Is Polyester Comfortable to Wear? [And Is It Summer-Friendly?] Update 06/2022

In Target or Kohls, you know how tough it is to choose the proper leggings for a dancing class or the right tank top for a marathon when there are so many options. After deciding on the shape and size, it’s also important to choose the type of cloth that best suits your needs. For example, many athletes wonder if polyester is breathable before purchasing sportswear, which is made of the material.

When polyester fabric is made appropriately, it has the potential to be permeable to moisture. Aside from being solid plastic that does not allow air or moisture to flow through it, modern textile arts have developed particular methods for weaving polyester into a structure that results in a breathable and moisture-wicking material ideal for athletic wear.

Read on to find more about the properties of breathable fabrics, how to tell if a polyester fabric is breathable, and if it is suitable for masks.

Is Polyester Breathable

What Makes a Fabric Breathable

Fabrics that enable air to flow through their structure are known as “breathable.” Breathability is influenced by a slew of things. Weave pattern and the ability to absorb fluids are among the factors that influence the weight and absorbency of the fabric.

Those of you who have ever gone out for a jog on a hot summer’s day and found yourself ripping your shirt off your sweaty skin in disgust know exactly what it’s like to wear non-breathable textiles. Because of this, the amount of air that can flow through a textile is important for athletic wear as well. Bedding and face masks are two examples where it makes a difference.

The structure of the fabric may be more important than the material itself when it comes to permeability. For example, the weave can be made tighter or looser. Air may flow more freely through a looser weave because there are more air spaces between the threads.

Some cloths have a completely different yarn structure. For example, the usual warp and woof threads seen in woven cloth are absent from the jersey knit used in most t-shirts. Knitted together, the threads in this cloth create an elastic, looser texture that allows for air to flow!

How much air can push through those nearly minuscule holes depends on how many individual yarns (also called threads) are in the weave, and how big they are.

Even if you don’t believe it, moisture has a significant impact on airflow. Breathability is closely related to a material’s ability to handle liquids.

Does polyester breathe

These days textile manufacturing involves a lot of fancy science. Special synthetic materials with moisture-wicking properties are among the possibilities.

The moisture on both sides of the cloth is balanced out by wicking elements. So long as you’re sweating, the fabric will transfer the liquid to the other side, where it can escape into the less-saturated atmosphere.

Additionally, wicking textiles are often water-resistant. As the moisture vaporizes into the air, they dry quickly.

Air may travel through the material more easily because of this ability to eliminate moisture. Because no one loves to wear damp, tight clothing, it also makes you much more comfortable.

A garment’s cut or style might also have an impact. For example, a material designed to wick moisture from the skin functions best when worn in a snug, close-fitting fashion. Even the most impermeable materials can be cool to the touch if they are cut in a loose, billowy shape like a peasant skirt.

Mesh panels, for example, can improve airflow in various objects. Mesh panels in non-permeable materials can be found in a variety of products, including sports tank tops and hiking boots.

Is 100% Polyester Breathable Fabric?

Polyester breathability

Depending on the process used to make them, certain 100 percent polyester fabrics can be made to be breathable. Some are, but not all. Polyester fabric’s lack of permeability can make it feel hot and sticky in hot weather because of its plastic fibers.

You may see a lot of disagreement on this topic. However, not everyone agrees with this claim. Another reason why some people favor polyester sporting apparel is that it is said to be extremely porous.

There is a huge discrepancy in opinion on synthetic materials because of the fact that their structure is all that matters.

In order to allow air to flow through polyester fibers, they must be made of solid plastic. That’s why it is more important to consider the fabric’s construction than the substance it is composed of. Even though metal can’t be penetrated by air, the gaps in chain-link fences allow it to blow right through!

A winter coat is very different from a running top.

Windproof and water-resistant polyester is commonly used in the outer shells of many winter coats. The non-permeability of this substance is on purpose. In other words, you want a coat to keep you warm, not cool!

Polyester running shirts, on the other hand, typically have a knitted mesh structure of strands. This fabric has a loose weave that allows moisture and air to pass through.

In other words, how can you tell whether or not you’ll be wearing a polyester clothing that feels like a sheet of plastic wrap? In order to answer this crucial topic, let’s take a quick look at how this synthetic substance is normally produced in the first place.

