Development and trial of athletic T-shirt using spacer blocks to enhance ventilation

Chu Po Ho, Jintu Fan, Edward Newton, Raymond Au

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Purpose: In previous studies, enlarging the air gap between fabric and the skin through the placement of spacer blocks has been proven to improve air ventilation, particularly when the pumping effect is activated during movement. These studies evaluated only the total thermal insulation (Rt) and moisture vapour resistance (Ret) by using a fabric thermal manikin. The purpose of this paper is to report the experience, perceived comfort level, and ventilation effect of two designed T-shirts in a wearer trial. Design/methodology/approach: An athletic T-shirt (Vented Design) was designed by attaching spacer blocks to the underside of the fabric to enlarge the air gap. Eight subjects participated in the wearer trial, which comprised 30 min treadmill running, followed by 10 min of rest. At different points during the 40 min test period, subjects rated their body coolness, skin dryness, and overall comfort of the designed T-shirt. The testing was repeated with participants wearing the same T-shirt but without spacer blocks, which served as a control garment. The mean skin temperature of each subject was also measured to support survey findings. Findings: The data were evaluated using independent t-tests. The T-shirt with spacer blocks provided higher ventilation than the control T-shirt after 10 min of running. Research limitations – because of limited resources, only eight subjects were recruited to this study. In addition, more T-shirt designs should be tested in the future to elucidate how T-shirt design affects ventilation performance. Originality/value: This study investigated a T-shirt design wherein the air gap between the skin surface and fabric was increased. The results of the wearer trial showed that this design could be adopted as a design brief for further design development of related clothing. This study has implications for clothing designers developing functional clothing with improved ventilation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)706-715
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Clothing Science and Technology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017


  • Athletic T-shirt
  • Design
  • Ventilation
  • Wearer trial

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business, Management and Accounting (miscellaneous)
  • Materials Science (miscellaneous)
  • Business, Management and Accounting(all)
  • Polymers and Plastics

Cite this