Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to make accurate predictions for the things that matter most? Tyndale can’t give you the winning lottery numbers but we can tell you exactly how to best predict comfort in your arc-rated and flame resistant (AR / FR) garments, which leads to other important benefits like increased compliance and employee morale.
Before you invest in an AR / FR garment, you want to know it’s going to be comfortable to wear for the next few years. How do you predict that? The answer may surprise you. Let’s hear from Scott Margolin as he shares what doesn’t predict comfort and breaks down the four predictors of comfort:
As Scott says, weight, moisture regain, and air permeability/breathability do not predict comfort. What?! While each of these fabric features is important to consider, they are not what initially draws you to select your clothing. Think about it – you’re much more likely to make purchasing decisions based on brands, styles, or colors you like. Only after you’ve honed in on one or more of those are you interested in other aspects of the fabric. And even then, the lightest weight fabric almost never wins the wear test because those light weight fabrics tend to be 100% synthetic and don’t manage sweat well. You want something that’s a reasonable weight but also breathable, soft, manages moisture, drapes properly, etc.
The number on predictor of comfort is… drumroll…
When you can select your AR / FR clothing from a variety of brands, styles, colors, etc. you’re more likely to find something that you want to wear. Comfort is extremely subjective – what you find most comfortable, might not be your co-worker finds comfortable – which is why offering choice as part of an AR / FR clothing program is critical. Plus, choice directly impacts morale and productivity. When you have a say in what you wear, based on what you find most comfortable and stylish, you view the clothing program as a positive (rather than something you have to do) and can focus on your professional priorities without the distraction of uncomfortable garments.
Once you’ve selected a garment you like, making sure that garment fits properly is key. If it doesn’t fit properly, the other features become exceedingly less important. AR / FR clothing shouldn’t be baggy, but it also shouldn’t be overly fitted or tight. Maintaining a comfortable range of motion while working should be easy in your AR / FR uniform – if you feel restricted, your clothing is probably too tight. Bottom line, fit is fundamental to comfort and safety.
Fabric properties like weight, breathability, and moisture wicking only come into play after choice and fit. As stated, no single property, or even several in combination, accurately predicts comfort. Which is why you need access to ratings and reviews.
In absence of an official (and usually costly) wear test, online ratings and reviews from peers are extremely important when it comes to purchasing comfortable AR / FR garments. Just like in your personal life (ahem, Amazon), you want access to unedited ratings and reviews from real people who have purchased the garment you’re interested in buying. Look for a supplier who displays product ratings and reviews – good or bad – from their customers.