What Makes A Good Fleece?

What Makes A Good Fleece?

When fleece garments first hit the shops some 30 years ago, they were distinctly as mid insulating layers to be worn under an outer shell layer for outdoor enthusiasts. Over the years, fleece clothing has become lifestyle garments, and there aren’t many people nowadays who don’t own a fleece product of some sort or another.

Fleece fabric was invented by Polartec in the early 1980’s, who developed a new process for knitting polyester yarns that raised piled fibres, creating a brushed surface with thermal air pockets. This resulted in a lightweight, fast drying, insulating material that was more versatile than anything else at that time. Warmth without weight quickly became the new standard for performance fabrics. 

Not only is fleece warm and lightweight, but it is also highly breathable (hence why it is great as a mid layer under an outer shell jacket), and machine washable, making it an easy to care for garment. It is also naturally hydrophobic, which means it repels water (barely retaining water when wet) and dries very quickly.

The versatility of fleece has resulted in an abundance of fleece garments available to the consumer, but as in everything, you tend to ‘get what you pay for’. I am constantly being asked why anyone would pay £75 for a fleece jacket when you can buy one in high street shops at £30+. I guess the answer lies in what you want out of the garment. If it’s just to be worn as a casual replacement for a sweatshirt, then the £30+ ones are probably fine. If however you want something that is going to offer proper insulation and last longer, then you really have to pay more.

First of all there are different weights of fleece fabric. The lighter microfleece fabrics are generally lower in price and are obviously less insulating than the thicker fleeces. Also, higher quality fleeces are tighter knitted, again resulting in something more thermal, and a double sided fleece (brushed on both the outer and the inner) will obviously trap more warmer air and be better insulation, albeit more expensive.

In addition, the better quality fleeces will be far more pill resistant (that’s when they start bobbling up) and will consequently last a lot longer, thus proving to be more cost effective in the long run. In my humble experience, a good quality fleece jacket at £75 will last more than twice as long as one half the price, and offer better performance along the way.

Here at Country Innovation, we only use the best fabrics to produce our garments, so we use a Polartec 200 fleece to make our Fleece Jacket. In our opinion, this is the best fleece fabric available for an insulating fleece layer, being the mid weight of 200gms/m2. We appreciate that at £75 it is a bit of an outlay, but it will be a faithful friend for many years to come, thus justifying the expenditure. 

To soften the blow somewhat, if you place an order over the next week and use the exclusive online code FLEECE, you will get 15% OFF, saving over £10! Simply put the code into the online checkout or quote FLEECE if ordering by telephone: 01934 877333.

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