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Columbia Omni-Freeze ZERO Freeze Degree Short Sleeve Crew

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It’s nearly 100 degrees here at the Outdoor Retailer show in Salt Lake City, which is no doubt why everyone is buzzing about Columbia’s new shirts and footwear with Omni-Freeze ZERO technology, which cool you down (a bit) when you get hot and sweaty. Four years in the making, the technology is actually fairly straightforward: The fabric is embedded with distinctive little blue rings that contain a special cooling polymer.¬†When they’re exposed to sweat or moisture, the rings swell a little bit. It’s a mechanical reaction that requires a bit of energy to make happen, and all those swelling rings suck up just enough of the heat your body is generating to create a slight cooling sensation.¬†Really? Really. We didn’t believe it, either. But then we put the fabric and on felt it. The effect is less noticeable when you’re hosing down the trail at full-tilt, but when it’s this hot, every little bit helps.

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