Polyester is a petroleum byproduct. It is transformed into cloth by a labor-intensive process involving molten plastic ejected from large industrial nozzles. Yarn is made by twisting together the long, sturdy strands that are formed in this manner.

The molecular structure of natural fibers, such as cotton, wool, and linen, is generally designed to allow air to travel through them. They are non-porous, unlike natural fibers.

It’s also impermeable to water. There is no way to get water or air into or out of them.

These non-porous threads, on the other hand, can be transformed into a breathable material by manufacturers. Air may pass through the material thanks to specific weave patterns and knitting techniques.

This is especially true when it comes to knits. As a result, there is more room for air and wicking between the strands. Athletic gear is frequently made from these knits.

Many natural textiles feel a lot more airy than polyester. Your skin may not be able to breathe as well as with a natural material, too.

In spite of this, synthetic textiles do offer superior wicking capabilities that natural materials do not have. When it comes down to it, synthetic fibers may really be more comfortable against your skin than natural ones.

Another fantastic approach to enjoy the benefits of synthetic material without the drawbacks is to wear a poly-blend garment. It is common practice for textile makers to combine the fibers of several different types of cloth into one. Each type of cloth is highlighted to its fullest potential in this process!

Polycotton is an excellent illustration of the successful union of two different materials. The lightness and breathability of natural fibers are combined with the quick-drying, moisture-wicking characteristics of polyester in this blend. So many t-shirts these days are made of this mixed material!

Is Polyester Good for Hot Weather?

Is polyester hot

There are various polyester fabrics that can be both cool and muggy in the summer depending on the structure of the fabric.

There are a variety of viewpoints on this issue.

Polyester, according to some, is the worst possible summer fabric. Sheers and some wovens, for example, are known to trap heat on the wearer’s skin. As though your gorgeous floral blouse were melting into your shoulders as you strolled along the boardwalk, you’ve experienced this!

When it comes to wicking away perspiration, polyester textiles are the best choice.

Most people say that natural textiles are the best for keeping you cool and comfortable when wearing them. They’re absolutely correct–these kinds of fabrics can add a layer of comfort!

Natural fibers, on the other hand, may not be able to withstand wetness. Synthetic materials are the clear winners here.

The pros and downsides of cotton and polyester can be seen by comparing the two fabrics side-by-side.

Though the thread count and the tightness of the weave might make a difference, cotton allows air to circulate easily through its weave. Wetness can be absorbed instead of being repelled by this substance. Slow drying and long periods of dampness are common, especially in humid weather.

Inherently, polyester fibers do not allow air to travel through them. As a result of this, some weaving or knitting techniques allow for air to be trapped between individual threads of the cloth.

This fabric is water-resistant because it is made of plastic fibers. This cloth’s scientifically engineered structure does a fantastic job of wicking away wetness with the correct weave.

Keep in mind that the cut and style of any piece of clothing can make it either warmer or cooler, depending on how it’s made.

Is Polyester Good for Athletic Wear?

Based on the fact that a large percentage of athletic apparel sold throughout the world comprises polyester, polyester is a popular choice for activewear. Synthetic fabrics are more popular because they are less expensive than their natural equivalents, but this is only part of the story. Despite its low cost, polyester has a slew of advantages for athletic clothing.

When it comes to sweat, synthetic materials have a significant edge over natural ones. Cotton absorbs sweat well, but then it holds onto the liquid. When you sweat, the sweat is wicked away from your body and evaporated into the air by polyester.

When it comes to sweat, synthetic materials have a significant edge over natural ones. Cotton absorbs sweat well, but then it holds onto the liquid. When you sweat, the sweat is wicked away from your body and evaporated into the air by polyester.

First and foremost, it offers a significant advantage over natural materials in terms of perspiration resistance. Cotton absorbs sweat nicely, but then it holds onto the moisture. In order to keep sweat from building up on your body, polyester wicks it away from your skin and allows it to evaporate into the air.

When layered correctly, this fabric provides insulation, making it a fantastic option for winter workouts.

Finally, polyester is wrinkle and stretch resistant, so you may wear it for extended periods of time without losing its shape.

Even after washing, some people find that polyester workout clothing retains odors. This is the one negative to wearing polyester workout gear. As a result, it is less breathable than other natural materials.

Is Polyester Breathable for a Face Mask?

Masks made of polyester are less effective than those made of other materials because polyester collects moisture between your skin and the mask. Water-repelling properties can have a negative impact in this case!

As far as the CDC is concerned, two or more layers of fabric provide the optimum protection, but they don’t recommend a specific fabric. Breathable material” is what they recommend.

A fabric with a tight weave is recommended by other sources. Your fabric mask should include more than one layer of cloth, whether you plan to buy or create it yourself.

100 percent synthetic material is unlikely to provide the same level of comfort in terms of ventilation as a polyblend such as 50/50.

Wash the fabric mask after each usage, regardless of the fabric you choose. After lengthy use, even the nicest, most permeable fabrics will develop an unpleasant odor and begin to gather microorganisms.

Is Polyester Breathable for Bedding?

Natural fibers like cotton are more breathable than polyester, which can be used to build pleasant bedding. For these reasons and more, many people prefer polyester sheets to those made of natural fabrics because they are long-lasting, don’t wrinkle easily, and cost half as much as the natural alternatives.

There is a correlation between the structure of the fabric and its performance. The microfiber included in most polyester sheets is impermeable to airflow, which means it can trap heat in the user’s body.

However, not all microfiber sheets are created equal. If you’re willing to spend a little more, you can get bedding that is more breathable and wicks away moisture better.

Almost a magnifying glass is required to see the microscopic strands that make up microfiber! This ultra-thin and ultra-smooth cloth is incredibly light. The absorbency and wicking properties of microfiber surpass those of many synthetic textiles.

All of this points to the conclusion that bedding made of natural fibers provides the best ventilation and comfort. There is certainly a lot to like about the considerably more affordable microfiber alternative, though.

Is Polyester Breathable for Underwear?

Polyester, according to many health experts, has excellent wicking capabilities that serve to protect your body’s most delicate organs. If you’re planning to run a marathon on a hot day or play beach volleyball in Florida during the summer, this is very critical.

This isn’t the case with all synthetics. Although lycra undergarments are known for their ability to stretch, health professionals advise against wearing them. This material will keep your skin warm and moist by trapping heat and moisture against it. This may cause pain or possibly infection.

Cotton is a good choice for intimate clothing since it is able to absorb moisture. Chafing may occur as a result of this. This style of underwear can be quite uncomfortable under wet conditions, such as when you’re engaged in strenuous physical activity for a long period of time.

For non-athletic wear, the permeability of natural fibers makes this material a better alternative. On a hot day, you could get a little sweaty, but the natural fabric’s softness and breathability will keep you cooler and more comfortable than anything else.

Does Polyester Make You Sweat at Night?

Some polyesters might cause night sweats by trapping heat around your body as you sleep. It’s one of those instances in which you generally get what you pay for. You may stay cool and dry by wearing high-quality, moisture-wicking microfibers.

There are inexpensive microfiber sheets and pajamas that can make you sweaty, however. There’s just one problem with this: Even the most beautiful and stylish faux silk sleepwear can be unbearably hot and unpleasant because of this flaw. Sleepwear sets made of natural fibers, such as cotton, allow for greater airflow, which may be preferable for those who are more susceptible to heat exhaustion.

Poly is a common material for both sleepwear and bedding due to its low cost and flame resistance. As a result, it burns more slowly than many other natural materials.

When it comes down to it, you have to choose between polyester’s durability, wrinkle-resistance, and fire-retardant properties and the breathability of natural fibers.

Is Polyester Breathable for Babies?

Is polyester bad for babies

Polyester fabric’s breathability for newborns is hotly debated among experts. Because this synthetic material provides increased flame-resistance in case of an emergency, some people welcome the use of this synthetic material for infant sleepwear, baby blankets, and other baby products. Others claim that the chemicals used to treat synthetic materials can trigger allergic reactions in infants..

You should immediately stop using any substance if your child has an allergic reaction to it! To avoid excessive sweating or discomfort in babies, the quality of a garment is more important than anything else.

Polyester baby clothes have the advantage of lasting a very long time, even after being washed several times. Plus, it’s usually a lot less expensive, so you can get even more adorable baby clothes or cuddly blankets!

Are Polyester Blends Breathable?

