Polyester Vs Polyamide: What’s The Difference? What’s Better?

Polyester and polyamide are made from the same material and are both synthetic fabrics. However, they are different in multiple ways.

Although they are both made from plastic, they behave differently from one another.

Polyester is a specific fabric name, whereas polyamide is the name of a fabric group.

Both are used to make sportswear and other types of clothing, and they are very popular in the clothing market today.

Polyester Vs Polyamide: What's the Difference

In this article, we will explore the differences between the two and look at their pros and cons.

We will also look at examples of garments and products made from each fabric. Let’s dive in.

Polyester Vs Polyamide

Polyester and polyamide are similar in a lot of ways, but some key differences affect their behavior and how they are used.

It’s important to note that the term “polyamide” covers a range of different fabric types, but they do all have the same basic properties.

In a nutshell, polyester is more breathable, colorfast, durable, stiff, and warm than polyamide, but polyamide is much softer and more comfortable, with more stretch, less insulation, and is more often used for leggings, swimsuits, and underwear over sportswear and bedding like polyester.

What Is Polyester?

What Is Polyester?

Polyester is a synthetic fiber sometimes made from petroleum, water, and other ingredients.

It is usually woven into a tight weave and is often dyed black or white. It is quite durable, more so than cotton and is commonly used for clothing and upholstery.

Because it is relatively cheap, it is frequently used as a substitute for silk but can be created for a range of different textiles.

The fibers for polyester are woven together, meaning the fabric can be built to last and is very thick. It is strong and built to withstand stains and damage.

Polyester is stain resistant, which is one of the reasons it is so popular.

What Is Polyamide?

What Is Polyamide?

Polyamide is synthetic as well as polyester, but refers to a group of fabrics rather than a singular fabric.

The most popular polyamide is nylon, which is older than polyester and was first created before the first world war.

It was not produced commercially until 1938, and, like polyester, it is made from petroleum, water, and a variety of other chemicals.

These chemicals are mixed differently than when making polyester, and this is why they have different qualities.

To make it as durable as polyester, the fibers are woven together, but not like they are when creating polyester. The result is that it has a slightly different texture.

Differences

Breathability

Polyester is commonly used in sports clothing, so it has some breathability.

Unfortunately, polyester doesn’t provide much breathability compared to other materials as the fibers are so closely woven together.

The tiny spaces between the fibers do allow for some air to circulate, but it’s probably the least breathable fabric on the market.

Nylon and other polyamide fabrics, however, are not very breathable either.

Polyamide fabrics often trap heat and this can make you sweat, meaning, despite them being used in sportswear.

It’s often for different purposes. To increase breathability, you can always pair polyamide with another fabric.

Colorfast

Colorfastness refers to the amount of time fabric will hold onto dye before fading or bleeding in the wash. Darker colors tend to be more colorfast than light ones.

Some fabrics are naturally colorfast, while others need treatments to increase their colorfastness.

Polyester is colorfast as the mix of chemicals along with the weave of the fibers clings to the dye.

However, as with any fabric, you might find that darker colors fade or bleed a lot more and a lot faster than lighter colors.

Polyamides are less colorfast than polyesters. Nylon tends to hold onto color better than other types of fabric.

The mix of chemicals and weave usually has the opposite effect to polyester and the color is absorbed and spreads unevenly across the fabric.

Moreover, polyamide often fades in sunlight quicker than polyester.

Durability

Polyester and polyamide are two types of fibers used in making clothes. Both are very durable but in different manners.

Polyester is resistant against shrinking and wrinkles, while polyamide resists abrasion and is generally considered slightly more durable.

Polyamides are less prone to absorbing odors than polyesters.

The durability of both fabrics depends on how they’re treated. When washing your clothes, you can use a gentle cycle to prevent shrinkage.

You can also add bleach to help get rid of odor-causing bacteria.

Moisture-Wicking

Polyester is slightly better at repelling water than polyamide because it is less absorbent and is hydrophobic.

Polyester dries out faster than polyamide because it doesn’t let air pass through as easily.

This means although it’s not waterproof, it’s good at keeping sweat and water away.

However, both materials wick away moisture efficiently and this is why they are used in sports clothing.

Stretchiness

Polyester, compared to polyamide, has a very low amount of stretch. It only stretches about 3% when stretched.

This makes it ideal for underwear and tights only when blended with stretchy fabrics such as spandex. This applies to yoga pants and leggings too.

On the other hand, polyamide is highly elastic and can stretch up to 20%. This allows it to fit comfortably around the body without feeling tight or restricting movement.

