• What Fabric Is Best For Summer Heat

What Fabric Is Best For Summer Heat

Last update: 2023-10-03

As the summer heat arrives, many people start thinking about how to stay cool and comfortable in hot weather. One important consideration is what type of fabric to wear during the summer months. The fabric of your clothing impacts how it allows heat and sweat to pass through, which directly affects your body temperature. Below, we’ll explore the best fabric options for staying cool in summer heat.

Breathable Fabrics That Allow Airflow

When evaluating fabrics for warm weather, breathability is key. You want clothing material that will allow air to flow through and provide ventilation to your skin. Some top choices include:


Linen is one of the most popular summer fabrics because it is highly breathable. It comes from the flax plant so it has natural airflow channels that allow heat to escape. Linen also absorbs moisture well, helping sweat evaporate away from your skin. This lightweight, comfy fabric keeps you cool by releasing heat from your body.

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Cotton is another top choice for warm weather because it provides breathability. This natural fiber allows for airflow between the weave to circulate air near your skin. Cotton is also somewhat absorbent, taking in a bit of sweat. Choose lightweight cotton options like cotton gauze or voile. Stay away from heavy cottons that can trap heat.

Rayon & Viscose

Rayon and viscose fabrics are made from cellulose fibers that create a breathable, light material. The looser weaves allow lots of airflow against the skin. These fabrics also absorb and release moisture well. Rayon and viscose clothing are common choices for summer coverups and dresses.

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Fabrics That Wick Moisture

For very hot, humid weather you also want fabrics that can effectively wick moisture away from your body. Wet skin that can’t dry properly ends up making you feel hotter. These fabrics proactively pull sweat away so it can evaporate:


Polyester is a synthetic fabric, but it has excellent sweat-wicking abilities. As a hydrophobic material, polyester does not absorb moisture. Instead it pulls perspiration away from skin and facilitates quick evaporation. Look for lightweight polyester fabrics for moisture control.


Similar to polyester, nylon is highly effective at wicking moisture and promoting quick drying. This synthetic material will not absorb sweat or water. Nylon makes a great base layer when blended with other fabrics like cotton. It keeps sweat moving away from your skin so you stay drier.

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Microfibers (polyester or nylon)

Specifically engineered for moisture management are microfiber fabrics. Microfiber polyester or nylon uses ultra fine fibers to create a moisture wicking effect. The tiny fibers allow more surface area for sweat to evaporate quickly. Microfiber fabrics are common in athletic wear to keep skin dry.

Other Factors that Impact Cooling Comfort

Beyond fabric selection, other clothing factors impact how cool you feel in summer weather:

  • Weave Style - Tighter woven fabrics hold more heat than loose, open weaves. Choose loose knits and open weaves.
  • Color - Light and white colors reflect heat whereas dark colors absorb it. Wear lighter shades.
  • Ventilation - Seek clothes with mesh sections or breathable cutouts for air circulation.
  • Lightweight - Heavier fabrics hold onto heat. Stick to light, sheer fabrics that don’t weigh you down.
  • Loose Fitting - Tight clothing restricts airflow. Pick loose, flowy fits that allow air to pass over skin.
  • Layering - Thin layers trap less heat than bulky items. Layer lightweight fabrics as needed.

5 FAQs about Fabrics for Hot Weather

What is the absolute best fabric for summer heat?

Linen is the number one choice for the hottest weather. Made from natural fibers, linen has an open weave that allows maximum breathability and airflow against the skin. It's lightweight, absorbent, and effective at releasing heat from the body.

Is 100% cotton good for summer?

It can be. Lightweight cottons with a loose weave allow for decent breathability and air circulation. But cotton is not the best at wicking away sweat. Cotton blends with synthetics like polyester provide better moisture wicking. Heavier cotton can also trap heat against the skin.

What fabrics trap heat the most?

Fabrics that trap heat due to their tight weaves and heavy materials include denim, wool, fleece, terrycloth, velvet, and neoprene. Avoid these in the summer in favor of open, loose weaves that maintain airflow.

What clothing colors are coolest in summer?

Light and white colors reflect the sun's light and heat the best. Darker colors like black absorb heat more, causing you to feel warmer. Pastels, brights, and light shades are ideal for deflecting sunlight. Some new tech fabrics actually help radiate infrared heat outward from the body.

Which is cooler cotton or polyester?

Polyester is cooler for active summer pursuits because it effectively wicks sweat away from skin and promotes quick evaporation. Cotton absorbs more sweat, keeping skin damp and warmer. But for casual summer wear, many still prefer breathable cotton over synthetic polyester which can feel sticky. Blends marry the benefits of both.


The hotter it gets, the more important it is to wear fabrics that will keep you cool and comfortable. When choosing clothing for summer heat, look for breathable fabrics like linen, cotton, rayon, or hemp. For active pursuits, moisture wicking manmade fabrics like polyester and nylon help you stay dry. Also consider weave style, color, weight, and fit that maximize airflow next to your skin. With some thoughtfulness about fabric selection, you’ll stay cool while enjoying the sunny season.

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