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Blog / Beginner's handbook / The Top 5 Softest T-Shirts That’ll Win Your Customers’ Hearts

Beginner's handbook

The Top 5 Softest T-Shirts That’ll Win Your Customers’ Hearts

The Top 5 Softest T-Shirts That’ll Win Your Customers’ Hearts
Dace Gribuste

By Dace Gribuste

10 min read

In your quest for the ideal tee, it’s only a matter of time before you start wondering about the softest t-shirts available. While style and color may grab your attention, it’s the unmatched comfort and extraordinary softness that elevates a shirt to the status of cherished favorite.

But for those who value luxurious comfort, there’s a challenge: with countless brands, styles, and fabric blends available, how can you determine which material is the softest? And how can you order the coziest t-shirts online without even being able to feel them for yourself?

Don’t worry, we’ve got the answers. In this post, we’ll take a deep dive into the world of custom t-shirts and expert t-shirt printing, and explore the most comfortable shirts out there. 

With expertise and attention to detail, we’ve curated a collection of the top 5 softest t-shirts that define comfort. Get ready to discover your new favorite softest tee!

What’s t-shirt softness?

Think about your favorite tee. What do you look for in it? Most likely, you want a t-shirt that moves, fits well, and feels gentle against your skin. In other words, you want the softest t-shirt available. But have you ever wondered what t-shirt softness actually is?

The Textile Institute defines fabric handle (softness) as the subjective assessment we make based on touch. Even though assessing softness can be subjective, researchers have been working on ways to measure and describe it. In prominent research, softness is defined as the opposite of stiffness or firmness, determined through tests involving bending length or thickness. 

There are also two recognized systems for evaluating softness. The first system considers softness to be a combination of smoothness, suppleness, and a soft feeling (‘NUMERI’). In the second (‘FUKURAMI’), softness relates to a sense of volume, richness, and well-defined impressions.

So, when we talk about the softness of a shirt, we’re referring to how the fabric feels against the skin and the tactile experience, which depends on the chosen material and fabric content.

The softest t-shirt materials

When it comes to the best t-shirts, the softer the better. No one wants itchy or rough fabric against their skin. While you’re likely familiar with common print-on-demand t-shirt materials like cotton or polyester, there’s more to their story. Each material possesses unique details and variants that play a vital role in understanding the final garment.

Here are the top two fabric options that stand out for their exceptional softness:

  1. 100% Cotton. Pure cotton, known for its timeless appeal, takes the lead in t-shirt trends. It’s derived from natural cotton fibers, specifically cellulose found in cotton plants. These fibers are spun into yarn and woven into a fabric that offers unparalleled comfort.
  2. Tri-blend. If you find yourself exploring vintage t-shirt design ideas, you’re likely acquainted with the charm of tri-blend fabric. This blend combines three materials—cotton, polyester, and rayon—in a semi-balanced ratio (50% cotton, 25% polyester, and 25% rayon).

Now, let’s explore the special qualities of each t-shirt fabric.

100% Cotton 

Cotton remains the ultimate fabric choice for super soft t-shirts. We love cotton shirts because they feel great, use natural fibers, breathe well, and don’t break the bank. But when your tee is 100% cotton, what does that actually mean? Here are the most common kinds of cotton you’re likely to come across:

  • Regular Cotton. Basic cotton fabric, often found in everyday clothes.

  • Preshrunk Cotton. Cotton fabric that’s treated to prevent excessive shrinking.

  • Combed Cotton. Cotton fibers that are combed to remove dirt and debris.

  • Ring-spun cotton. Cotton fibers, twisted and spun for a smooth, soft texture.

  • Organic Cotton. Cotton that’s grown naturally without synthetic chemicals like fertilizers or pesticides. 

  • The most gentle and softest cotton varieties include Egyptian, Pima cotton, and Supima.

Characteristics of cotton t-shirts

  • Naturally soft. The innate fluffiness and softness of cotton originates from nature itself, although technology and specialized techniques can further enhance its softness.

  • Naturally breathable. Cotton fibers have a hollow structure, allowing air to flow through them effortlessly. This’s why, when you wear traditional cotton tees, your skin can breathe.

  • Able to control the moisture. Cotton tees can soak up moisture naturally and are more resistant to sweat stains than synthetic fabrics are. 

