You probably already know that the secret to keeping warm in the biting cold is layering. Nonetheless, you’ll still end up cold if you are not layering warm fabrics.
So then, what are the warmest fabrics for clothing? The warmest fabrics for clothing have poor thermal conductivity and retain body heat. At the same time, they should allow the skin to breathe and whisk up the moisture. That way, you stay dry and don’t grow cold from sweating and dampness.
If you’ve been having trouble choosing warm gear or experiencing the cold even under a pile of clothing, read on. We provide an overview of the warmest, snuggliest fabrics to consider for cold seasons.
The 7 Warmest Fabrics For The Cold Weather
When choosing clothes, style is often prioritized over other things. However, as fall and winter approach, buyers switch gears, and warmth takes the front row seat.
Your primary focus when shopping for cold weather clothing becomes keeping warm and cozy. You must ensure that the coat, jacket, socks, or scarf you are eyeing are functional first before fashionable.
How warm a piece of clothing is depends on the type of fabric it is made of. You can quickly determine that by checking the material information on the care label.
The following are the fabrics to look for if you want to kick out the winter cold.
Wool is the warmest material for clothing. It is hands down the best for retaining body heat as its fibers have excellent insulation properties.
Obtained mainly from sheep, this natural fiber is soft, resilient, and has good elasticity. Wool is also water repellant and doesn’t quickly soak wet. And even when wet, it still keeps the wearer warm.
100% wool is a premium fiber, and the finest grades cost a fortune. There are, however, many wool varieties to choose from at affordable prices.
The main disadvantage of wool is allergic itchiness, especially in the cheap varieties. But if you can cough up extra cash, go for Merino wool.
Merino is the softest and coziest wool that feels heavenly next to the skin. Because it doesn’t sting, is breathable, and wicks moisture, you can wear it as a base layer.
Also, you might find wool too warm and heavy, especially for indoors. It is a better choice of material for outdoor wear.
Still, the aim is to feel warm and not like you are inside a furnace. So, when layering, opt for just one layer of wool, preferably the middle or outer layer.
2. Polar Fleece
Polar Fleece is a synthetic material created to mimic wool. Well, it is doing a fantastic job replicating its features.
It is made from polyester and is lightweight yet warm. Polar fleece traps air sacs that provide excellent insulation. Additionally, it is moisture-wicking and dries pretty quickly too, when wet.
The material is comparable to wool in warmth, except you cut back on the weight. It is also budget-friendly and much cheaper. Depending on thickness, fleece is a good choice for all types of clothing from loungewear to sleep wear, coats, and blankets.
Down is an excellent insulator that keeps the body very warm. If you are familiar with puffy jackets, most are probably down.
Original and high-quality down is made from feathers of mature geese or ducks stuffed in a softshell. It is lightweight and expensive too.
Today synthetic down filling is very common and much cheaper. It is comparatively warm too. The higher the fill, the warmer and more expensive the down. Typically, a 10-ounce fill is warmer than a 2-ounce of the same down fill power.
Down is, however, best for dry cold conditions only as it is not water safe. It loses its insulation properties when wet and should be avoided during downpours or heavy snowing.
It is outstanding material for quilts and comforters.
Nylon isn’t the trendiest material when it comes to fashionable items. Normally it finds better uses than making clothing such as umbrellas, shades, tents, and inflatables.
It is a synthetic fiber that is incredibly strong with a super tight weave impenetrable by water or wind. This nylon feature lends it useful for coats and jackets during cold seasons accompanied by rain or snow.
While not as warm as wool, it is a great shield against elements that rob you of warmth. It makes a soft shell that acts as a windbreaker and is waterproof.
Nylon clothing is an ideal outer layer for outdoor escapades and adventures where there are chances of snowing or rain. It is also pretty light and won’t weigh you down.
5. Faux Fur
Fur has, for the longest time, kept man warm from the very early days. People from mountainous regions where cold weather is extreme would often make warm coats and caps out of animal fur.
Fur has a long soft nap that outperforms many materials in thermal efficiency. Its deep pile traps air creating a layer of insulation that prevents loss of body heat.
In addition, it is fluffy and cuddly. It keeps the skin warm and dry and excels in wicking away moisture. Although it appears thick and bulky due to the fluff, fur is a lightweight material that keeps you warm without being heavy.
Real fur is, however, hard to come by these days and costs an arm and a leg. Faux fur is readily available and just as warm and cozy!
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Silk isn’t one of those materials you think of when considering warmth, probably because it is very fine.
Surprisingly, silk has a lot to offer the body during cold seasons, and there are good reasons to have it among your cool-weather apparel.
Silk is a product of the silkworm and is a natural fiber. It is considered luxurious and relatively expensive.
The fabric has a slim profile but despite that is a natural insulator and thermal regulator. It will keep you much warmer than cotton during cold spells by trapping air within its fibers, creating an insulation boundary.
It is soft, slightly breathable, and has moisture-wicking properties. Worn as a base layer under a thick coat, it provides warmth and comfort to the skin while still allowing it to breathe so you are not hot.
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For those with an active lifestyle that doesn’t let gloomy cold weather hold them back, Gore-Tex is a must-have.
It is ideal for outdoor adventures, hiking, trekking, boat riding, biking, skiing, or just running and jogging in ice-cold temperatures.
Gore-Tex is a durable, lightweight synthetic material made from PTFE which is basically plastic. It is waterproof, windproof, and, yes, breathable.
It blocks cold air and wind from getting in and has an insulation layer that stops body heat from escaping. Gore-Tex will also keep you dry in snow and rain.
All this while, the material allows the skin to breathe. You won’t necessarily be drenched in sweat under there. It is also resistant to odor.
What Is The Warmest Material For Clothing?
Wool is hands down the warmest material for clothing. And it makes sense to go for the warmest material that guarantees you warmth.
However, wool may not be an ideal choice for every situation. Imagine going to bed in something woolen; it doesn’t feel so comfy, does it?
You might need to select other appropriate warm materials depending on the place and activity. The following are the warmest materials for different types of clothing.
Best Warm Material For Hats And Scarves
Stock up on woolen, fleece, or fur hats, beanies, neck warmers, and scarves for the best protection against the cold around your neck and head when outdoors.
Best Warm Material For Socks And Mittens
Exposing your hands and feet is the easiest way to lose body heat and get cold. So, cover them in woolen socks and mittens to stay very warm. The next best option would be a wool-acrylic blend.
Best Warm Material For Pajamas
For sleepwear, you want a fabric that is warm but not stiff. Silk or lightweight fleece is enough for keeping warm and comfortable.
Considering heating systems in place and the layers of blankets or comforters you’ll be under, you want to avoid anything too heavy.
Best Warm Material For Indoors Clothing
When lounging inside the home, a fleece shirt and pants provide sufficient warmth. Light density wool is also an option.
Another perfect warm material for indoors is thick cotton. You can throw on a light wool sweater for extra warmth.
Best Warm Material For Outdoors Clothing
Cold conditions outside are rather frigid than indoors, so you want to layer really well with heavy coats and jackets over your base clothing.
Wool, down, or fur will provide adequate insulation and warmth. However, if it is raining or snowing, a nylon outer shell over down would be best to keep warm and dry too. Wool remains warm even when wet.
Best Warm Material For Sportswear
Gore-Tex and Spandex are the best insulation materials when keeping active in the cold. For snow-related sports, a waterproof membrane like Nylon or GoreTex is necessary over extra-thick insulation like down.
We hope this article has been super helpful and informative on what fabric to consider for warmth. For further insights, here’s a short by Ellis Brigham Mountain Sport on how to layer warm materials. Enjoy!
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