It’s important to note that if you want to wear something like a legging, polyamide is better suited to that purpose. It’s a much better fabric for tight-fitting clothing.

Warmth

Since polyester is so thick and sturdy, this is what makes it so warm. It keeps you warmer than cotton because it traps more heat.

Since it is breathable, this can be hard to believe, but being breathable just means even though it will keep you warm, you won’t end up sweating at the same time.

Polyester is often used as a base layer, as it is one of the most insulating fabrics you can wear.

On the other hand, polyamides are thinner and have a higher loft, which means they keep you cooler than polyester.

They also allow more airflow through the garment. Even though fabrics such as nylon are popular in jackets, they are worn as an outer layer to keep away water and excess moisture.

However, if it does get too wet, it can make you feel even colder as it fails to insulate you and takes a while to dry.

Ease of Care

Polyester and polyamide are both easy to care for as they are not only durable but also wrinkle, stain, and shrink-resistant.

You should wash on a normal cycle using lukewarm water and either air-dry or dry them on medium or low heat.

Never use hot water or high heat when washing and drying and avoid ironing at a high temperature, as the synthetic fibers can burn and melt.

This is damaging to the fabric and you will often struggle to repair this. 

If you find the fabrics ever staining, you should avoid trying to clear them away with chlorine bleach. This can also damage the fabric. Always stick to non-chlorine bleach.

Uses

Polyester is mostly used for t-shirts and sports clothing. It’s versatile and can be used in both cold and hot summer clothing.

Polyester is also used to make curtains, bedsheets, and sometimes pillowcases. 

Polyamide on the other hand is used for sports clothing too, but also outerwear such as jackets.

As it is stretchy, it makes for good swimwear and tights and can even be made into carpets and rugs when looking at household items. 

Softness

Softness is one of the qualities that polyester falls on. Polyester is a very lightweight material but can feel stiff or uncomfortable.

Polyester is also much less flexible than other fabrics as it is made from thicker fibers that are tightly woven together.

Polyamide is an excellent choice for those who want something that feels nice and soft.

This is because it was made to be a synthetic alternative to silk material and the fibers are much more flexible. It makes for an extremely comfortable and soft fabric.

Price

Both polyester and polyamide are relatively inexpensive. They are among the cheapest fabrics available and come at a price point of around $0.50 per yard.

This makes them great options for those who want to save money.

However, many factors affect the cost of these fabrics. For example, if you buy them in bulk, you’ll pay less per yard.

If you purchase them in large quantities, you may even receive discounts. Often polyamide is slightly more costly as it is softer and more flexible.

Pros And Cons Of Both Materials

Polyester

Polyester is durable, easy to care for, versatile, and low-cost. However, it also absorbs moisture and resists stains, shrinks, and wrinkles. These qualities are what make the fabric so popular.

On the other hand, polyester is a type of fabric that holds onto smells. It is flammable because it is made from petroleum. It doesn’t tolerate high heat well.

Polyester is synthetic and therefore not as environmentally friendly as cotton or wool. It is stiff at the start but softens after several washing cycles.

This means, although it’s a popular fabric, it is not for everyone.

Polyamide

Polyamide is more commonly known by different names, including nylon, and is more popular than we might first think due to the following reasons.

It is used in clothing because of its softness and comfort. It also helps wick away moisture and repels oils.

Polyamide doesn’t hold onto odors or has high abrasion resistance.

On the other hand, as we have already mentioned, synthetic fabrics such as polyamide are not as environmentally friendly as natural fabrics.

They can’t tolerate high heat, and polyamide doesn’t keep you warm as well as polyester. 

They are also less colorfast than polyester and it is not as breathable.

Polyamide also retains heat which although it can keep you warm, you’ll often end up sweating.

These factors make them less popular among consumers.

Polyester And Nylon Apparel

As we have mentioned, polyester is a synthetic fiber made by the polymerization of ethylene glycol and other monomers.

It is a strong, tough, lightweight, durable, highly elastic material that resists stretching and shrinking. It is also fire-resistant and heat-resistant.

It is used as an alternative to silk, and it is used in most types of apparel and clothing.

On the other hand, nylon is generally only used when making blouses, dresses, foundation garments, lingerie, tights, underwear, ski apparel, such as jackets and trousers, raincoats, windbreakers, swimming costumes, and even cycle wear.

Polyamide is more popular to make underwear with, but when paired with spandex, polyester can still be a valid choice.

What Products Are Made From Polyester And Polyamide?

Polyester

Augusta Sportswear 100% Polyester Moisture-Wicking T-Shirt

This shirt is 100% polyester with a wicking knit and successfully absorbs moisture away from the body.

