Increasing consumer preference toward comfortable and high-performance apparel has been one of the major factors driving the global waterproof breathable textiles demand. These textiles are primarily used in manufacturing casual, athletics, ski, or outdoor apparel. Furthermore, several factors including growing fitness consciousness, rising disposable income, and increasing the popularity of sports apparel for women along with the trends of comfortable and stylish sportswear are expected to impact market growth over favorably.
Waterproof breathable textiles are used extensively across the sportswear industry owing to the increasing consumer preference toward comfortable and high-performance apparel. These fabrics are also used in military & defense and medical applications to enhance overall performance in challenging environments. Waterproof breathable fabrics are of three types, namely, densely woven, membranes, and coated.
The outer layer of waterproof breathable textiles comprises of membranes and water repellent solutions or laminates, which are usually made of PTFE (Polytetrafluoroethylene), ePTFE (Expanded Polytetrafluoroethylene), nylon, polyurethane or polyester. For instance, W. L. Gore’s Gore-Tex is a membrane made of ePTFE. A few other suppliers provide membrane-based microporous polyvinylidene fluoride, which is cast directly onto the fabric.
The primary purpose of these membranes is to protect the fabric from temperature variations, airborne pollutants, or UV radiation while increasing its aesthetic appeal. Waterproof breathable fabrics that have microporous membranes are used to make reusable medical gowns.
Presently, suppliers focus on providing eco-friendly, recyclable, PFC-free, and PTFE-free membranes. Several companies still use PTFE for the production of water-repellent functional textiles, which create fluorine compounds that are not biodegradable.
Suppliers emphasize on providing membranes that are completely PFC-free and PTFE-free and use material made from polyester, polyurethane, and polyether. These compounds consist of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen, making them 100% recyclable and they do not pose any threat to health as such. For example, SympaTex provides membranes that are recyclable, PFC-free, and PTFE-free, making them environmentally sustainable.
Manufacturers in this market offer products ideal for specific activities such as cycling, skiing, work, hunting, trekking, sailing, rainwear, golf, and windcheaters. A few others offer products for medical and military & defense applications. Many companies engaged in the manufacture of waterproof breathable textiles are focusing on lowering overhead cost by relocating their facilities in low-cost regions and outsourcing certain processes.
In-depth report on global waterproof breathable textiles (WBT) market by Grand View Research: