Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Info About Polyester Vs. Nylon

To follow up on the Polyester vs. Nylon fabric content in Lululemon I did a little googling. Here is some of what I've found:

The majority of performance wear is made of polyester, polyester spandex, and most rashguards (surfing ones at least) are made of nylon, nylon spandex.

It is the weave of the fabric (the size and number of holes) that determines breathability or resistance to air movement. Any woven or knit fabric will breathe - even if the weave is made of rubber strands.

is rubber that is inserted into fabric to give it stretch. Rubber is weak, however, and people can be allergic to it--Latex Allergy-- so when putting a garment with spandex in the dryer, it tends to dry out and the strands break meaning the garment loses compression power.

Polyester vs Nylon
Polyester fabrics perform better than nylon for moisture management because polyester is more hydrophobic. Nylon threads will absorb more water than Polyester, water requires more heat energy to warm than does air, so nylon will feel colder when wet, and stay wet longer, and when saturated impede breathability.

The down-side for polyester is odor retention, and durability (Nylon lasts longer).

Color retention
Polyester is hydrophobic, meaning it does not absorb water. This means that when it is dyed, only the color of the dye dissolves into the fabric (not any water-base), making the dye permanent. Nylon® possesses hydrophilic qualities (that is, it absorbs water). Its inability to repel water causes the fabric to swell and ultimately weakens the molecular structure. The dyestuffs used on nylon® tend to oxidize, a reaction which is catalyzed by light. The microscopic effects range from color fading to complete degradation of the polymer matrix. This is why the colors fade in nylon-lycra® swimsuits over time, but do not fade in polyester-lycra® swimsuits (Man-Made Fiber Yearbook, August 2000).

Polyester holds printing much better because it can take higher heat during the printing which causes a better adhesion. Nylon will melt if it is printed at too high of heat. Check out your rashguards and you will see that most are nylon and they dont hold prints very long.


  • During the early years, nylon was always considered a smoother and softer fabric than polyester. Nylon was created as a substitute for silk and it shows in its soft, lustrous feel. From its inception, polyester has always been a rougher fabric than nylon, hence its original use in outerwear garment and suits. The refined manufacturing capabilities of today have resulted in softer polyester that in many ways matches nylon and certainly the softness of cotton. 
  • Durability

  • Both nylon and polyester are strong and lightweight due to their polymer-based construction. Nylon is the stronger of the two fabrics with greater stretchability. Though not as strong, polyester resists pilling better than nylon, which is when fibers unravel and ball up at the end. While this does not weaken the garment physically, it is not attractive aesthetically. 
  • Water-Wicking Ability

  • When it comes to fast-drying fabrics, polyester has the edge. Both are naturally hydrophobic, which mean they expel water, ideally to the surface of the garment where it will evaporate. Nylon actually absorbs some water, which means it takes longer for a wet garment to dry.


    Anonymous said...

    I would love to know what you think of it compared to luxtreme or circle mesh. I find it pretty hot to work out in.

    LuluAddict said...

    I find CRBs rather hot for sweaty workouts like spin. Luxtreme, Circle Mesh, and Silverescent are my favorite super sweaty workout wear. I very rarely wear normal weight luon for workouts unless it's just for lifting weights where I don't get too heated.

    LuluAddict said...

    I am cleaning the house in my old Lucy pants and find them hot - they are made of polyester. That's why I never like Lucy that much - it was just too hot.