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Sportswear Fabric: Redefined Sweat Management for Apparel

May 28, 2024
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Only a few fabrics are technical materials made that help to ensure comfort—the comfort of the wearer during sports or athletic purposes. Sportswear fabric does so. It would not be possible for a fabric to ensure comfort if there are no special features. For instance, properties, functions, and features. All these maintain a proper quality to produce sportswear garments.

What is Sportswear Fabric?

Sportswear, sports tech, or sports textiles are all direct to a single garment. It refers to the fabric that is special for sports purposes. Also, these fabrics are clothing that is worn for sports and exercise purposes. 

Sportswear fabric is a combined materials made textile. There is the use of cotton, polyester, nylon, lycra, and other materials. These fabrics tend to be lightweight, and breathable. They do not restrict movement during physical activities because of the use of these fibers.

What is Sportswear Fabric Made of?

Sportswear fabrics can be knitted, woven, and non-woven. Polyester is one of the raw materials used for Sportswear. Some other raw materials or fibers are:

  • Natural Fiber: Cotton, Wool, and Silk
  • Synthetic Fiber: Polyester, Nylon, and Spandex
  • Other Synthetic Fiber: Lycra, Dacron, Microfiber

Several types of sportswear fabric are available in the given construction:

  • Cotton and Polyester Blends at the ratio of 50:50
  • 100% Polyester and Cotton (individually)
  • Nylon (Nylon is great for bike shorts and costumes for swimming)
  • Lycra and Spandex Blends (Stretchy fabrics to provide support for outdoor sports like, running, and cycling)

Available Fabrics for Sportswear 

So many fibers and fabrics are out there that contribute to sportswear fabric making. For instance:

  • Tricot: This fabric is produced with an excellent wrinkle resistance ability. A flatbed knitting machine is the instrument where this fabric is manufactured. The fabric has good drape ability. It has a weave of unique zigzag patterns. Both sides of the fabric are not identical. One side is textured, and another side is smooth. The fabric is both soft and sturdy. 
  • Cotton: Cotton absorbs sweat. It is not for active wear-purpose fabric. Rather, cotton sportswear experiences a revival. It has odor management, properties for breathability, and by-products. 
  • Polyester: Polyester is the fiber widely used for textile making. It is an ethylene glycol-made synthetic polymer. The fiber is durable, wrinkle-resistant, and shape-retentionable. The fiber can be blended with other fibers in terms of enhancing its properties. 
  • Calico: It is a cotton sub-material or an unprocessed version. The fabric is highly absorbent. It is a good choice for sportswear. It holds color into the material. Calico is cheap in product cost.
  • Spandex: Sportswear is unthinkable except for Spandex. It has high stretchability. The fabric is 100 times stretchable compared to its original size. It is a favorite material. The fabric absorbs sweat and dries quickly. 
  • Bamboo Fiber: Bamboo fiber is super soft. It is a moisture-wicking activewear. It yields a natural fiber. It has an anti-static nature. It benefits in production and manufacturing process. The fabric is breathable and stretchier. 
  • Mesh: Mesh provides good comfort and stretch. It allows air to circulate. It is soft to the skin and ideal for ventilation.
  • Fleece: Fleece fabric is for tracksuits, hoodies, and zip tops. The fabric hardly frays. It is easy to sew. Besides, there is the grain line that runs in a parallel direction to the selvage. 
  • Nylon: Nylon is a synthetic fiber. It helps to make women’s stockings. Besides, it has a wide manufacturing performance in making tracksuits, and gymwear. The benefits of nylon are stretchability, quick-drying mechanism, and anti-mildew resistance. The fabric is incredibly breathable. It allows cool air to reach the skin. Besides, it is moisture-wicking. Also, it evaporates safely. 
  • Micro Fiber: Micro fibers are polyester-made. They are small, man-made fibers. These fabrics make useful, luxurious, and sports fabric. The fabric is lightweight, has a luxurious drape, and good drape ability. 

