Choosing the Right Fabric: The Ultimate Swimsuit Material Guide


When it comes to swimwear, the fabric you choose is crucial. It affects not only the look and feel of your swimsuit but also its performance and durability. In this ultimate guide, we'll dive into the different types of swimsuit materials, their properties, and how to choose the suitable fabric for your needs.

Understanding Swimsuit Fabrics

The Role of Fabric in Swimwear Performance and Comfort

Swimsuit fabrics significantly affect how comfortable and functional your swimwear is. The suitable material can enhance your swimming experience by providing the perfect balance of stretch, durability, and support.

Key Properties to Consider

  • Stretch: Provides flexibility and comfort.
  • Durability: Ensures long-lasting wear.
  • UV Protection: Protects your skin from harmful UV rays.

Popular Swimsuit Materials



Nylon is a synthetic fabric known for its exceptional strength and elasticity.

Pros and Cons


  • Excellent stretch and recovery
  • Soft and smooth texture
  • Quick-drying


  • Prone to fading and degradation from chlorine exposure



Polyester is a durable and chlorine-resistant fabric, making it a popular choice for swimwear.

Pros and Cons


  • Highly resistant to chlorine and UV rays
  • Retains shape well
  • Durable and long-lasting


  • Less stretch compared to nylon
  • It can feel less soft against the skin

Spandex (Lycra/Elastane)


Spandex, also known as Lycra or elastane, is often blended with other fabrics to provide stretch.

Pros and Cons


  • Excellent elasticity
  • Enhances fit and comfort
  • Allows for a snug fit


  • Can lose elasticity over time
  • It may not be as durable alone, but it is often used in blends



Neoprene is a thick, insulating fabric commonly used in wetsuits.

Pros and Cons


  • Provides thermal insulation
  • Buoyant and supportive


  • Bulkier and heavier
  • Limited breathability

PBT (Polybutylene Terephthalate)


PBT is a type of polyester known for its exceptional chlorine resistance.

Pros and Cons


  • Highly resistant to chlorine
  • Retains colour and shape over time


  • Less stretch than nylon or spandex
  • Can feel stiffer

Specialty and Eco-Friendly Fabrics

Chlorine-Resistant Fabrics

These fabrics are designed to withstand the harsh effects of chlorine, making them ideal for regular pool use. Examples include polyester and PBT blends.

Recycled Materials

Eco-friendly swimwear brands are increasingly using recycled materials, such as ECONYL, made from recycled nylon waste, to create sustainable swimwear options.

Natural Fibers

Natural fibres such as cotton and hemp are less common in swimwear due to their absorbency but are sometimes used in hybrid fabrics for comfort and breathability.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Swimsuit Fabric

Purpose and Activity Level

  • Casual Swimming: Opt for comfort and style with fabrics like nylon or blends.
  • Competitive Swimming: Look for high-performance fabrics like PBT or spandex blends.
  • Water Sports and Activities: Choose durable, supportive fabrics like neoprene.

Body Type and Fit

Different fabrics can enhance or hinder the fit of your swimsuit. Spandex blends offer great stretch, while polyester and PBT provide structure and support.

Durability and Longevity

Consider how often you'll wear your swimsuit and in what conditions. Chlorine-resistant fabrics are essential for frequent pool use, while UV-resistant fabrics are ideal for outdoor swimming.

Comfort and Feel

How a fabric feels against your skin can significantly impact your comfort. Soft, smooth fabrics like nylon provide a luxurious feel, while thicker fabrics like neoprene offer more support.

How to Care for Different Swimsuit Fabrics

Washing and Drying Tips

  • Rinse after Use: Always rinse your swimsuit with cold water after swimming to remove chlorine or salt.
  • Hand Wash: Use a gentle detergent and hand wash your swimsuit.
  • Air Dry: Lay flat to dry in a shaded area to prevent fading and stretching.

Storage Recommendations

Store your swimsuits in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. Avoid folding them to prevent creases.

Extending the Lifespan of Your Swimsuit

Rotate between multiple swimsuits to reduce wear and tear. Avoid sitting on rough surfaces to prevent fabric damage.

Latest Trends in Swimsuit Fabrics

Innovations and New Materials

The swimwear industry constantly evolves with new fabric technologies offering better performance and sustainability.

Trending Eco-Friendly Fabrics

Eco-friendly fabrics like recycled nylon and biodegradable materials are gaining popularity as consumers become more environmentally conscious.

Industry Shifts Towards Sustainability

Brands increasingly focus on sustainable practices, from using recycled materials to adopting ethical manufacturing processes.

Swimsuit Fabric Comparison Chart

Fabric Stretch Durability Chlorine Resistance UV Protection Softness
Nylon High Moderate Low Moderate High
Polyester Low High High High Moderate
Spandex High Low Moderate Low High
Neoprene Moderate High High Moderate Low
PBT Low High High High Low


Expert Tips for Choosing the Right Swimsuit Fabric

  • Consult with Designers: Seek advice from swimwear designers who can recommend fabrics based on your needs.
  • Test Different Fabrics: Try on swimsuits made from various materials to see what feels best.
  • Avoid Common Mistakes: Pay attention to the importance of fabric care, and consider your swimsuit's primary use when selecting materials.


Choosing the suitable swimsuit fabric is essential for ensuring comfort, durability, and performance. By understanding the properties of different fabrics and considering your needs, you can find the perfect swimwear material for any occasion.


What is the best fabric for competitive swimsuits?

The best fabric for competitive swimsuits is often a blend of spandex and polyester or PBT, offering a balance of stretch, support, and chlorine resistance.

How can I tell if a swimsuit fabric is chlorine-resistant?

Check the fabric label or product description. Fabrics like polyester and PBT are known for their chlorine resistance.

Are eco-friendly swimwear fabrics as durable as traditional fabrics?

Many eco-friendly fabrics like ECONYL are designed to be as durable and high-performing as traditional fabrics.

What fabric should I choose for sensitive skin?

Choose soft, hypoallergenic fabrics like nylon or specific spandex blends for sensitive skin.

How do I care for a swimsuit to make it last longer?

To extend the lifespan of your swimsuit, rinse after each use, hand wash with a gentle detergent, and air dry in the shade.