Recently, a new industrial product called “NeverWet” has gained notoriety for its waterproofing capabilities on various surfaces. Unlike other waterproof technologies, such as GoreTex, NeverWet is not built into the actual clothing membranes; it is a spray that can be applied to any surface to make it repel water molecules, thereby creating a waterproof platform. The spray was developed by Ross Technologies, LLC and uses nanotechnology to coat surfaces with a hydrophobic layer, inhibiting water-based solutions from attaching on- and seeping into the material. SportTechie sees much potential for this product in the sports industry as a contributor to both performance and safety.

The main problem with more commonly produced waterproof wear is that products with such technology must be bought, sometimes in duplicate of other owned items. With NeverWet, presently owned items can instantly be treated with the hydrophobic substance, negating the necessity to buy items with specialized technology already installed. The product can save collegiate teams thousands of dollars by eliminating additional jersey costs from the department budget.

In addition, unanticipated changes in weather will no longer deliver negative consequences like water-soaked uniforms and gear. Applying NeverWet will ensure that the athletes’ apparel does not accumulate the extra weight of water and thus will provide the optimal performance conditions during competition. Sweat is a mixture of salt and water, therefore rapidly fleeing from any surface that repels an aqueous fluid. The threat of moisture saturation on clothes from sweat will not be an issue because water-based solutions will not bind to products treated with NeverWet. Soccer players and track stars would no longer feel the onset of fatigue due to the added weight of sweat, perhaps leading to healthier athletes over the course of extended competitions like the World Cup or the Olympics.

Athletic apparel and gear are only the tip of NeverWet’s iceberg. It would be interesting to see if large-scale applications of the product on entire playing fields would be feasible in the future, where water molecules would bounce off the playing surface (similarly to how they ricochet off the treated shirt in this article’s initial video) only to be collected by NeverWet-treated shovels and vacuums for instant disposal. Perhaps IndyCar and NASCAR tracks could be treated by a future version of NeverWet to eliminate violent crashes caused by slick roadways.

The NeverWet technology provides the opportunity for athletes in the amateur levels all the way through the professional rankings to heighten their performance. Applying the spray to any article of clothing or gear, before or during competition, will allow the athlete to train or compete with only the weight of his shirt on his back. It can also be used in safety protocols of stadiums, race tracks and playing fields, providing dry surfaces for supreme stability.

Where do you see waterproofing being used in the future of sports?