Choosing Activewear with The Right Fabric for Your Workout

Choosing Activewear with The Right Fabric for Your Workout

When it comes to activewear, it may be tempting to don a set of clothing randomly picked from your wardrobe and going to the gym, but it’s actually anything but. Choosing the right fabric in your activewear is important for a reason, and most of it has to do with keeping you cool and comfortable when you break a sweat.



When to wear it: Any type of workout regardless of weather


Polyester can be found in almost anything you pick up at athletic clothing stores, and for a good reason. It is moisture-wicking, durable, and is resistant to wrinkling. It is also lightweight and breathable, which makes it easier for your sweat to evaporate through the fabric, keeping you dry as you sweat. However, they can foster bacteria and fungi growth, so wash your polyester workout clothes immediately to prevent unpleasant odours.



When to wear it: Any type of workout regardless of weather


Nylon is also a very common fabric that is easily found at athletic clothing stores. It is mildew-resistant, soft, and stretches easily. It flexes with you as you move and easily returns to its original shape and size afterward. Much like polyester, it is moisture-wicking, making you feel comfortable as you break a sweat. You can find nylon in most activewear, including tank tops, t-shirts, and sports bras.



When to wear it: Outside when it’s raining or in highly humid weather


Polypropylene is a type of fabric made from plastic which is thin and flexible. It is great for outdoor exercise as it is entirely waterproof. Similar to polyester, it is wrinkle-resistant and very durable. Polypropylene keeps you dry when exercising in humid weather, and keeps you warm when exercising outdoors in cold weather conditions.



When to wear it: Working out with a high range of motion (e.g.: yoga)


Spandex is recommended for workouts requiring a large range of motion, such as yoga because of its flexibility and stretchiness. It stretches up to eight times its normal size, enabling you to move comfortably without any restrictions. However, spandex does not wick moisture as effectively as nylon and polyester, and it is not as breathable. This fabric can be found in skin-tight clothing such as leggings, track shorts, and sports bras.


Merino Wool

When to wear it: Outdoor workouts


Merino wool is a type of fabric that is thinner and softer than regular wool. It sounds too good to be true, but it also wicks moisture away from the fabric’s surface regardless of the weather conditions. When it’s warm out, the fibres contained in merino wool wicks sweat away from your body and through the fabric whereas when it’s cold out, the warm air coming off of your body is trapped by the crimps in the fibres. Despite its advantages, activewear made purely of merino wool is hard to find, although there are activewear brands that blend merino wool with polyester and other types of fabrics for its breathability and softness.


Remember that despite the location and the type of workout session, you will likely work up a sweat. It is important to keep yourself comfortable and choose the right fabric that does not hinder you during your workouts.   

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