Staying Warm, Staying Fit with Help of Aerogel Insulated Apparel

By John Williams

January 31, 2017

Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean your fitness routine goes into hibernation.

For many of you, a bike ride or other outdoor activity is still part of your fitness plan. Frost, snow, or cold temperatures aren’t going to keep you indoors. However, you also know how important staying warm is—not only to your comfort, but to your fitness goals.

Here in Boston, we were reminded of the value of thermal clothing just this morning, and while reading this article on Outside Online – The Best Cold-Weather Biking Gear of 2017.

Cycling enthusiasts and tech-savvy fashionistas will want to look closely. Several of these garments use aerogel technology as part of their stay-warm superpowers.

For instance, 45Nrth Sturmfist 5 Gloves use aerogel insulation in the palms to protect against conductive heat loss.  That’s perfect if you’re gripping cold handlebars. (FYI. We’re pretty sure that warmth can apply to tailgating festivities, too.)

45Nrth Wölvhammer Boots also use aerogel in their foot bed to keep your feet warm while you pedal.

With gear insulated by aerogel, you’ll stay warm without added bulk or weight due to the thin and ultra lightweight nature of aerogel insulation.  Since aerogel is mostly air, it doesn’t weigh down the aerogel-impregnated materials and batting used in apparel products.

But how does aerogel help keep you warm? Turns out the same nanoporous structure that makes aerogel so lightweight also helps to combat convective and conductive heat loss.

Aerogel, also called “puffed-up sand,” is comprised mostly of air that is trapped in intertwined clusters of solids. These clusters make up only 3% of the aerogel’s volume and the remaining 97% is air. The air has little to no room to move, which inhibits convection and conduction, and makes it a great thermal insulator that keeps you warm and toasty.

As a side note, aerogel insulation can also impede radiative heat loss, but for cold-weather apparel, convective and conductive heat loss are the primary targets.

There’s a lot of aerogel insulated apparel available if you look for it—foot-bed inserts, jackets, gloves, hats, and more. If staying warm and staying fit is your goal, we’ll guarantee aerogel insulated apparel will help you achieve both.