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Blog / Beginner's handbook / Best Hoodie Materials: The Ultimate Hoodie Fabric Guide

Beginner's handbook

Best Hoodie Materials: The Ultimate Hoodie Fabric Guide

Best Hoodie Materials: The Ultimate Hoodie Fabric Guide
Zoe Amora Iranzo-Lauriņa

By Zoe Amora Iranzo-Lauriņa

11 min read

When selling custom hoodies online, a good design alone won’t make your brand memorable. You’ll also need to consider what hoodie materials best fit your customers’ needs, printing techniques, and brand image.

In this ultimate hoodie fabric guide, we’ll explore the most popular hoodie fabric types and compare their specific qualities and customization methods.

Hoodie fabric can vary in terms of durability, appearance, and texture depending on the manufacturing process and materials used. Most hoodies are made of a combination of fabrics, usually a blend of cotton and polyester.

Before diving into the best fabrics for hoodies, let’s start with what a suitable fabric weight would be for your print-on-demand store hoodies.

Hoodie fabric weight

One of the first things to look out for when choosing a hoodie is fabric weight (you can see this in the product description for each garment in our product catalog). Lightweight fabrics make the perfect light summer hoodie while heavier fabrics are great for winter hoodies or chilly evenings.

a collage of a man wearing a white hoodie

Source: Printful

Based on the weight, measured in oz/yd² (OSY) or g/m² (GSM), you can pick the best hoodie fabric to suit your goals. Here’s a cheat sheet to get you started:

  • Light summer hoodies: from 5.9 oz/yd² (200 g/m²) to 7.38 oz/yd² (250 g/m²)

  • All-year-round hoodies: from 7.38 oz/yd² (250 g/m²) to 8.85 oz/yd² (300 g/m²)

  • Cozy winter hoodies: from 8.85 oz/yd² (300 g/m²) to 11.8 oz/yd² (400 g/m²)

Now that we’ve cleared that up, let’s talk about the most popular fabrics for hoodies.

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Cotton and polyester blend

Cotton is a natural fiber that’s comfortable against the skin, absorbent, and breathable, making it ideal for daily wear. Polyester is a synthetic fabric that excels in long-term durability and wrinkle and shrinkage resistance. Together, they’re a match made in heaven.

Since hoodies are one of those wardrobe pieces you wear a lot, the material should resist fading, pilling, and shrinkage. Blending cotton fibers and polyester makes a durable fabric that withstands continuous wear and multiple washing machine cycles. So it makes sense that blends of premium cotton and polyester are used to create the best hoodies.

Types of poly-cotton blends

Poly-cotton blends come in different proportions—each with their own unique qualities.

50/50 cotton-polyester blend

This blend combines the best of both worlds, resulting in a comfy, breathable hoodie with excellent lasting color. Thanks to the polyester, hoodies with this blend require minimal ironing and are easy to care for.

You can find an in-depth review of our bestselling Gildan 18500 Unisex hoodie with these ratios here.

Other hoodies with a 50/50 cotton-poly ratio:

Our Unisex Basic Zip Hoodie is made with ring-spun cotton and a brushed fleece interior. This is the athletic hoodie that any active person needs in their wardrobe.

The Unisex Crewneck Sweatshirt technically isn’t a hoodie, but it offers awesome bang for your buck. This garment will surely complement any casual clothing collection.

65/35 cotton-polyester blend

This ratio provides a good balance between cotton and polyester’s top properties, making it on the softer side. Our Unisex Premium Hoodie Cotton Heritage M2580 is made with ring-spun cotton and a 100% cotton face for extra softness and print vibrancy.

Other hoodies with a 65/35 cotton-poly ratio:

Our Unisex Premium Sweatshirt Cotton Heritage M2480 is made of tightly knit 3-end fleece fabric. Fleece is a knit fabric with a higher loft fiber structure which means it’s thicker and has excellent insulation properties.

The Kid’s Fleece Hoodie Cotton Heritage Y2550 is also ultra-soft thanks to tightly-knit cotton-poly fleece.

a boy and girl posing for a picture

Source: Printful

80/20 cotton-polyester blend

A bit heavier on the cotton side, this is a great hoodie fabric for warmer weather. Our Unisex Pigment Dyed Hoodie has split stitch double needle sewing on all seams that enhances the fabric’s durability and strength.

Other hoodies with an 80/20 cotton-poly ratio:

The Unisex Kangaroo Pocket Hoodie is made with anti-pill polyester fleece and is preshrunk for easy care.

Our Unisex Midweight Hoodie has a 100% cotton face for stunning prints.

85/15 cotton-polyester blend

This is the perfect blend for those who love the soft feel of cotton but want some of the moisture-wicking properties of polyester. Our Unisex Eco Hoodie Stanley/Stella is made with 100% recycled materials and has convenient side pockets. Its raglan sleeves offer ultimate freedom of movement, while the brushed fabric gives it an ultra-soft feel.

