Long-sleeve performance shirts aren't just designed to look good. They're also designed to give their wearers plenty of comfort during strenuous activities. Of course, not all performance shirts are made the same. Performance shirts are made from a wide variety of different materials, each with their own set of benefits and drawbacks for the wearer.
The following talks about the three most popular materials used for long-sleeve performance shirts, along with their advantages and disadvantages.
When it comes to comfort, cotton is often considered king. Cotton is a naturally soft and breathable fabric, making it an ideal choice for long-sleeve performance shirts. Performance shirts made from 100-percent cotton offer excellent comfort for work or play in a variety of environments.
Cotton is also surprisingly easy to care for. Thanks to its natural odor resistance, any odors that get absorbed throughout the day are immediately vanquished when washed. It's also hypoallergenic, making it an ideal material for those sensitive to allergens or skin irritation. Cotton performance shirts are also biodegradable, meaning they can be broken down safely and naturally when recycled.
However, cotton comes with its fair share of caveats. Cotton is one of several materials that often shrink when laundered. To get around that problem, apparel makers offer cotton shirts that are pre-shrunk from the factory. Cotton performance shirts are also more susceptible to wrinkles and fading than shirts made from other materials.
Made from synthetic materials, polyester is an excellent performance fabric that offers a broad range of unique benefits. For starters, polyester performance shirts are capable of wicking moisture away from your body, keeping you dry and comfortable underneath.
Polyester is also a very resilient material that stands up to a variety of abuses. You can pull or stretch a long-sleeve polyester performance shirt and not be afraid of it losing its shape. This also makes polyester highly resistant to wrinkling. Unlike cotton, there's no risk of polyester shrinking after a wash or losing its color over time.
One of the few downsides of polyester is its tendency to "pill" or create those annoying fuzzballs sometimes seen on performance shirts. Pilling happens when the fabric bunches up into a ball on the surface, making your clothes look old and worn out before their time. Fortunately, shirt companies have come up with ways to combat pilling by adding fuzzball prevention technology to their polyester performance offerings.
Flammability is another downside of polyester as a material for long-sleeve performance shirts. Polyester can melt and leave behind serious burns when placed near open flames, electricity, and other heat sources. Whenever you're wearing polyester, you should avoid these heat sources as much as possible.
Blended fabrics attempt to bring the best of each material, giving your long-sleeve performance shirts a high-quality look and feel. If you want the wrinkle and stretching resistance of polyester but with the soft feel of cotton, a blended performance shirt may be what you're looking for.
Many blended performance shirts consist of a 50/50 blend of cotton and polyester. However, a variety of other materials are often used in blended fabrics. For instance, some performance shirts may feature a spandex blend that offers greater stretch ability and a soft feel.
But just like any other material, blended fabrics also have their downsides. In combining the best of each material, a blend of fabrics can also inherit some of their negative traits. You may see a little shrinkage in a 50/50 cotton/polyester blend over time, for instance, but not to the extent of a 100-percent cotton performance shirt.
Blended fabrics also mix biodegradable fabrics with non-biodegradable materials, making them difficult to recycle properly without negatively impacting the environment.