Coconut-Made Wicking Workout Gear: Would You Wear It?

by Amanda MacMillan


courtesy of Coconacourtesy of CoconaI'm pretty sure I've discovered the best thing to happen to coconuts since pina coladas. It's called Cocona, and it's a Boulder-based company that's doing really cool things with synthetic technical fabrics -- namely, infusing them with coconut husks. But why coconut, you ask?

Apparently, the fruit's husks can be recycled into activated carbon, that is then incorporated into fibers and fabrics. The result is a garment that wicks better, dries faster and stays cooler -- by 30 to 50%, according to industry tests. The active fibers also help absorb odor and release them in the wash, so the clothes don't hold on to stink the way some synthetics can. And they're naturally UV-protective, as well -- crazy, right?

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Cocona's been around since the 2000s, but it's likely that you've never heard of them before. That's because the company doesn't make its own label; rather, it licenses its technology to all kinds of big fitness brands, including Adidas, Asics, Eddie Bauer and The North Face, to name a few.

I tested Cocona this past weekend via a La Sportiva Crystal T-shirt ($70), part of the Italian brand's Spring running collection. I was in Florida and it was HOT, but this cute top kept me cool on my afternoon bike ride and jog; it's seriously some of the lightest, most effective moisture-wicking material I've ever worn. Plus, it didn't smell after I took it off, or even after I shoved it deep into my suitcase and left it there for four days.

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The shirt is still technically 100% polyester, "with Cocona natural technology" -- so I was a little disappointed to learn that this isn't as eco-friendly a product as the name may suggest. But as far as synthetics go (ones developed in America, at that!), Cocona is the best I've tested in quite a while.

Have you ever worn cocona fabrics? Will you try them, if not?

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