Synthetic Materials and Their Qualities – Polyester, Nylon and Elastane

A large number of different materials are used in the production of clothes and accessories. Natural materials, such as cotton and wool, are undoubtedly the most well-known amongst them. These materials have earned their popularity for a reason.

However, various synthetic materials are better suited for many uses. They certainly excel when it comes to sportswear and clothes designed to be used while doing sports and being physically active in general. Keep reading and find out more about some of the best synthetic materials in use today.


100 % polyester

100 % polyester

The term “polyester” is used to describe quite a large variety of synthetic polymer materials. Most well-known material from this group is called Polyethylene terephthalate or PET. Yes, that is the same material that is used to produce plastic bottles. PET has lots of uses in the textile industry because it holds extensive advantages over natural materials.

Polyester is resistant to physical stress and also flexible. It dries quickly and it doesn’t deform or wrinkle easily, even when subjected to strong physical stress. Polyester also doesn’t lose its colour or other qualities when exposed to sunlight or numerous washes in a washing machine. What is more, polyester is recyclable and its production is reasonably cheap. Polyester is one of the most used materials in production of sport clothes and jerseys thanks to its aforementioned qualities.

There are, however, some disadvantages of polyester as well. It has limited ability of sweat absorption and it doesn’t let air circulate as freely as natural materials. Polyester is also not as comfortable as cotton, for instance.


The term nylon, similarly to polyester, also covers a variety of synthetic materials that have become extremely popular (not only) in textile industry and clothes manufacturing. It is basically the first synthetic fibre ever made.

The main advantage of nylon is its toughness. It is really hard to damage it, because it is really tough and really hard to break. What’s more, this synthetic material is really light and comfortable to wear, which makes it a great choice for producing clothes mainly of active and sport character.

On the other hand, nylon is not water-resistant. Water makes it slowly lose its quality. It is also susceptible to fading, mainly when exposed to UV radiation. Nylon fibres are also infamous for creating charges of static electricity.


Elastane, which is also often called spandex, is a synthetic fibre that is known thanks to its flexibility. It is a copolymer that is produced by a relatively complicated process. It is used in a wide variety of applications, mainly because of its exceptional flexibility.

The term “spandex” is actually an anagram of word “spandex”, which amazingly represents the biggest strength of this material. This synthetic fibre can be repeatedly stretched to 5-times its original length without damaging it. What’s more, elastane is really light, doesn’t wrinkle and is comfortable to wear.

Elastane is mainly used in production of active sportswear that requires flexibility and resistance to physical stress, such clothes used by cyclists or skiers. Elastane is also often added to cotton or any other materials to make it more flexible and comfortable to wear.