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Best Fabrics for Hot Weather to Stay Cool for Summer

WriterAubrey McShan
10 min read
A team of runners warm up in a shaded city garage wearing blue and white fabrics for the hot day ahead of them

Whether you're a spectator at a thrilling sports game or want to be part of the action on the field, you can avoid overheating in hot weather with a few special clothing materials!

Our complete guide unveils the best fabrics for hot weather. Stay as cool as a cucumber — no matter what that thermometer says.

Key Takeaways

  • Discover the best fabrics for hot weather: from cotton and nylon to polyester and more. We dive into those and more as well as the pros and cons of each hot weather fabric.
  • Find out the top fabrics to avoid sweating as well as which type of material you should leave in storage this summer.

What Are the Best Fabrics for Hot Weather?

Curious about what material you should be on the lookout for this summer? Check out our pros and cons for each hot weather fabric.

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Hot Weather Fabrics: Pros and Cons
Fabric Pros Cons
Cotton Soft, and more breathable than synthetic fabrics Retains some moisture, wrinkles easily
Polyester Moisture-wicking, quick-drying, wrinkle-resistant Less breathable, may retain odors
Nylon Lightweight, durable, moisture-wicking Not very breathable, can retain heat
Rayon Soft, lightweight, good moisture absorption Can shrink or stretch when wet
Linen Excellent breathability, lightweight Wrinkles easily, may feel stiff
Merino Wool Breathable, moisture-wicking, odor-resistant Can be expensive, requires special care
Silk Lightweight, breathable, smooth, and luxurious Requires delicate care and is usually expensive

The best fabrics for hot weather include cotton, polyester, nylon, rayon, linen, Merino wool, and silk. To keep cool this summer, consider these materials and/or colors:

  • Cotton Blends: Cotton blends (e.g. cotton-polyester blend) are a popular choice. These blends can keep you cool and dry by allowing air to circulate and wicking away some sweat.

  • Polyester Blends: Polyester blends can also be a good option. They are lightweight and often feature moisture-wicking technology, which keeps you cool and comfortable in the heat.

  • Light Colors: Avoid dark colors like black. They usually absorb heat and can actually make you feel hotter. Opt for lighter colors. These can help reflect some of the sun's rays while also keeping you cooler.

  • Linen: Linen is another excellent fabric for hot weather! It’s widely known for its lightweight and breathable features that allow air to flow easily even in the heat.

Cotton Fabric for Hot Weather

A short-sleeved green cotton t-shirt and a close-up of the cotton are featured against a white background.

Cotton is a popular choice when it comes to fabrics to wear during the summer. It’s usually more affordable. However, it does have some drawbacks:

  • Cotton isn’t too breathable for high-intensity activities.
  • Cotton isn’t that moisture-wicking. Consequently, it can leave your body feeling clammy.

Expert Tip:

If you want to wear cotton shirts on your runs, opt for a cotton blend instead (like cotton and polyester). These typically have better moisture-wicking capabilities and improved breathability than pure cotton.

Polyester Fabric for Hot Weather

A short-sleeved gray polyester t-shirt and a close-up of the polyester are featured against a white background.

Polyester is a synthetic fabric commonly used in workout t-shirts and shorts due to its excellent sweat-wicking properties.

  • Made from plastic fibers, polyester can effectively draw moisture away from the skin — keeping you dry during physical activities.
  • To avoid trapping odors, polyester garments usually blend with other materials. This helps enhance its performance and minimize any odor retention.
  • As a synthetic material, polyester offers durability and resistance to wrinkles and shrinking.

Nylon Fabric for Hot Weather

A long-sleeved nylon pink button-up and a close-up of the nylon are featured against a white background.

Nylon is a lightweight, moisture-wicking synthetic fabric that is particularly well-suited for hot and humid days. It’s most commonly used for athleisure wear since it can keep you dry during even the most intense workouts.

  • Nylon fabric has excellent moisture management properties — efficiently wicking away sweat from the body to the outer surface of the fabric.
  • It has water-repellent qualities, which makes it a suitable choice for outdoor activities in light rain or damp conditions.

Rayon Fabric for Hot Weather

A navy blue rayon dress and a close-up of the rayon are featured against a white background.

Rayon is a fabric made from thin fibers that offer a good level of breathability. While it may not be as breathable as cotton, rayon still allows air to flow through — keeping you relatively cool.

  • It is a lightweight fabric well-suited for hot and dry climates.
  • Rayon tends to cling to the body. That means that this fabric is usually less ideal on the most humid days.
  • Choose rayon for its soft and smooth texture that can also be blended with other materials.

Linen Fabric for Hot Weather

A brown shoe with a linen upper sole and a close-up of the linen is featured against a white background.

Linen is a lightweight fabric made from the fibers of the flax plant. It is highly regarded for its moisture-wicking properties, making it an excellent choice for hot summer days.

  • Linen can absorb moisture while still allowing air to circulate — keeping you cool and comfortable.
  • It becomes softer and more comfortable with each wash, further enhancing its appeal.

Merino Wool Fabric for Hot Weather

 A tan merino wool sock and a close-up of the merino wool are featured against a white background.

Merino wool is a remarkable fabric known for its absorbent fibers that can regulate body temperature. It offers excellent breathability and moisture-wicking properties (which makes it a good fabric choice for hot weather).

  • Merino wool is particularly favored in outdoor activities like hiking. It is commonly used in hiking socks, light sweaters, and other garments.
  • Its natural properties allow this hot weather fabric to trap air pockets (which creates a cooling effect and prevents overheating).
  • Merino wool resists odors — keeping you fresh all day.

Silk Fabric for Hot Weather

A long-sleeved purple silk button-up and a close-up of the silk are featured against a white background.

Silk is a fabric renowned for its luxurious softness and smooth texture. It is made from the protein secreted by silkworms during the production of their cocoons. While silk can be breathable to some extent, it may not always be the best choice for summer weather.

  • Silk does a poor job of absorbing sweat and can stain under your arms if you sweat too much wearing this fabric.
  • While silk is a coveted fabric for its elegance and feel, it may be better suited for milder summer climates.

Fabrics/Fits to Avoid Sweating in the Heat

  • Avoid Leather, Denim, and Spandex: Fabrics like leather, denim, and spandex tend to trap heat and moisture, making you feel sweaty and uncomfortable.

  • Opt for fabrics with looser weaves: They allow for better airflow and ventilation.

  • Choose Moisture-Wicking Properties: Look for breathable materials that wick away moisture (like moisture-wicking synthetics or natural fibers like cotton blends or linen).

  • Tight Clothes: Tight-fitting clothing and tighter weaves don't allow your skin to breathe.

Group of children with teachers holding hands together on rainbow playground parachute in park in the hot summer

Have Fun Out There!

Want to stay cool even in sweltering conditions this summer? Whether you're hitting the gym or going for a run, our range of athletic apparel is designed to keep you cool and comfortable thanks to advanced cooling technologies and sweat-wicking properties.

Shop our exclusive selection of men's and women's athleisure, which both feature top brands like Nike, Under Armour, and more. Conquer any challenge this summer with our high-quality apparel!