Buying Printed Running T-Shirts
Printed Race T-Shirts have been popular amongst runners for years and traditionally cotton t-shirts have been used, and these have have been printed using the screen printing process.
Elsewhere within the technical running t shirt section on this site we have cited the reasons why it is not a good idea to run in cotton t-shirts, and screen printing exacerbates the situation further. So, what's the problem with screen printing?
The advantage of screen printing is that it is relatively easy to administer and is very cost effective. However, the t-shirt is effectively "screened" with a layer of ink that forms a barrier which inhibits the movement of moisture away from the surface of the skin, which is a particular problem if applied on the back of the t-shirt. Some people refer to it as sweaty back syndrome. Furthermore, screen printing, if not applied properly fades quite quickly thus making the "souvenir" t-shirt suitable for gardening only.
Having extolled the virtues of technical t-shirts, we now need to go one step further and look for a printing process that is capable of producing an acceptable printed technical t-shirts for runners.
The solution to both ‘screening' and ‘fading' can be achieved through the use of a special type of print. In short, the print is applied to the face of a technical t-shirt, not to a cotton t-shirt, using a process known as sublimation. Without getting too technical, sublimation printing works in the following way:
A special sublimation ink is used, which is held in a liquid solvent. This ink is then applied to a donor material, namely a special type of paper via a specific type of printer. The ink is then transferred from paper to fabric via the dye sublimation process which entails the dye being heated until it vapourises into a gas which then permeates the actual fibres of the material before re-solidifying. The dye is actually held by the fibres and not in the pores between the fibres. This allows moisture vapour to pass through the fabric without restriction as well as applying a permanent finish to the garment.
Having decided what we wanted to do, all we had to do then was to come up with some inspirational prints...Accordingly, we now offer a full range of printed technical running t shirts as well as a collection of bespoke printed running t shirt.
Read our printed t-shirt frequently asked questions and answers for more information.