Do you lead an active lifestyle? Do you have a hard time staying cool and dry during workouts with your cotton or polyester gear?
The good news is that with new, innovative fabrics such as Dri-Fit, you don’t have to worry about odor or your clothes getting drenched in sweat after a hike, biking session, or workout. You’ve probably heard about this fabric and wondered just what does Dri Fit fabric mean? Well, you’ve come to the right place!
I will explain everything you need to know about Dri Fit in this article. You will learn about the advantages and disadvantages of this fabric. You will also find out how Dri Fit compares to other fabrics, such as cotton and polyester. Ultimately, you will make smart decisions when choosing the best fabric to suit your active lifestyle.
So, let’s get started!
What Is Dri Fit Fabric?
Dri Fit is the brand name Nike uses to describe the innovative material used to make its over 1,000 high-performance athletic clothing products.
Dri Fit fabric is composed of microfiber polyester woven to offer advantages such as body-mapping and sweat-wicking, keeping you dry and cool throughout any high-performance activity.
While Dri Fit is Nike’s proprietary brand, other companies such as Puma and Adidas use similar technology to make high-performance clothing that leaves you sweat-free and comfortable even under high heat.
The microfiber material in Dri Fit clothing doesn’t absorb sweat in the same way cotton would. Instead, it distributes the sweat over the garment’s surface from where it evaporates into the air. This action ensures that sweat never sticks to your skin, keeping you dry throughout your workout.
Is Dri Fit Polyester?
Dri Fit is made largely of polyester, but it is not the same as ordinary polyester fabric. This innovative fabric consists of polyester microfiber woven in an interlocking pattern.
Microfiber is produced similarly to polyester, but there is a significant difference between these fabrics. Microfiber strands have a very small diameter. In fact, one strand of microfiber is smaller than a strand of silk—that’s how lightweight microfiber is.
Polyester is made from refined plastic. On its own, polyester fabric can sometimes be hot and sticky during high-performance activity, which is not the case with Dri Fit.
Dri Fit is constructed using an advanced method that gives polyester microfiber hydrophobic capabilities. Instead of absorbing moisture, the fabric allows the moisture to run down the minute gaps between the microfiber stands. When the moisture rises to the material’s surface, it spreads and evaporates, leaving your skin dry and cool.
The interlocking construction of Dri Fit is built for advanced sweat-wicking capabilities. So, you won’t feel any wetness or heat on your skin, even during an intense workout.
Nike also uses special antibacterial treatments to prevent the polyester from retaining odors. Polyester can become smelly after a workout and may retain the odor even after washing your gear. With Dri Fit’s antibacterial treatments, you do not have to worry about getting stinky due to your active lifestyle.
Clothing made from Dri Fit fabric is built with body mapping capabilities. This technology enables your clothes to follow your body’s contours, ensuring that the fabric absorbs every trickle of sweat.
A big advantage of synthetic fabric such as polyester microfiber is the ability to stand up to wear and tear. Apparel made from polyester will serve you for a long time without fading, shrinking, or pilling.
Is Dri Fit Made of Cotton?
Some of Nike’s Dri Fit garments contain cotton. The truth is, even garments that Nike advertises as Dri Fit cotton are not 100% cotton and instead contain only a small percentage of cotton and some polyester.
While cotton is lightweight and feels nice and soft on the skin, it absorbs moisture and is not the best material for use during high intensity activities when you want to stay dry and cool.
The few Dri Fit garments made from cotton and polyester blend have the same properties as the ones made using polyester microfiber. The blended fabric will absorb sweat, align to your body contours, stay cool, and remain odor-free.
When you compare Dri Fit vs cotton fabric, Dri Fit delivers superior sweat-wicking performance. Another advantage of Dri Fit over cotton is that it is easier to maintain synthetic fabric. Even garments made from 100% cotton can easily shrink in the washing machine. Cotton fades quickly after intense use, but Dri Fit fabric is more resistant to fading and shrinking as it is designed for rigorous use.
