KNOW YOUR TECH breaks down the scientific technology used in your favorite sneakers and activewear. Let’s demystify your next purchase: today’s technology is The North Face Thermoball. Designed in collaboration with Primaloft, this insulation offers a synthetic alternative to down filling. As the cost of down continues to rise, many brands are forced to increase their prices accordingly, or even worse, use low-quality down materials. To provide a solution to this developing issue, The North Face and Primaloft developed Thermoball, which works similarly to down filling in order to deliver a warm, insulated shell.

What is it? The North Face Thermoball is a large mass of small Primaloft synthetic fiber clusters used to line jackets and tops for high levels of insulation. These round clusters allow Thermoball to perform similarly to down, whereas many synthetic insulations use a flat, rolled shape. The result is a garment that is easily packable and provides a higher warmth-to-weight ratio than other synthetics. Thermoball has been found to be comparable to 600 fill goose down.

How does it work? Because The North Face Thermoball is composed of fluffy, round fibers that resemble down filling both aesthetically and functionally, it performs better than other synthetic insulations which are comprised of flat sheets. Thermoball maintains warmth even when wet, and unlike goose down products, it does not require much maintenance or special care.

Notable products: The North Face Thermoball Collection

Bottom line: Not ready to shell out the big bucks on a goose down jacket? The North Face Thermoball will keep you warm and dry this winter at a fraction of the price.

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