Nylon and spandex – are two materials that are often used in the same sentence, but what’s the difference? And more importantly, which one should you be using in your next project? Well, fear not, because I’m here to answer all of your questions. Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about nylon vs spandex fabric!
What is Nylon
Nylon is a synthetic fiber made from polyamide. It is made from chemicals entirely, no organic or natural materials involved. It is a type of synthetic fiber that is often used to make fabrics such as hosiery, lingerie, activewear, and swimwear. Nylon has a high resistance to wear, tear, and abrasion, making it a popular choice for sportswear.
Nylon fiber is a manufactured polymer; monomers are the building blocks of polymers, which is a long chain of carbon-based molecules. The majority of nylon varieties are produced from these monomers, which are obtained from crude oil, also known as petroleum.
It’s forced through an extruder with adipic acid, which cooks it into a molten state and then outputs thin fibers for spinning onto bobbins before they’re wound onto another spool in what we call “drawing.” This results in the nylon fibers being spun into the desired garments or other forms of textiles.
Types of Different Nylon
This is the most common type of nylon. It is strong and durable. It is often used to make clothing, carpeting, and tires.
This type of nylon is less strong than nylon 66 but more elastic. It is often used to make hosiery and swimwear.
High Tenacity Nylon
This type of nylon is very strong and durable. It is often used to make ropes and webbing.
Low Denier Nylon
This type of nylon is lightweight and has a silky feel. It is often used to make clothing such as lingerie and activewear.
This type of nylon is very strong and heat-resistant. It is often used to make electrical insulation and molded parts.
Characteristics of Nylon
- Nylon is a pure synthetic fiber and is resistant to shrinking and fading.
- It has excellent stretch-ability, making it ideal for garments that need to be tight-fitting, such as leggings.
- Nylon fabric is also prone to pilling and bubbling.
- It is very absorbent and dries quickly, which is beneficial if you are working out in nylon leggings and they become sweaty.
- Nylon is a versatile fabric that can absorb extra moisture, although it lacks the same capacity as polyester or cotton.
- Nylon fabric is also wrinkle-resistant.
Popular Fabrics Made from Nylon
- Athletic wear
- Motion Capture Suits
What is Spandex
Spandex is a synthetic fabric made from long, chain-like molecules called polymers. Polyurethane is the most common type of spandex polymer, and it can be blended with other fibers to create a variety of different fabrics. The unique properties of spandex have made it an essential part of the textile industry, and it is now found in everything from socks to car seats.
Spandex fibers are much more elastic than other types of synthetic fibers, and they can be stretched to several times their original length without breaking. Spandex is a stretchable fabric made from elastane, which is created through a process that involves mixing a macro-glycol with a diisocyanate monomer, reacting the prepolymer with diamine acid to form chains of elastane, and then spinning it into fibers.
Spandex, Lycra, and Elastane – The Difference
Spandex is a fabric most people in America and Canada call spandy, even though it’s not really what they are referring to. Europe has an alternate term for this type of elastic mesh-elastane, which comes from chemicals being more correct than another language’s usage as DuPont trademarked their brand name Lycra after having created it through research on polymers starting back during World War II.
Types of Different Spandex
This type of spandex is very strong and durable. It is often used to make activewear, such as leggings and yoga pants.
This type of spandex is less strong than polyurethane but more elastic. Extensively used for blending fabrics.
This type of spandex is very strong and heat-resistant. It’s a good thermal insulator and is utilized to produce electrical insulation and molded products.
Characteristics of Spandex
- It is much stronger and more elastic than nylon, making it ideal for garments such as leggings that need to be tight-fitting.
- Spandex fabric is also less absorbent than nylon, which means it will dry more quickly.
- Spandex is also resistant to pilling and bubbling.
- However, spandex fabric is not as durable as nylon and is more susceptible to damage from heat and chemicals.
- Spandex is also less wrinkle-resistant than nylon.
Popular Fabrics Made from Spandex
- Spandex leggings
- Synthetic fiber
- Athletic wear
Nylon Vs Spandex Fabric – The Benefits and Drawbacks
Nylon is one of the most commonly used synthetic fibers. Both nylon and polyester have inherent stretch, meaning that they can be stretched without losing their original shape. However, nylon has more stretch than polyester, making it a better choice for garments that need to maintain their shape.
Nylon is also an excellent choice for stretchy clothes such as leggings and yoga pants. In addition, nylon is less likely to pill or produce static than polyester. As a result, nylon is an ideal choice for activewear and other garments that need to look their best.
Synthetic fabrics, such as nylon are made from the same material as plastics. Nylon is a synthetic fiber that is often used to make elastic garments, such as tights and swimsuits, raincoats, and ski jackets. Nylon is a water-resistant fabric, but it does not breathe well, which means that it can trap sweat and body heat, which can lead to skin irritation and discomfort. In addition, synthetic fabrics like nylon are not as durable as natural fibers, and they are more likely to pill or fade over time.
