Types of Fabrics for athletic wear


What are the types of fabric currently in trend for the athletic wear?

Athletic Apparel
Fabric Selection
Trend Analysis
Anand V
49 months ago

6 answers


I could find the below details. Hope its helpful

Classification based on look, feel:


Lycra is Du Pont’s brand name for elastane. It is a synthetic fibre which is always combined with another fibre in a fabric. Lycra is not used as the majority fibre for the reason being that even a small amount (as little as 2 percent) can provide considerable stretch and give fabric a better drape. Lycra is renowned for its ability to be stretched four to seven times its original length and will still return to its normal state and length when released. Other admirable properties of Lycra include its resistance to sunlight, sweat and improvement of comfort, ease of movement and shape retention when used in a fabric.


Mesh is a fabric which includes a certain amount open spaces; a typical mesh is about 85 percent material and 15 percent holes although different mesh fabrics will vary in weight and hole size. Mesh is beneficial in sportswear as it provides good comfort and stretch and allows air to circulate and reach the skin meaning that it is ideal for ventilation areas of a garment, especially for places where heat accumulates very quickly such as on the back. 


Neoprene is a foam like synthetic rubber made from polychloroprene chemicals. It doesn’t fray, is a good insulator and is water resistant. There are two types of neoprene: open cell and closed cell. Neoprene is used for water sports and is now very fashionable for casual sporty type clothing and swimwear. 

Micro fibre

Micro fibre fabrics are essentially fabrics made from extremely fine fibres. A fabric can be classed as a microfibre if its fibres have a linear density of less than 1 denier. You can make a comparison of how fine this actually is when you think of how thin 15 denier tights are and therefore how small 1 denier is in comparison; also a micro fibre is 100 times finer than a human hair! Micofibre fabrics are usually made from polyesters, polyamides or polypropylenes; they are made from manmade fibres because they are so small that natural fibres cannot be this small. 


These are nonwoven materials made from synthetic continuous polyester filaments and able to trap air between the many fibres. Waddings keep a high air content trapped thus providing superb thermal insulation from the cold

Sports fleece

There are a few variations of fleece which come in different weights and have different naps, some longer or more textured than others. The fabric pile traps a lot of still air making it an insulating fabric. Fleece fabrics are used in sportswear often for tracksuits, hoodies and zip tops. 

Classification based on raw material used:


Bamboo pulp yields a natural fabric that’s light, breathable, and moisture-wicking—it also protects your skin from ultraviolet rays. 


 Cotton absorbs moisture, potentially making you feel like a dishrag during a hard-charging workout. 


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. 


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.


Like polyester, polypropylene is made from plastic. But unlike polyester, this synthetic material is totally water-resistant


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.


imilar 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. 


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.


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.

Asha Rodrigues
49 months ago

In addition to what Asha mentioned I add:

  • Gore-tex, a waterproof, breathable fabric membrane.
  • Dri-fit. It is a Nike trademark, it has a little stretch with small regular holes. Very common on technical shirts.
  • Flyknit, another Nike trademark. A super light technology providing with maximum support and confort.
  • Supplex, similar to cotton with high strength and durability.
Paolo Beffagnotti
49 months ago

In a recent LA Times article, Eco-conscious activewear — made from, for example, recycled plastic bottles and recycled wool could become mainstream fabrics.

Charles Montenegro
49 months ago

Fabrics that have a lot of stretch and recovery are always very important. Brands want these stretch fabrics to have special properties to enhance performance including wicking, anti microbial, and even "smart" fibers which can be connected to data devices.

Lisa Hendrickson
49 months ago

definition (en):•A general term for all textile surfaces, regardless of their production method.
In the interfaces, use the term "material"

I give the definition as a fabric can have specific yarn properties important to athletic wear. The most common is moisture management which can be put into the yarn during development of added to the top of the fabric during the finishing. The former is more permanent. In general, any type of performance fabrics are key to added value of the product and elevate the appeal of the product to the consumer.

Toni Lublin
49 months ago

Since you did not specify men's or women's I will address first the area that has the most trends.

In women's activewear fabrics that are uptrending are:

  1. Performance interlock-one color or print on one side, another on the other side. No see thru. Also reversible.
  2. 3D meshes and spacer fabrics
  3. Performance yarns with indigo
  4. Chromatic knits~ like the Nike flyknit shoes you have prolly seen everywhere
  5. Luxurious Satiny wovens~and any knit with a low luster shimmer.


  1. Sweat powered fabrics-Like Cocona 37.5
  2. Insect repellent fabrics~

Heather Verran
VP of Design

Heather Verran
49 months ago

Have some input?