Bamboo, Cotton, Gore-Tex, Nylon, Polyester, Lycra, Tencel, Wool, X-Static - what does it all mean?
Actviewear is one of the only types of clothing styles in which both fashion and function optimisation are essential. Being able to wear clothing that is able to perform as good as it looks can make all the difference in your confidence and can take your workouts to the next level.
Just because an activewear item looks and feels greats when you initially try it on, does not always mean that it will perform well when you are working up a sweat in the gym, has a full range of flexibility, is breathable and will hold up after multiple washes.
We will go through the top 10 fitness fabrics and break them down so you can make the right decision!
It may seem unimaginable that a bamboo pulp harvest can be processed into a viscose fiber that is light, breathable, absorbs moisture, is durable and anti-microbial, as well as protecting your skin from harsh UV rays - very impressive!
This class of fabric has increased in popularity over recent years as it is an eco-friendly alternative to synthetic fabrics. Bamboo is a sustainable fabric to produce as it uses one-third of the amount of water to grow than a fabric made from cotton. This viscose fiber be combined with other fabrics such as wool, nylon or spandex to create workout clothing.
Cotton is one of the most common fabrics that is used in apparel so unless it is blended with other specialised fabrics, weighted correctly, or knitted in a specific way - it does not work so well for activewear.
Cotton provides more odour resistance that other fabrics such as polyester as synthetic fabrics allow for bacteria to grow and develop, cotton is extremely hydrophilic. This means that cotton can absorb a great deal of moisture - up to 20 times its weight in water and can take a long time to dry!
Cotton activewear should be used mostly for weight training and inside the gym. In addition, purchasing from a reputable gym clothing company that have crafted their cotton weave and weight (known as GSM) is a smart choice - as you know that their clothing will be suited to workouts and high intensity training.
In this new age many are opting for performance polyester fabrics, but cotton just feels amazing on the skin and is super comfortable to wear!
Gore-Tex is a fabric that is designed by laminating a specialised membrane to high performance fibres. This activewear fabric provides protection from the elements and extreme weather conditions. It is ideal for outdoor activities such as hiking, biking or cross-country running.
The unique fibre technology is water and windproof whilst still being extremely breathable. The membrane pores of the fabric are specially designed so that water cannot pass through but your perspiration can get out.
Compared to that of other active wear fabrics such as polyester, Nylon is strong and is abrasion resistant. This fabric is synthetic making it extremely soft and silky, mould and mildew resistant, can dry quickly, is breathable and draws moisture and sweat away from the body!
This fabric is also powerfully stretchy meaning that it moves with your body and recovers quickly.
Polyester is most common fabric that is used for activewear. This synthetic fiber is made from combining chemical together, similar to that of plastic. This fabric is durable, lightweight, breathable, wrinkle resistant and does not absorb moisture. This incredible fabric also provides protection from UV rays and keeps you insulated in both warm and cold weather.
Polyester is an ideal fabric for activewear as it does not shrink and will hold its shape, even after multiple washes.
The main weakness of this textile however is that it can become a breeding ground for bacteria as it does not dry quickly. If you choose activewear that is made from polyester, it is recommended that you wash it regularly.
Lycra, which is also known as Spandex, is the most flexible and resilient fitness gear fabric. This synthetic material can expand up to 600 times that of its original size. It is ideal for active wear as it allows for a full range of motion that can easily transform back in place.
Spandex can also dry easily and quickly whilst remaining breathable and draws moisture and sweat away from the body, meaning less chafing!
This fabric however can lose elasticity if it is repeatedly dry cleaned or thrown into a drier.
Tencel is another organic material similar to that of bamboo, but is made from the pulp of wood. This fabric contains miniscule fibres that give the fabric a lavish and luxurious texture, similar to that of silk, whilst having moisture absorbing properties.
This material is ideal for activewear as it as soft as silk, however it remains cool making it ideal for high intensity workouts. Tencel is biodegradable, is drapable, is breathable and wrinkle resistant.
Wool is in ideal fabric for exercises in both warm and cool weather conditions as this natural fibre is warm, breathable, durable, antibacterial and manages moisture.
This type of fabric is ideal for those who venture into the great outdoors as it can regulate heat and keep your body warm.
This fabric also has the advantage of being odour resistant and can be combined with other materials such as spandex to maintain its shape and allows for a quick recovery.
X-Static is a revolutionary fabric that is woven with silver to create a textile that is odour resistant and eliminates the growth of bacteria and fungi. Even though it contains a heavy metal, it remains flexible, soft and flexible.