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What Types of Fabric Are Best for Workout Clothes?

by Sep 6, 2020Uncategorized0 comments

Your activewear can have a huge impact on how your workout turns out. Your plan for a good and satisfying workout may not be realized if you end up picking soaked clothes off of your skin, constantly wobbling in leggings that have lost their stretch, or trying to hide the cumulative smell of past workouts.

Because the truth is, choosing activewear requires more than looking good when you’re in the dressing room. While that T-shirt might feel nice right now, you may be cursing cotton fields in faraway countries when you’re halfway through your HIIT workout.

In choosing the right apparel for your workout needs, it would help to know a bit about the common fabrics found in activewear.

What Kind of Clothes Are Best for Working Out?

When choosing fabric for workout clothes, keep in mind these two main factors: Moisture management and breathability. While feel and fit are also important, knowing how sweat and hot air affect the clothes should also be a significant consideration.

Moisture management refers to how the fabric reacts when it becomes damp or wet. If it resists absorption, it’s considered moisture-wicking, which is what you want. If it becomes heavy and wet, it’s absorptive and will likely stick to your body.

Breathability refers to how the air moves through the fabric. Breathable fabrics allow hot air to escape, so it’s ideal for warm weather. On the other hand, tighter-knit fabrics keep warm air close to your body, which will work best for cooler temperatures.

Below is a list of the most common fabrics used for workout clothes, what they’re best for, and when to wear them.


Polyester is the most commonly used fabric for activewear. It’s used in almost everything you see at an athletic wear store, and it’s not hard to see why. The fabric is amazingly durable, wrinkle-resistant, moisture-wicking, breathable, and lightweight. It allows your sweat to evaporate, so you’ll stay relatively dry.

Despite being lightweight, polyester is an excellent insulator, meaning it can keep your body warm, which is why its also used for cold-weather workout clothes besides tanks, tee, and shorts.

The only drawback for polyester is that it can foster bacteria and fungi growth and accumulate odor, so make sure to wash polyester workout clothes immediately after breaking a sweat in them.

What Kind of Clothes Are Best for Working Out?


Polypropylene fabric is a thin, flexible form of Polypropylene plastic. The fabric is almost entirely waterproof, making it a great base or outer layer. It’s commonly used in rain jackets, sports undergarments, skin-tight base layers, and socks.

Polypropylene is also very durable and wrinkle-resistant like polyester, so it can keep you dry when exercising in high humidity. It’s also an excellent insulator, so it’ll help keep you warm when you’re exercising out in the cold.


Nylon is a fabric commonly used for workout clothes because of its softness, stretchability, and ability to resist mold and mildew. It returns to pre-stretched shape and size with each flex. It can also wick sweat quickly from your skin to the fabric’s outer layer where it can evaporate. Sports bras, performance underwear, tank tops, T-shirts, shorts, leggings, and cold-weather sportswear are typically made from nylon fabric.


This synthetic fabric is extremely flexible and stretchy, making it ideal for people who do yoga, weightlifting, or other workouts that require a high range of motion. Spandex fabric is often used in skin-tight clothing like track shorts, leggings, sports bras, socks, boxer briefs, and small amounts in looser garments.

Spandex doesn’t have the best moisture-wicking property, and neither is it the most breathable. Its most significant advantage is its ability to stretch up to eight times its usual size, which offers unrestricted and comfortable motion. Be careful not to toss it in the dryer or iron it too often, so it doesn’t lose its stretchability.

Merino wool

Most people think of wool as a fabric that keeps you warm during cold weather. While this is true, wool is also surprisingly great for warm-weather. In particular, Merino wool, which is thinner and softer than regular wool, is an excellent sweat-wicker. When it’s cold out, the fiber in wool traps the warm air from your body, while wicking sweat away from your body and to the fabric’s outer layer when it’s hot.

When used in activewear brands, merino wool is blended with polyester and other fabrics for softness, breathability, and affordability.


Bamboo is fast becoming a luxurious but eco-friendly alternative to polyester or nylon. Bamboo fabric is lightweight, moisture-wicking, odor-resistant, temperature-regulating, and incredibly soft. Because of its hefty price, it’s usually blended with several other fabrics like Merino wool.


While cotton is excellent daily wear for summer because it’s light and breathable, it would be best to stay away from cotton when planning to get a good workout. Cotton is highly absorbent, which can result in your clothes being heavy and damp once you break out in a sweat. The only thing that makes cotton suitable for activewear is that it doesn’t hold onto odor, so if you’re not very sweaty and are not planning on doing an intense workout, cotton may work fine for you.

Cotton fabric


Gore-Tex is a unique material primarily used in cold-weather outerwear, shoes, and accessories like gloves and hats. Gore-Tex is a waterproof, windproof, and breathable fabric membrane. This textile has exceptionally high standards and is often used by brands like The North Face, Merrell, Adidas, Under Armour, Brooks, and Timberland, for their active wear lines.


Mesh is often blended with other fabrics to make summerwear more breathable. It is usually made from polyester or nylon. Mesh cutouts in activewear help the garment wick moisture better.

If you’re looking to buy fabric for your activewear line, visit Spandex Warehouse’s website today! We offer a range of activewear fabrics in wholesale. For your inquiries, call or text us at 213.629.7416, or send us an email at [email protected] or spandexwarehouse.com. We are located at 776 Gladys AVE., Los Angeles, CA 90021, but you can order through our website and have it shipped through Federal Express or the United Parcel Service.