  • Hypoallergenic. Cotton t-shirts are less likely to trigger allergic reactions compared to other types of fabrics.

  • Durable. Cotton is a very strong fabric, so you can trust that your cotton t-shirt will last a long time.

Tri-blend

You might be familiar with the term “tri-blend shirt,” or maybe it’s new to you. Either way, if you want the coziest t-shirts, it’s worth exploring garments made from tri-blend fabric because, well, it’s a game-changer in the t-shirt industry!

A tri-blend fabric includes a mix of cotton, polyester, and rayon. The result? Incredibly soft fabric that’s good for the skin and easily dyeable. Tri-blend t-shirts offer a unique blend of comfort, durability, and breathability, establishing themselves as a popular choice among the best tees for printing.

Rayon is the least common material in this mix. Originally developed as a silk substitute, it emerged as a new fabric for t-shirts in the mid-2000s. It’s made of cellulose fibers, absorbs moisture well, and offers a silkier feel and texture. 

Characteristics of tri-blend T-shirts

  • Wrinkle-resistant. Tri-blend fabric t-shirts resist wrinkles and keep their shape well.

  • Moisture-absorbing. They combine the moisture-absorbing properties of rayon with the strength and durability of cotton and polyester.

  • Lightweight and airy. Tri-blend shirts provide the light, breezy feel of cotton without the hassle of wrinkles or shrinkage. 

  • Naturally heathered. Opting for a tri-blend printed t-shirt typically ensures a naturally heathered, vintage look. It can depend on the printing technique, design, and colors used as well though. 

  • Semi-flowy. While not as flowy as silk or viscose, tri-blends offer superior drape and movement compared to cotton or polyester due to the rayon component.

  • Comfortable and stretchy. The combination of rayon and polyester gives a gentle stretch and enhanced softness as compared to pure cotton.

To sum up, tri-blend fabric combines qualities like wrinkle-resistance, moisture-absorption, and a heathered appearance. On the other hand, 100% cotton provides a classic and breathable option. What truly matters is your personal preference and specific printing requirements, since both fabrics have strengths and limitations.

Top 5 softest t-shirts

Now comes the essential question: which t-shirts are the softest? With so many fantastic options to pick from, it might be tough to limit the list to a handful. The team at Printful examined more than a dozen of our top tees to gauge their softness. They tested the fabric to evaluate its finish and feel, ranking it on a scale from extra rough to extra soft.

Here are our top 5 picks for the absolute softest t-shirts:

1. Men’s Garment-Dyed Heavyweight T-Shirt | Comfort Colors 1717

Introducing the ultimate tee: a 100% ring-spun cotton t-shirt. This special type of cotton makes our best t-shirts for printing super soft and comfortable for any occasion.

heavyweight t-shirt on a model

Source: Printful

We rate this custom t-shirt as extra soft on the softness scale. Our customers have also noticed and appreciated its softness. 

review of a t-shirt

Source: Printful reviews

This tee is right for those who like a relaxed fit that lets them move freely. Not only is it comfy and stylish, but it’s also tough and won’t wear out easily.

The fabric weight is 6 oz/yd2 (206.8 g/m2). What does that mean? Well, generally, the higher the weight, the thicker the fabric. With its heavy-but-breathable material, this shirt has a structured look that’s perfect for everyday wear.

To top it off, the tee comes in 15 stunning colors, giving you plenty of options for customization with embroidery or DTG printing.

Below you can get a glimpse of how one of our coziest t-shirts comes to life with DTG prints. Notice how vibrant the colors appear on the 100% cotton fabric, whether it’s a light or dark shade. It’s characteristic of this fabric to really showcase the different color options.

2. Men’s Premium Cotton T-Shirt

This men’s premium cotton t-shirt is a worthy contender for second place. It’s an original Printful product, crafted in-house for top-notch quality. Sourced from Latvia, the shirt comes in timeless black and white colors.

printful premium cotton t-shirt

Source: Printful

The cotton used in this t-shirt features extra-long staple fibers, making it durable, ultra-soft, and one of the best tees for printing. Our softness scale rates it as very soft, and our customers agree.

