Sustainable Fashion

Nylon vs Polyester: Ultimate Material Comparison Guide

Learn about the differences between nylon and polyester

Fabric Comparison Featured

Nylon and polyester are both synthetic fabrics made from petroleum products. Fabric made from nylon fibers is softer, stretchier, and has a better drape. In comparison, polyester is stiffer, but has much better breathability and moisture wicking. Both nylon and polyester fabrics are strong, easy to care for, and stay relatively wrinkle-free.

Check out the comparison table below:

Nylon vs Polyester Comparison Table

Other NamesPET (polyethylene terephthalate)
Made FromNylon is a synthetic polymer made from materials derived from petroleum.Polyester is a synthetic fabric made using petroleum products, although it is increasingly made from recycled plastic bottles.
AdvantagesStrong, lightweight, and easy to care for.Very high durability, with good breathability and moisture wicking makes polyester a very practical fabric. Can be mass produced at low cost.
DisadvantagesSignificant environmental concern.Significant environmental concern.
UsesUsed extensively in fashion to make a wide range of items.As a fabric, polyester is used widely in apparel and furnishings. Other uses include bottles and LCD displays.
Natural or SyntheticSyntheticSynthetic
Woven or KnittedEitherEither
Thread Count200-1000
WashingMachine washable in hot or cold water (check label for which one is best for your garment). May last longer if hand washed.Typically fine in the washing machine, but watch out for blends that need to be hand washed or washed in cooler water (always check the label first)
DryingMay wrinkle if dried in a dryer at hot settings. Opt for cooler settings or air dry.Normally fine in a tumble dryer with a low heat setting (check the label first)
IroningIron only on the lowest heat section without steam. Use a pressing cloth. Be careful because nylon can burn easily.Can be ironed, typically on warm settings. Turn it inside out and use a covering cloth and steam to reduce direct heat. Too much heat can melt the garment.
Wrinkle ResistanceDon’t tend to wrinkleDon’t tend to wrinkle
Heat RetentionMediumMedium
Moisture WickingMediumGood
BreathabilityPoorVery Good
Flammability (untreated)Medium (tends to melt rather than burn)High (tends to melt rather than burn)
Water-Resistance (untreated)MediumMedium
StrengthExcellentVery Good
Environmental Impact Score (A is best, E is worst)Virgin Nylon = E, Chemically Recycled Nylon = B, Mechanically Recycled Nylon = AVirgin Polyester = D, Chemically Recycled Polyester = B, Mechanically Recycled Polyester = A
Sustainability IssuesNylon is a plastic. It does not degrade and requires significant energy, chemicals, and waste to create. We recommend only using recycled nylon products.Polyester is a plastic. It does not degrade and requires significant energy, chemicals, and waste to create. We recommend only using recycled polyester products.