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Summer - Cotton vs Synthetics

Discussion in 'EDC Clothing' started by MrGlasspoole, Aug 9, 2018.

  1. MrGlasspoole

    MrGlasspoole Loaded Pockets

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    I sweat a lot and I'm looking for T-Shirts.
    If i search for fabric and summer the recommendation on website about clothes is linen or cotton.

    They write cotton has:
    low heat isolation (good in summer)
    high moisture absorption

    Now i saw on Amazon this synthetic shirts where everybody in the reviews writes he is wearing it in the summer:
    https://www.amazon.de/Just-Cool-Performance-T-Shirt-atmungsaktiv/dp/B004NQ2MN0

    But all the recommendations on websites are against synthetics because it is not breathable and traps heat.
    It also does not absorb moisture - so all my sweat runs down to my pants all the time...

    So why the reviews that this shirts are good in summer?
     
  2. Westerdutch

    Westerdutch Loaded Pockets

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    Are you sensitive to wool? Thin merino wool shirts are the best. Cotton second place, synthetic in general is just very very bad for just about everything.
     
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  3. MrGlasspoole

    MrGlasspoole Loaded Pockets

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    Yes i was looking at the merino shirts. But they are expensive.

    very very bad? So why is the stuff sold as functional/sports shirts?
     
  4. Tallboyjim

    Tallboyjim Loaded Pockets

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    You want something that wicks away moisture. Some synthetic stuff is supposed to do that, but I've yet to find any that can cope with my volume of perspiration. I generally favour cotton but try and have it a bit of a loose cut - not kaftan loose - but not skin tight.

    Merino wool, to the best of my knowledge, needs to be touching the skin to work and it moves sweat to the outside. My mate has a merino wool hat that highlights this really well - it beads on the outside.
     
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  5. aicolainen

    aicolainen Loaded Pockets

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    synthetics are good for two main things:
    Dry quickly
    Cost of ownership

    I do some kind of physical training almost every day, sometimes more than once a day. For this activity I often choose synthetics because they are less expensive than merino, last longer (more wear resistance) and retain its shape very well.
    If they are well made, in a thickness / quality suitable for the application they dry quickly and feel pretty good to wear.
    The quick dry times can also come in handy if you hike or camp outdoors. You can wash / refresh them somewhat in a stream or lake, and they will be ready to use in a few hours or less if drying conditions are good.
    Biggest downside is the smell. Synthetics will start to smell very quickly when they start to absorb sweat.

    Cotton is king of comfort, but only for causal wear and low activity levels in hot/humid weather. As temperature drops, activity levels can be increased to some degree.
    Good odor resistance, soft and dry to the touch.
    Cotton is also very fire retardant. I often use cotton in all garments or in combination with wool for this very reason. Both outdoors and in everyday life. Less wear resistant than synthetic. Often mixed with polyamid or polyester to increase strength, and sometimes spandex/lycra to add stretch. Be aware of the mix, as too much synthetics will severely reduce the positive sides of cotton. Not the best shape retention.
    If it gets too humid or you sweat a lot, you run a risk that the garment absorb moisture faster than it evaporates, and it will soak up and stick to your body. This is very uncomfortable. It gets even worse if you alternate between hot/humid and air conditioned surroundings, as wet cotton loose its ability to insulate, and you will get very cold in an air conditioned room.

    Wool (merino wool) is king of versatility: Thin merino wool will feel cool even in hot and humid weather. It insulates well in cold weather and even insulates to some degree when wet. Wool is also naturally fire retardant as well as very odor resistant.
    Low wear resistance, but OK shape retention as well as natural stretch. Stretch is off course only an advantage if you like form fitting garments, not everyone do. Note that also wool is often mixed with other fabrics. Sometimes to mitigate some of its weaknesses, but also for the manufacturer to save money. Be aware of what you buy.

    All tough wool is almost perfect, there are upsides and downsides to all fabrics. Let your application and budget decide which one to get.
     
    #5 aicolainen, Aug 10, 2018
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2018
  6. Tesla

    Tesla Loaded Pockets

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    This...except cotton IS good for casual wear in very hot temperatures. I live in Texas where we have multiple multiple triple digit days & high humidity every year. Cotton is the preferred fabric for that use.
     
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  7. aicolainen

    aicolainen Loaded Pockets

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    my bad. I agree

    edit: fixed it
     
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  8. garza

    garza Loaded Pockets

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    Under Armour and Nike both have moisture wicking t shirts which are my 2 preferred brands for the summer in Texas.

    The OP linked to the German Amazon site. Adidas has moisture wicking shirts made from synthetics specifically for soccer/football.
     
  9. Westerdutch

    Westerdutch Loaded Pockets

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    Synthetics are fine for sports that you do for one or two hours before you hit the shower and change (i have adidas wicking shirts for the gym and synthetic cycling shirts) but like said earlier they will smell like mad after that. We have lots of american tourists here that practically live in under-armour and my-gawd the smell they leave behind is almost visible. Its repulsive.
     
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  10. Gary Gross

    Gary Gross Loaded Pockets

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    No cotton for me if I'm doing physical labor or it is just generally hot out. It's a sponge that sticks (and stinks) like glue. Moisture wicking is the only way to go. Even my polos are Dry Fit or similar. They are generally thinner and very comfortable. They also tend to wrinkle less.
     
  11. Tesla

    Tesla Loaded Pockets

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    Disagree. If it's "generally hot out", i.e. casual wear... cotton is definitely more comfortable. For sports or high work load activities, then wicking synthetics are good, but unless you break out in a sweat at the drop of a hat, they're not the best for casual wear....plus they look, well....synthetic.
     
  12. jag-engr
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    jag-engr Semper Bufo!
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    I have the same problem with pretty much all materials. :eek:

    An option between cotton and merino cost-wise would be linen. It looks crumply, but it does breath well and is fairly resistant to saturation and mildew.

    Uniqlo Airism garments are pretty good for synthetics. I use their undershirts almost daily.
     
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  13. Tallboyjim

    Tallboyjim Loaded Pockets

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    I wore a puma synthetic t shirt when doing moderate exercise and I sweated a bit less but still sweated. I might look at linen - everything I wear looks crumpled anyway?
     
  14. kikaida

    kikaida Loaded Pockets

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    I think the moisture-wicking qualities of synthetics such as Under Armour work so well for some people, that they don't realize they've been sweating all day and need a bath/shower. Whereas with cotton, you can smell it right away. That's what I noticed when I wear cotton.
     
  15. kikaida

    kikaida Loaded Pockets

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    I wear synthetics for when I'm working out and sweating, or I wear synthetic fishing shirts when I'm doing activity outdoors. But when I'm inside or going to bed, I have to switch to cotton because its still more comfortable.
     
  16. [digidude].

    [digidude]. Loaded Pockets

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    Merino seems to be the best performance wise, but the durability sucks. I had a merino shirt develop holes after a few weeks of moderate everyday use. Has anyone tried the merino/synthetic blend shirts? I think they've started doing that to increase the durability. I've tried some cotton/synthetic blend shirts from Arctyrex that perform fairly well, they dry faster then pure cotton and don't stink up like pure synthetics.

    Shirt material is a constant battle for me :p