“The fabric is so nice. It’s that soft, stretchy fabric but still super durable and hefty.”

premium cotton t-shirt review

Source: Printful reviews

premium cotton t-shirt review

Source: Printful reviews

With a flattering semi-fitted shape, this t-shirt offers both comfort and a sleek appearance without any constricting feel. The fabric is designed to be elastic and stretchy, allowing for effortless movement.

This t-shirt also excels at retaining its vibrant colors, outperforming regular cotton even after many washes. This means you can confidently express your creativity through embroidery or DTG printing, without compromising on quality. 

3. Unisex Staple T-Shirt | Bella + Canvas 3001

Prepare to be smitten with our Unisex Staple T-shirt—a true favorite among our customers. Wondering why it’s such a hit? That’s easy, this t-shirt has a gentle, lightweight feel, plus the perfect amount of stretch to offer comfort and a flattering fit.

red cotton t-shirt

Source: Printful

But that’s not all. The customization options are a real game-changer. With a tear-away tag, you can easily add a custom inside label. To create your custom t-shirt, choose from a whopping 51 colors and a wide range of sizes, from XS to 5XL. And with a standard length and regular fit, this soft and versatile t-shirt is suitable for both men and women. 

What’s more, you can feel good about your purchase, as this shirt is manufactured in a 100% lawful, ethical, and safe manner, ensuring the well-being of workers and the planet.

bella canvas product origins

Source: Printful

Pay attention to this important detail though: the t-shirt fabric composition varies across different colors, featuring a combination of Airlume combed cotton, combed and ring-spun cotton, and polyester in different ratios.

4. Unisex Tri-Blend T-Shirt | Bella + Canvas 3413

This versatile unisex t-shirt is made of a special tri-blend fabric. Crafted from a blend of 50% polyester, 25% combed ring-spun cotton, and 25% rayon, our Unisex Tri-Blend T-shirt stands out as one of the most comfortable, stretchy, and softest t-shirts available. And our customers agree.

t-shirt review

Source: Printful reviews

When you choose to print on this tri-blend fabric, it adds a distinctive vintage touch to your design. All you have to do is take a look at our customer reviews to see firsthand how tri-blend t-shirt printing can bring a unique and stylish look to your tee.

5. Unisex Organic Cotton T-Shirt | Stanley/Stella STTU755

This top-notch organic cotton t-shirt is crafted from 100% organic ring-spun cotton, making it an excellent choice for environmentally-conscious shoppers. Organic cotton not only contributes to the softness of the shirt but also enhances its overall comfort.

model wearing organic cotton t-shirt

Source: Printful

Our customers rave about the soft feel of this organic cotton, the sharpness of the prints, and the exceptional quality of the embroidery.

When it comes to design options for the Unisex Organic Cotton T-shirt, you have the flexibility to bring them to life through either DTG printing or embroidery. Pick from a selection of 12 captivating colors in sizes ranging from S to 2XL. 

The fabric used for this product has been certified by prestigious standards like the GRS (Global Recycled Standard), OCS (Organic Content Standard), GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard), and OEKO-TEX Standard 100. Additionally, it holds a PETA-approved vegan certification. 

To learn more about these eco-friendly product certifications, take a look at our informative FAQ article before exploring t-shirt design ideas.

Final verdict 

So who takes the crown for the softest t-shirt? It’s simple: the shirt that your customers will love!

That said, cotton is the classic choice for those seeking the softest t-shirts. It’s not irritating and allows for vibrant prints on any color shirt. Combed or ring-spun cotton should be your go-to choice for softness. 

But if your vision entails custom t-shirts that have both elasticity and softness with a retro vintage charm, look no further than tri-blend t-shirts.

Whether you opt for cotton or tri-blend, in Printful’s product catalog you’ll discover all the softest t-shirts for printing—as well as other super-soft apparel items that might tickle your fancy (hoodies and leggings, anyone?). 

Let us know what you went with in the comments.

author

By Dace Gribuste on Jul 14, 2023

Dace Gribuste

Guest author

Dace is a freelance writer at Printful, with a background in content marketing and social media management. During her spare time, she indulges in reading and seizes every opportunity to backpack across Europe.

Dace is a freelance writer at Printful, with a background in content marketing and social media management. During her spare time, she indulges in reading and seizes every opportunity to backpack across Europe.