As some of you might know polyester is the go-to fabric for activewear (sportswear). In today’s sportswear market it’s almost impossible to come a sportswear brand whose label doesn’t read polyester.
So, at trendybikeclothing we have had loads of people ask us …why polymer? What makes it special? What properties make it the workhorse of activewear?
The truth is, polyester has more than one reason why activewear manufacturers choose it over many other fabrics known to humankind.
So let’s take you through some of the benefits of polyester, and what makes it a top choice and we will also mention some of the drawback’s... for a neutral perspective...
What is Polyester?
FIRST…let’s have an overview of polyester.
Polyester is basically a man-made or synthetic fiber made from petroleum-based products.
It was invented in 1941, which makes it relatively new to the game compared to fabrics like cotton.
The synthetic fibre is basically a plastic cloth (or a plastic-based fabric, if you like) that’s manufactured by mixing a variety of chemicals—resulting in strong fibre.
This is the reason behind its high strength, durability, and other desirable properties that make it ideal for sportswear, as discussed below…
Why Polyester is used for Sportswear (top benefits)
These are key properties/benefits of polyester, which makes it the perfect fabric option for sports clothing:
One of the top reasons why polymer is a darling for top sportswear manufacturers is due to the high strength and durability is exhibits.
Add to the fact that polyester has low hygroscopic characteristics, and it becomes clear that its wet strength and dry strength are basically the same.
What if you compare it to other fibers? The impact strength of polyester will be up to 4 times higher than that of nylon, …and up to 20 times higher than the viscose fiber.
The high-strength polyester fibers can withstand the strong, repetitive movements made by athletes and last for long. They offer excellent resistant o abrasion and hold up to repeated wearing and washes.
Another property of polyester that explains why it enjoys unrivalled popularity in the sports clothing industry is the excellent elasticity it offers.
If you intensively study the molecular structure of polyester, you will notice that it features alternate aliphatic and aromatic compounds. These not only co tribute to the durability of this fabric but also give it high tensile strength.
The elasticity of this fiber is close to that of wool. And if you stretch it by about 5-6%, it will spring back into its shape almost completely!
As you can easily tell, a polyester made activewear will help an athlete make those repetitive movements without facing any resistance.
What’s more, the high tensile strength makes polyester fabrics wrinkle-resistant, meaning they’ll retain their shape and form every time you wash them.
To take the tensile strength of polyester even higher, sportswear brands are now blending it with Lycra (elastase fiber).
As we all know, part of the workouts involves sweating. The more intense the exercises are, the sweatier you become.
Now, if you were to wear clothes that absorb all the sweat produced by your body and soak them, the clothes will become too wet and uncomfortable. Not a good experience, right?
This is where the polyester sportswear comes in!
The fiber is hydrophobic in nature. It has a moisture regain as low as 0.4%.
For starters, moisture regain refers to the weight of water in a given material of oven dry weight. The lower the value, the less absorbent the material is.
Thus, the sweat produced by your body will not be absorbed by polyester clothing. And this means the clothing will not stick to your body during exercises.
Even though we have said that polyester has extremely low regain value, it shows excellent moisture-wicking properties.
8th wonder of the world? Not really…
What really happens here is that polyester all the moisture (in this case, the sweat produced by your body), it doesn’t retain it in its fibers (because it has low water regain value).
Instead, it transfers it to the outside where it evaporates quickly, leaving your activewear totally dry.
This is unlike what happens in cotton…it absorbs all the sweat and retains, making your garments feel bulky and uncomfortable.
The last thing you want to do workout when wearing heavy athletic shirt, jersey, or shorts that feel heavy.
This can not only limit your movements but will also feel uncomfortable on your body.
Sportswear brands use polyester fabric to make athletic wear because it feels incredibly lightweight, so you won’t feel weighed down.
The lighter your clothing, the swifter your moves will become.
What are the drawbacks of polyester for sportswear?
Despite being the best fabric for sportswear use, polyester isn’t 100% flawless. It has a few drawbacks, which include:
- It lacks the anti-bacterial properties associated with the natural fibers. In other words, its synthetic nature can foster backer growth, and make your polyester jersey, short, etc. stinky.
- The fabric does not feel soft against the skin as cotton, wool, and other fibers do. While some people are uncomfortable with this feel, others are completely okay with it and have no issues with it (so, this is a matter of personal preference)
If you have always wondered why all the brands involved in the manufacturing of sportswear prefer the polyester to other fabrics, now you have got the answer.
The man-made fabric is incredibly durable to withstand repeated movements, it has excellent elasticity to ensure it doesn’t limit your movements, it dry-wicks moisture, doesn’t get soaked in your sweat, and it feels incredibly light.
The only downsides of polyester, when used in sportswear, is that it lacks antibacterial properties and can make your athletic wear smelly if not washed. Some athletes also don’t like how it feels against the body.
Nonetheless, polyester has excellent properties that make it the top fabric for manufacturing your sportswear!