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Lycra vs. Nylon: A Great Comparison

Lycra and nylon are fabrics that are very commonly used by manufacturers and textile experts for their unique properties. Oftentimes, these two fabrics are blended together to increase their durability and versatility. There are differences between lycra and nylon which make them distinctive in their own ways and suitable to use for various purposes.

Key Takeaways

  • Lycra and nylon have been produced by the same company but their properties and production process are different.
  • Lycra offers more stretchiness, which ultimately leads to a higher level of durability and resistance to tearing when it is compared to nylon fabric.
  • Blending these two materials leads to the introduction of a special fabric called Nylon Lycra. This material offers all the qualities that we need and look for in certain pieces of clothing.
  • Nylon Lycra fabric blend results in high elasticity, stretchiness, and powerful durability.

Lycra vs. Nylon – How Do They Differ?

The fabrics lycra and nylon have existed on the market for a long time and people are very familiar with both of them. These two fabrics are synthetically made in a laboratory by the DuPont Company. The most significant difference between lycra and nylon is in their production process. Lycra was invented as a name used for a fiber thread made out of spandex.

This synthetic material is produced from a fiber called elastane which is characterized by its stretchiness. Lycra is created by using a chemical process in a laboratory and it is often combined with fragments of other materials. In order to increase the stretchiness of the piece of clothing, manufacturers often add a small amount of lycra to a fabric. Lycra is known for its durability because it easily absorbs moisture and does not trap unnecessary perspiration on the skin. These characteristics make lycra a very comfortable and elastic fabric.

The DuPont Company also introduced the nylon fabric which was produced by firstly extracting the acid from the petroleum and subsequently, polymer is created through a chemical process. The material is then heated and spun through a metal spinner.  The next step is stretching which is used to increase its elasticity and then the threads are ready to be used. There are certain differences in the way lycra and nylon are produced and manufactured in order to create wearable and comfortable clothing.

Stretchiness – Lycra vs. Nylon

Lycra is known for its elasticity because it is made out of elastane fiber. In comparison to nylon, lycra is more stretchy due to its properties. The invention of lycra has introduced pieces of clothing that are most commonly used by physically active people who are in need of stretchy active wear. The stretchiness of lycra is a result of its blend with spandex and other fibers. This synthetic material has elastic properties which make it comfortable to wear and use on an everyday basis.

However, manufacturers often blend nylon with lycra to increase its stretchiness and flexibility. This blend is referred to as Nylon Lycra fabric. Nylon is a more rigid material in comparison to lycra so blending them together gives it a softer look. Stretchiness is very important when it comes to clothing fitting nicely on every body type while at the same time providing comfort.

Only a small amount of lycra is needed to make the nylon fabric more elastic, allowing the manufacturers to produce various types and styles of clothing suitable for the different needs of their customers. Lycra has more stretch when compared to nylon and combining them together into a blend creates the perfect clothing piece that anyone can wear regardless of shape or size.

Durability – Lycra vs. Nylon

Synthetic fabrics are known for their durability and longevity. Their synthetic properties make the fabrics stronger in contrast to natural materials. Lycra is characterized as being resistant to tearing, scratches and perspiration. Clothing made out of lycra sits nicely on the body and stays tight on the skin while at the same time keeping its original shape even if it is constantly stretched.

Nylon fabric is less stretchy when it is compared to lycra and using excessive water can expand it, which ultimately leads to losing its original shape. Because lycra has more stretch than nylon, it is known to be slightly more durable. However, the Nylon Lycra blend is even more durable than lycra is on its own. Blending the two fabrics together increases their level of strength and durability which ultimately leads to the customer’s complete satisfaction.

Different uses – Lycra vs. Nylon

Although these two fabrics are used for many different purposes and for the production of various items, there are specific uses that make them popular and unique. Various types of underwear and loungewear usually contain a certain amount of lycra in their properties which assists in increasing the elasticity of the material.

Its tight feel and durability make it appropriate for the production of workout clothes and bathing suits. Lycra is characterized as having more stretch than nylon, thus physically active people often deem it as being more comfortable on the skin. Nylon fabric is most commonly used to produce stockings for women. Nylon stockings have been on the market for many years and women still buy and wear them to this day.

Fitted clothes are also known to contain nylon fabric. Clothing pieces such as leggings, or sportswear in general, can be made from nylon. However, blending lycra and nylon allows the manufacturers to also produce luxurious clothing such as dresses for women or suits for men. Nylon Lycra offers both elasticity and a comfortable feel. People choose to buy clothing made out of different materials depending on their tastes and needs.

Final Verdict

The majority of people often look for comfortable pieces of clothing when they are shopping. Lycra is proven to have more stretch and a higher level of durability in comparison to nylon. Various pieces of clothing can be produced from lycra or nylon. Both lycra and nylon fabrics can be comfortable, but a Nylon Lycra blend can offer a comfortable feel while at the same time a stylish look. These two fabrics have their differences but when they are combined together, their performance is remarkable.

Further Reading

If you enjoy what you’ve read thus far, you can read some more blogs. There is a guideline that outlines two easy techniques for shrinking leather gloves.

A comparison between lycra and spandex can also be found. The question of whether rayon is elastic has an answer as well.