Athletic-inspired clothing like hoodies, yoga pants, athleisure wear are made of synthetics than cotton. This is so inspite of the fact that people prefer cotton over synthetic fabrics.
Why, then, is polyester than cotton used? One reason is the price. Cotton is more expensive. Worldwide, China holds a dominant role in textile production. In that country, synthetic fibers cost only about half as much as cotton. That means those manmade materials are somewhat of a default; mills tend to use cotton mainly when requested.
Polyester is overwhelmingly the main choice in athletic clothing. Some shirts and pants also contain other sythentics such as spandex; only a few have any cotton.
That’s what the cotton industry is working to change. Putting cotton into fabrics isn’t an all-or-nothing scenario. Blends — 50 cotton and 50 poly labels, for example — are good, too.
Cotton is trying to compete with synthetics in other ways too. For example, synthetics are usually good at repelling moisture; traditional, untreated cotton tends to stay wet longer. So a big part of cotton’s branch into athletic clothing is exploring moisture-management techniques. Examples are technologies like Storm, Trans Dry and Wicking Windows. Garments made with these aim to keep moisture away from the body and on to the fabric, where it evaporates quickly.