Athletic wear can be expensive, especially when you compare it to regular clothing. A plain cotton t-shirt will be much cheaper than a special athletic t-shirt found in the work-out section.
There’s a reason athletic wear is more expensive, though. It’s typically made out of specialized fabric designed to aid in your work-out and keep you more comfortable. One of the big types of athletic fabrics on the market right now is Dri-FIT.
So, what is Dri-FIT material? Dri-FIT material is the brand of athletic clothing that Nike produces. It’s made of polyester fabric that’s been treated to be moisture resistant, UV-protected, and antimicrobial. It’s great for sports clothing and workout gear.
Dri-FIT material is an ideal fabric for any athletic activity. Whether doing cardio at the gym, running a marathon, or going on a hike, this fabric will be just what you need to stay comfortable as you sweat.
What Is Dri-FIT Material?
Dri-FIT material is the specific athletic clothing line sold by the company, Nike.
There are other competitors among various athletic companies, such as Puma with their line called DryCELL, Adidas and their Climalite and Climacool lines, and Reebok with their athletic line called PlayDry.
Dri-FIT clothing is made from polyester fabric, but woven in a particular way and treated to have qualities that make it useful in athletic activities.
One of the main differences between regular polyester and Dri-FIT material is that Dri-FIT is made using microfiber technology. This means that the fibers used to create the fabric are as thin as possible to make the fabric lightweight.
Dri-FIT material is also woven in a way to wick moisture away from the body. As you sweat, the moisture will move through the fabric to go from inside to the outside of the fabric. This pulls the sweat away from your body and helps you stay dry.
Sweat building up on your body underneath cotton clothing can be one of the causes of chafing during exercise. Having Dri-FIT clothing that wicks away moisture can keep you more comfortable and help you prevent chafing.
For more information on how the moisture-wicking process works, check out the video below by ThioJoeTech. He goes into detail and explains how it works to pull moisture away from the skin.
Another great quality to Dri-FIT material is its antimicrobial properties. It’s been treated to help prevent bacterial build-up, which can prevent your exercise clothes from stinking and retaining bad odors.
The final component of Dri-FIT material that sets it apart from most other clothing is the UV protection. For those who live in mild climates and prefer to exercise outdoors, proper UV protection is a must.
Instead of applying sunscreen all over your body, or just putting on regular clothes and hoping it’s enough, you can wear Dri-FIT material designed to protect you from harmful UV rays.
What Type Of Clothing Is Dri-FIT Best For?
Dri-FIT material is best used for athletic or exercise gear. This could be any type of workout clothing, such as shirts, shorts, pants, or even a lightweight jacket for cooler weather.
Dri-FIT is best for athletic clothing because that’s what it was designed for. All the qualities that make Dri-FIT different from plain polyester are geared towards someone going out and exercising.
In the winter, or if you live in a cold climate, it may be a good idea to layer up. You can use Dri-FIT clothes as your bottom layer to help with the moisture-wicking and sweat resistance, then add outer layers that provide more warmth and insulation.
While you can use Dri-FIT for any type of exercise clothing, it may not be the best option for workout leggings. This is because leggings are generally made to be tight-fitted to the body, and Dri-FIT has a looser drape and won’t cling as much.
This doesn’t mean Dri-FIT is baggy by any means. Dri-FIT clothing also has what’s called body mapping.
This body mapping helps the garments cling to the natural curves of your body to provide optimal moisture-wicking in the places you need it the most. It also has added mesh panels to aid in the moisture-wicking process.
The only reason you wouldn’t want it for leggings is that the clinging you get from Dri-FIT clothes is a much looser cling, allowing for movement and breathability, when compared to the skin-tight design of traditional leggings.
Pros And Cons Of Dri-FIT Material
All of the pros to Dri-FIT material revolve around its specific qualities and uses for athletic activities.
Between the option of wearing regular clothing, such as plain polyester, cotton, or a regular poly-cotton blend, or wearing Dri-FIT clothing for working out, you should always choose Dri-FIT.
The outstanding advantages of Dri-FIT clothing are listed below:
- Dri-FIT material is lightweight and breathable. While you’re training for a marathon in those hot, summer months, Dri-FIT clothing will keep you cool for every mile you run under the blazing sun.
- Dri-FIT material also carries moisture-wicking properties. The moisture-wicking technology of Dri-FIT material keeps your sweat from building up on your skin. Instead, the fabric wicks it away from your body, allowing it to air dry on the surface of the fabric.
- The antimicrobial treatment of Dri-FIT material helps prevent bacterial build-up. This isn’t just good for smell, but also for overall hygiene and cleanliness of your clothes. Dri-FIT clothing will help you smell fresh even after a 7-mile hike!
- UV protection is vital if you’re going to spend time outdoors. The UV protection that Dri-FIT material has will keep you safe from the sun’s harmful rays while you maintain an active lifestyle.
- Thanks to the microfiber technology, Dri-FIT material is not only lightweight but also comfortable on the body. It clings in the right places while maintaining a loose flow to help you exercise freely, moving without restriction.
