Fabric Comparison

Nylon vs Polyester

Nylon vs Polyester

What is Nylon?

Nylon is a synthetic polymer, originally designed to be a synthetic replacement for silk. It was the first fabric made entirely in a laboratory and is known for its high strength, excellent resilience, and superior elasticity. Nylon is commonly used in a wide range of products, from clothing and hosiery to carpets and fishing line.

What is Polyester?

Polyester, another synthetic polymer, is known for its durability, resistance to many chemicals, and minimal stretching or shrinking. Polyester fibers are often used in clothing, home furnishings, industrial fabrics, and electrical insulation. It is well-known for being quick-drying, which makes it a popular choice for outdoor and performance wear.

Nylon vs Polyester 

Both nylon and polyester have their unique advantages and disadvantages. Nylon's strength and durability, elasticity, and softness make it suitable for travel clothing requiring flexibility and close contact with the skin, while polyester's quick-drying, breathable properties and cost-effectiveness make it ideal for a wide range of uses, particularly in performance wear.


  • Nylon: Highly durable and more resilient than polyester. It has good abrasion resistance and can withstand repeated stretching and flexing.
  • Polyester: Also very durable, but slightly less resilient than nylon. It has high resistance to environmental conditions like UV rays and moisture.

nylon stretch

Moisture Handling

  • Nylon: Absorbs more moisture than polyester, which can lead to longer drying times. However, its moisture-absorbing properties can also make it feel more comfortable against the skin in hot, sweaty conditions.
  • Polyester: Hydrophobic, meaning it repels water and dries quickly. This makes it a great choice for outdoor and sports apparel.


  • Nylon: Generally less breathable than polyester, which can sometimes lead to discomfort in hot environments or during intense physical activities.
  • Polyester: More breathable and often used in moisture-wicking fabrics designed to keep the wearer dry and comfortable.


  • Nylon: Tends to be softer than polyester, offering a stretch and a smoother feel, which is why it’s commonly used in hosiery and lingerie.
  • Polyester: Can feel rougher or scratchier than nylon, but the texture can vary greatly depending on the fabric's construction and finish.

Environmental Impact

  • Nylon: Its production is more energy-intensive than polyester, and it also requires a significant amount of water. Nylon is not biodegradable.
  • Polyester: While also not biodegradable, polyester's production typically has a lower environmental impact than nylon in terms of water and energy use. However, both materials contribute to microplastic pollution.

Heat Resistance

  • Nylon: Less heat-resistant compared to polyester and is more suitable for colder weather. 
  • Polyester: More heat-resistant, making it a better choice for applications involving high temperatures.


  • Nylon: Generally more expensive to produce than polyester, which can reflect in the cost of the final product.
  • Polyester: More cost-effective to produce and thus often cheaper for consumers.


When comparing nylon and polyester, nylon stands out for its superior durability, strength, and elasticity, making it a top choice for travel clothing. Its ability to endure wear and tear while retaining shape and quality is unparalleled. On the other hand, polyester excels with its quick-drying and breathable qualities, ideal for outdoor and performance wear.
Building on the advantages of nylon, we at Western Rise use it extensively in our men's travel pants, leveraging its durability, comfort, and flexibility for various travel activities. For items like our hybrid Boundless shorts, where quicker drying is crucial, we opt for polyester blends. This choice ensures that our shorts not only dry faster but also maintain the necessary resilience and comfort for active travel.

The combination of nylon in our pants and polyester in our shorts offers travelers a reliable and practical range of travel apparel, catering to different needs and ensuring high quality and durability.

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