7 Best Types of Materials for Athletic Wear

Looking to buy high-quality sportswear but are unsure of what’s best for you? With an array of products…

Looking to buy high-quality sportswear but are unsure of what’s best for you? With an array of products that come with different moisture wicking options, you may feel overwhelmed.

Not to worry though, we have put together a list of the top seven materials for athletic wear.

These include:


  • Nylon
  • Calico
  • Spandex
  • Bamboo Fiber
  • Polyester
  • Merino Wool
  • Polypropylene


A material that is soft yet flexible and helps wick moisture from your body; Nylon can be found in T-shirts, sports bra, shorts, and more. It is mold and mildew resistant, meaning you don’t have to constantly buy new sportswear.

However, Nylon is known to retain odors. Also, the breathability aspect of it is dependent upon how the material was weaved together and the size of threads.


Cotton is odor resistant and soft but doesn’t absorb sweat. Calico is a sub-material of cotton that has all the benefits of cotton but highly absorbs moisture as well. It also tends to be cheaper since it involves all the steps of making cotton except for the final few processing steps.

If you’re looking for a material with a sleek design, this is probably not for you. Since it is unfinished cotton, it has a rough appearance although it is soft in nature.


Looking for something with a wide range of motion? Spandex is extremely flexible and stretchable, making it a great candidate for workouts like yoga or weight-lifting.

Spandex is breathable and able to wick moisture, but it is not the best at these aspects. The key highlight of spandex is its stretchability, so keep that in mind based on your types of exercises.

Bamboo Fiber

Bamboo is becoming popular amongst a wide range of products due to its versatility and environmentally friendly nature. This material is a light-weight, odorless option that provides great moisture-wicking abilities.

It is comparable to cotton, but a bit pricier and much more breathable and stretchier. It is also anti-static in nature, so no more static hair!

Even better, it offers UV ray protection to keep your skin safe outdoors.


Made up of plastic fibers, this material is wrinkle-free, light-weight, and durable. With great moisture-wicking and insulating capabilities, it is commonly used in an array of winter and summer sportswear.

However, polyester can grow bacteria and fungi quite easily and hold onto bad odors. So, if you choose this option, be sure to wash your clothes often in a timely manner.

Merino Wool

Wool isn’t just to keep you warm; it can also be worn when it’s warm out. With incredible moisture-wicking capabilities, this material is breathable, light-weight, and odor resistant.

This material is not as durable as the others and is more expensive. However, it is oftentimes woven in with other materials to gain the best of both options.


Polypropylene is a thin and flexible, plastic-based fiber. This material is extremely water-resistant, making it great for exercising in rainy or snowy conditions.

It is also great for cold weather due to its ability to trap heat. With great durability and non-wrinkle nature, you’ll love the way it looks.

Like all other materials, this one too has drawbacks. Polypropylene tends to retain odors and is not as comfortable as some of the other materials.

Picking the Best Option for You

Keep in mind how you exercise when picking a material. Each material has its own strength that correlates well with different types of exercises.

Whether you make your choice based on comfort, breathability, or moisture-wicking capabilities, these seven options are top contenders in the athletic wear world.

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