When we go into a debate on whether polyester vs cotton is better, we’re also going into a debate on synthetic vs. natural fabrics – is there really a clear winner, or are we automatically on the side of naturally sourced fabrics?
But, of course, choosing an environmentally friendly fabric is always at the top of our list, and this fact alone will hold priority over function for some.
But what fabric truly serves the purpose of an undershirt better?
In this article, we take a look at what you need to know to make your choice between polyester and cotton undershirts, including breathability, softness, and price.
What Is Cotton?
Let’s quickly get down to the basics – what is cotton? Cotton is a soft, fluffy staple fiber that’s been used in clothing for hundreds of years.
This naturally occurring fiber is arguably the most popular in the apparel industry, as it’s easy to care for and comfortable year-round.
There are several different kinds of cotton available, with ringspun being the softest option of them all.
In general, cotton is soft, breathable, and comfortable. Plus, if you seek out organic cotton undershirts such as the Organic Signatures Men Crewneck Undershirts, then you’ll be getting a product that is made without the use of insecticides, pesticides, and chemicals, making it perfect for sensitive skin.
What Is Polyester?
Polyester is a synthetic fabric that was created in the 1940s. While a much less environmentally friendly choice than cotton due to its man-made nature, it certainly has its benefits over cotton.
These include the fact that it is more wrinkle-resistant, is less likely to fade, and is long-lasting and durable. Plus, because it is less absorbent than cotton, it is a more stain-resistant and moisture wicking fabric.
Is Polyester Cooler Than Cotton?
Which is cooler – polyester or cotton fabric? This is one of the most asked questions about polyester vs cotton undershirts because undershirts tend to serve two purposes when it comes to temperature – adding extra insulation or keeping you cool during the warmer months.
If you’re currently in the thick of the summer months or live in a constantly warm climate, then you’re probably more interested in the latter.
Cotton and polyester are two entirely different fabrics, with cotton fabric being a natural fiber and polyester being a man-made fiber. The cotton fibers allow air to circulate and move freely through the fabric, making its airflow potential much more so than polyester.
Cotton is, therefore, more breathable and cooler than polyester but does have one particular drawback when it comes to keeping you comfortable during the summer – it doesn’t dry as quickly as polyester.
You see, even though a cotton undershirt will absorb the moisture from your body, making you cooler overall, a cotton undershirt is not moisture wicking.
Therefore, excessive sweating will catch up with your cotton undershirt and make you feel wet and sticky rather than cool, calm, and collected.
Although a polyester garment is not as breathable as cotton clothing, it will keep you dry when you are sweating and won’t show sweat patches. This is why polyester is often used over cotton in activewear and workout clothing.
Is Cotton or Polyester Softer?
When it comes to which is softer between cotton and polyester fabric, cotton fiber once again takes the cake. You’ll notice that cotton has a softer and more supple feel than polyester, making it less likely to irritate your skin.
This makes cotton fiber undershirts a better choice for those with sensitive skin, in particular. Having said that, certain types of cotton blend materials are woven to be strong and rough, so this isn’t true in every case – although, who would want to make an undershirt strong and rough is beyond us.
Polyester vs Cotton Price
Of course, cotton couldn’t win every category and loses out when it comes to price.
This is mostly for a good reason, though, as it can fluctuate in price as a natural fiber. Plus, it’s a commodity, so it’s extremely high in demand.
Having said this, your cotton undershirts won’t always last you longer than your polyester fabric undershirts since they can wear down faster than polyester’s synthetic fiber.
Cotton is also more prone to shrinking than polyester, making the frequency in which you need to replace your undershirts potentially higher.
What Is Cotton Polyester Blend?
A cotton-polyester blend – also known as polycotton, poly cotton, or polycotton – is a blend of both natural cotton fiber and synthetic polyester fiber.
Generally, you’ll see a mix ratio of 65% cotton and 35% polyester, but this can vary significantly. Cotton polyester blends are extremely popular, as they take the best qualities of each fabric and morph them into one.
The result? A stronger, softer (in the case of polyester), more customizable material that dries faster than 100% cotton.
There are still some disadvantages to polycotton, including the fact that a cotton polyester blend doesn’t perform as well in outdoor working environments.
This means that wearing a cotton-polyester undershirt won’t keep you dry as well as a 100% polyester undershirt or keep you as cool as a 100% cotton undershirt.
Plus, it doesn’t thrive in high temperatures and is more expensive than just polyester alone. Our conclusion? Cotton polyester is the best of both worlds, but the master of none.
Cotton Polyester Undershirts
Due to the just-so-so nature of cotton polyester when used in undershirts, you’re going to see more of this blend available in regular t-shirts. However, the Hanes Ultimate Men’s Slim Fit Crew Neck Undershirts are not only a great deal for a pack of 4, but they more than get the job done.
Made of a 60% cotton, 40% polyester blend feature tag-free labeling, advanced odor protection technology, and seamless sides for added comfort.
Hanes also does a similar blend in their Men’s Tagless Comfort Soft Crew Undershirts, but instead with a 75% cotton, 25% polyester blend. Another soft and breathable tagless option, these undershirts also wick away moisture and use FreshIQ Advanced Odor Protection Technology.
Despite being composed of a blend that is the best of both worlds but the master of none, both undershirts have received rave reviews by customers, with the latter averaging 4.5/5 stars out of over 4,700 reviews.
What Is Better- Cotton or Polyester?
So, which is better, cotton or polyester undershirts? Both types of undershirts have their pros and cons, with polyester undershirts being a better choice to wear underneath or in place of workout gear, and cotton being better for everyday wear. But if we had to award the undershirt crown, it would be to cotton.
While cotton is not ideal if you’re going to be sweating buckets, it is overall the best choice when it comes to undergarments in general. Not only will it soak up excess sweat, but it will keep you cool, feel softer on your skin, and is best for those with sensitive skin.
If you’re looking for an undershirt option that can provide you with both the benefits of cotton and polyester (to a certain extent, depending on percentages), then opt for one of our choices above for cotton polyester undershirts!