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Polartec Presents 12 ‘Apex Awards’ to Standout Gear Including Polartec Fabrics

Polartec 2022 Apex Awards
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Wondering what types of apparel, footwear, and beyond are using Polartec technology and fabrics in a unique way? Polartec created an annual award to suss out exactly that.

This week, Polartec announced its 2022 Apex Award winners. Twelve brands — and their designers — were awarded based on products using exceptional Polartec fabrics, and how they stacked up to the rest.

According to Polartec, it selected winners from hundreds of entries of gear in the sport, lifestyle, and performance categories.

Polartec makes textiles that include the ability to wick, cool, insulate, and more — similar to other fabric technologies that permeate outdoor gear and apparel, like GORE-TEX, PrimaLoft, and Dyneema. Polartec fabrics can be found in industry staples like the Black Diamond Coefficient Fleece Hoodie, Patagonia’s R1 Regulator Fleece Pullover, and Topo Designs Mountain Fleece. Though, its reach goes far beyond just fleece.

“The winners of this year’s Polartec Apex Award highlight design solutions that emphasize versatility, sustainability, and convert classic traditions into modern concepts,” Polartec announced.

In fact, the GearJunkie team is currently testing several of these award-winning items, as they are new to market this year. Sure, the awards field is narrowed to just gear with Polartec fabrics or textile technology, but still — this gear is winning nonetheless.

2022 Apex Awards: Winning Gear

1. Berghaus MTN Guide MW Hoody

The MTN Guide MW Hoody by Berghaus is a midlayer that features various weights of Polartec Power Grid and claims to reduce bulk and increase breathability. Also included in the midlayer is an integrated neck gaiter that serves as a hood. Berghaus touts its MTN Guide MW Hoody as having next-to-skin fabric performance due to its Polartec Power Wool’s unique construction, which combines both natural and synthetic fibers.

Berghaus MTN Guide MW Hoody

Judges’ verdict: “Berghaus was thoughtful in its use of multiple Polartec fabrics, both in terms of genre and weight.”

Key Specs

  • Price: £130 ($160)
  • Size: XS-XL
  • Weight: 320 g

2. Element x Millet MXE – P EDGE Fleece LTD Po and MXE – P Fleece LTD Pant

Element x Millet designed a fleece combo that utilized deadstock Polartec 200 Series Recycled Fleece, which makes them sustainable by giving new life to old fabrics. The fleece pullover and pants claim to be lightweight, warm, fast drying, and designed with vintage Millet styling.

MXE – P EDGE Fleece LTD Po and MXE – P Fleece LTD Pant
(Photo/Millet x Element)

Judges’ verdict: “We loved the sustainability story through Element and Millet’s use of discarded fabrics.”

Key Specs

  • Price: €250,00 ($263)
  • Sizes: S-XL
  • Weight: Unavailable

3. Haglöfs L.I.M Z|T Sync 1 Mid Hood & L.I.M Z|T Sync 2 Mid Jacket

Haglöfs’ Sync 1 mid-hood and Sync 2 mid-jacket are designed to be worn separately or layered, but are said to work better as a system. Utilizing a combination of Polartec, Alpha, Power Air, and Power Dry technologies, the brand states, “This versatile new approach to layering elevates the ‘less is more’ wisdom.” Haglöf also states this layering system produces 30% less humidity compared to conventional systems out there.

Haglöfs Sync 1 Hood & 2 Jacket

Judges’ verdict: “Haglöfs delivered an innovative concept made possible through the multiple uses of Polartec fabrics.”

Key Specs

  • Price: £150 ($184)
  • Sizes: S-XXL
  • Colors: True black/Zenith red
  • Weight: 428 g

4. Houdini Pace Flow Houdi

The Pace Flow Houdi is made of Polartec PowerDry Mesh and claims to be lightweight while providing a powerful warming system without producing excessive heat or vapor.

Houdini Pace Flow Houdi

Judges’ verdict: “Houdini is known for its strong sustainability credentials and has delivered outstanding results with this new, recycled Polartec technology.”

Key Specs

  • Price: $190
  • 100% recycled materials
  • Available Spring/Summer 2023

5. Indyeva Toga

The Indyeva Toga fleece tunic features Polartec and Thermal Pro, which claim core body warmth, durability, resistance to pilling, breathability, and thermoregulation, all while offering a soft texture. This tunic is designed to be worn as an outer layer or paired underneath an additional layering system.

Indyeva Toga fleece tunic

Judges’ verdict: “Indyeva’s unique application of Polartec fabric also features attention to detail and undeniable style.”

Key Specs

  • Price: $135
  • Sizes: XS-XL
  • Colors: Black, Grey H, Lili
  • Weight: 319 g/m²

6. KUIIU Wind Pro Fleece Full Zip

This is a “first-of-its-kind printed Polartec Wind Pro fleece hunting jacket,” according to KUIU. The brand also claims this jacket has a low sheen, is completely quiet, light and comfortable, and is highly wind resistant — “four-time greater wind resistance than regular synthetic fleece.”

