Performance Pro+ Hoodie from UniFirst: Combining Safety with Function and Comfort

What comes to mind when you think of a hoodie? If you’re thinking they’re all play and no work, you haven’t met the new Performance Pro+ Hoodie, a first-of-its-kind industrial work hoodie that really gets the job done.

As a leading service provider who understands on-the-job workwear needs and delivers the right solutions through customized uniform rental programs and services, UniFirst is proud to be the exclusive supplier of Red Kap’s innovative work hoodie as part of our core rental offerings. These front-zip hooded work sweatshirts provide all the comfort we’ve come to expect from a more traditional hoodie while offering advanced features that optimize the well-being and safety of wearers that are simply not found in more traditional hoodies.

Hoodies have become increasingly popular over the past decade, evolving from loungewear and at- leisure to hardworking on-the-job apparel, appealing to a variety of industries including automotive, manufacturing, food processing/service, warehousing, landscaping, and more. Although trends are clearly indicating that hoodies are quickly emerging as a preferred outerwear for workers in these industries, none were comparable to the safety and function features found on the Performance Pro+ Hoodie. UniFirst recognized this innovation as a solution to many of our customers’ growing safety needs and partnered with Red Kap to exclusively offer the Performance Pro+ Hoodie, the first-ever work hoodie available on the market that combines the comfort workers are seeking with the safety and functionality they require.

After conducting a study with over 600 workers across a variety of these industries, the product development team was surprised to learn that 78% of those workers wear a hoodie on the job. Even more surprising was that three-quarters of those surveyed were interested in finding a work hoodie designed specifically to meet their needs while working. Those interviewed provided a laundry list of on-the-job concerns with their current hoodie, with the majority citing unsafe or lost drawstrings as well as water repellency as the biggest challenges.

“Workers love wearing hoodies for work on the job even though few withstand harsh job site conditions, and even fewer can hold up to the industrial laundering required with managed uniform service programs,” says Red Kap’s Director of Merchandising Kristi Boggs. “We knew there was an opportunity in the uniform market for a comfortable, durable, and functional work hoodie, but we challenged ourselves to solve for the two biggest problem areas. The result is the first industrial-laundry (IL) friendly fleece hoodie with durable water repellency (DWR) and a patented drawstring solution for safety.”

The Performance Pro+ Hoodie safety features start with this unique SafeCinch™ drawstring. Instead of having drawstrings that dangerously dangle in front of the worker, patented drawstrings are hidden in the front pouch pocket, thus helping to minimize the risks of them getting caught in any machinery. Plus, this innovation offers a neater appearance and is easier to maintain as part of a uniform rental program that includes the weekly delivery of clean, fresh work garments. In fact, the Performance Pro+ Hoodie is the first such work hoodie that can be included as part of a managed uniform rental program that includes hygienic laundering.

A report from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) showed that machinery accidents cause over 150 fatalities and more than 6,800 injuries per year. And one of the most common machinery incidents is “caught in/between accidents,” which are often caused when a worker’s clothing or jewelry gets caught in a machine or equipment (often dragging the wearer in with them with potentially fatal results). One of the best ways to try and avoid these types of on-the-job accidents is by helping to assure employees are wearing workwear that’s suitable for these potentially hazardous environments.

The safety features go beyond SafeCinch. Red Kap’s ZeroSkratchTM zippers found on this safety hoodie are also especially valued by workers in the automotive industry, as they allow mechanics, auto technicians, and other autoworkers to get up close and personal with a car without fear of scratching the paint and/or damaging the car’s surface. However, the ZeroSkratch zippers are also a prominent safety feature. Since the zippers (and accompanying buttons) are also hidden, like the SafeCinch drawstrings, there’s reduced risk of them getting caught up in any heavy machinery. And, since they’re hidden, there’s also reduced chances for the zipper to fall off the hoodie and into machinery, which could lead to a potential failure.

In addition, the Performance Pro+ Hoodie is constructed with Durable Water Repellent (DWR) fabric to help wearers stay safe from the harsh outdoor elements and, in turn, should help decrease the chances of cold-related ailments and boost the wearers’ overall well-being. When it’s raining and wet outside, outdoor workers don’t have the luxury of just getting the day off. Standard hoodies tend to act like towels, soaking up all the water and not providing enough wearer protection. The Performance Pro+ Hoodie’s DWR finish means the water simply bounces off the fabric, keeping workers warm and dry all day. OSHA agrees that water-repellant outdoor workwear is especially important for these types of workers.

Besides preventing common illnesses that are often associated with working in wet, rainy conditions, water-repellent garments can also improve “Cold Stress.” According to OSHA, wetness and dampness are major risk factors in cold stress, which can then lead to frostbite, hypothermia, and trench foot. While these issues are exasperated in cold-weather conditions, cold stress can even occur in 50-degree weather.

While the safety features of the Performance Pro+ Hoodie are apparent, there’s still a wide variety of safety garments available on the market. How does the Performance Pro+ Hoodie separate itself from other hoodies and why should you choose it to add to your uniform rental program? Adding the Performance Pro+ Hoodie to your workwear rental program allows your employees to better focus on their work instead of their workwear… and do so more safely.

So, what comes to mind now when you think of a hoodie? After learning about Performance Pro+ Hoodie and how it can help protect your workers, safety should be at the top of your list. This is not your average hoodie; it’s a hoodie that seemingly does it all.

If the Performance Pro+ Hoodie sounds like a fit for your team, you should know that it’s only available from UniFirst as part of a uniform rental program. To learn how to make this hoodie part of your rental program, click below.

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