Are You Wearing the Right Kind of Fabric During Your Workouts?

In General by Emi Ladrillono

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Are You Wearing the Right Kind of Fabric During Your Workouts?



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It’s not whether you get knocked down; it’s whether you get up.” Vince Lombardi

Workouts are strenuous enough on their own

without having to worry about what to do with your dirty clothes after a good exercise.

Discover which kind of material you should wear during your workout
to be able to perform at your best without having to break a sweat
(about post-workout clothing care).

Exercise in any form is a great way of getting those much needed endorphins to get you through the daily, weekly and monthly grind that is life.

Whether it’s hitting the gym on a regular basis, going for a jog, playing at your weekend football league, or driving down to the beach for weekend surf, you’re going to want to wear the right kind of clothes to optimize your workout and spend less energy on figuring out to do with your sportswear after.

Modern day fitness wear encompases a huge spectrum of textiles –varying in texture, function, and price. Knowing which kind of material your activewear is made out of can make a difference when it comes to:

  • Its performance during your workout.
  • Its clothing care instructions.

Get to know the types of material most sportswear is made out of in order to help you choose the right kind of activewear for you.

Durable, comfortable, and affordable, cotton is easily one of the most all-around fabrics used in the fashion industry — including the production of sportswear.

It’s absorbing powers are exceptional, but since wicking sweat isn’t exactly its forte, this can have a downside to it (like when you work up a sweat, forget to bring a change of shirt, and end up having to wear your sweat-soaked cotton t-shirt all the way home).

When to wear cotton:

  • It can lose its shape over time, and can make you feel like a stick of melting butter after a heavy workout, so this may not actually be the best choice for the gym.
  • Try it on those days you feel like going for a jog, or during your weekend soccer match.

Remember: Cotton is not all bad. This low-maintenance material is crazy affordable, easy to clean, and doesn’t trap dirt, heat, or odor!

The clothing industry deserves major kudos for this one.

Production of bamboo based fabric has not only revolutionized the performance of activewear, but it does so through environmentally friendly means.

Boasting antibacterial, insulating, and hypoallergenic properties, this sweat-wicking material will keep you dry, eliminate odor, and protect you from the harmful UV rays of the sun while you get your fitness routine on.

Bamboo is pretty easy to care for. Hand-washing bamboo based fitness wear will prevent stretching, but the gentle cycle in your washing machine will work too.

The drawback? Mechanical production of high performance bamboo clothing, (at least the eco-friendly way) comes at a cost –which is often reflected on consumer price tags. Pilling may also become a problem if you don’t zip your zippers and button down your buttons.

When to wear bamboo:

  • This one’s an all-arounder.
  • Whether you’re doing yoga, bench pressing at the gym, or doing outdoor activities like rock climbing or hiking, bamboo based sportswear will pretty much have you covered in terms of functionality and comfort.

Similar to Cotton and Bamboo, this biodegradable material undergoes an eco-friendly manufacturing process to transform into the highly coveted performance sportswear we know today.

When to wear Lyocell:

  • Characteristically light, cooling, flexible, and wrinkle resistant, this sustainable material is highly absorbent but moisture-wicking at the same time, making it ideal for hard workout sessions.

With all the benefits Lyocell has to offer, this material requires some TLC in return.

Keep in mind that hand-washing is the best way to go with Tencel, and that it has a predisposition for mildew.

We’ll bet you never would have pegged wool to be an activewear component, huh?

Turns out these high performance fibers produced from sheep’s fleece can:

  • Regulate temperature to keep you warm when it’s cold (and cool when it’s warm) during workouts
  • Efficiently absorb your sweat (which in turns keeps you smelling fresh and eliminates odor),
  • Keep itself stain resistant and spotless for longer periods with a natural protective external coating around its fibers.

Clothing care for wool-containing fitness wear is easy and manageable. Garments containing wool have been optimised for wash and tumble-dry!

When to wear Wool:

  • Wool based activewear has broken its boundaries of confinement to just cold weather and winter sports.
  • In fact, its performance is exceptional in all seasons, and all kinds of activities (ranging from skiing to cycling, going for a run, or even hiking).


Note: Synthetic materials are prone to shrinkage, discoloration, fading, and losing their elasticity when subjected to high temperatures. Use a gentle detergent, and mind the temperature settings on your machines!

