Having the right uniform for the job is sometimes crucial, and this often includes activewear. Some activities may benefit from you wearing the best kinds of clothes to get the job done well, and wearing the best kinds of clothes can often come down to the best materials. Activewear is specific in that it is designed to enhance your performance. Regardless of your chosen form of activity, you will want to be sure you are wearing something that will enhance your experience. Not all materials are created equal in the world of activewear, and some can even be a hindrance rather than helpful. We’ve compiled our list of the best materials for activewear to help you choose the best clothes for your sport or activity.
Moisture-Wicking and Breathability: When you’re active, you tend to sweat. And sometimes you might even sweat a lot. Therefore, it’s good to have the right clothing made from materials that are ideal for excessive sweating. Choosing a material that is breathable and moisture-wicking helps to ensure you remain as cool, dry, and comfortable as possible throughout your activity or workout session. Breathable material allows air to effortlessly flow in and out and helps dry out sweaty workout clothes. This is especially important for reducing the growth of bacteria on your activewear.
Durability: The right material ensures more durability and longer-lasting garments. Activewear made of the right high-quality materials is less likely to wear and tear faster than you’d like. The right combination of high-quality materials will help your activewear last regardless of the stretch and stress your activities put on your clothing.
Staying Comfortable: Comfort is important while you’re working out. It’s no fun feeling like your shorts are falling down in your cardio class or your high-waisted yoga pants are pinching your skin while you’re in your favorite yoga pose. A good pair of comfy cotton shorts or yoga pants will be made of the right materials to ensure you can stay comfortable throughout the duration of your workout session.
Protection: If you like to work out in the great outdoors, you’ll need activewear is going that protects you from the elements. For example, thermal shirts made of the right material could be the difference between catching a chill and staying warm and dry while skiing all day.
Mobility and Flexibility: Chances are you’re going to be moving around quite a bit. It’s important that your activewear allows you to move and stretch as you please without limiting your range of motion. Activewear made of high-quality, ideal materials will give you the freedom you need to be mobile and flexible. Similarly, good activewear should be stretchy enough that it doesn’t constrict or compress you in any way. For example, wearing an overly tight sports bra may interfere with healthy breathing while working out. A high-quality sports bra would offer good support while still being flexible enough for you to breathe and move freely.
Bamboo: A natural fiber often used in activewear. Lightweight, soft, sustainable, breathable, and moisture-wicking, this plant-based material is a favorite in the activewear world. Bamboo can even be UV protective, making it appropriate for outdoor activity enthusiasts. Many garments are made from bamboo fibers, including activewear. You’re likely to find bamboo in yoga clothes, women’s yoga pants, activewear tops, and sweatpants. It is especially popular with those who prefer to live a more eco-conscious lifestyle because bamboo is biodegradable and natural on the skin.
Nylon: A strong and durable synthetic material that is extremely popular in activewear. While it is not as moisture-wicking as polyester, nylon is super stretchy and still provides some moisture-wicking capabilities, making it the main ingredient in activewear. Nylon’s stretch recovery is part of what makes it so popular for activewear.
Spandex: Also known as Lycra® and elastane, Spandex is found in many skin-fitted clothes, including skinny jeans and leggings, because of its superelastic qualities. With its rubber-band ability and heat resistance, spandex is also found in many kinds of activewear because of its capacity to expand and recover back to its original shape. Plus, it wicks moisture away and remains relatively breathable providing the wearer with ease of movement and comfort. Spandex also dries quickly, making it a great choice for hot and sweaty workout sessions.
Cotton: A great material for activewear because it is breathable, light, and airy. This natural material is often blended with synthetic fibers in activewear but can be worn on its own. Clothing made from 100% cotton is great for outdoor activities where you could use some extra breathability. Women’s cotton shirts can also be worn during yoga classes or other activities where you don’t expect to sweat too much. Although cotton has its advantages, it holds moisture, making it less than ideal if you’re expecting to sweat a lot. On the other hand, cotton doesn’t hold sweat smells the way synthetic fibers do, so even if your soaked shirt takes a bit longer to dry, it won’t stink.
Wool: A common co-material in activewear that is designed to be worn outside. Expect to find wool in thermals, long underwear, or other base-layer outdoor activewear garments. Insulating, moisture-wicking, and breathable, wool is great for fall and winter sports.
Polyester: Durable, lightweight, and breathable, Polyester is a common material used in activewear. Many running jackets, sweatpants, and activewear shirts are made from polyester blends. Polyester tends to be fast-drying, making it an ideal material for high-intensity workouts.
All these materials, in different blends and ratios, are commonly found in activewear. Remember to consider what activity you are planning to engage in so you can decide on the type of activewear that best fits your needs.