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What Kind of Fabric are Sweatpants Made of?

Comfortable sweatpants are among the top-ranking trends nowadays. Even though you can find them made of several different materials, the most common are cotton, spandex, and polyester. They appeared on the market after Emile Camuset, Le Coq Sportif’s founder, created the first pair in the 1920s.

Most athletes replaced tight-fitting trousers with sweatpants by 1936, but the movie ‘Rocky’ and Jane Fonda’s workout video established this piece of cloth as an excellent option for leisure time. Two crucial questions are what kind of fabric are sweatpants made of and which types of sweatpants are the best option for different occasions.


Sweatpants Materials

1. Cotton polyester sweatpants

Cotton polyester sweatpants

It is possible to find numerous materials sweatpants are made of, but the classic combination is the cotton-polyester blend. You can find two standard mixes:

  • Sweatpants made from a polyester and cotton in a 60:40 ratio
  • Sweatpants made from a polyester and cotton in a 20:80 ratio

Such models combine cotton softness and warmth with polyester durability and strength. These sweatpants are resistant to shrinkage and wrinkles, making them comfortable and appealing on any relaxed occasion or during exercise.

Additionally, cotton-polyester sweatpants won’t shrink like those made of pure cotton. However, you should wash your pair in coldish water and avoid drying them in a dryer with high heat levels. That way, you will prevent cotton thread shrinkage and destroying polyester on high heat.

2. Pure cotton sweatpants

Pure cotton sweatpants

Hypoallergenic, moisture-absorption, breathable, and soft cotton sweatpants are an excellent option for everyone enjoying leisure time.

Thanks to high air permeability, pure cotton sweatpants are a comfortable option during spring and fall, while a thick pair will keep your legs warm during winter. It is particularly vital during strenuous workouts.

Since natural cotton fibers wick moisture from your skin, you can feel comfortable wearing them throughout the day. Nowadays, you can find cotton sweatpants in various designs and models. That allows wearing this piece of clothes on most occasions, not only in the gym.

Since pure cotton is less abrasive than polyester, you will prevent possible unpleasant friction effects on your skin. Additionally, cotton is an organic material, so there is no need to worry about fabric chemicals or consequential allergies.

All these features recommend cotton sweatpants for everyday use, but you should be aware that it also has some downsides. For instance, this material loses its quality and resilience over time.

Plus, it is crucial to be careful with cotton sweatpants maintenance. Since this material is prone to shrinkage, it is better to avoid washing it in hot water and drying it in a dryer.

3. Polyester sweatpants

Polyester sweatpants

Polyester is an artificial lightweight synthetic fiber used for making shrink-proof, durable, and wrinkle-proof sweatpants. It is designed of blended yarn, featuring 65% to 67% polyvinyl chloride and 33% to 35% cotton.

This fabric is highly resistant to wear and provides the comfortable feel you have while wearing cotton. That makes polyester sweatpants an excellent fit for sports activities. Besides them, you can also find athletic joggers, track pants, and soccer pants made from this material.

If you have ever had sweatpants sewn of polyester, you know what it means to have an almost indestructible piece of clothing. They last for good, won’t wrinkle while using, and can successfully block UV rays.

On the other hand, sweatpants made of this material are contraindicated during hot summer days. Unfortunately, they can’t adequately absorb moisture and collect unpleasant odor after workouts.

Although washing and drying this piece of clothing is not complicated, you should be careful with using hot water and ironing at high temperatures.

4. Spandex sweatpants

Spandex sweatpants

This lightweight, comfortable fabric is resistant to antiperspirants and body oils, making it excellent clothing for exercising. Believe it or not, sweatpants made of spandex can stretch to almost six times their original size and quickly cling to your legs when necessary.

Spandex is particularly perfect for sweatpants used during working out and yoga, thanks to its property to stretch. In most cases, sweatpants made of this material combine spandex and polyester. Interestingly, they often contain less than 50% of spandex.

This fabric allows a wide range of motion and provides the necessary flexibility. Plus, the compression it provides is beneficial for your blood circulation. Spandex also dries quickly and excellently absorbs moisture, allowing your skin to breathe.

You can find models in different prints, designs, and colors. If you add a high level of comfort, you can be sure that this clothing is equally convenient for exercising and daily use.

5. Nylon sweatpants

Nylon sweatpants

Nylon sweatpants (parachute pants) are made of the same material as parachutes. Thanks to its durability, moisture resistance, and insulation properties, this material is considered the best option for outdoor athleisure.

These sweatpants are soft, won’t wear out over the years, and don’t require extended washing. It will be enough to light wash them in coldish water and let them quickly dry in the air.