Structure of Sportswear Fabric

Sportswear fabric has a definite structure. The structure consists of three layers. They are the inner, mid, and outer layers. Here is the explanation of each layer:

  • Layer 1: Inner: The inner layer is close and flat to the body. This layer is easy to convict the body temperature. Moisture absorption happens accurately.
  • Layer 2: Mid: In this layer, water does not pass away. But Moisture can pass. There is the use of Gore-tex and Cool Max technologies. In this layer, there is the moisture-repellent material. Gore-tex is one of those specialized breathable membranes. This mid-layer is breathable. It allows moisture to escape. Also, the layer ensures there is the prevention of overheating during exercise.
  • Layer 3: Outer layer: This layer has a low capillary. It easily transports moisture. Also, the fabric makes sportsmen cool. This layer has a protective barrier against the external elements. 

Properties of Sportswear Fabric

Fabric Also Known AsSporttech or Sports Textile
Fabric CompositionNatural and Synthetic Fibers
Fabric ResilienceWithstands wear and tear even after prolonged use.
Fabric moisture-wicking abilityHigh
Fabric DurabilityPolyester Sportswear Fabrics only
Fabric Weight100-250 GSM
Fabric Washing Temperature30 degrees Celsius
Prone to PillingModerate
Fabric StrengthOnly Nylon-made fabrics are
Fabric BreathabilityHigh; Polyester sportswear fabric
Used forSports Apparel 

Characteristics of Sportswear Fabric

Fabrics designed for sportswear have a certain range of functions. For example, comfort, fabric weight, thermal properties, water-resistant quality, moisture-wicking quality, and many more. These features are what we get in sportswear:

  • Anti-Static Feature: Synthetic fibers made in Sportswear fabric tend to generate static electricity. This feature is present because of the friction with other fabrics. That is why, Sportswear fabrics tend to have this anti-static feature that involves chemicals to enhance the conductivity of the fabric. It means fabrics can allow static charges to dissipate easily.
  • Heat Retention Ability: The heat retention ability of sportswear fabric depends on insulating properties, fabric construction, moisture management, and breathability. These features retain body heat during outdoor activities.
  • Ultraviolet Issue:  UV or ultraviolet protection factor is important here. Tightly woven fabrics offer better UV protection. Cotton is a loosely woven fabric. Also, it depends on manufacturers whether to use UV-blocking additives during production or not. 
  • Moisture-Wicking Ability: Sportswear fabrics tend to be moisture-wicking as well as fast-drying. This feature is valid because sometimes sportswear fabric involves stretchy woven fibers. Sportswear fabric is insulating in features. The fabric also regulates temperature. Moisture passes through fibers and yarns. This passing depends on the construction of fabric and the involvement of fiber type. 
  • Breathability: Polyester, nylon, synthetic fibers, and blended fibers are breathable. These fabrics have moisture-wicking properties. Also, fabrics for sportswear increase airflow and have moisture transfer. Breathability enhances all these treatments because of the construction. Fabric construction involves weaves, knits, and all these things. 
  • Quick-Drying Ability: Synthetic fiber-made sportswear fabric tends to dry quickly. These fibers have been the most commonly used in sportswear fabric now. 
  • Wearability: Cotton fabrics for sportswear become easy to deform after wearing for years. The surface of the fabric produces depreciation. The polyester-made fabric has great fiber strength. It is not easily deformed. Also, polyester fiber-made products can perform better.
  • Insulation Properties: Insulation features work in two ways. One is that it is the fabric is well-designed for sweat management. It allows breathability. Another way in which the insulation properties work well is that it provides an insulation feature to keep the wearer warm in extreme cold conditions. This particular feature depends on the chosen fibers. 
  • Lightweight and Durable: Both weight and durability serve as the critical factor for sportswear fabric. This fabric contributes to the athlete’s peak performance. Both of these features play pivotal roles in sustaining workouts. Workouts that require intense activities. Besides, these features provide optimal results if they match with the wearer’s intentions.