You know that silky smooth material stockings are made of?

Big-named sports brands went ahead and took that man-made fiber, incorporated it into their flagship athletic wear, and sold it on their racks.

Nylon is a powerful game changer in the sportswear industry.

Heat resistant, durable, highly absorbent, and quick drying, nylon based athletic wear is the perfect lightweight option for those of you who work hard (and sweat hard).

When to wear Nylon:

  • Outdoor sports.
  • Think running, hiking, cycling, or any type of beach activities.

The best part is: nylon is low maintenance.

Just throw it in the wash (best washed cold) and hang that baby up to dry!

The only kind of plastic you should buy is embodied by Polyester and Polypropylene. Long story short, plastic is melted, undergoes the process of spinning, and is transformed into the feather light, high performance athletic wear that hugs your muscles, and indispensably handles your perspiration situation.

Between the two, Polyester has better absorbing power, better UV protection, and resistance to wrinkling. However, it is also more prone to static (which can be remedied with proper dryer sheets); and its synthetic nature predisposes it to bacterial growth and odor development.

When to wear Polyester:

  • Since UV protection is one of its more valuable properties, feel free to go swimming, surfing, jogging, cycling, hiking, golfing, tennis, and well… pretty much do any outdoor activity that floats your boat in polyester garments!

Polypropylene on the other hand produces less static, dries faster, and is known to be better at trapping heat during those chilly, outdoor workouts. You might want to steer clear from wearing this during sunny days, as Polypropylene fibers can fray and fade when exposed to UV rays for long periods of time.

When to where Polypropylene:

  • Don’t let its susceptibility to UV rays fool you. It can still be used for outdoor activities. In fact, it would be the optimal choice for rainy day runs! Polypropylene is also useful athletic wear in the gym, during indoor rock climbing sessions, or for yoga.

Both are equally durable, flexible, and resistant to mildew. When it comes to clothing care, they’re both pretty low maintenance overall. Polyester clothes can be machine washed and dried –remember: low heat is where it’s at. Polypropylene garments should be washed in cold water and hang dried for best results.

You don’t need to be Mr. Fantastic to have clothes that can stretch beyond imagination.

This material is infamous for its elasticity. It’s expanding capacity not only accommodates the shape of your body, but it expands to give way to the wide variety of movements you need to make during intense workout sessions! You can enjoy the freedom of free range of movement in lightweight, water resistant, quick drying activewear made of spandex.

The only limits this fun, stretchy material has is that it may lose its elasticity with continuous washing. Mind the clothing care labels to keep it as flexible as possible -or keep it smelling fresh with clothing fresheners in between washes!

When to wear Spandex:

  • Any activity that requires free range of motion (from long distance running to building muscle at the gym).

  • Spandex is commonly found in compression wear, which has been found to enhance user performance while speeding up your recovery time by providing muscular support and improving circulation during your workout.

If you like to go minimalist when you exercise, but don’t want to smell like a three hour workout, you may want to invest in this material.

Harnessing the antimicrobial and odor eliminating properties of silver, X-Static fabrics are infused with nanoparticles of the metal to keep you odor free after your maximum performance workouts.

X-Static is not only soft, lightweight, quick drying, and durable, but its technology has made it wearable in between washes -making it the ultimate choice for guys who work out a lot (but don’t have enough time to launder).

When to use X-Static:

  • Another all-arounder, this material is perfect for heavy workout sessions in any condition.

Note: X-Static technology was incorporated into a number of uniforms for athletes during the Olympics.

The different kinds of material activewear is made of can have an affect on you during and after your workout.

No matter how busy you are, there’s always time for a good workout.

If you don’t have much time on your hands, be one-step ahead by knowing what kind of material suits your lifestyle and your workout needs.

Knowing this can help you focus your energy on your fitness routine instead of worrying about what to do with your clothes (or the effects of a hard workout like body odor) after your exercise.




This article was brought to you by


FREY is men’s fashion brand made up of environmentally conscious idealists who specialize in making clothing care products aimed at:

Preserving your clothing.

Preserving the environment

Feel free to check out the entire clothing care line here.

Save your clothing, save the Earth, and smell good while doing it.


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