Most athletes prefer using these flexible and comfortable sweatpants since this material allows free body movements and is moisture-resistant.

Trend setters enjoy this piece of clothing since numerous designs and color combinations are available. Besides, you can equally wear it during warm days and cold weather.

6. Polypropylene sweatpants

Polypropylene sweatpants

Polypropylene is an entirely water-resistant material made from plastic and pretty similar to polyester in quality. These sweatpants are an excellent choice for cold winter days, thanks to lower thermal conductivity that will keep you warm.

Be aware that polypropylene is the lightest synthetic fiber type available on the market nowadays, resilient to both alkalis and acids. That makes it the material of choice for sportswear for athletes and troops during the cold season.

It is also a fancy option since you can find models in numerous designs and colors. Additionally, it will keep you healthy thanks to its ability to keep the skin dry during physical activities.

7. Knit sweatpants

Knit sweatpants

Knit fabric is a result of interlocking yarn together by warp and weft knitting. It is an elegant material known for comfortable stretching and reduced fraying over time. You can find two types used in sweatpants production:

  • Fleece sweatpants

Fleece sweatpants

This hydrophobic material combines polyester and recycled plastics, turning them into fine fibers during production. Thanks to a structure containing air pockets, it provides excellent insulation for your legs.

Interestingly, this lightweight material has excellent anti-perspiration qualities. It blocks the outside humidity and allows your sweat to evaporate while exercising. These features make this model warmer than those made of other fabrics and convenient for wet and cold seasons.

  • French terry sweatpants

French terry sweatpants

Wrinkle-resistant French terry fabric is a versatile material typically made of pure cotton. However, manufacturers sometimes mix cotton threads with rayon, spandex, polyester, lycra, or even organic soy.

Thanks to its soft and warm texture, sweatpants made of this material are an excellent option for both exercise and pleasure time. This versatile fabric will keep you warm in cold weather and cool you down during hot summer days.

They are uncomplicated to maintain, and you can wash them in a washing machine and dry them in a tumble dry without worry. Surprisingly, you can wear your sweatpants for years since this material won’t lose its shape over time.


Sweatpants Styles

1. Basic length sweatpants

Basic length sweatpants

These traditional sweatpants typically come with drawstrings and reach ankle-length. You can find them in various designs and colors.

2. Cropped sweatpants

Cropped sweatpants

Casual Capri pants run to the mid-lower leg calf and come with an elastic waistband or drawstring to secure comfortable workouts.

3. Pocketed sweatpants

Pocketed sweatpants

Most sweatpants of this type come with cozy side and sometimes back pockets. They are highly functional and practical, particularly for jogging.

4. Drawstring sweatpants

Drawstring sweatpants

Most people who regularly exercise enjoy wearing practical sweatpants with drawstrings that allow quick waist adjustment.

5. Baggy sweatpants

Baggy sweatpants

These roomy and floppy sweatpants, typically made of fleece fabric, are excellent for home lounging.

6. Jogger sweatpants

Jogger sweatpants

These sweatpants come with stretchy, elastic bottoms and cuffed ankles, making them ideal for warming while jogging.

7. Relaxed-fit sweatpants

Relaxed-fit sweatpants

When you don’t want to look floppy but wish for sweatpants that provide extra space for your thighs, this model is the best option you have.

8. Racing sweatpants

Racing sweatpants

Unlike other sweatpants, this model is adorned with an excellent design with famous companies’ logos.

9. Slim sweatpants

Slim sweatpants

Slim and fit sweatpants minimize the typical roomy look most models provide. They are a particularly desirable option for plus-size wearers.

10. Striped sweatpants

Striped sweatpants

Athletic sweatpants’ design helps wearers look slimmer and taller, making them a desirable wear combination for many men and women.

11. Elastic cuff sweatpants

Elastic cuff sweatpants

Comfortable sweatpants come with tight elastic cuffs, making them convenient clothing to keep you out of the cold.

12. Elastic waist sweatpants

Elastic waist sweatpants

Elastic waistbands make sweatpants comfortable and provide a casual look. You can find this model in various colors and styles and use it as a practical exercise outfit.

13. Tailored sweatpants

Tailored sweatpants

John Elliott designed ultra-sleek tailored (Escobar) sweatpants with a fitted style. You can choose between high- and low-waisted models.



You can find sweatpants made from numerous different materials nowadays. The crucial thing is to get a comfortable, moisture-resistant piece of clothing that will keep you dry during strenuous workouts. It is vital to determine the primary characteristics of each material and align them with the type of activity you prefer.

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