Which Moisture-Wicking Fabric Is Best For Your Needs And Why?

Which Moisture-Wicking Fabric Is Best For Your Needs And Why?

Exercise and movement are essential to a healthy lifestyle. From taking the stairs to hitting the trails, there are many ways you can incorporate movement in your day-to-day routine. With movement comes the need for flexible, moisture-wicking fabrics. 

When you move, your body produces sweat and moisture to cool you off and keep you healthy. Finding apparel geared toward mobility and performance, even in the face of sweat, is critical. Which moisture-wicking fabric is best? There are a few different fabrics to choose from. 

This guide takes a closer look at the various moisture-wicking fabrics, the advantages and disadvantages of each, and how you can determine which material is best for your needs. 

Read on to learn more. 

Why Choose Moisture-Wicking Fabrics?

Why should you choose moisture-wicking fabric?

Below are a few reasons why water resistance should be at the top of your list of what to look for in athleisure. 

Fabric That’s Comfortable

Likely the most pertinent reason for choosing a sweat-resistant fabric is comfort. When your clothes get damp, it can be uncomfortable to move in and stay in. Some materials tend to push moisture toward your body instead of away from it, leaving you feeling wet and moist from sweat. 

Moisture-wicking fabric helps you avoid this feeling. You can enjoy feeling dry, even in the most intense sweat.

Fabric That Helps Keep You Clean

Moisture-wicking fabrics are also easier to keep clean. When moisture is allowed to sit and soak in a shirt, it can allow for a build-up of bacteria and odor. Not only is this uncomfortable, but it can get your clothes dirtier faster. 

This category of fabrics help wick away moisture and prevent it from sitting and collecting bacteria and smells. In addition, some moisture-wicking fabrics like wool are self-cleaning. These fabrics absorb water to clean themselves and then wick it away from the body to keep you comfortable. 

Fabric that Regulates Temperature

Moisture-wicking fabrics are also better at temperature regulation. When a fabric becomes damp, it often becomes colder.

This can make you feel colder if the wetness of the fabric gets on your skin. When fabrics are able to wick moisture away from your skin, they help regulate temperature better without you feeling cold due to sweat or rain. 

Our Favorite Moisture-Wicking Fabrics & Their Benefits

There are many different kinds of fabrics to consider when looking for moisture-wicking abilities. Some are more effective at durability, some are best for keeping you warm, and others are more effective at stretching and flexibility. 

Here’s what you need to know. 

Merino Wool

There are over ten different types of wool that are popular in the textile industry today and other types that tend to fly under the radar. Out of these options, merino wool seems to take first place for moisture-wicking properties.

Here’s how it works: 

Merino wool is derived from the Merino sheep native to Spain. These sheep produce a lightweight wool that’s breathable, soft, sustainable, and temperature regulated to keep you both warm and cool. In addition to these benefits, Merino wool is moisture-resistant. 

Wool in itself is known for its ability to repel water, but Merino wool takes this to the next level. Because wool is such a heavily absorbent fabric, it’s able to absorb moisture and pull it away from your body. When gear is made with Merino wool, the garments can take a lot of water until your body actually starts to feel wet. 

Even once Merino wool gets wet, it dries effectively in just a moment. Because Merino wool absorbs water and sweat briskly and moves it away from the body, this makes it an ideal fabric for athletic apparel. This is especially true if you want athletic apparel that can regulate temperature. 

Our Merino Active Jersey Collection uses Merino wool to keep you warm, dry, and comfortable no matter where you are. 


CORDURA nylon fabric was invented by DuPont to be used in military-grade vehicle tires during World War II. This fabric is the most durable option of all moisture-wicking fabrics available. Used for backpacks, outwear, weather gear, and more, this textile is an excellent option when it comes to performance wear you can count on.