Other hoodies with an 85/15 cotton-poly ratio:

The Unisex Essential Eco Hoodie is another environmentally-conscious choice with stellar reviews.

Our Premium Eco Hoodie has a brushed fleece fabric interior and an inside and outside label patch for branding, so you can make your brand really stand out.

a woman in a pink sweatshirt

Source: Printful

Which of these cotton-poly blends makes the best fabric for hoodies?

It all boils down to personal preferences. Let’s look at some factors that’ll help you choose a suitable hoodie fabric for your needs.

  • Comfort and softness: The higher the cotton percentage, the softer the fabric. But in terms of comfort, it depends more on the fabric weight, the climate you live in, and intended use. Cotton helps absorb perspiration while polyester is moisture-wicking. In other words, cotton keeps you cool on warmer days, while polyester is great for insulation or active wear. Cotton-polyester fleece hoodies are extra comfy and soft.

  • Breathability: Natural fibers like cotton are unbeatable in terms of breathability. The higher the amount of cotton, the more breathable the fabric. Also, fleece fabrics are more breathable than others, so that’s another characteristic to look out for.

  • Longevity: Both high-quality cotton and polyester are great hoodie fabrics, and when combined, they have increased longevity. Here, you should look at the type of knit, fabric weight (the heavier it is, the more durable it is), and the production process. For example, ring-spun or preshrunk cotton is more durable than regular cotton. Find out more about the different types of cotton in our Best T-Shirt Materials Guide.

  • Customization options: Poly-cotton blends work great with DTG printing (direct-to-garment printing) or embroidery designs. Hoodies with higher cotton content render more vibrant, detailed, and color-accurate prints. Alternatively, the higher the polyester content, the more resistant your prints will be to fading. As for embroidery, thicker fabrics are best for larger designs since they won’t let the hoodie scrunch up around the embroidered area.

If you need some help getting started, we’ve compiled a list of hoodie design ideas for inspiration. 

Find out more about direct-to-garment printing in our article on DTG vs. Screen Printing. And if you’re new to embroidery, here’s a Step-By-Step Guide to Embroidery Designs to get you started.

Tri-blends

Of course, we can’t forget about tri-blend hoodies. Here are the most popular tri-blends, also available in our product catalog.

50/25/25 cotton-polyester-rayon blend

Blending these three materials results in a luxuriously soft and comfortable fabric that makes for excellent lightweight hoodies.

Rayon, also called viscose, is a semi-synthetic fabric made from wood cellulose. Depending on how it’s produced, it can feel like cotton, polyester, linen, or even like silk.

Our Unisex Zip-Up Hoodie is made up of this blend, and is perfect for sports activities or layering under heftier garments.

70/27/3 polyester-cotton-elastane blend

Elastane, also known as spandex or Lycra, is a highly-valued synthetic material that’s renowned for its elasticity. Although synthetic fibers aren’t the most environmentally-friendly materials, adding a bit of elastane to garments creates a stretchy fabric that’s movement resistant. This results in a garment that lasts longer and is less prone to tearing.

Our 70/27/3 polyester-cotton-elastane hoodies are great for all-over prints, or sublimation printing. We have an All-Over Print Unisex Hoodie and an All-Over Print Unisex Sweatshirt that are ideal for eye-catching patterns and designs.
a man and woman posing for a picture
Source: Printful

Let’s analyze these two tri-blends in more detail:

  • Comfort and softness: Both are ultra-soft fabrics, but 50/25/25 cotton-polyester-rayon hoodies are great for summer, while the 70/27/3 polyester-cotton-elastane blend is more of a winter fabric.

  • Breathability: The higher the cotton percentage, the more breathable the hoodie. For example, a 50/25/25 cotton-polyester-rayon hoodie is just as breathable as a 50/50 cotton-polyester hoodie.

  • Longevity: The higher the polyester content, the more resistant the fabric will be to wear and tear. In comparison to the 50/25/25 cotton-polyester-rayon blend, the 70/27/3 polyester-cotton-elastane blend is more likely to maintain its quality and appearance for a longer period of time.

  • Customization options: The 50/25/25 cotton-polyester-rayon blend works with DTG printing or smaller embroidery designs. The 70/27/3 polyester-cotton-elastane blend was made for sublimation printing.

Find out more about cotton, polyester, and blended fabrics here. Now, let’s take a look at 100% cotton hoodies and their unique properties.

100% cotton hoodie fabric

Cotton, like many natural materials, is hypoallergenic, making cotton hoodies ideal for people with sensitive skin. Cotton also has incredible sweat-absorbing abilities, which means that 100% cotton hoodies are great for keeping you dry during physical activities. That said, you probably wouldn’t want to wear it when it’s raining or for exercising in colder weather since wet clothing can make you feel chilly fast.

