6 Uses for Breathable Materials

Applications for breathable material: mountaineering gear

18 Apr 6 Uses for Breathable Materials

Finlam Technical manufactures a variety of waterproof and breathable materials. These are fabrics that have been laminated with membranes made from polyurethane, polyester, PVC, PTFE and bi-component PTFE. Our membranes are designed for the dual purpose of excluding water from the outside but also allowing the passage of moisture from the inside. This ensures that the user remains protected from the elements, while maintaining stable and comfortable internal temperature and humidity levels.
Breathable materials can be used in the production of a variety of goods from shoes to tents. There are numerous applications that make use of the ability of breathable materials to regulate moisture and temperature. Here are seven of them:


It should be obvious how shoes used in sports and outdoor activities can benefit from breathables. Microporous or hydrophilic membranes can keep out rain or terrestrial water. At the same time, the pores in this material permit perspiration droplets from inside the shoe to pass outwards. In this way, the wearer’s feet stay dry, cool and sanitary.


Raincoats and waterproof jackets are often made using polyurethane, polyester or polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) membranes. These can either be applied in the form of laminates or coatings. Laminates are formed when membranes are bonded to fabrics – often between layers. Coatings, on the other hand, are spread over the underside of a garment in a thin covering. In both cases, the effect is the same. Rainwater is repelled off the outside of the garment, while perspiration is allowed to pass through from the inside.


Much of the clothing used by sportsmen and gym-goers is made of polyester fabrics that rapidly move perspiration away from the skin to the surface of the fabric. This keeps athletes dry and cool.

Snow-wear and Mountaineering Gear

The jackets, anoraks, pants and shoes used by skiers and mountain climbers are designed along similar lines as rainwear, except that an extra element of warmth also has to be provided. These garments require fabric that is tough, thick, waterproof, insulates warmth against the wearer’s body, and yet has a high level of moisture vapour permeability (MVP). Polyester fabric is most suitable for this.

Tents and Marquees

A similar principle applies with tents, marquees, tarpaulins and other shelters, as with clothing. That is: water must be kept out but water vapour – from both breath and perspiration in this case – must be allowed to escape. Most high-quality modern tents are made of polyester, laminated with some form of polyurethane or PFTE membrane.

Military Clothing

The military is the ultimate in demand for hardwearing fabric. For combat, engineering and other military functions, troops need clothing that withstands all external elements while providing the same internal protection as sportswear. This is achieved used various laminates together with nylon and polyester fabrics.
For waterproof/breathable materials to suit these applications – and more besides – contact us here.