How to Choose the Best Fabrics for Ladies Sportswear

High waisted leggings - ladies sportswear start my own leggings brand

Fabrics for Ladies Sportswear

Ladies sportswear do more than making you look good. Wearing the right material can also increase the efficiency of your workout.

According to shape.com, here are the best fabrics for ladies sportswear:

Bamboo

Bamboo pulp yields a natural fabric that’s light, breathable, and moisture-wicking—it also protects your skin from ultraviolet rays. “It feels insanely soft, repels odors, regulates your temperature, and is UPF 50+,” says Tasc Performance designer, Sarah Chase. “Bamboo is the Swiss Army Knife of performance fabrics,” says Tasc. “You could run a marathon, then go to spin class, then run errands, and you’ll stay fresh, dry, and sun-protected.”

Cotton

In the battle between cotton and polyester, cotton wins the whiff test. A recent Belgian study found that it gives off less post-workout stench than polyester because synthetic fabrics allow stink-causing bacteria to thrive. But don’t head to spin class in a cotton tee just yet. Cotton absorbs moisture, potentially making you feel like a dishrag during a hard-charging workout. Still, for yoga, weight training, or other low-sweat activities, go with clothes made from cotton blends

Nylon

Famously used to make women’s stockings, the synthetic fabric is soft as silk, mildew resistant, and dries quickly. It’s also breathable and wicks sweat from your skin to the fabric’s surface, where it can evaporate. You’ll find nylon in all kinds of ladies sportswear. “It can stand up to even the sweatiest of workouts,” says Isabelle de la Fontaine, lucy product director. “It also has tremendous stretch and recovery, so your pants move with you.”

Polyester

Polyester is the workhorse of the workout fabrics, the one you see on labels most often. Basically plastic cloth, it’s durable, wrinkle-resistant, lightweight, breathable, and non-absorbent, which means that moisture from your skin evaporates instead of being drawn into the material. Polyester also repels UV rays and insulates you even when it’s wet. Polyester’s main drawback: the stink factor. Synthetic material can foster bacteria growth, and it also doesn’t dry quite as quickly as polypropylene or nylon.

Polypropylene

Like polyester, polypropylene is made from plastic. But unlike polyester, this synthetic material is totally water-resistant, says Lauren Hallworth, product line manager for Brooks Running apparel. “Even if you’re sweaty after a run and the outside of the shirt is wet, what’s touching you is completely dry,” says Hallworth. “It’s great as a base layer.” Polypropylene forces moisture to pass through its fibers, expelling it to the fabric’s surface where it can evaporate.

Spandex/Lycra

Spandex—also known by the brand name Lycra—puts the stretch in workout wear. The synthetic fabric can expand to nearly 600 percent of its size, offers an unrestricted range of motion, and then snaps back in place. Spandex is also breathable, wicks moisture, and dries quickly. Now you know why it’s a staple in form fitting exercise clothes. Says Stacy Dye, Oakley’s global product director: “The key benefits of O-Form are freedom of movement; less chafing; maximum comfort; and antibacterial and moisture-wicking powers.”

TENCEL

Similar to bamboo, TENCEL is made from wood pulp. But TENCEL contains tiny fibrils, or small hairs, that give the fabric sweat-wicking properties and a luxurious texture. “Textiles made from TENCEL are softer than silk and cooler than linen,” says Stacy Dye, Oakley’s global product director. Plus, Tencel is biodegradable, breathable, and resistant to wrinkles.

Wool

A staple for hikers, wool is like nature’s performance fabric. The material creates pockets that trap air, so it’s fantastic at regulating heat and keeping your body warm. It’s also breathable and wicks moisture. Bonus: the lightweight fibers don’t retain odors. You’ll find wool in everything from socks and underwear to fashion-forward fitness gear.

X-STATIC

The secret weapon that keeps X-STATIC, from stinking after a workout: silver. The fabric is woven with this heavy metal, which is an antimicrobial that prevents bacterial and fungal growth. Now, brands like Brooks Running, The North Face, and Lululemon Athletica are using silver in their own products. Says Tara Poseley, chief product officer for lululemon athletica: “It will never wash out or stop working.” Silverescent will keep items like the Run Away Tee.

Now you can check what kind of fabric for your workout. You might also want to check out some tips of taking care of your leggings.