Sport-Specific Sportwear Fabrics

Not all fabrics come into use for all types of sports. There are differences. In this segment, this common difference would be explained below:

  • Racing Wear: Since this sport needs the movement of your body, the sport requires some sort of protective mechanism. In racing, there is the use of helmets. Helmets cannot but they have to be soft padded to save the head. Sportswear fabric has to involve any fiber that avoids sweat. 
  • Running and Walking: Specific fibers are there that keep the wearer comfortable for these movement activities. For example: Nylon, Polyester, Spandex, and Cotton.
  • Skiing: For skiing, it is better to avoid cotton fiber-made fabrics. Rather, the best fibers for sportswear fabric in skiing are wool and polyester blends. They are wicking-friendly and insulation based. However, these synthetic fibers do not add insulation in base layers. 

Sportswear Fabric Applications

Fabric for Sportswear has diverse applications and ranges. Some of them are: 

  • Racquet Frames
  • Finishing Rods
  • Golf Clubs
  • Cycle frames
  • Health-related activities
  • Garments for skiing, golf, and sailing. 

Here are some other areas where sportswear fabric comes into use. They are:

  • Apparel: Leggings, Swimsuits, Cycle Shorts, Vests, Tops, and bottoms.
  • Loungewear: Tracksuits, T-shirts, Hoodies.
  • Sportswear: Yoga pants, sports jersey, dance wear, and wet suit. 
  • Sportgear: Helmets, Armor, Gloves.

Sportswear Fabric Care

Fabrics for sportswear has to be taken care of too! Some specific suggestions go around taking care of this particular fabric. Here are some:

  • Washing sports clothes after using them each time. It helps to get rid of stubborn sweat stains.
  • Avoid mixing clothes made of sportswear fabric with the rest of your clothes.
  • Wash the fabric-made clothes at 30 degrees Celsius to avoid the damaging. Always turn the clothes inside out before washing them. 
  • Detergent works well to clean the fabric. 


What does it need to look for in Sportswear Fabric?

Sportswear fabric has a couple of criteria and factors. These factors help to design the sportswear fabric-made products. For instance: Comfort, Safety, Costing, Availability of raw materials, Medical hygiene, Fashion Ability, etc. Fibers used for making sportswear fabric have to check all these factors to be suitable for fabric for specific sportswear.

What are the requirements to sew Sportswear Fabric?

Sportswear fabric requires a microtex sewing needle in the size Nm 60 to 90. Nylon is the preferred sewing thread. But polyester is the best one.

 Which brands have introduced Sportswear Fabrics?

There are now a lot of brands that have introduced sportswear fabrics. Some of these brands are-

  1. Joel & Son Fabrics
  2. FittDesign
  3. Positex. in
  4. Eysan Fabrics
  5. Such Textiles
  6. Blue Associates Sportswear

What is the knitting type of Sportswear Fabric?

Sportswear fabric has a weft knitting type. In this weft knitting process, the yarn goes through horizontally across the fabric. Then, yarns form rows of loops that interlock. Besides, the yarn runs in the direction of crosswise.

Is Cotton used for Sportswear?

Sportswear fabric has to manage sweat well. The cotton-made fabric absorbs moisture well. But it dries out slowly. Also, the fabric loses its shape. Cotton-made sportswear would be fine if it is for only a less sweat-managing task. 

What to consider while choosing Sportswear Fabrics?

There are a few things to consider while choosing these fabrics. For example: Think of activities that you plan to do while wearing the activewear, look at the materials that support moisture absorbance, and then look at the stretchiness of the fabric and the preferred movement involved in your sport. 

What is Gore-Tex Material?

Gore-Tex material is the synthetic membrane. It coats ordinary fabrics and makes it waterproof. Gore-Tex also serves as the mixed material. The objective of this membrane is to create a fabric suitable for any kind of sport. 

Is there any difference between Sportswear and Activewear Fabrics?

Activewear clothes are more flexible compared to sportswear ones. Also, there is a partial difference in the functionality and comfort areas. But one thing is, sportswear fabrics mostly focus on sweat management and thermal functions.


Both natural and synthetic fibers are there to manufacture sportswear fabrics. Whether a fiber is suitable for sportswear depends on the need-based analysis. Different sports require different clothing types. Polyester and Spandex make the fabric durable and stretchable mostly. The needs of consumers, for instance, athletes, are different as well. But one of the greatest benefits of sportswear fabric is its swear management. 

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