While Dri-FIT material has tons of incredible pros that make it an ideal fabric for athletic wear, there are also some cons to Dri-FIT material.
No fabric is perfect. Tulle is an incredible fabric for a soft, light accent look, but doesn’t work well without layers of other fabric when used for clothing.
Dri-FIT material is amazing for athletic activities, but not ideal for someone looking to bundle up in the winter.
Below are some of the cons to using Dri-FIT material:
- Although Dri-FIT is comfortable when it comes to the drape and breathability, the actual feel of the fabric isn’t as soft as some other fabrics like cotton. There’s a roughness to microfiber that some people find uncomfortable.
- Those who have sensitive skin may find that their skin is irritated after wearing Dri-FIT clothing. Since Dri-FIT is a synthetic material, it may cause skin irritation, as opposed to clothing made from natural fibers.
- While the breathability and light feel of Dri-FIT is great in the summer, it doesn’t help in the winter. Dri-FIT can be a seasonal clothing item, not suitable for colder months, so you may only be able to wear your Dri-FIT clothing for certain months of the year.
- Dri-FIT material can also be a little sheer, depending on the color. White or light-colored Dri-FIT clothing can have a see-through quality that may make people uncomfortable to wear with colored undergarments.
- Dri-FIT material is prone to snags due to the microfiber weave of the fabric. This isn’t a big deal for regular gym use and proper washing, but can be difficult for those who want to wear it to hike. The material can get caught on trees or other plants and snag, creating little pulls all over the garment.
The cons listed above shouldn’t deter anyone from trying out Dri-FIT material. It’s still a fantastic material for athletic wear that can be worn in many warm and even slightly cool months.
Dri-FIT Material Qualities
When determining if Dri-FIT material clothing is right for you, you may have other questions in mind. You already know it’s great for athletic wear, but what about general qualities of the fabric?
Below are some additional details of Dri-FIT fabric that can help you have a better understanding of how this fabric feels and functions on a more general level, aside from the athletic aspect.
Durability of clothing is an important factor when clothes shopping. You wouldn’t want to buy a shirt if you know it’s just going to come apart after a few weeks of frequent use.
Dri-FIT material can be durable, but it depends on how you take care of it.
Without proper washing and drying, Dri-FIT material can shrink. This is because many of the Dri-FIT materials contain a cotton blend, and cotton is prone to shrinkage.
We’ll go into more details about washing instructions below, but the most important thing to keep in mind is wash cold and set out to air dry. Because Dri-FIT material is moisture-wicking, it will air dry very quickly.
Dri-FIT fabric is also prone to snags, just like any other microfiber material. These snags can develop into holes if you’re not careful, so be gentle with your Dri-FIT clothing.
A good way to avoid snags is to be aware of your surroundings. Try not to run into any doorways, trees, rocks, or anything else that can catch the fabric and pull.
If you’re looking for a comfortable fabric that allows for a lot of stretch for your work-out gear, then Dri-FIT is a great choice.
Dri-FIT material has a good amount of stretch. It isn’t as stretchy as something like spandex or Lycra, but it does still have some stretch to the material.
The stretchiness in Dri-FIT material is a good amount for any physical activity. Whether you’re stretching your body in yoga or going for a simple run, the fabric will stretch and move with you.
Be sure not to pull and stretch on the fabric too much, or you can cause the fabric to warp out of shape and ruin the natural body mapping that’s part of the Dri-FIT material.
Although Dri-FIT material can feel soft to the touch when you brush your fingers over it, the fabric tends to feel rough on the skin during wear. This is a natural part of all microfiber materials.
For people who don’t have problems with sensitive or easily-irritated skin, Dri-FIT clothing will still be soft enough to be comfortable. It is by no means as itchy as some other fabrics like tulle or sequined-garments.
While it may not be the softest fabric in the world, Dri-FIT is perfectly soft for a short period of time as you get your exercise in, then shower and change into more traditionally soft clothing like cotton.
4. Water Resistance
Not to be confused with waterproof, Dri-FIT material is water-resistant. As we’ve stated throughout the article, Dri-FIT clothing has moisture-wicking properties to take moisture off the body and push it to the surface of the fabric for a quick air dry.
This water-resistance quality of Dri-FIT simply helps you to stay dry of sweat while you work out. Although it helps wick moisture away from the body, it will do little if you find yourself in a torrential downpour of rain.
The primary goal of the moisture-wicking property is to prevent chafing and help save your skin from irritation while working out.
How To Wash Dri-FIT Material
Proper washing and drying of your Dri-FIT material can help extend its life and keep it in great condition for years.
The first step to taking proper care of your Dri-FIT material is to turn inside out before washing. Turning your Dri-FIT garment inside out will protect the material from snagging on other clothes or components of your washing machine.
Speaking of other clothes, it’s best to wash your Dri-FIT clothing only with other active wear or athletic garments. These clothes are often all made with similar fabric and won’t have any buttons, zippers, or other pieces that the Dri-FIT can snag on.
