On the left, close-up photo of a skier’s hand rolling up the sleeve of an Omni-Heat™ Infinity midayer. On the right, a woman zips up a blue Omni-Heat™ Infinity jacket with a beautiful mountain in the background.
GEAR

Get Ready for Warmer Midlayers
With This New Fabric Technology

Columbia Sportswear’s new Omni-Heat™ Helix technology models closed-cell foam to keep you warm in the coldest climates
BY RACHEL CAVANAUGH
It didn’t seem possible that outdoor gear could get any warmer after Popular Science included Columbia Sportswear’s Omni-Heat™ Black Dot technology in 2020’s “100 Greatest Innovations.”

But then came Omni-Heat™ Infinity —the gold space suit material that improved the company’s reflective heat technology, adding even more warmth to jackets.

Now, fleeces and knits are getting the royal treatment with a new technology called Omni-Heat™ Helix. Based on the construction industry’s closed-cell foam insulation, this latest apparel breakthrough uses tiny performance heat cells to bring extra warmth to your midlayers.

“These little cells hold your body heat,” explained Dr. Haskell Beckham, Columbia’s senior director of innovation. “Once that heat warms up those pods, the air inside the cells can’t simply rise and escape as hot air wants to do.”

“It’s the same principle behind closed-cell foam insulation,” he continued. “That’s why it has a higher R value, or insulation value, than open-cell foams.”

The fabrics with foam pods take on a three-dimensional texture, which also increases insulation values.
The best part about the soft, hexagonal dots is that they’re applied to the fabric in a cellular pattern that’s surrounded by small air gaps, which allows the material to be breathable. That means you won’t be peeling off your midlayers as often when you start to sweat, or soaking your baselayers with perspiration.

The high-efficiency insulation cells work with the air gaps around them to manage heat and airflow, resulting in that “just right” Goldilocks feeling—not too hot, not too cold.

“What’s more, all that extra warmth comes without much extra weight,” Beckham added.

The new technology is already available in many of Columbia’s fleece jackets, knit pullovers, vests, and pants. You can also check out Columbia Sportswear's guide to 9 Exceptionally Warm Winter Midlayers With Omni-Heat™ Helix.

Look for Helix this fall in select hats and gloves such as Maxtrail Helix Gloves and the Titan Pass Helix Beanie.
Ready to warm up with Helix? Check out the full collection.