What fabric properties should sportswear have?
Sports fabric is a technical apparel material designed to keep the wearer comfortable and cool during workouts. Lightweight, breathable clothing materials often work best so you can focus on your daily activities, not the discomfort of exercising.
However, the type of fabric you need also depends on the intensity of the exercise or specific physical activity. For example, sportswear for outdoor winter sports should be breathable sportswear with excellent insulating properties.
Moisture-wicking sportswear is suitable for all indoor sports, especially for those who sweat a lot. However, for certain sports such as yoga or Pilates, the main outstanding properties of activewear fabrics are good for stretch and durability.
Synthetic fabrics have taken the lead in sportswear in recent years because they keep you dry and comfortable no matter the weather, but there are some natural alternatives.
When to wear it: Perfect for almost any type of workout and any type of weather.
Polyester is the workhorse of fitness fabrics. You can find it in almost everything you buy in a sportswear store, and it's logical. Polyester is very durable, wrinkle-resistant and moisture-wicking. It's also breathable and lightweight, so your sweat will evaporate through the fabric and you'll stay relatively dry.
One big downside to polyester: Synthetic fabrics like polyester can grow bacteria and fungus, and they can smell bad.
Product: 63%Polyester,30% Nylon,7% Spandex
When to wear: When exercising outdoors in sleet, rain, snow, or high humidity.
Polypropylene is a plastic and polypropylene fabric is basically a thin and flexible form of this plastic. It's almost completely waterproof, so it makes a great base or outer layer. It is used in raincoats, sports bras, tight base layers and socks.
Like polyester, polypropylene is very durable and wrinkle-resistant. It will keep you dry when exercising in wet, foggy conditions, and it will help keep you warm when exercising outdoors in the cold.
When to wear: Usually all workouts and weather conditions.
Another very common fabric is soft, mildew-resistant, mildew-resistant and stretchy. It flexes as you move and has great recovery, which means it returns to the shape and size it was before stretching.
Nylon also has a wonderful tendency to draw sweat away from the skin and through the fabric to the outer layer, where it can evaporate. You'll find nylon in just about everything, including sports bras, performance underwear, tank tops, t-shirts, shorts, leggings, and cold-weather activewear.
When to wear it: During workouts that involve a wide range of motion, such as yoga, Pilates, fitness, and weightlifting.
Spandex is very flexible and stretchy, making it ideal for those who perform workouts that require a wide range of motion. This synthetic fiber is mainly used in tight clothing such as sports shorts, leggings and sports bras. You can also find small amounts of spandex in socks, boxers, and loose-fitting clothing.
Spandex isn't the best at wicking moisture, nor is it the most breathable (though both are good), but that's not the fabric's main benefit: Spandex stretches eight times the usual size, making it ideal for use in all sports Mode provides unrestricted, comfortable movement. Note that spandex may lose its elasticity if you throw it in the dryer or iron it frequently, so it should be washed in cold water and air-dried to prolong the life of spandex garments.
Products: Nylon, Spandex
When to wear it: Sports that don't sweat profusely.
Cotton is warm-weather everyday wear because it's light and breathable. Stay away from cotton when you're going to sweat. Cotton is extremely absorbent, so once you start sweating, your clothes will start to feel heavy and damp. It's not the best fabric for running. Not only does it absorb moisture, it traps it on your skin, making you feel wet and hot when you sweat. If you don't normally sweat or don't plan on doing strenuous exercise, cotton may be right for you. And it does have some redeeming qualities: cotton washes well and doesn't retain odor like some other fabrics.
When to wear: In warm weather and when extra ventilation is required.
You may not find clothing made entirely of mesh, but it adds great breathability and coolness to summer clothing. In sportswear, the mesh is usually made of polyester or nylon. If you live in a particularly warm, humid environment or sweat a lot, choosing sportswear with mesh cutouts can help your skin evaporate more moisture.
Now that you know how to choose the right fabric for a better workout, learn how to create the perfect workout playlist to match your perfect workout gear.
When to wear: When exercising outdoors in cool weather
It may seem odd to include wool fabrics on a gym clothing list, but merino wool is a bit thinner than standard thermal wool clothing. The finer fibers also make merino wool ideal for comfortable, sweat-wicking sportswear, or as a base layer if you're involved in sports such as skiing or jogging in the winter.
All of these materials (synthetic and non-synthetic) can be found in most clothing stores in styles or colors to suit your fashion tastes. From shorts to leggings to sweatshirts, you're sure to find the perfect piece for your fitness needs.
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