Kuiu Wind Pro Fleece Full Zip

Judges’ verdict: “Kuiu presented us with a challenge that led to innovative results for both brands.”

Key Specs

  • Price: $169
  • Sizes: S-3XL
  • Six colors: Valo, Verde, Vias, Ash, Gunmetal, and Olive
  • Weight: 520 g

7. Moncler Grenoble Peyrus Hooded Jacket & Shorts

The Peyrus Hooded Jacket and Shorts are designed for an active lifestyle with their ripstop material, which features a windproof lining and hydrophobic Polartec Alpha. The retro-inspired mountaineering silhouette duo claims to regulate warmth, have exceptional breathability, resist moisture, dry quickly, and be highly compressible.

Moncler Grenoble Peyrus Hooded Jacket & Shorts

Judges’ verdict: “Moncler Grenoble’s Peyrus Hooded Jacket and Shorts offer technical excellence for outdoor adventures with their exceptional breathability.”

Key Specs

  • Price: €1,150 ($1,210)
  • Sizes: 0-7
  • Weight: Unavailable

8. Nonnative Dweller Cardigan Poly Fleece

The Dweller Cardigan Poly Fleece is from the Japanese brand Nonnative. Nonnative claims it’s a high-performing technical cardigan that is made to vent excess body heat for all-day comfort.

Nonnative Dweller Cardigan Poly Fleece

Judges’ verdict: “Nonnative’s cardigan is on-trend and features high-performance fabric — the perfect combination.”

Key Specs

  • Price: $365
  • Sizes: S-2XL
  • Colors: Off-white, brown, black
  • Weight: Unavailable

9. Pearl Izumi Pro Alpha Layer

Pearl Izumi developed the Pro Alpha Layer specifically for cyclists. This midlayer features Polartec Alpha Direct material that claims to keep cyclists dry, transfer moisture, be lightweight and packable, have breathability, have insulative properties, and have thermoregulating properties for continual comfort.

Pearl Izumi Pro Alpha Layer
(Photo/Pearl Izumi)

Judges’ verdict: “We were impressed by Pearl Izumi’s focus on versatility through clever use of fabric for year-round appeal.”

Key Specs

  • Price: $160
  • Sizes: S-XXL
  • Weight: Unavailable

10. Santini Alpha Pack Vest

Santini designed an Alpha Pack Vest with Polartec Alpha and wool. This vest claims superior moisture management and natural thermoregulating ability. At the same time, Santini offers breathability, and it’s fast drying, lightweight, and highly packable.


Judges’ verdict: “Santini has successfully adopted this new Polartec technology to create an on-trend garment for gravel cyclists around the world.”

Key Specs

  • Price: €160 ($169)
  • Sizes: XS-4XL
  • Colors: Black, green
  • Fit: Classic, slim, sleek
  • Weight: Unavailable

11. Scarpa Ribelle Run Kalibra G

Scarpa claims to have applied Polartec Windbloc for the first time in a trail running shoe. This new concept promises to offer breathability, comfort, and water resistance. The Ribelle Run Kalibra G is designed for various conditions and terrain with a built-in gaiter for added warmth.

Screenshot 2022-12-01 095044

Judges’ verdict: “Scarpa’s developed an impressive trail running shoe. A world-first and genius pairing of Polartec technology for high performance.”

Key Specs

  • Price: €249 ($262)
  • Sizes: 39-46 ½ sizes + 36-38/47-48 no ½ sizes
  • Stacks: Drop 4 (Heel 24.5mm – Toe 20.5mm)
  • Weight: 370 g (size 42)

12. ThruDark Centurion Alpine Jacket

The Centurion Alpine Jacket by ThruDark is a softshell midlayer technical jacket that combines Polartec and Hardface technology. This combination, according to ThruDark, increases abrasion resistance, water repellency, and body heat retention without sacrificing breathability or range of movement.

Thrudark Centurion Alpine Jacket

Judges’ verdict: “ThruDark’s tried and tested Centurion Alpine Jacket uses multiple, sustainable Polartec fabrics to create a jacket that will withstand extreme use.”

Key Specs

  • Price: £250 ($307)
  • Sizes: XS-3XL
  • Temperature rating: 14 F
  • Weight: Unavailable

Prizes & People’s Choice Award

According to Polartec, each winner will receive a coveted “Malden Wizard trophy” in celebration of their winning designs.

The Apex Awards also feature a “People’s Choice” contender voted on by the public online. If you want to cast a vote, head over to Polartec’s website. The time frame to vote is Dec. 3-12. The winner will be announced on Dec. 15.

Curious as to what Polartec gear was innovative in years past? You can also view the 2021 past winners online.

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