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Understanding Competition Swimsuit Fabrics


Shopping for competition swimsuits can be confusing, especially if you don't what you're looking for. To best select a swimsuit, you must first determine the right fabric. Each material feels and fits differently in the water, so it is important to choose the right fabric to fit your needs. This guide will explain the pros, cons, and purposes of each competition suit fabric.

https://www.swimoutlet.com/p/sporti-solid-piped-thin-strap-one-piece-swimsuit-19796/ Nylon

    Details:
    - Ideal for drag suits and training suits.
    - Very common fabric in swimwear.
    - Often blended with Spandex for elasticity.

    Pros:
    - Offers a lightweight, smooth fit.
    - One of the strongest manufactured fibers.
    - Quick-drying and low-water absorbency.
  - Lower-cost.

    Cons:
  - Has poor resistance to prolonged sun exposure, so fabric will fade and fray. (To help, rinse with cool, fresh water after each use.).

Suit Pictured: Sporti Solid Piped Thin Strap Swimsuit

 

https://www.swimoutlet.com/p/a3-performance-female-sprintback-lycra-swimsuit-8117467/Spandex

   Details:
  - Ideal for competition suits.
  - Competitive swimsuits should contain higher percent of spandex.
  - Also known as Elastane or as brand name LYCRA®.

   Pros:
  - Form-fitting fit.
  - Mid-range cost.
  - Commonly used because of durable elasticity.
  - Excellent elasticity and stretch, so even a small amount is vital for swimsuits.

    Cons:
  - Can be itchy if not blended with other fabrics.
  - Does not hold up well in chlorine. Rinse with cool, fresh water after each use.

Suit Pictured: Speedo Women's Learn To Swim Pro LT Superpro Swimsuit

https://www.swimoutlet.com/p/sporti-micro-back-one-piece-swimsuit-25516/Xtra Life LYCRA®

   Details:
  - Ideal for competition suits.
  - Often blended with other fabrics.

    Pros:
  - Longer-lasting than LYCRA® Spandex.
  - Comfortable material.
  - Retains color and shape.
  - Chorine-resistant.
  - Stronger elasticity than Spandex/LYCRA®.

    Cons:
  - More expensive cost.

Suit Pictured: Sporti Micro Back Swimsuit

https://www.swimoutlet.com/p/tyr-durafast-solid-diamondfit-one-piece-swimsuit-2849/PBT

   Details:
  - Ideal for fitness and competition suits.
  - Best for outdoor swimming.
  - PBT stands for polybutylene terephthalate, a texturized polyester.
  - Often blended with Polyester.

    Pros:
  - Cost-effective and durable.
  - Chlorine- and heat-resistant.
  - Great stretch and elasticity, similar to spandex.
  - Quick-drying and low-water absorbency.

    Cons:
  - More expensive cost.

Suit Pictured: Arena Adult Madison Swim-Pro Back

https://www.swimoutlet.com/p/sporti-polyester-linear-thin-strap-swimsuit-8118997/?color=Polyester

   Details:
  - Ideal for competition suits.
  - Durable alternative to Spandex.
  - Common alternative to Spandex in competition swimsuits.

    Pros:
  - Form-fitting fit.
  - Chlorine-resistant and colorfast.
  - Durable material, even if not cared for properly.
  - Doesn't stretch as much as Spandex; holds shape well.
  - 2-3 times longer lasting than Spandex.

    Cons:
  - Not as comfortable as Spandex.
  - Higher cost.
  - Not super stretchy, harder to put on at first.

Suit Pictured: Nike Swim Polyester Cut-Out Tank Swimsuit

Cotton

   Details:
  - Ideal for fashion swimwear or cover-ups.
  - Not recommended for competition swimwear.

    Pros:
  - Soft, comfortable material.

    Cons:
  - Absorbs water.
  - Not fitted to body.
  - Water will cause it to lose its shape.
  - Rare to find in swimwear.

Keep in mind that there are different blends of these fabrics in competition swimsuits. While one material may not have good shape retention, the other blended fabric will. Compare the materials listed to ensure you are getting exactly what you need.

There's plenty of fabric and fabric blends available, but it is up to you to determine which composition best fits your swimwear needs. Now that you understand the differences between swimsuit materials, you're ready to get out there and choose.

