisture can make it difficult to grip kettlebells, weightlifting bars, or other exercise equipment, let alone interact with touchscreen devices. Thankfully, Nike is looking for ways to alleviate these challenges by potentially creating a new line of workout clothes designed to perform at a high level, while also offering athletes a way to wipe away excess sweat too.

In a patent issued to the shoe and athletic wear giant last week, the company outlines plans to add what it calls “wipe zones” to traditional athletic garments. Made from a different type of material than typically found in exercise apparel, these zones would allow the wearer to quickly and efficiently wipe away perspiration, keeping their hands and brow drier in the process, without interfering with the performance of the workout clothes in any way.

According to the patent filing, these wipe zones would be created from yarn that has “a very small denier-per-filament” ratio. What that means is that the material would be made up of very fine fibers that create a larger surface area thanks to a larger number of filaments contained in a smaller space. This has the benefit of allowing the fabric to remove an increased amount of moisture from a person’s skin when it is wiped across the garment. The yarn used to create these wipe zones would also be made of hydrophobic materials, which means the moisture wouldn’t be absorbed, but would evaporate quickly instead.

The wipe zones would also be strategically placed on workout apparel in places where people naturally tend to wipe away perspiration. For instance, the neck line of a shirt is often used to wipe sweat from the eyes, while the hem around the bottom of the shirt is used to wipe the face. Similarly, the front of a pair of shorts is used by athletes to dry their hands too. Nike’s patent looks to incorporate its low denier per filament fabrics into those places, without interfering with the garment’s ability to vent heat and wick moisture.

As with all patents, it is unclear when we would potentially see actual products that use this technology, if ever. Still, it is nice to know that Nike is looking for ways to make us more comfortable during our workouts.