the best fabrics for activewear zelouf fabrics

When it comes to activewear, there are several fabrics that are highly regarded for their performance and comfort. The best fabrics for activewear typically possess moisture-wicking properties, breathability, durability, stretch, and sometimes additional features like odor control or sun protection. Here are some of the top fabrics to look for when purchasing activewear – or better yet, making it yourself!

The Best Fabrics For Activewear 

1. Polyester

Polyester is a synthetic fabric known for its durability, wrinkle resistance, and excellent moisture-wicking capabilities. It dries quickly, making it suitable for high-intensity workouts. Polyester blends are commonly used in activewear to enhance its properties, and it’s typically an affordable option.

Our Matte Jersey Knit is perfect for creating lightweight, breathable pieces.

Zelouf matte jersey knit fabric in jazzy teal

Zelouf Matte Jersey Knit in Jazzy Teal

2. Nylon

Nylon is another synthetic fabric that offers excellent strength and abrasion resistance. It is lightweight and quick-drying, making it ideal for activities that involve a lot of sweating. Like polyester, nylon is often blended with other fabrics for added performance benefits.

3. Spandex

Spandex, also known as elastane or Lycra, is a highly stretchable fabric that provides exceptional flexibility and freedom of movement. It is often combined with other fabrics to improve the stretch and shape retention of activewear. Spandex allows the garment to conform to the body without restricting mobility.

Our Zelouf Shimmer Spandex Knit has 4-way stretch and soft, lightweight construction. It also comes in over 50 colors so you can make a statement, even in your gym clothes. 

zelouf shimmer spandex knit fabric in amethyst shine

Zelouf Shimmer Spandex Knit fabric in Amethyst Shine

4. Bamboo

Bamboo fabric is a natural and sustainable option gaining popularity in activewear. It is breathable, moisture-wicking, and has antibacterial properties that help control odor. Bamboo fabrics are also soft and hypoallergenic, making them comfortable for prolonged wear.

5. Merino Wool 

Merino wool is a natural fiber derived from Merino sheep. It is known for its excellent moisture-wicking properties, temperature regulation, and odor resistance. Merino wool activewear is breathable, insulating, and comfortable, even in varying weather conditions.

6. Microfiber

Microfiber fabrics are made of ultra-fine synthetic fibers, often polyester or nylon. They are lightweight, soft, and moisture-wicking, making them suitable for intense physical activities. Microfiber fabrics also dry quickly and are resistant to shrinking or wrinkling.

7. Coolmax

Coolmax is a specialized polyester fabric explicitly engineered for moisture management. It wicks sweat away from the body and allows it to evaporate quickly, keeping you dry and cool during workouts. Coolmax is often used in high-performance activewear.

8. Ponte

Ponte fabric can be suitable for certain types of activewear, depending on the specific activity and desired performance characteristics. Ponte is a double-knit fabric typically made from a blend of rayon, polyester, and spandex. It is known for its stretch, structure, and wrinkle-resistant properties.

Zelouf Legacy Ponte Fabric is the perfect combination of comfort and style. This unique fabric blend is durable and wrinkle-resistant, to handle whatever your workout throws at you. 

To learn more about ponte fabric, check out our helpful guide. 

zelouf legacy ponte fabric in heather grey

Zelouf Legacy Ponte Fabric in Heather Grey

Fabric Blends For Activewear 

There are several fabric blends that are commonly used in activewear due to their performance characteristics. Here are some fabric blends that are popular for activewear:

1. Polyester-Spandex Blend

Polyester-spandex blend fabric combines the moisture-wicking properties of polyester with the stretch and flexibility of spandex. It offers excellent durability, shape retention, and freedom of movement. Polyester-spandex blends are widely used in leggings, sports bras, and athletic tops.

Zelouf Spun Polyester Spandex Print is one of our most popular fabrics for sports bras and other stretchy workout materials. Consider a matching set for a head-turning workout ensemble.

zelouf spun polyester spandex print fabric in olive/black

Zelouf Spun Polyester Spandex Print Fabric in Olive/Black

2. Nylon-Spandex Blend

Nylon is a strong and durable fabric known for its abrasion resistance, while spandex provides stretch and shape retention. Nylon-spandex blends are lightweight, moisture-wicking, and offer good breathability. They are commonly used in activewear items like leggings, shorts, and base layers.

Our Nylon Power Mesh is an excellent material for activewear like tank tops, linings, or mesh embellishments.

Zelouf Nylon Power Mesh fabric in Fleet

Zelouf Nylon Power Mesh in Fleet

3. Polyester-Nylon Blend

A polyester-nylon blend combines the quick-drying and moisture-wicking properties of polyester with the durability and strength of nylon. It offers a good balance of performance and comfort and is suitable for various types of activewear, including workout tops, shorts, and outer layers.

4. Cotton-Polyester Blend

A blend of cotton and polyester combines the natural breathability and comfort of cotton with the moisture-wicking and quick-drying properties of polyester. This blend offers a balance between comfort and performance and is often used in activewear tops, hoodies, and casual workout wear.

Zelouf Polyester Cotton Burnout Fabric w/ Fog Foil Print is a bold and edgy fabric that’s durable and moisture-wicking, so you can stay cool and comfortable in everything from yoga to CrossFit. 

5. Bamboo-Spandex Blend

Bamboo fabric is known for its softness, breathability, and antibacterial properties. When blended with spandex, it provides stretch and flexibility, making it suitable for activewear like yoga pants, t-shirts, and loungewear.

6. Merino Wool-Synthetic Blend

Merino wool, combined with synthetic fibers like nylon or polyester, creates a blend that is moisture-wicking, odor-resistant, and regulates body temperature. This blend is commonly used in base layers and thermal activewear for outdoor activities in cooler climates.

These fabric blends offer a range of performance features such as moisture management, stretch, durability, and comfort, making them well-suited for different types of activewear and physical activities.

Is cotton a good choice for activewear? 

Cotton is not typically considered an ideal fabric for activewear, especially for intense physical activities. While cotton is a natural, breathable, and comfortable fabric, it has certain properties that make it less suitable for activewear, like moisture retention, lack of heat regulation, and clinginess. 

For these reasons, most athletes prefer synthetic fabrics like polyester, nylon, or blends that offer moisture-wicking properties, breathability, durability, and stretch. These fabrics are specifically engineered to keep you dry, cool, and comfortable during physical activities, making them better suited for activewear. 

Shop activewear fabrics and more on our online store.

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