Shop all Women's Competition Swimsuits

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Anonymous
2 months ago.
I am a swimmer that swims 5 days a week for about 60-90 minutes each day. I practice quite far from home and need a comfortable, less absorbent, affordable and durable suit. My current one is polyester and it's pretty old, so I will need to purchase one quickly. What are your suggestions?
SwimOutlet
2 months ago.
Hi!

We would suggest suits that are made of 100% polyester as they are less absorbent and they are also durable since they are chlorine resistant. You can check the list here: https://www.swimoutlet.com/searchresults.asp?Search=one+piece+100%25+polyester&checkRealSearchInput=Y#page=1&search=one+piece+100%25+polyester&catlvl=1&sortby=Relevance&viewall=no
Kandil
11 months ago.
what is the best blend for a burkini (full cover swimming suit) ... to be used on the beach
SwimOutlet
11 months ago.
Hi Kandil!

You may pair it with the "Splashgear Resort Regular Inseam Pants": https://www.swimoutlet.com/p/splashgear-resort-regular-inseam-pants-8819/?color=9343
Natacha
1 year ago.
Hi, I just bought a polyester swimsuit and am worried it is too tight. I can breathe and swim fine however the straps are tight at the shoulders. Will the material stretch a little bit over time?
SwimOutlet
1 year ago.
Hi Natacha! Polyester is stretchy, but it is made to go back to its original form.
Dinker
1 year ago.
Hi, I've got an 11yr old who goes swimming 2-3 times a week for an hour. She is getting rashes (hives) all over her Torso and Underarms. I'm looking for costumes to replace her current ones and not sure what material contents I should be looking for. I've done searches for hypoallergenic swimsuits but with little luck.Please can you advise
Swimoutlet.com
1 year ago.
Hi Dinker,

You have to figure out which type of material is causing allergy so you can choose a suit without that material. You can try 100% cotton swimsuits as well. If you think the hives are caused by rubbing, you can slide an anti- chafe balm over her skin before putting on her suit. There are vitamin enriched anti- chafe balm available on our website such as the BodyGlide For Her Anti-Chafe Moisturizing Balm 1.5 oz.
Michelle
1 year ago.
Hi. Mi son trains everyday around 2 hours and no swimsuit seems to last more than 2 months! Not even PBT, and less than 1 month if its lycra. Can you give another choice for a more lasting fabric for training? I know the carbon swimsuits are really good, but very expensive. Thanks
SwimOutlet
1 year ago.
Hi Michelle!

We recommend getting a suit made of 100% polyester which makes it chlorine-resistant and more durable.
Mia
1 year ago.
Can you tell me the difference between a woven fabric suit and a knit fabric suit?
SwimOutlet
1 year ago.
Hi Mia!

Please refer here - https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/what-difference-between-knit-fabric-woven-catherine-chen
Il
1 year ago.
Hello, I heard that swimming tech suits are covered with a layer of silver. Can this be possible? I am writing about chemistry in swim tech suits, so nylon, spandex, carbon fibres and how they affect the function of the suit. Are their any key points I need to include?
Anya Duroha
1 year ago.
What would be the best way to interpret fabric content percentages, in terms of what properties those fabrics provide to the overall tech suit. For example, a swimsuit that is 65% nylon/ 35% Lycra spandex and another that is 76% nylon/ 24% elastane plain weave. How would you interpret the ~10% difference in how much nylon is used, in terms of what properties it provides to the suits.
SwimOutlet.com
1 year ago.
Hi Anya

Spandex and elastane are interchangeable terms that mean the same thing. Lycra is a registered brand name for a polyurethane-based synthetic fiber that's also called spandex or elastane. Nylon is a very strong, lightweight and durable material. It is resistant to heat and tears and has a low absorbency rate. The higher the percentage of a certain fabric means that the characteristic or properties of that fabric is more noticeable in terms of suit performance.
Anya Duroha
1 year ago.
What would be the best ways to compare the swimsuits of different brands?
For instance, the Speedo Racer X and the Adizero XVIII Freestyle women's suits. What would be a good way to measure which is more buoyant or has a higher water absorbency or is more chlorine/stretch resistant between the two?
SwimOutlet
1 year ago.
Hi Anya!

