Athletes from marathon runners to fitness buffs who have long complained about the moisture-retention characteristics of cotton athletic wear will soon have a new option.

A cotton textile innovation, Double Dry Cotton, will be the fabric of choice for the first-ever line of men's and women's cotton athletic wear made by Champion, a division of Sara Lee Corporation.

Scheduled for a spring launch, the Double Dry Cotton line takes advantage of proprietary moisture management technology that delivers exceptional wicking performance while maintaining the look, feel, and comfort of cotton.

The finishing process that imparts the moisture management characteristics to the fabric was created by Cotton Incorporated.

“This is great news for consumers who want the softness and comfort of cotton, plus moisture management to keep them cool and dry,” says Heather Stefani, vice president of marketing for Champion.

“Today's athletes — whether they are performing at the highest level of competition or just beginning a workout routine — are looking for moisture management to keep them cool and dry. Now, with the introduction of Double Dry Cotton, there is an alternative to traditional synthetic materials.”

“This technology offers the same improved moisture management properties as the synthetic and blended active-wear products in the market, but in a preferred all-cotton version,”says Don Bailey, vice president of textile research and implementation for Cotton Incorporated, the research/promotion organization supported by check-off funds from American cotton producers and U.S. importers of cotton textiles.

By pulling moisture to the outside of the fabric, the garment will absorb less moisture, dry more quickly, and have less propensity to stick to the skin when it is wet.

The ability to give cotton knits and wovens true moisture management performance over a wide range of fabric constructions and weights is a very significant accomplishment for cotton, Bailey notes.

The Champion Double Dry Cotton line will include a variety of styles and colors and will be sold at sporting goods stores, department stores, and national chains, with prices ranging from $18 to $34.

Bailey says this technology will work for any casual or active apparel product where the key is moving moisture away from the body to the outside of the garment, including but not limited to gym apparel, tennis and golf apparel, and casual wear.