Sometimes the difference between a good workout and a great workout all comes down to the gear you’re sporting while exercising. While it’s easy to figure out what feels good on your body just from trying it on, it’s not always as easy to figure out how your workout gear will fare over time and in different elements. Luckily, a simple fabric breakdown can keep you in the know about what to look for when you’re shopping for activewear.
1. Cotton will combat any post-workout stench.
You’re not opposed to everybody knowing that you worked out this morning, but the last thing you want is for people to find it out by getting a telling whiff of you. Unfortunately, deodorant alone isn’t always enough to ward off sweaty odors. When that’s the case, the trick may be as simple as switching to cotton-based workout gear. Compared to fabrics like polyester, cotton gives off less of an odor because it doesn’t retain stench-causing bacteria like synthetic materials do. Unfortunately, though, cotton does absorb and retain moisture, meaning that it can start to weigh you down during an intense cardio sweat session.
2. Bamboo makes for eco-friendly workout gear.
Bamboo is a renewable resource, and this has made it a valuable material in the creation of activewear that is all at once comfortable and sustainable. But the benefits of using bamboo in workout clothes go beyond environmental concerns. In fact, bamboo is antimicrobial, which means that it is perfect for exercises where you will be working up a sweat.
3. Polyester has your back, rain or shine.
When it comes to versatility, polyester is one of the best fabrics for outdoor workout gear whatever the weather, and whatever the season. On the one hand, polyester is resistant to UV rays, which means it’s ideal for an outdoor workout in warmer temperatures when you’ll be exercising in the sun. On the other hand, polyester holds just as strong in colder climates since it provides a lot of insulation for your body while you workout, even when it gets wet.
4. Spandex gives you the best stretch.
For workouts like yoga and Pilates that call for a wide range of motion and a lot of stretching, there is nothing more important than sporting gear that won’t constrain your movement. As the fabric with the most stretch – “spandex,” if you hadn’t noticed, is even an anagram for “expands” – spandex allows you to move freely through your workout while also keeping you dry and allowing your body to breathe through the fabric.
5. Nylon is in it for the long run (pun intended).
Not only is nylon fast-drying, breathable, and pretty stretchy, but it is also one of the best workout fabrics when it comes to standing the test of time. Whether that means maintaining its fit over the course of several workouts or resisting color fade wash cycle after wash cycle, nylon’s durability makes it one of the best things to look for in sportswear that you’re looking to have around for a while.
About Tamara Rahoumi
Tamara Rahoumi is a writer on The Path Editorial Team. She is a graduate of Rutgers University and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in magazine journalism at NYU. Her passion for wellness always has her researching the latest fitness trends, experimenting with recipes from superfood cookbooks, and working towards an overall healthier and happier lifestyle. In addition to reading her articles on The Path, you can follow her adventures on her lifestyle blog, The Curly Nomad.