It has a tear-away label, a soft fabric collar, and a double-needle cover stitched collar with armholes.

The double-needle hemmed bottom makes for a comfortable fit and this is the perfect t-shirt for casual wear or even some light sport.

It is lightweight, thin, and a great everyday t-shirt.

It also comes in a variety of colors and sizes from small to 4XL. It is machine-washable, and we promise the polyester feels amazing on every wearer.

Polyamide

LIMPIDEE Workout Leggings for Women

These leggings are made with 80% nylon (polyamide) and 20% spandex.

They have a pull-on closure, making them easy to slip on and off and the fabrics used are buttery soft, whilst also being non-see-through, so you feel comfortable either doing yoga or any other similar activity.

They are high-waisted with tummy control, which means they are more supportive than other material leggings and will stop rubbing and chafing.

They are machine washable, but do not bleach or dry clean, and always tumble dry on low heat.

They also have an inner pocket to let you store loose change and keys whilst working out, and the after-sales service means you are guaranteed 100% satisfaction. 

Polyester Vs Nylon Carpets

Nylon carpets are durable and resilient. They’re better suited for high-traffic areas, but they can cost you a little more than polyester.

Polyester carpets cost less than nylons but need to be replaced more often. They’re great for moderate traffic areas and are still stain-resistant.

They are not soil-resistant unless you apply a special coating, but they do come in a variety of vibrant colors. 

When it comes to homeware, nylon and polyester are used for carpets, curtains, bedspreads as well as upholstery. Polyester can also make great pillowcases, bedsheets, and wall coverings.

Similar Materials

Nylon is the most well-known and popular polyamide, however, there is also polypropylene, polyethylene, and polyvinyl.

These materials are all different types of plastic and each one offers its benefits.

Polypropylene is a clear plastic that is commonly used to make milk bottles and food packaging. It is very strong and flexible, but it does not absorb water as polyester does.

Polyethylene is another common type of plastic and is usually found in bags, boxes, and containers. It is resistant to oil, grease, and stains, but it is not as strong as polypropylene.

Polyvinyl is a vinyl-based plastic that is used to make shower curtains, furniture, and flooring. It is stronger than polyethylene and polypropylene, but it tends to yellow over time.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Nylon And Polyester Waterproof?

No, neither is waterproof. However, both materials are water-resistant and can be worn while swimming.

If you’re looking for something that keeps your clothes drier, then look for more natural fibers designed for that purpose.

How Do I Wash My Polyester Clothing?

It is recommended to wash your polyester clothing separately from your regular laundry. Use cold water and hang to dry. This will help prevent shrinkage and fading. 

Which Is More Eco-Friendly – Polyester Or Polyamide?

Neither are the most eco-friendly, however, polyamides tend to be slightly more sustainable than polyesters.

Polyamides are derived from petroleum products, whereas polyesters can be made from corn or sugar cane. 

While polyamides are sometimes considered to be more durable than polyesters, they are still prone to breaking down over time.

Polyamides are also known to cause allergic reactions in people who are sensitive to certain chemicals found in them.

Is Polyester Good For Hiking?

Yes, polyester is good for hiking because it does not absorb sweat like cotton. It is also more durable than cotton and won’t get damaged easily when exposed to extreme weather conditions.

Can You Wear A Polyester Shirt Under A Cotton Shirt?

You can, but it may make the shirt look see-through. If you want to wear a polyester shirt under a cotton shirt, choose one without a lot of colors, as the contrast between the two could be too much.

Also, if you plan on wearing the same shirt again, consider washing it first before putting it back into storage.

Is Polyamide Safe To Wear?

Yes, polyamide is safe to wear. It doesn’t contain harmful substances such as formaldehyde, phthalates, or dioxins.

It’s also hypoallergenic meaning, in most cases, it won’t irritate skin or cause allergies.

Is Polyamide Good For The Summer?

Yes, polyamide fabric is great for summer. It has a lightweight feel and is resistant to wrinkles and creases.

It’s also breathable when paired with another fabric, allowing air to flow through it freely, and since it doesn’t hold on to odors, you will be able to move about with confidence knowing you don’t smell of sweat or unsavory odors in your environment.

Final Thoughts

We hope after reading this article you have gained a better understanding of what polyester is compared to what polyamide is.

We have gone through the differences, the pros and cons, labeled some popular products made with the fabric, and, hopefully, helped you make a decision on which fabric is better suited on which occasion. 

Both are great fabrics, and although they are similar, their unique properties are what sets them apart from one another.

Amanda Brown

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