Along with being water-resistant and able to wick away dampness and sweat, CORDURA is also quick to dry. It offers breathability so that your skin can dry and enjoy freedom without becoming stuffy or suffocated. CORDURA is so effective due to its ability to move moisture away from your skin to the outer layer of your fabric so it can dry faster. 

Our Stretch Passage Weave is made with CORDURA Nylon and Lycra to provide superior durability and moisture-wicking abilities for anything you throw at it. This is an excellent alternative to thick, stiff denim that soaks up water and thin materials that can’t withstand normal wear and tear. 

Supima Cotton

Another fabric to consider when looking for moisture-wicking abilities is Supima cotton. Supima cotton originates from the United States and was derived from pima cotton. At Olivers, all of our Supima cotton is from Japan. 

Supima cotton is known for being flexible, durable, breathable, and water-resistant. This is another fabric perfect for the athleisure industries. Regardless of what physical activities you enjoy, Supima can withstand the sweat and keep you comfortable and dry. This fabric is also wrinkle-resistant, long-lasting, fade-resistant, soft, and low-maintenance. 

Supima cotton becomes the most water-repellent when combined with other blended synthetics like nylon and lycra. This results in a material known as Stretch Woven Fabric. With cotton and synthetics, you can enjoy superior moisture-wicking abilities. 

Here at Olivers, we offer a range of cotton stretch fabrics that are resistant to moisture. For instance, our Surge Series and our All Over Stretch Weave are the perfect addition to your athleisure and performance apparel.

These garments provide superior mobility in a moisture-wicking material. Choose from lined shorts, different colors, and pants that keep you dry, free, and feeling good. Wear these on a hiking trail or in a board meeting for breathable pants that support your every move. 

Ripstop Nylon

When it comes to synthetics and nylon, ripstop nylon is an excellent choice. This lightweight, breathable material helps you feel comfortable, free, and dry. With water-repellant properties woven into each seam, this material is the perfect option for those who want to feel lightweight and dry. 

If you’re looking for the perfect lightweight fabric for your heavy-duty workout, ripstop nylon is there to rely on. You can stay dry, comfortable, and enjoy breathable fabric while you get your sweat on. 

Poly Fibers

For activewear that is water repellant, look no further than our Pivot Tech Series. Made with recycled poly fibers, this collection is moisture-wicking, odor repellent, and sustainable. With 88% recycled polyester and 12% spandex, this material is comfortable, flexible, and stays dry. 

No matter how intense your workout at the gym is, you don’t want to feel wet and sticky. Our Pivot Tee and our Long Sleeve option are excellent for staying lightweight and free to move and sweat as much as you want. 

This fabric is best for those who value staying cool, lightweight, and dry in the gym. Wear these tees to your CrossFit class or on your morning jog to stay cool and sweat-free. 

How To Determine Which Fabric Is Best for You

With so many options for moisture-wicking fabrics, it is essential to determine which one is best for your needs. The key is to look at your lifestyle. 

Do you spend most of your active hours outdoors? Do you live where the weather can be intense? Do you go hiking and biking in rigorous climates? You need a fabric that’s also known for its durability. CORDURA and Merino Wool are excellent fabrics to consider. 

CORDURA is great for those who seek adventure and aren’t afraid to get rough. Wool is excellent for wicking away moisture, especially in cooler environments, as it acts as a natural thermoregulator. 

On the other hand, if you spend your main hours exercising in a gym where it’s warm, you need a fabric that’s breathable, lightweight, soft, and moisture repellant. This is where Supima cotton, Poly fibers, and ripstop nylon come in handy.

Don’t let your body suffocate in a pair of pants that aren't breathable. With these fabrics, you can enjoy comfort and dryness, no matter how much you sweat. 


Textile History Timeline | AATCC  

THE HISTORY OF WOOL Fact Sheet | Wool 

Surface Modification of Cotton Fabric Using TiO2 Nanoparticles for Self-Cleaning, Oil–Water 

Separation, Antistain, Anti-Water Absorption, and Antibacterial Properties | ACS Omega 

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