Cotton vs. Synthetic Sports Apparel for Men

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Cotton vs. Synthetic Sports Apparel for Men

Finding motivation to work out, hit the gym, or go for a run is tough. Many busy individuals feel like there is not enough time in the day, and gym memberships can be expensive. One of the best ways to get motivated to work out is to invest in a collection of comfortable sportswear. Men's sports apparel comes in a variety of colours, designs, and materials, particularly cotton and synthetic. The fitness industry continues to debate which material is better for working out. Cotton is the traditional fabric for men's sports apparel, but the up and coming synthetic clothing has rocked the fitness world with its superior wicking ability and sleek fit that is ideal for layering. Synthetic compression clothing can even improve blood flow and reduce the risk of injury while working out.

Both cotton and synthetic sports apparel for men perform well in different ways, and both types can be purchased in brick and mortar clothing stores as well as online using websites like eBay. Once men decide which material is better for working out, then hopefully the excuses for not working out can all but disappear.

When shopping for apparel fit for the gym or the great outdoors, male shoppers may be interested in finding clothes that wick sweat well, last long a long time, do not retain strange smells, and are comfortable and affordable. These six features should be the basis of comparison for the grand debate of cotton vs. synthetic sports apparel for men.


Fitness clothing's ability to wick sweat away from the body is perhaps the most crucial feature for those who prefer synthetic instead of cotton sports apparel. The synthetic blends are coated in a water-resistant mixture before being woven into the fabrics used to make workout shirts and shorts. This prevents the sweat from being absorbed by the fabric. On the other hand, men who enjoy working out in hotter climates may prefer cotton's inability to wick away the sweat. Since cotton absorbs sweat and retains moisture, it can work to keep the body cool during workouts.

For men who cannot decide between the two, Under Armour released a cotton-synthetic blend in 2011 that gives its shirts the ability to wick away most of the sweat while still retaining some moisture to keep the body cool. Regardless of one's preference or climate, wicking is the most important factor for many men who are deciding between cotton and synthetic apparel.


For those shoppers who may be concerned with how long their workout clothes last, both synthetic and cotton sports apparel can last a long time. Cotton may fade or appear worn after a few years, while synthetic apparel retains its shape well and does not stretch out or fade in colour. The durability of sports apparel for men may also depend on the level of activity or type of fitness one engages in on a frequent basis. For instance, cotton can last a long time for an individual who works out three to five times a week at a moderate level, whereas it may only last a few months for someone who runs twice a day, every day of the week.


Another factor to consider when shopping for either cotton or synthetic men's sports apparel is the smell. Synthetic blend clothing produces a smell when the wearer sweats because of the reaction with the water-wicking coating. Premium-priced synthetic sports apparel has a better scent than the inexpensive synthetic options. However, it is a side effect that synthetic wearers must endure to enjoy the quality and features that synthetic fabrics offer. Cotton washes easily and smells are removed that may accumulate during exercise. However, because cotton absorbs the sweat during a workout, this traditional fabric does smell during the workout process while the wearer sweats.

Temperature Regulation

Cotton and synthetic sports apparel for men both shine in two different types of climate. Cotton excels in hot environments, where men need a fabric that retains moisture to help keep them cool. Synthetic, on the other hand, is great for cold climates, where wetness against the skin leads to discomfort and possibly even illness. For those who plan on only working out in hot climates, cotton sports apparel for men may be the best answer. However, for most men who work out in different conditions throughout the year, it is highly recommended to own at least a few items of each different type of fabric. This enables them to be prepared for whatever type of weather and temperature a day might bring.


One of the most important and most subjective factors to consider is the comfort of each material when it comes to men's sports apparel. Many men prefer the comfort and familiar feel of cotton T-shirts for working out. Others enjoy the sleek, smooth feel of a synthetic blend compression shirt. It is ultimately up to the shopper to determine which type of men's sports apparel is the most comfortable.


As with every type of purchase, budget is a key consideration for shoppers who must choose between cotton and synthetic sports apparel for men. The affordability of either material can vary based on the brand name, the quality of the clothing item, and the additional features that may be offered, such as pockets and reversibility, among others. However, cotton does tend to be more affordable than synthetic in most cases. It is also more common to find cotton T-shirts being sold in used clothing stores and online.

The winner of the enduring 'cotton vs. synthetic' debate varies from person to person because of the varying responses to the six factors that most shoppers consider to determine good sports apparel for men. Durability, comfort, affordability, smell, and wicking are just a few of the reasons shoppers choose cotton, synthetic, or both when it comes to men's sportswear.

Buying Cotton or Synthetic Sports Apparel for Men on eBay

Whether one chooses cotton or synthetic sports apparel, all men's sports apparel can be found online on eBay for great prices. In fact, the site offers special deals on some types of men's clothing. The easy to use search box allows users to browse the database to find exactly what they are looking for by inserting keywords like 'cotton sportswear' into the box. The search results on the screen can be filtered by price range, shipping location, brand name, material, and more.

When shopping on eBay, it is important that every shopper thoroughly researches the reputations of sellers by reviewing their feedback before buying from them. The feedback provides insight about sellers' past selling experiences and customer satisfaction. 


There are many reasons to work out, and investing in the right type of sports apparel could make reaching one's fitness goals a little easier. Cotton and synthetic men's sportswear both excel in their own ideal environments. For instance, synthetic does well for runs in colder weather where lingering sweat can be chilly and irritating, while cotton shirts are best for running in hot weather when retaining sweat against the skin helps keep the body cool. Besides temperature regulation and wicking ability, cotton and synthetic sportswear differ in durability, affordability, comfort, and smell. Some of these factors are more subjective than others when it comes to the material's performance, and it is ultimately up to the shopper to determine which side wins: cotton or synthetic.

Shoppers can find the sports apparel they need in retail clothing stores and online using websites like eBay. Once the winning material is purchased, men can move on to reaching their fitness goals in record time.

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