Waterproof materials are usually good at keeping out water, but also at keeping perspiration in. You either get wet outside, or inside. This leads to taking your jacket on and off while you exercise outdoors, and is not very handy. There has to be a solution to this, The North Face thought.
In addition, waterproof jackets and pants tend to be bulky and stiff. Moving around in them is not ideal.
So The North Face asked themselves: what if we could redefine this completely? And make jackets that are both breathable as well as waterproof?
This dilemma between waterproof and breathability is just about the Holy Grail for the outdoor industry. Gore-Tex launched in 1976 and was a big step forward in offering wearable waterproof clothing. And Gore has been the standard in waterproof fabrics ever since.
But The North Face thought it was time to take things to the next level and disrupt this core part of the outdoor and apparel market.
Using State-of-the-art Technology: nanospinning.
The North Face came across a technique called nanospinning. In this, materials can be nano-engineered, to take any characteristic the designer want. It was already used in car manufacturing for example, but not in clothing in any significant way.
Through nanospinning, The North Face envisioned that it should be possible to achieve have exactly the right degree of waterproofing as well as breathability in a garment. So they went to work.
In The North Face’s new fabrics, microscopic webs are created that have tiny holes in them, which are small enough to stop water droplet from coming in, but big enough for air molecules (and thus, damp from perspiration) to pass through. Thus, the damp does not condense inside the jacket and you stay the dray.
The characteristics of the fabrics can be adapted based on the need. For example, when you are climbing Mount Everest, you need maximum protection. But when you are running, breathability becomes critical.