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How Polartec creates cutting-edge, sustainable kit for the world's best cycling brands including Specialized, Santini and MAAP

We look at some of the latest cutting-edge sustainable fabrics from Polartec, and how they benefit cycling garments from some of the world's best bike brands

We all know that cycling is a sustainable form of transport but, sadly, not all the equipment we use also boasts equally eco-friendly credentials. However, cycling apparel innovator Polartec is helping to move the world of environmentally-conscious kit forward with more sustainable fabrics.

Forget profits, stock prices, dividends and the like; sustainability is the watchword of modern capitalism. Global brands are falling over themselves to attain green credentials. In fact, the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) calculates that companies committed to cutting emissions now represent $38 trillion — one-third — of the global economy.

Of course, as individuals, we want to do our bit as well. Where possible, who wouldn’t want to make informed choices about the products we buy and ensure that our kit is having the least negative effect on the globe? If it can do that and keep us comfy in the saddle, it’s a win for everyone.

Polartec's sustainable answers

Thankfully, Polartec – the creator of cutting-edge textiles used in a huge range of cycling apparel products – offers the best of both worlds. 

Polartec, a Milliken & Company brand and premium creator of innovative and more sustainable textile solutions, is part of a parent organisation that was one of the first 50 global companies to achieve approved science-based net-zero targets, and joins a group of more than 1,400 companies who have made net-zero commitments using the 2021 SBTi Corporate Net-Zero Standard. 

But while that’s great PR in corporate-land, what does it mean for you as an environmentally-conscious cyclists? It means that garments which employ certain Polartec fabrics and textile technology allow you to use kit with the very best technical performance, but none of the eco guilt that might otherwise come with it.

To show you what we mean, we’ve brought together four products that all show the enhanced sustainable – and performance – power of Polartec. 

MAAP Women's Thermal Base Layer LS Tee: £75

MAAP Women's Thermal Base Layer LS Tee

With the winter weather very definitely here, it’s never been more important to reassess your base layer options. This long-sleeve choice from MAAP is the zenith of comfort with its Polartec Power Grid fabric being highly breathable, quick drying, moisture-wicking and odour-resisting, as well as providing versatile warmth and advanced thermoregulation. In addition, its high-stretch bi-component knit is paired with contoured side panels to offer what MAAP calls “a premium range of motion”. 

But the reason why Power Grid is able to do all this without sacrificing any of its green credentials is because it uses yarn made from at least 50% recycled PET plastic. By employing a unique geometric and grid construction, Power Grid helps to manage moisture by creating air channels while the fabric itself transfers sweat from its inner surface to the outside. 

If you’ve ever wondered what can be done with recycled plastic, this base layer will certainly impress you. 

Santini Ovis Jacket £180

Santini Ovis fleece jacket

Taking the theme of warmth from recycled materials a step further is Santini's super-cosy Ovis fleece jacket. Made from Polartec Thermal Pro - which itself is made primarily from "post-consumer recycled polyester from recycled water bottles" - the Ovis is an insulated pile fleece jacket that also features a layer of windproof woven nylon on the chest and shoulders for extra protection.

Polartec was actually the first company to bring a recycled fleece to market in the early 1990s and it has gone to great lengths to increase its use of recycled substances and other sustainable materials in its warmth-promoting textiles ever since.

So if you're looking for a new trusty companion to offer protection on the coldest days this winter, look no further. 

Specialized Men's Prime Alpha Jacket: £150

Specialized Men's Prime Alpha Jacket

When it comes to making cycling products with world-wide appeal, few brands know how to do it better than Specialized. In the case of the Prime Alpha jacket, that universal appeal is well-earned because this garment has the ability to give any rider the extra warmth they need in a variety of conditions, and is ideal for layering over a base layer and under a rain shell. 

That warmth is all thanks Polartec’s lightweight – and 100% recycled – Alpha Direct insulation. In fact, that crucial Polartec Alpha ingredient makes this jacket ‘specialized’ in more than just brand name: Polartec Alpha was created in conjunction with US Special Forces to give them a breathable, durable, quick-drying and active insulation, that continuously releases excess body heat before it builds to cause saturation and discomfort.

It's incredible textile technology, and it’s as kind on the environment as it is on your comfort.

Pas Normal Studios Men’s Solitude Mesh Jersey: £175

Pas Normal Men's Solitude Jersey

Finally, from warmth retention to cooling promotion. Pas Normal’s super-minimalist Solitude Mesh jersey is just the job for your most challenging days in the saddle. It is made entirely from Polartec’s revolutionary Delta Cooling Fabric, which uses a unique construction designed to deliver a more advanced control of moisture dispersal.

Incredibly, compared to other fabrics on the market, Delta even improves breathability when wet and eliminates wind chills after hard efforts. Next-to-skin fabrics that target wicking and fast drying will keep moisture moving, but don't work towards actually cooling the body down. Delta works more efficiently by elevating touch-points for increased airflow, faster moisture dispersal, and reduced wet-cling.

Crucially, as with the other Polartec fabrics we've focused on here, it's available with a high recycled polyester content, meaning all that performance doesn't come at an environmental cost. 

To read more about Polartec’s commitment to eco-engineering, visit


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