Polyester vs Polyamide: Differences and Comparison (With Table)

Both polyester and polyamide are synthetic fabrics made from the industrial processes entirely, and no natural material at all. The manufactured fibers have been used worldwide due to their improved strength, relatively low cost, and the ability for large-scale production. But the differences between polyester and polyamide vary in some aspects.

One of the key differences between polyester and polyamide is that polyester is just the name of one specific fabric, while polyamide stands for a variety of different fabrics that are made from strings of polyamide monomers. Though they are manufactured by industrial, they vary in chemical structure and fabric features.

Polyester vs Polyamide fabric

This article will focus on the differences between polyester and polyamide in the role of fabric, not their chemical structure about which you can find lots of introductions on the Internet.

Polyester vs Polyamide: Comparison Chart

The following chart shows the basic properties and uses of polyester and polyamide fabrics.

Nick NamePolyethyleneNylon, Kevlar, Nomex polymer fabric
OriginEthylene glycol and purified terephthalic acid derived from petroleumPetroleum-based plastic polymers
AppearanceSlightly shiny and quite smoothSilk-like and shiny, especially known as nylon fabric
ManufactureMolten PET is pushed through a spinneret to form semi-crystalline fibers, then treated with chemicals and weaved togeththerHeat and pressure are applied to polymerize two large molecules, then nylon is produced in the form of large ribbons. The ribbons will be melted down and then forced through spinners to create fibers, and those fibers will be weaved to create polyamide fabric.
PropertiesLightweight, water-proof, wear-resistance, durable and good ability to hold its shape, wrinkle-freeGood stretchy and tenacity, strong, lightweight, waterproof, easy to dry, easy to dye; not resistant to sunlight or UV degradation; flammable
TypesEthylene polyester; Plant-based polyester; PCDT polyesterNylon, Kevlar and Nomex
Common UsesOutdoor clothing, sportswear, t-shirts, bedding, carpet and rugsWomen’s stockings, tights, yoga pants, sportswear, riot gear, firefighting gear, activewear and swimwear

What Is Polyester?

Polyester fabric is a type of synthetic fiber made from petroleum. It was invented in 1941 by British chemists and then brought by DuPont to the United States. Now polyester fabric and polyester blends have become one of the most popular synthetic fabrics all over the world and are used in a wide range of different consumer and industrial applications.

Polyester fabric is very lightweight, worn out, and long-lasting, which means it has high resistance to environmental conditions, making it an ideal choice for outdoor clothing like hiking apparel.

Today’s polyester is different from conventional ones. Conventional polyester fabric production has a bad impact on the environment, but due to its necessity for clothing and industrial use, polyester manufacturers have developed a recycled polyester that can reduce its side effect greatly.

What Is Polyamide?

Polyamide is a flexible synthetic fiber made from petroleum-based polymers. It’s also known as nylon fabric, which has versatile applications in many areas like clothing in the fashion industry.

Polyamide fabric is water-proof and can bear rubbing and scraping without damage, which makes it popular among apparel brands and retailers, and is often used to make underwear, outwear, and sports apparel.

Polyamide fabric has a very low cost to produce when compared with some natural-synthetic fabrics such as cotton and linen, which leads to its being widely used in both industrial and clothing areas, especially to make cheap apparel and footwear.

The production of polyamide fabric is not friendly to the environment. And with the increasing production of polyamide, its side-impact is getting greater.

Polyester vs Polyamide: 6 Key Differences

Here is a simple comparison chart showing the differences between polyester and polyamide fabric, which can help you get to their unique features quickly, and you can get more details about their difference in the following part.

SoftnessRough, not soft as polyamideStiff, it also can be very soft
WearabilityGood durabilityGood durability and abrasion resistance
BreathabilitySomewhat breathabilityLower breathability than polyester
StretchinessGood, easy to hold its shapeGood elasticity
Moisture-absorptionWater-repellantWater-proof, not absorb water and quick to dry
ColorfastnessEasy to dye, not easy to fade over timeEasy to dye
FlammabilityVery flammable, melts and burns at the same timeVery flammable, melts and burns quickly
Chemical ResistanceGood mildew and chemical resistanceModerate, but it has good moths, molds, insects, fungi resistance
MaintenanceHighly stain-resistant, easy to care forEasy to wash, quick-drying


Compared to polyester, polyamide fabric tends to be softer and more flexible fibers, which is the key point that manufacturers use it as a silk alternative. Polyester fabric has a rough feel, and it is stiff, elastic, and lightweight, easy to keep its shape.


