Nylon vs. polyester: Which is better for swimwear?

There are a lot of options when it comes to selecting a material for swimwear, and a lot of factors you need to consider. Will it stretch? Will it be comfortable? Will it look good? Modern swimwear needs to balanceutility and fashion and you need to select a material that will provide both. Nylon and polyester are the two most common fabrics used in swimwear, but which one is better? Let's dive right in.

Nylon and polyester are both synthetic materials. They each have their strengths and weaknesses, but how do these materials compare in swimwear applications? Let's take a closer look at the differences between nylon and polyester in terms of production, performance and eco-friendliness.


Differences in performance

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Straight off the bat, polyester is far more absorbent than nylon, meaning it can make the swimsuit heavier when it gets wet. This suggests that nylon might be a better material for athletic swimwear as it performs better in critical conditions. Further, nylon is far stretchier, giving swimmers a greater range of movement than they would experience in a polyester swimsuit. Nylon also dries faster, which can make all the difference in comfort during post-swim beach loitering. Both materials are fairly durable, but nylon again takes the cake coming in slightly stronger than polyester. Another point to nylon for offering a more natural feel against the skin. Not without its benefits, polyester boasts UV resistance which nylon can't offer. Subsequently, patterned swimsuits in nylon may fade sooner than those made of polyester after extended exposure to sunshine.

 

Differences in sustainability

 

Nylon and polyester are both made from fossil fuels, and neither are biodegradable. This may seem problematic, but both are also 100 per cent recyclable. While fully recycled polyester was available commercially before recycled nylon was, they can both be obtained without causing further damage to the environment.

Econyl is a process for recycling nylon that is fairly new, and Aquafil (the company behind it) are actively buying back excess nylon for recycling, reducing waste across the industry.

Producing virgin synthetic materials is bad for the environment, yet while nylon accounts for 11 per cent of synthetic fibre production, polyester accounts for a huge 56 per cent. So while each produce pollutants, polyester is considerably less green. If you have queries around the properties of different materials, get in touch with The Textile Hub. Our extensive industry knowledge and connections mean we can help your swimwear brand get a leg up on the competition.

If you have queries around the properties of different materials, get in touch with The Textile Hub. Our extensive industry knowledge and connections mean we can help your swimwear brand get a leg up on the competition.

Producing virgin synthetic materials is bad for the environment, yet while nylon accounts for 11 per cent of synthetic fibre production, polyester accounts for a huge 56 per cent. So while each produce pollutants, polyester is considerably less green.

If you have queries around the properties of different materials, get in touch with The Textile Hub. Our extensive industry knowledge and connections mean we can help your swimwear brand get a leg up on the competition.

 

What are the benefits of using Nylon 6?

 

Both materials are synthetic, meaning man made, however the way they are created is quite different. Nylon starts life as a liquid before being spun and dried into separate fibres. Polyester is spun directly into a thread from a polycarbonate solution. Because of the way they are made, nylon tends to be silkier and smoother and polyester a little more coarse and fibrous.

Nylon is far more commonly used in clothing such as tights, raincoats, and swimwear while polyester is more general purpose and can often be found used in non-wearable applications such as drapes and bedding. Nylon comes out on top in this category, simply due to its suitability for widespread use in swimwear.

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Nick Smith