What is polyester?


Polyester - the most common form of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) - is a man-made, synthetic fibre derived from a chemical reaction between petroleum, air and water. It was patented in the 1940s. Since then, the use of polyester in the production of products such as industrial fabrics, furnishing and clothing has increased exponentially. 

The sports textile industry, for example, relies heavily on the use of polyester due to its advantageous qualities. Polyester fabrics are an athlete’s best ally because they are highly elastic, abrasion-resistant, easy to care for, and, above all, absorb less moisture and expel sweat more easily than other types of fabrics. 

However, no matter how well-suited polyester may be to activewear, it’s a synthetic fibre that comes from a non-renewable source (petroleum). When you consider that the oil industry is on of the world’s biggest polluters and contributors to climate change, it starts to look bad. What’s more, polyester is not biodegradable: it could take up to 200 years for it to fully decompose, polluting the planet and its life-giving oceans.

Considering all these factors, it’s easy to see that the production of virgin polyester is extremely unsustainable. So what’s the next best thing for athletes who need high-performance sportswear?