Following years of research in its innovation lab, earlier this year Under Armour announced a breakthrough fiber-shed test method to help address the invisible, but daunting sustainability threat microfibers and microplastics pose to society and the planet.
Now, the brand has teamed up with James Heal, a leading precision testing solutions supplier, to bring its award-winning test method to life.
Over the past eight months, the partners have developed and optimized fiber-shed test kits for industry use that employ Under Armour’s simplified, repeatable method. The resulting test kits are now available for purchase from James Heal.
As part of the partnership, the companies are receiving continued support and technical guidance from the Hohenstein Institute – an internationally recognized and acclaimed textile testing, research, and certification leader.
As synthetic and natural fabrics are produced, worn, and cleaned, they naturally shed fibers at varying rates. By increasing access to their simplified fiber-shed testing method, the companies hope to make it easier for industry players to understand their own contribution to the microfiber issue.
“Until now, integrating fiber-shed testing into industry research and development activities has required a significant time and cost investment,” said Kyle Blakely, Senior Vice President of Innovation for Under Armour.
“At Under Armour, we believe intervening early to mitigate shedding is critical, which is why our test method is designed to specifically address these time and cost barriers to entry. Thanks to our partners at James Heal, we are excited to make our innovative test method widely available as we address our own environmental impact.”
“Sustainability is a team sport, and we are thrilled to make this innovative measurement alternative widely available to the industry as we leverage it across our own brand,” said Michael Levine, Vice President & Chief Sustainability Officer for Under Armour.
“Under Armour’s sustainability ambitions reflect our belief that what lies under our products matters. As we progress toward our goal for 75% of products to be made of low-shed materials by 2030, we will continue to pursue opportunities to magnify Under Armour’s impact in the collective fight against shedding.”
As Under Armour continues to support the redevelopment of fabrics to shed less, the brand aspires to improve their durability and performance to support athletes. The company is making headway toward launching lower-shed products in market.
In addition to making the test method publicly available, Under Armour has provided complimentary test kits to high-volume textile mills in its global supply chain to encourage early intervention within its indirect scope.
Additional information on fiber shedding and Under Armour’s new method is available here from an earlier announcement and in an article on GreenBiz, 'Microplastics are everywhere: Here's what we can do about it'.
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