All of our 100% cotton hoodies are made with French terry cloth, including our Unisex Basic Hoodie Printstar, the Unisex French Terry Pullover Hoodie, and our Unisex French Terry Sweatshirt United. French terry is a multipurpose knit fabric that’s smooth on the outside and has soft loops inside. This knit has an extra cozy and soft texture that’s great for winter hoodies. Garments with French terry cloth feel like a warm hug!
a woman in a white hoodie
Source: Printful

Here’s a quick analysis of hoodies with 100% cotton fabric:

  • Comfort and softness: Cotton provides the ultimate softness and comfort.

  • Breathability: In comparison with synthetic materials, cotton is exceptionally breathable.

  • Longevity: With proper care, cotton hoodies can last for a long time. However, prints tend to fade more quickly than on synthetic fabric.

  • Customization options: 100% cotton renders the most vibrant DTG prints. It’s also an excellent canvas for embroidery designs.

Other materials

100% recycled polyester

If you’ve gone through our hoodies and sweatshirt catalog, you may have noticed we offer a 100% recycled polyester hoodie—the Adidas Quarter Zip Pullover. This lightweight hoodie is the epitome of great activewear. Its moisture-wicking qualities will keep the body cool and dry, while the UPF 50+ will shield you from the sun. It comes with an Adidas logo on the left sleeve and you can add your own embroidery design to it.

Wool

Wool is a natural textile fiber that can be woven or knit. It has incredible insulation properties and moisture-wicking abilities, plus it’s breathable and allows natural air flow so that you remain dry and warm. Hoodies made of wool can be a great winter companion, but they’re more expensive to produce than cotton or polyester hoodies. Wool is also more prone to shrinkage, so we advise hand-washing. Also, some people may be allergic to the most common type of wool (from sheep).

Customization options: Wool isn’t compatible with DTG printing because of the fabric’s dense, textured surface. Also, the heat applied during direct-to-garment printing can damage or shrink the fabric. On the bright side, less delicate wool types are suitable for embroidery.

Corduroy

Corduroy is a twill weave fabric with thick vertical ribs woven in diagonal lines, called wales. It’s a durable, ridged, and cozy fabric that can be made from a variety of materials, but usually from cotton. Corduroy is often used to make coats, hunting apparel, slacks, jackets, and trousers, but it can also be used as a fashion-forward hoodie material.
a man in brown tracksuit
Source: Bengoodsmk

Customization options: Embroidery designs on corduroy have a unique texture and dimension that can be appealing, but DTG prints may not turn out so well because of the fabric’s textured surface.

Jersey knit fabric

Jersey is a stretchy knit fabric that’s made from wool, cotton, or synthetic materials like polyester. Single-knit jersey is a lightweight fabric that’s perfect for activewear. Double-knit jersey is less stretchy, but also less prone to curling up at the ends. The fabric’s firmness depends on the knitting density—the higher the density, the firmer the fabric. Both cotton jersey and fleece fabrics are good hoodie materials because they’re plush, cozy, and thick enough to hold their form. But, Jersey fabric is more prone to pilling than other fabrics on this list. 

Customization options: Jersey fabric works well with DTG printing or embroidery thanks to its smooth surface. The higher the density, the smoother the prints will turn out.

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Pick a hoodie that fits your needs

Now that you know more about each material’s characteristics, you can choose the best hoodies for printing your designs. Remember to look at fabric weight first, then consider which would be the most suitable fabric for each occasion—lightweight synthetic fibers are great for sports, while natural fibers like cotton are ideal for comfy casual wear.

The manufacturing process, fabric weight, type of knit or weave, and fabric blend proportions all contribute to a fabric’s unique properties.

You should also consider what printing method you want to use and how the material will affect print quality, vibrancy, and durability. A great way to ensure you’re satisfied with the quality is to order a product sample to see how your hoodie looks and feels in real life. 

Need some help picking a hoodie? We’ve compiled a list of the Top 6 Hoodies For Printing to make it simple.

What’s your favorite hoodie material? Let us know in the comments below!

author

By Zoe Amora Iranzo-Lauriņa on Sep. 26, 2023

Zoe Amora Iranzo-Lauriņa

Guest author

Zoe is a creative writer, multilingual translator, and certified yoga instructor with a passion for learning, traveling, and global cuisine. When she's not typing away at her PC, you can find her teaching yoga in the park, reading on the couch with her cat, or plunging in the Mediterranean.

Zoe is a creative writer, multilingual translator, and certified yoga instructor with a passion for learning, traveling, and global cuisine. When she's not typing away at her PC, you can find her teaching yoga in the park, reading on the couch with her cat, or plunging in the Mediterranean.