So can a fabric be able to really cool you down when the heat is up and you’re all sweaty? I never thought it would be possible but somehow the folks at Columbia Sportswear managed to pull it off with their new technology called Omni-Freeze Zero. I actually have heard about it August last year when their Columbia Ice T came out (supposed to be the first shirt that can lower body temperature) and was waiting for it to arrive in the Philippines. It took a while but finally last weekend, we were able to try the technology ourselves when we went to Corregidor Island. We were given a Columbia Freeze Degree Short Sleeve Polo Shirt to wear during our Photo Challenge and test the Omni-Freeze Zero in the harsh humid conditions of the island.
How does it cool?
The Omni-Freeze Zero is not chemical based but more on the architectural design of the fabric. The rings found under the shirt fabric are hydrophilic polymer rings and as the fabric spreads the sweat, the rings absorb the moisture and expands like a doughnut. It then uses the body heat as energy to make these rings swell. Against the skin it would make it really breathable and cool by lowering the temperature until the fabric dries out.
The Cool Effect Works!
We can talk all science but with technology like this, it’s best to try out and experience it ourselves. With the Freeze Degree Short Sleeve Polo, the fabric was thin, light and smooth. It feels really comfortable as it glides along the skin. To really feel the cooling effect, the fabric has to be close to the skin so the Men’s large size was just the right fit for me, not too loose nor too tight.
During our activities in the island, we did sweat a lot from the heat and humidity, especially when going through the lateral sections of Malinta Tunnel. But throughout I felt the cooling effect on my shirt especially on my back and shoulders where my backpack is worn. The sensation was like a light mint on the skin and the fabric would dry up easily as well.
For a more scientific approach, a thermal scanner was used to show the cooling down effect after our tunnel traverse. Amidst the warm temperature scans there were blue areas where the cooling process is currently happening. Pretty impressive. So the Omni-Freeze Zero technology does work.
The Omni-Freeze Zero Line
For a tropical country like ours this technology would benefit a lot of people who are heavy sweaters. IT would be good for climbers, runners and adventurers to keep cool. Aside from the Omni-Freeze Zero, the Freeze Degree Short Sleeve Polo Shirt we wore also uses the Omni-Wick (for quick drying) and Omni-Shade (for UPF50 sun protection) and the fabric has anti-microbial properties.
Not the question is the price. The Omni-Freeze Zero product line does cost a premium. The Freeze Degree Short Sleeve Polo Shirt is priced at Php 3490. It seems a ridiculous amount to pay for a shirt, but thinking about it, it’s the technology you are buying. I have a few Columbia Apparels myself and consider them as investment, it may hurt my wallet to pay for each but I can attest to the effectiveness and durability of their shirts, pants and polo shirts.