Spandex, also known as elastic fiber, is a synthetic fiber that is known for its high elasticity. Its elastic properties allow it to stretch up to five times its original length without losing shape or becoming deformed. Additionally, spandex is much lighter and stronger than natural fibers such as cotton and wool. As a result, garments made with spandex are often more comfortable to wear and easier to care for. Finally, spandex is resistant to creasing, making it an ideal fabric for travel clothing.
Despite its many benefits, spandex does have some drawbacks. It is not as durable as polyester fibers, so it is more likely to tear or show signs of wear over time. Additionally, spandex is not a natural fiber, so it may not be as breathable as other materials. Spandex stands up to heat pretty well, but it shrinks when washed hot or when fed into a dryer on a high-heat setting.
Nylon Vs Spandex – Key Features
- Strong and durable
- Less absorbent than spandex
- Resistant to pilling and bubbling
- Less wrinkle-resistant than spandex
- More stretch than polyester
- A better choice for garments that need to maintain their shape
- Less likely to pill or prod
- Strong and elastic
- Lightweight and easy to care for
- Resistant to creasing
- Not as durable as polyester fibers
- Better breathability than nylon
- Shrinks when washed in hot water or put in the dryer on a high heat setting
Nylon Vs Spandex – The Differences
Nylon and spandex are both synthetic fabrics, but they have very different properties. Nylon is a strong, durable fabric that is often used in fishing lines and nylon stockings. It is made from polymer polyurethane, which gives it its strength and elasticity.
Spandex, on the other hand, is made from shorter elastic fibers. It is much more stretchy than nylon, but it is also less resistant to body oils and other substances. As a result, spandex garments often need to be washed more frequently than nylon garments. Both fabrics have their advantages and disadvantages, so it is important to choose the right fabric for the right garment.
Let’s explore from the consumer perspective.
Nylon leggings are strong and durable, but they can be uncomfortable to wear because they don’t breathe well. On the other hand, spandex leggings are more breathable and easier to care for, but they may not last as long as nylon leggings.
For yoga pants, you want a fabric that is breathable and stretchy. In this case, spandex is the better choice because it will allow you to move freely and won’t trap sweat against your skin.
If you’re looking for running shorts, you want a fabric that is lightweight and won’t hold sweat. In this case, nylon is the better choice because it is more resistant to sweat and won’t weigh you down when you run.
Stockings and Pantyhose
Nylon is the better choice for stockings and pantyhose because it is more durable and less likely to tear. However, spandex may be a better choice for people with sensitive skin because it is more breathable.
Athletic Wear and Swimwear
For athletic wear and swimwear, you want a fabric that is stretchy and resistant to chlorine. In this case, spandex is the better choice because it will allow you to move freely and won’t be damaged by chlorine.
Blend – Nylon Spandex Leggings Vs Polyester Spandex Leggings
Nylon spandex leggings are made from a blend of nylon and spandex fibers. This gives them the benefits of both fabrics – they are strong and durable like nylon but more breathable and easier to care for, like spandex.
Polyester spandex leggings are made from a blend of polyester and spandex fibers. This gives them the benefits of both fabrics – they are resistant to creasing and pilling like polyester but stretchier and more comfortable like spandex.
Making Pants or Skirts
Spandex is your best bet for pants and skirts. It’s more breathable than nylon, so you’ll stay cooler in the summer months. And since it doesn’t absorb moisture as readily, it won’t get as heavy or wrinkled when you perspire.
Frequently Asked Question
Does spandex keep you warm?
No, spandex is not a good insulator, so it will not keep you warm in cold weather. However, it can be used to make clothing that is wind-resistant or water-resistant.
Which fabric is best for leggings?
For leggings, you want a fabric that is stretchy and breathable. In this case, spandex is the better choice because it will allow you to move freely and won’t trap sweat against your skin.
Is nylon good for summer?
Nylon is not a good choice for summer because it doesn’t breathe well and can trap sweat against your skin. However, it is a good choice for winter because it is a good insulator.
Is nylon good for skin?
Nylon is not a good choice for people with sensitive skin because it is not as breathable as other fabrics. However, it is a good choice for people with normal or oily skin because it can help to control excess oil.
What fabric is best for sensitive skin?
For people with sensitive skin, you want a fabric that is breathable and won’t trap sweat against your skin. In this case, spandex is the better choice because it is more breathable.
How did spandex change the clothing industry?
Spandex changed the clothing industry because it is a versatile fabric that can be blended into many different garments. Spandex blend is also very affordable, so it has made clothing more accessible to people.
Can I Stretch swimwear if it is made spandex?
There are many different types of swimwear materials, but most are made from either nylon or spandex. If your swimwear is made from either of these materials, then you can stretch your swimwear if it is too tight.
This will allow you to adjust the fit and ensure that it sits properly on your body.
So, there you have it! A few things to consider when choosing between nylon and spandex. In the end, it all comes down to personal preference. Nylon vs Spandex fabric is a debate that has been around for many years. But hopefully, this gives you a little something to think about the next time you’re standing in front of the fabric store.