We actually do not have the exact information when it comes to buoyancy or water absorbency due to different water densities. The amount of chemicals in pool water vary so we are unsure also which one is more durable. However, the Speedo Racer X is the most choice or popular compared to the Adizero.
Random Parent
2 years ago.
Hi, can you tell me if the Speedo Aquablade is made of "textiles." My son's regular suit (Speedo Endurance) is missing and all he has for his meet tonight is an old Aquablade. Summer swim league rules say it must be made of "textile material." But I can't seem to find easy info on it. Thanks for the help!
swimoutlet.com
2 years ago.
Hello! Do you know the specific style of Aquablade he has? Are there any product codes or SKU code numbers listed on the tag of the item?
Trish
3 years ago.
Hi, I'm allergic to Latex and Polyester. I have the worst time fitting into a bathing suit that won't aggravate my skin and fill so darn uncomfortable. Is there a bathing suit out there for people like me? HELP!?
Swimoutlet.com
3 years ago.
Hello Trish,
The materials you want to look for are nylon, lycra or spandex. These three materials have no latex in them or polyester. Stay away from PBT since this is a polyester by product. On the left hand side of the screen you can narrow down your search by choosing the type of material you want, also on each product page about halfway down the page, there will be product details which will tell you the exact percentage of material in the suit.
Zee
3 years ago.
Hi there, great article. I am a little over weight and need a suit that helps suck in my flabby bits. What is the best material combo to look out for pls? Both from technology and comfort point of view? Those spank style suits, are not comfortable!
swimoutlet.com
3 years ago.
Hi Zee,
I would suggest a blend of polyester and spandex. You'll have the benefit of a long lasting suit from the polyester so it retains it's shape really well and you'll have the stretch from the spandex for comfort. It's a great material blend. I hope this helps!
Kate
3 years ago.
Because of severe arthritis in my hands, I have difficulty getting swim suits on and offf....please tell me what fabric might make this easier...I love to swim and do this regularly.

reCAPTCHA
swimoutlet.com
3 years ago.
Hi Kate,
I would suggest a swimsuit that has mainly nylon. Nylon is often blended with other material such as xtra life lycra or lycra spandex. This would be easier to put on, but the downside is it doesn't last as long as polyester. Here are some options to check out: Speedo Contemporary Ultraback One Piece Swimsuit, Reebok Fitness Swim Zig Zag U-Back Tank, Speedo Ultraback Conservative One Piece Swimsuit.
Brittany
4 years ago.
What's the best fabric for cover ups?
swimoutlet.com
3 years ago.
Hi Brittany,
Polyester is a great material for cover ups. When looking at a product, check out the product details for the material type.
DINAISA RAYNOR
4 years ago.
IAM STARTING MY OWN SWIMSUIT LINE , AND I WANTED TO USE
83% LYCRA AND 17% ELASTIC
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE FABRIC IM USING ? WOULD YOU CONSIDER SOMETHING ELSE ?
Swimoutlet.com
4 years ago.
Hi Dinaisa,
Polyester is also a good fabric to keep in mind.
Lex
4 years ago.
What is the best swimsuit material for open water swimming in salt water 1-3 times a week?
swimoutlet.com
4 years ago.
Hi Lex,
Polyester or a blend of polyester and PBT will work well.
Annie Lee
4 years ago.
What material is best for a swimsuit worn daily for 2 hours in a chlorinated pool?
swimoutlet.com
4 years ago.
Hi Annie,
Polyester will provide a long life for the swimsuit. You are able to filter by fabric when checking out swimsuits on the left hand side of the page. I hope this helps!
Maria
4 years ago.
Hi

I am on a proccess of making my swimwear collectin,
and after reading the above article, i would like to have your advise on the best fabric combination to make the best quality in fabric to my collection.
IS THERE ANY DIFFERENT OF FABRIC MATERIAL TO BIKINIES AND DIFFERENT FABRIC MATRIAL TO OTHER SWIMSUIT???

your reply will be appreciated
Maria
swimoutlet.com
4 years ago.
Hi Maria,
The best fabric combination would be Polyester/Xtra Life LYCRA. Yes, bikini bottoms and tops are generally made from Nylon/Lycra. If you have further questions, feel free to reach us anytime!
jewelinvernale@nyc.rr.com
5 years ago.
Which is the best material in swim wear for a55 year young woman.? Nylon or polyster
swimoutlet.com
5 years ago.
Hi,
The best material will depend on how often you will be using the swimsuit. If you will be using this suit very often, for example about 5 days a week. I would suggest Polyester as it will last longer and maintain color better. If you will be using the suit a few days a month, I'd suggest Nylon. Nylon will provide more comfort. If you have any questions, feel free to reach us anytime!
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