It is possible to get polyester blends that are extremely breathable. Others don’t allow for much airflow, which can lead to overheating and discomfort. Poly-cotton, polyester and spandex, and tri-blends are three of the most commonly used blends.


There has been an increase in the use of poly-cotton, or 50/50, in t-shirts and sports shirts like jerseys. This fabric is made by weaving together several types of material in variable proportions to form a blended fabric.

As an alternative, more expensive 50/50 blends combine the two materials by twisting the fibers together into a single thread and then weaving a cloth out of the blended thread.

As a rule, polycotton is less breathable than 100% natural fibers. In terms of moisture management, it’s comparable to a polyester fabric. As a result, it’s an excellent material for t-shirts and other athletic clothing.

Polyester and Spandex Blends

However, the airflow is restricted in polyester and spandex blends. However, spandex was originally developed as a substitute for rubber because of its elasticity. It’s no surprise that it doesn’t allow much air through its fibers!

Leggings and compression tops benefit greatly from this fabric’s exceptional pliability. The drawback of using spandex is that it renders the cloth virtually impermeable.


There are a variety of materials that can be used in tri-blends. Polyester, cotton, and rayon make up the most popular version. For fitting shirts, tri-blend fabric provides an extra-soft texture and a great drape since rayon looks and feels like silk.

Tri-blend fabrics immediately became popular despite being a new product. Cotton, polyester, and rayon are all commonly used to make these garments, which are both breathable and durable. They are ideal for garments that are a little too clinging. Wearing this cloth will keep you cool and comfy, too!

What Fabric is Most Breathable?

Cotton is often regarded as the most breathable fabric on the market. This does not imply that it is always the most pleasant or the least sweltering. However, the lightweight weave of this cloth ensures that air can move freely through it.

Interestingly, polyester cloth frequently comes in second place, despite the debate around its breathability. Keep in mind that this synthetic fabric needs a precise weave or knit to produce the moisture-wicking that allows it outstanding ventilation.. In hot temperatures, it can stick to your skin like saran wrap!

Linen’s naturally absorbent fibers and super-loose weave make it a light, airy material, like many other natural materials! This material’s airiness is much sought after. However, linen takes a long time to dry and can look unprofessional if you perspire while wearing it.

In spite of its unconventional appearance, wool is an excellent choice for breathable fabrics because it naturally allows air and water to infiltrate its fibers. Because of this, it has remained a popular choice for trekking and cold-weather gear.

Despite being a synthetic fabric, rayon does not wick away moisture. There is a considerable amount of air movement through the weave, however. More often than not, you’ll find rayon in a fabric blend rather than in a standalone garment. As a result, many blends have a silky feel because of rayon.

Because of its excellent water-wicking properties, nylon is frequently used in sporting clothing. This might vary greatly depending on the fabric, but most people find nylon less breathable than other synthetic textiles.

A third new fabric that is effective at wicking away moisture is viscose. This rayon-like material is made from wood pulp that has been treated. Viscose’s fibers are able to soak away sweat and provide for good airflow as you work out. Due to its delicate fibers, it cannot be washed in a machine.

RankingType of FabricBreathabilityMoisture-Wicking
1CottonHigh because of its loose weave and porous fibersLow because it absorbs liquid
2PolyesterDepends on the structure of the clothUsually very high, though this depends on the structure of the cloth
3LinenVery high because of linens’ airy weaveLow; linen absorbs liquid instead of dissipating it into the air
4WoolGood; wool has naturally breathable fibersVery high; wool actually works almost like a synthetic fabric in the way it wicks water!
5ViscoseHigh; this interesting material combines synthetic and natural components and has great airflowGood; viscose absorbs water, but can also quickly dry as the water evaporates
6NylonDepends on the structure of the fabricDepends on the structure of the fabric, but most nylon material wicks water very well
7RayonFair; rayon’s very light structure makes it airy and comfortableLow; rayon does not have wicking abilities like many synthetic fabrics


If you’re looking for something that’s both lightweight and breathable, polyester may be the best option. Because of their looser structure, many knits allow for good airflow. Additionally, many 50/50 and tri-blends are breathable.

Poly-blend or tri-blend apparel is likely to be found in your wardrobe. Take a look at the ventilation and moisture-wicking properties of these clothing by wearing them in the sun.

Let us know how your experiment goes in the comments section below!

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