The North Face is taking the fight to Gore-Tex with this new fabric

Futurelight claims to be "the world’s most advanced breathable-waterproof outerwear technology"

The North Face Futurelight
(Image credit: The North Face)

If you want reliable waterproof, breathable outdoor wear, your first thought is probably to look for something that utilises Gore-Tex. This tried-and-tested fabric keeps wind and rain out, yet lets sweat vapour escape, keeping you comfortable in cold, wet conditions. 

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Now, at CES 2019, The North Face has unveiled its answer to Gore-Tex in the form of Futurelight, its new breathable, waterproof material which it says will revolutionise the future of technical fabrics. The North Face claims that this is the most advanced breathable-waterproof outerwear material available.

Futurelight has been developed using a technology called 'nanospinning', which has allowed the company to add what it says is unprecedented air permeability into the membrane of a fabric. The process creates tiny ("nano-sized") holes which allow for improved porosity while still maintaining total waterproofness.

The North Face designers are then able to attach this thinner membrane to various fabrics giving designers the ability to adjust weight, stretch, breathability, durability, construction, and texture to match a user's activity or environment. Designers can customize the fabric for specific usage, for example, by increasing breathability in garments for aerobic pursuits or increasing protection for harsh, wet climates.

"With Futurelight we can theoretically use the technology to make anything breathable, waterproof and for the first time, comfortable," Global General Manager of Mountain Sports at The North Face Scott Mellin said. "Imagine a waterproof T-shirt, sweater or even denim that you actually want to wear. Today we start with jackets, tents and gloves, but the possibilities could be endless."

Futurelight fabric will first become available in The North Face’s Fall 2019 product line and will be featured across the brand’s pinnacle performance collections. To find out more, visit the official website.

Paul Douglas
Paul Douglas

Paul started his career in publishing 25 years ago, working on a print magazine that consisted mainly of website listings because there was no such thing as Google – there was just Yahoo and 56k dial-up modems. He worked in print for over 10 years on various computing titles including .net magazine and the Official Windows Magazine before moving to TechRadar.com in 2008, eventually becoming Global Editor-in-Chief for the brand, overseeing teams in the US, UK and Australia. Following that, Paul has been Global Editor-in-Chief of BikeRadar and T3 (not at the same time) and is now Content Director at T3 and still finds time to write for the site from time to time. In 2021, Paul also worked on the launches of Fit&Well and PetsRadar.