If you don’t have enough clothing to justify running a single cycle of just active wear, be sure to turn the clothes inside out. You may even consider putting the Dri-FIT material in a separate mesh laundry bag, much like those used for socks or undergarments.
The next big step for properly washing your Dri-FIT clothing is to wash it only with cold water. Hot and warm water can cause shrinkage to your Dri-FIT material. To avoid shrinking your clothes, wash them on a cold cycle only.
After they’ve run through a cold cycle with similar clothing, hang them up to air dry. Dri-FIT material is naturally moisture-resistant and will quickly wick the water away and help it evaporate quickly.
Air drying your Dri-FIT clothing will also help prevent shrinkage and keep your clothes in great condition. Clothes often snag and get tossed around in the dryer, so it’s best to keep your Dri-FIT material away from the dryer and hanging safely to dry.
Is Dri-FIT 100% polyester?
While some Dri-FIT garments are 100% polyester, not all of them are.
There are different styles and pieces of Dri-FIT clothing. Some Dri-FIT material is a polyester and cotton blend, adding an extra measure of softness to the clothing.
Polyester is the fiber of choice for Dri-FIT because it dries significantly faster than cotton, which helps with that moisture-wicking quality people need when buying Dri-FIT clothing.
Keep in mind that this polyester is the same kind of polyester fiber used in other fabrics. The only difference is in the weave and the treatment after production to add UV protection and antimicrobial properties.
If your skin is naturally irritated by synthetic materials, specifically polyester, Dri-FIT may not be the right material for you.
Does Dri-FIT feel like cotton?
Because Dri-FIT is made with 100% polyester, it does not feel like cotton. This microfiber fabric is rougher and does not have the same soft quality of cotton.
That being said, you can find some Dri-FIT clothing that is a polyester-cotton blend. If you purchase one of these blends, then you will get more of that traditional feeling of cotton.
Blending the polyester with cotton can take away from some of the moisture-wicking properties of Dri-FIT, but if you don’t sweat much and know you won’t need a high level of sweat-wicking technology, the cotton blend will work great for you.
How do you sew Dri-FIT fabric?
Dri-FIT fabric can be sewn, but it will take a delicate hand and a patient seamstress. If you have pieces of Dri-FIT fabric that need some alterations, feel free to get out your sewing kit and get started.
Just remember that Dri-FIT clothing is lightweight and stretchy. This can make it difficult to lay flat, pin down, and sew evenly.
Dri-FIT material can be treated as any other stretchy, lightweight material for sewing. Take extra care, use plenty of pins, and run it through the sewing machine slowly. You may need to readjust the material as you go to ensure a smooth seam.
A good idea is to use a zig-zag seam instead of a straight seam. This can help give your fabric more stability as you sew and as a finished product. The zig-zag seam will keep your clothing together and maintain a strong stitch as the fabric stretches on your body.
Is Dri-FIT good for rain?
While Dri-FIT material is moisture-resistant, it is not waterproof. If you’re training for a marathon and running outside no matter the weather, be aware that Dri-FIT will not keep you dry in the rain. The fabric will still get just as soaked as any other fabric would when put under pouring rain.
The advantages of Dri-FIT material in the rain are the lightweight nature of the fabric and the quick-drying technology that will help you dry faster after the rain stops.
Since Dri-FIT is a lightweight fabric, it won’t feel so heavy when soaked in water. You can still exercise in the rain without feeling bogged down by heavy fabrics. The Dri-FIT clothing will still move with you, allowing freedom and breathability.
When the rain stops, the Dri-FIT material will dry much faster than other clothing. It won’t dry as fast as it does from routine sweat, but it will still dry faster to get you feeling comfortable again sooner.
Is Dri-FIT good for cold weather?
Although traditional Dri-FIT is not good for cold weather, Nike has developed certain garments in their Dri-FIT line that are more suited for cold weather.
Regular Dri-FIT clothing is intended to provide breathability to help cool you down in warm weather. This is great during the summer months where heat can have you dripping with sweat the moment you step outside.
However, it won’t work well in winter months.
Nike knew this and created a new line of cool weather clothing as part of their Dri-FIT line. These clothes are called Nike Pro Warm fabric, and keep that same moisture-wicking technology while keeping you warm during cold weather.
You may notice that the Nike Pro Warm clothes are more along the lines of long-sleeve shirts, pants, and jackets. Regular Nike Dri-FIT clothing are traditionally short-sleeve shirts, shorts, and maybe even a few pairs of leggings.
These different clothing styles are a good way to tell the difference. If you’re in the Nike section of a sporting goods or athletic store and aren’t sure which pieces are best for cold weather, just search for the ones that look like they’d be used in cold weather.
Long sleeves and outer layers are meant for colder weather, so finding these in the Nike Dri-FIT section is a good bet that they have the moisture-wicking technology while also keeping you warm and insulated.
If you see a rack of shorter garments that feel more lightweight and breathable, those are probably geared more towards warm weather.
No matter what weather you exercise in, Nike has you covered. Their Dri-FIT technology works great for warm and cold weather and will keep you comfortable and dry during your exercise.
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