Is Polyester Warm Enough For Winter?

Creating a good summer and winter wardrobe means more than just considering the various layers we might wear or the cut of a garment. It also pays to pay attention to the type of material. As seen in our guide on the best breathable materials, there are lots of light and airy choices for the hotter months. But, what about the colder months? Can we wear polyester in winter to stay warm and is it the best choice available?

Is Polyester warm enough for winter?

The good news here is that yes! You can wear polyester in the winter and still be warm enough. This is due to several properties of polyester, from its density to its reaction with water. There is also the fact that we can use polyester in different ways in winter clothing. But, we do still need to ask ourselves if it is the best material for winter, especially compared to something like wool.

Why is polyester beneficial in the winter?

Polyester is warmer than you might think of a thinner material. We tend to use it all year round because of its versatility and practical applications, and don’t really think about how much warmer it is than something like cotton. Cotton is much more breathable, letting heat out and cool air in. While this is perfect in the summer, it doesn’t work for thermal clothing. While there is some breathability to a polyester garment, it isn’t quite on the same level. The weave of the material tends to be a lot denser.

Then there is the fact that polyester behaves differently when wet. Cotton can absorb moisture and take a while to dry out. Polyester is much better at repelling moisture and dries out much faster. This is great if you are in a colder climate with a lot of snow or showery weather. Obviously, it is best to use waterproof materials for outerwear, but you can’t always predict the weather. This way, you aren’t left in damp clothing that gets cold and uncomfortable until you can change.

The use of polyester as a filling, not just a piece of fabric.

One of the great things about a synthetic material like polyester is that we can manipulate it into a range of different forms. Therefore, we don’t just have to work with thin and dense polyester weaves. Synthetic fluff and padding, such as you would find in a soft toy or the inside of a padded jacket, is also often made from polyester. Here there is a different consistency to the material where air becomes trapped between the thin fibers. You can puff up the inside of a jacket and keep wearers warm without adding much extra weight.

Is polyester better than wool in the winter?

All this talk about the benefits of polyester in the winter leads to one final consideration when choosing your winter wardrobe. Is polyester better than wool? In some ways, it might be. The density of the fabrics compared to wool garments could be beneficial and some people find that wool is a bit too uncomfortable for regular use too. Polyester can also be easier to layer and take care of as well.

There is also the fact that some of the most popular fleeces that mimic wool are polyester in origin. As you can see in our other guide on sherpa vs regular fleece, you can get some very comfortable and practical synthetic alternatives to wool if you aren’t keen on using animal products.

Still, wool has that cozy feeling that we associate with cold winters. There is something psychological and comforting in putting on a winter jumper. From a practical standpoint, the air trapped in those fibers is also very insulating.

Can you wear polyester in the winter?

In short, you should find that polyester is a great material for a little extra warmth in the winter. You may find that layering up polyester shirts and outerwear is fine, but you may also prefer the coziness of wool when it starts to get a lot colder. Either way, don’t underestimate the properties of this material, especially when polyester filler can do wonders for insulation. Find what works best for you.