Dri Fit vs Polyester
Polyester is the main material used to construct Dri Fit fabric. But, as I mentioned earlier, the type of polyester and the technology used to produce Dri Fit is different from ordinary polyester.
Dri Fit fabric consists of microfiber polyester whose strands have a significantly smaller diameter than ordinary polyester strands.
A distinctive difference is that high performance fabrics such as Dry-Fit almost always consist of a blend of fibers such as polyester, cotton and spandex. So, while polyester fabric is made up entirely of polyester, Dri Fit typically doesn’t contain 100% polyester. Instead, it comes as a blend of fibers, although polyester is still the major fabric used in constructing this high-performance material.
The fabric’s construction is another difference between dry fit fabric vs polyester. Although Dri Fit is largely made from polyester, not all polyester apparel has the same qualities as Dri Fit clothing products. The main difference is in the way the polyester is constructed in these products.
There are different types of constructions or weaves for example sateen weave, waffle-weave, twill weave or percale weave, just to mention a few. The type of weave a manufacturer uses gives a fabric its unique properties.
Dri Fit fabric is woven to accommodate air spaces that quickly absorb moisture and diffuse it to the material’s surface. This mechanism ensures that your skin remains dry throughout high intensity workouts.
Advantages of Dri Fit Fabric
Now that you know what Dri Fit fabric is, let us look at its advantages over other materials such as cotton and polyester.
Sweat-wicking and cooling capabilities
Dri-Fit is the perfect high-performance fabric for anyone with an active lifestyle. Constructed using microfiber polyester, this fabric quickly absorbs sweat from your skin, transfers it to the surface of the garment from where it evaporates into the air. This action leaves you cool and sweat-free in all weather conditions.
By contrast, ordinary polyester can get hot and sticky, and retains moisture, making it less ideal for an active lifestyle. The same applies for cotton, which absorbs and retains moisture, which can be extremely uncomfortable during a workout.
Body mapping technology
Body mapping is unique to Dri Fit fabric. Garments made using this technology fit snuggly, maintaining close contact with your skin and aligning with every contour of your body. This way, the fabric quickly absorbs the slightest trace of sweat from each of your body’s nook and cranny. In the end, your body and clothes remain dry and cool even after an intense workout.
Dri Fit is excellent at repelling away moisture, which isn’t the case with fabrics such as polyester and cotton.
The microfibers in this fabric are hydrophobic, meaning that they do not absorb moisture. Instead, the moisture passes through the small spaces between the fibers and moves to the surface of the garment from where it evaporates.
Some Dri Fit garments such as specific jackets and hiking shirts are not just water resistant; they are waterproof! These apparels are made using Dri Fit fabric but come with an additional layer of sealed laminate to keep moisture out, making them ideal for use in light rain and snow.
Polyester and cotton are prone to shrinking, piling, and fading with time. These materials are not the best for repeated use in high-intensity activities due to their relatively short lifespan.
On the other hand, Dri Fit fabric is made specifically for high performance. Garments made from this material last a long time without fading or shrinking. So, although Dri Fit might cost more, the apparel will pay for itself in durability.
Disadvantages of Dri Fit Fabric
Dri Fit fabric is an excellent choice if you are looking for garments to suit an active lifestyle. Perhaps the only downside is that the fabric costs significantly more than your usual polyester or even 100% cotton apparel. But when you consider all the wonderful benefits, including sweat-wicking, body mapping, durability, UV and odor protection, and moisture resistance, Dri Fit does pay for itself.
Summary: What Does Dry Fit Fabric Mean?
Dri Fit is Nike’s proprietary technology that produces a high-performance fabric made of microfiber polyester, and a small blend of cotton and elastin. The fabric is specially made to absorb sweat from the skin, leaving you unbelievably dry and comfortable throughout a workout. Dri Fit is an excellent choice of fabric for active lifestyle gear.