As a synthetic fiber, low breathability is the main issue of polyester fabric, especially compared with natural fibers such as cotton and linen. So the polyester fabric is often used in outdoor apparel like hiking clothes which do not have high requirements for breathability. Other fibers are introduced to blend with polyester to improve its breathability, for example, poly-cotton fabric combines the breathability of cotton and durability of polyester.

Polyamide fabric usually refers to nylon fabric in the view of the material. Its breathability is much lower compared to polyester fabric. So to improve the breathability of polyamide fabric, fiber blends are more often applied in the garment industry.


Polyester is slightly stretchy because it’s a synthetic fabric that limits its elasticity. But as its widely used in clothing and some industrial applications, today’s manufacturers have created 100% stretchy polyester fabric to meet the requirement. For instance, the polyester and spandex blends are more stretchy than pure polyester fabric.

Polyamide fabric is more stretchy than polyester ones since polyamide is flexible and tenacious. But not all polyamide fabrics have stretchy. For example, nylon, one of the famous polyamide types, has good elasticity.


Polyester fabric can keep you warm well in winter since it is wind-resistance and won’t allow any heat and to escape, which makes it ideal for winter clothes. Usually, lots of winter apparel are made of polyester fabric like the down jacket, but cotton or wool will also be used inside to help you keep the warmth for a long time. The polyester blankets keep you warm in the same principle, they also add cotton or wool to improve the ability of polyester to keep warmth for a long-time.

Compared with polyester, on this point of keeping warm, polyamide fabric, especially nylon, does not perform well. Nylon is also wind-resistance, but it can absorb a little water, which makes you keep cool in wet conditions, not warm. So it’s better to use nylon fabric in hot climates than using polyester fabric.

Chemical/UV Resistance

Polyester has a good ability to be resistant to damage from various chemicals, and everyday acids and alkalis can’t damage it. Polyester fabric is also not afraid the attacks from molds and insects. So this type of fabric is easy to care for and won’t take you much time.

Polyamide is similar to polyester since both of them are synthetic fibers and have similar features to resistant everyday chemicals and attacks from moths, molds, fungi, and insects. But it can’t resist harsh chemicals such as phenol and industrial acids, and it will easy to melt when meeting them. So you’d better avoid wearing polyamide clothes in such an environment.


Both polyester and polyamide fabrics are easy to dye and can keep their brilliant color in daily use. But note that the color of the fabric will fade over time, especially after being exposed to the sunlight for a long time.

But polyester fabric can resistant to UV degradation better than polyamide ones, that is, the polyester fabric can keep its color better under direct sunlight, while polyamide fabric doesn’t, and its color will easy to fade over time if you wear such type of clothing under sunlight.

Polyester vs Polyamide Swimwear, Which Is Better?

When choosing materials for swimwear, two factors should be considered, weight and stretchiness. Both polyester and polyamide fabric are good for swimsuits because both of them are lightweight and have good elasticity.

But note that polyester fabric also has good UV resistance and can keep its brilliant color under direct sunlight, and its color will not fade over time. Polyamide fabric doesn’t have such a good ability to resist UV. So if you love swimming and often go to the beach, polyester swimwear will be a good choice.

Polyester vs Polyamide Leggings, Which Is Better?

Leggings are common to see in women’s clothes wardrobe. And the material for leggings, polyester, and polyamide (nylon) fabric is durable and tear-proof, which is also quite common in leggings. But when buying leggings, there are several factors to consider.

Confort. Polyamide fabric is softer than polyester, the leggings made of polyamide will be more comfortable and less tight.

Suitable environment. If you love to wear leggings outdoor, polyester leggings will be better than polyamide ones, since the polyester fabric can withstand outdoor use and won’t fade in direct sunlight. But if polyamide fabric is thicker, then polyamide leggings will be better than polyester in cold conditions.

Cost. Polyester leggings are more affordable than polyamide ones since the polyester fabric is cheap and can be produced in vast.


Polyester and polyamide have differences and similarities. Each of them has its own advantages and weakness for certain applications. When high strength, wearability, and frequent use are required, polyamide fabric will be a good choice. And polyester is ideal for use that is cost-effective and short-term.

You may also interested:

Rayon vs Polyester: Differences and Comparison (With Table)

Nylon vs Polyester: Differences and Comparsion (With Table)