Polyester vs Cotton Shirt: Which One is Better

Cotton and polyester are two popular materials for clothing and apparel because they are cheap, easy to clean, and durable. While cotton and polyester are both popular fabrics, they’re also very different. They both have their pros and cons.

Polyester Vs Cotton: Of the two, cotton is considered to be more breathable, comfortable, and natural. However, it is less durable than polyester and is prone to wrinkling.

Polyester vs Cotton Shirt: Which One is Better

So what’s the difference between these two, and which is better for your needs? Here’s what you need to know about each one:

Polyester vs Cotton Shirt: What Is Cotton?

Cotton, a soft, fluffy fiber made from cotton plants, is one of the most widely used fibers in the world. It has been used since ancient times to make clothing, bedding and many other products. Cotton is inexpensive but also has a number of disadvantages when compared with other fabrics such as polyester.


  • Versatile
  • Breathable
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Absorbs moisture
  • Strong and durable
  • Soft next to the skin


  • Take long to dry
  • Shrinks easily
  • Wrinkles easily
  • Wears out over time

Polyester vs Cotton Shirt: What Is Polyester?

Polyester is a synthetic fiber made from petroleum and other chemicals that are blended together in a spinning process to create long threads. The threads are then woven or knitted into fabric for use in clothing and other products. Polyester has become popular because it’s strong, resistant to wrinkling and easy to care for. It also doesn’t wrinkle easily like cotton does when you wash it or wear it all day long.


  • Lightweight
  • Dries quickly
  • Durable
  • Easy to care for
  • Moisture-wicking
  • Crease-resistant


  • Less breathable
  • Not Sustainable
  • Not soft on skin
  • Melts easily under too high heat temperature

What’s the Difference Between Polyester and Cotton Shirts?


One of the biggest benefits of polyester is its breathability. This means that it allows sweat to evaporate more quickly than cotton, which helps maintain your body temperature and keep you dryer.


Polyester tends to be stronger than cotton, which makes it less likely to tear or rip. However, it also means that it isn’t as flexible as cotton or other natural fibers (like wool), so if you’re looking for something soft or stretchy then polyester may not be the best choice.


Cotton shirts have a soft feel and look more natural than polyester ones. They have a visible weave pattern which makes it possible to see individual threads, or yarns, when you look closely at them. This gives them a more textured appearance compared to polyester shirts which tend to be smoother in appearance.

It is easy to care for

unlike cotton which requires special care, polyester can be washed by machine or hand without causing any damage to the fabric or colors on it. It does not shrink or fade easily even after several washes so you can rest assured that your shirt will remain looking new for longer than others made from other materials such as cotton or wool do;

Heat retention

Polyesters can retain heat better than cottons due to the fact that they do not absorb moisture easily and thus retain body heat inside them. On the other hand, cottons absorb moisture easily and lose heat faster than polyesters.


Cotton has a much higher insulating value than polyester, which means it will keep you warmer in the winter or cooler in the summer. Cotton’s ability to absorb water also makes it an excellent choice for hot weather because it can help you stay cool.


Cotton is softer than polyester, which makes it more comfortable against your skin. The only downside is that it tends to wrinkle more easily than its synthetic counterpart, but this can be countered by ironing your shirt before wearing it.


Polyester is a good choice for active people who are always on the go because it absorbs moisture better than cotton does. This means sweat won’t cling to your body when you’re working out or running around all day, instead, it will evaporate quickly so you don’t feel clammy from head to toe.


Wrinkles form less on polyester than cottons because of their durability against heat and sunlight exposure, which causes wrinkles on clothes in general.


Polyester shirts are usually significantly thinner than cotton shirts of similar style and size. This makes them ideal for warmer weather when you want to wear fewer layers or for those who prefer lightweight clothing.

A thin shirt also makes it easier to layer over an undershirt or t-shirt without adding too much bulk beneath your outerwear jacket or sport coat.


Cotton shirts tend to be more expensive than polyester shirts of comparable quality and style because they are made from natural fibers rather than manufactured ones like polyester.

Polyester vs Cotton Shirt FAQs

Which is better for summer cotton or polyester?

In summer, I’d generally recommend wearing 100% cotton shirts if you can afford them because they’ll breathe better and keep you cooler than 100% polyester.

Is 100% polyester good for shirts?

Yes, 100% polyester is good for shirts. It’s more durable, cheaper and has a lower water absorption rate. The only problem is that it doesn’t breath as well as cotton.

Is it okay to wear polyester shirts?

Yes! There’s nothing wrong with wearing a polyester shirt unless it makes you feel uncomfortable or causes irritation on your skin (which may be due to a reaction between the shirt fabric and your body chemistry).

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