The key to keeping your winter coat from turning into a petri dish post sweat sesh


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Photo: Stocksy/Samantha Estrada

During a super-sweaty workout, gym clothes can easily become a breeding ground for bacteria, mold, and mildew. (That might sound dramatic and icky, but it’s true.) And when you’re trying to avoid the cost of dry cleaning your winter coat (or washing it yourself on the regular), this poses a problem: how to keep your jacket from turning into a petri dish after, say, a hot yoga class.

The solution to this particular post-workout winter issue? A third piece made out of moisture-wicking fabric (technical fibers that pull sweat from the body to the garment’s surface and help it evaporate faster than a Tabata workout). Ideally said garment also contains antimicrobial or anti-odor properties (which destroy the growth of odor-causing bacteria). Take Microban, for example. Outdoor Voices uses fleece treated with antimicrobial technology to help the fabric dry faster and control odor because, as the company’s founder Ty Haney puts it: “After all that endorphinning, the last thing you need is to feel uncomfortable.”

These types of technical fabrics are designed for heavy perspiration during high-intensity activities, but adding such a layer between your workout clothes and winter jacket will help keep it dry and create a barrier between it and bacteria. Bigger brands from Nike, Alo, and Lululemon, as well as niche labels like Nagnata, LNDR, and Live The Process, have sporty zip-ups, cozy crews, and hoodies on lock. But it’s also possible to now find transitional, sweat-wicking designs that look downright cool off-duty made from the performance material. Think sporty-chic pieces like a sculptural pullover with an iridescent sheen, a denim-style jacket made from breathable fleece, or a cropped knit made from naturally antimicrobial wool you’d reach for with leggings or track pants as often as you would a midi skirt or rigid jeans.

Kate Chow, director of research and development at Athleta says that the trick for creating the appropriate barriers between your sweaty body and post-workout tops and coats during winter is to “start with a base that has anti-odor fabric to wear during your actual workout. Then, add a sweat-wicking piece to throw on top post-workout to serve as a barrier between your workout top and coat. Each of these pieces and their corresponding fabric qualities will work to keep your post-workout odors to a minimum, while simultaneously keeping you warm and your winter coat dryer.”

If you’re looking for a natural option, Laura May, founder and designer of the Australian brand Nagnata, recommends merino wool because it’s biodegradable, renewable, wicks moisture, and helps regulate your temp, too. “Merino wool fibers work in total harmony with the wearer’s body due to their excellent natural elasticity, odor resistant and moisture management properties and natural breathability,” she says.

The bottom line here is that, no matter your fabric preferences, there’s a bacteria buffering (winter coat saving) option out there for you. From moisture-wicking fleece to antimicrobial zip-ups and knits, below are 12 super-stylish layers to wear post-winter workout.

sweat wicking winter workout clothes
Photo: Nagnata

Nagnata Rib Sweater, $240

sweat wicking winter workout clothes
Photo: Alala

Alala Zephyr Jacket, $235

sweat wicking winter workout clothes
Photo: Outdoor Voices

Outdoor Voices OVFleece Half-Zip, $85

sweat wicking winter workout clothes
Photo: Beyond Yoga

Beyond Yoga Daybreak Mock Neck Jacket, $150

sweat wicking winter workout clothes
Photo: LNDR

LNDR Piste Cropped Jumper, $225

sweat wicking winter workout clothes
Photo: Alo Yoga

Alo Siren Long Sleeve, $74

sweat wicking winter workout clothes
Photo: Varley

Varley Simon Sweat, $128

sweat wicking winter workout clothes
Photo: Athleta

Athleta Uptempo Hoodie Sweatshirt, $79

sweat wicking winter workout clothes
Photo: Live The Process

Live The Process Mock Top, $278

sweat wicking winter workout clothes
Photo: Nike

Nike Sportswear Tech Fleece, $130

sweat wicking winter workout clothes
Photo: Patagonia

Patagonia Women’s Classic Retro-X® Fleece Vest, $149

sweat wicking winter workout clothes
Photo: Lululemon

Lululemon Starting Place Hoodie, $108

It’s peak fleece season. Here are the jackets we’re cozying up to right now. Plus, the one pair of fuzzy footwear this editor can’t live without in winter

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