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There could be a scientific reason behind roadmen wearing hoodies in a heatwave

There could be a scientific reason behind roadmen wearing hoodies in a heatwave

Marshall Shepherd, a leading international expert in weather and climate, has suggested science could hold the reason

While many people can't cope in anything other than a t-shirt, shorts and flip-flops as soon as summer rolls around, some prefer to pop on their favourite hoodie... claiming ‘man’s not hot’. 

As outlined by Urban Dictionary, the phrase is one commonly used by London Roadmen to insist that they’re not too warm during sweltering outdoor temperatures, even though they are wearing large jackets or hoodies. 

It originally came from a song by Big Shaq, aka Michael Dapaah, whose lyrics included: “I tell her man's not hot / I tell her man's not hot / The girl told me, ‘Take off your jacket’ / I said, ‘Babes, man's not hot’ (Never hot).” 

But it turns out such heavy duty outerwear may not just be a fashion statement, as there could be a number of more scientific factors at play. 

Marshall Shepherd, a leading international expert in weather and climate, has discussed the topic in a new Forbes article, noting how the warming climate and increasingly hotter summers are unlikely to ‘stop the hoodies‘. 

The music video for 'Man's Not Hot'.
YouTube/Island Records

Being a scientist, Shepherd’s first step was to ‘explore what is out there’ already, saying his first port of call was an essay by Ian Lecklitner in Mel Magazine titled, ‘Stop Bagging on People Who Wear Hoodies During Summer.’ 

In Lecklitner’s article, he listed several reasons that could be behind the choice to wear hoodies during summer heat, including protection from cancer-causing UV radiation, armour against mosquitos, more pockets and body image concerns. 

Shepherd said all these suggestions ‘made sense’ to him, but that another of Lecklitner’s ideas were consistent with ‘many of the tweet explanations’ he’d seen online, having hypothesised that hoodies serve a similar function as weighted blankets.

“Hoodies provide more than just physical comfort; they administer emotional comfort, too, similar to that of a weighted blanket,” Lecklitner wrote. 

Taking the idea further, Shepherd entered the term 'weighted blanket' into Google Scholar, and found that 'surprisingly [...] there are robust and longstanding studies on the use of weighted blankets to support people on the autism spectrum, suffering from insomnia, or dealing with anxiety or hyperactivity'.

Why do some people love wearing hoodies in the summer?
Tetra Images, LLC/Alamy Stock Photo

Shepherd added: "I know this has been around for years, but I personally noticed it more after the Covid-19 pandemic. While speculative, the pandemic certainly was an emotionally-jarring stimulus for this generation."

He also found that weighted hoodies exist, as do hoodies designed with lighter and breathable fabrics - which, according to Mike Benge of Trailrunner magazine, have become increasingly popular in 'suns-out, guns-out' weather as trail runners realise the 'benefits of superlight, longsleeve hoodies for their sun protection, versatility and even style that crosses over seamlessly to the pub [...] post run'.

A few years back, the matter was debated over on Reddit, where one user had asked: "People who wear jackets and hoodies in the heat of summer, what do you know that the rest of us don't? How do you do it?"

One person implied it was all down to the aesthetics, writing: "Sometimes, you have to suffer, to look good."

But, as Shepherd found, others suggested there may be more to it.

"It hides fat," someone commented, tying into Leckllitner's point on 'body image concerns', with another agreeing: "Hoodies are good at hiding my man boobs."

Someone else chipped in: "I detest being cold. I would rather risk being a little too warm than at all cold."

Another said: "My body temperature adjust with the weather to where I'm burning but when I wear a jacket I cool down a bit."

Concluding his Forbes essay, Shepherd said his own research had 'shifted' his perspective on the topic.

He added: "Hopefully, this 'hoodie' generation is also helping to erode societal biases or perceptions exhibited towards youth of colour wearing hoodies too."

Featured Image Credit: Alex Segre/Alamy YouTube/Island Records

Topics: Fashion