View Cart

Your Shopping Cart

Signed in successfully.
Article Image

6 Best Breathable Fabrics for Summer

The heat is on. Summer’s here, and between the pool, ice cream, and the AC, you could probably use another way to stay cool. Sure, shorts and t-shirts are part of the standard summer uniform, but what about underwear?

Get ready to explore the best fabric for breathable underwear.

From cotton to mesh, there are more options than ever when seeking out the best breathable fabric for summer. This article will take you through a whole host of fabrics, and even touch on the best cuts and styles to help you beat the heat. Explore our hottest picks for a cooler summer.

Breathable fabric consists of synthetic fabrics, metals like steel, and polypropylene


#1 Cotton

The classic cotton underwear may seem like a throwback to some. With a whole assortment of modern fabrics, cotton has an old-school charm. Still, there’s no comparison to this plant-based textile. It’s been around for thousands of years, and if you haven’t embraced the cooling powers of cotton, this might be the summer to try it.

Why cotton underwear? Consider the following:

Hypoallergenic qualities – We never know how our skin will react to an underwear fabric, but with cotton, you shouldn’t have anything to worry about. If you have sensitive skin, this fabric is highly unlikely to cause any allergic reactions. That means no itching, no rashes, and no uncomfortable bumps. Organic cotton fabric is also suitable for vaginal health as it's breathable and absorbent, which can help you be less prone to yeast infections.

    Comfort – While it's not the softest fabric, it's up there in terms of texture. Additionally, cotton just feels good on the skin. As a simple, plant-derived material, wearers often appreciate the all-natural sensation of cotton.

    Breezy – It’s the top concern for the summer, and there’s no question about it—cotton lets your skin breathe. Where other fabrics may trap heat, moisture, and odor, cotton lets everything out.

      Notably, cotton has other benefits—not just for you, but for the planet as well. Cotton can help contribute to a smaller carbon footprint, minimize waste in textile production, and contribute to recycling efforts to keep our planet clean.

      Another type of cotton fabric, Pima cotton, is much more luxurious than its regular cotton counterpart. Undies made from this higher-quality cotton are softer, denser, and more durable.

      Cotton might not be high-tech, but it’s a reliable everyday fabric and could become a summer staple for your wardrobe.

      #2 Jersey Cotton

      In terms of fabric, jersey cotton is essentially the same as the standard, 100% cotton. Either can be blended and manufactured for various garments, including underwear. Jersey cotton, however, refers to a specific weft knit style.

      What makes jersey cotton feel different from standard cotton? Consider the following:

      Stretch – Jersey cotton can be blended with elastic for increased stretch, but even without additional materials, jersey cotton provides a significant stretch. Jersey cotton is an excellent choice for a sleek, fitted look that retains the natural feel of standard cotton.

      Softness – Sure, regular cotton is nice, but jersey cotton is known for its super soft, structured feel. It’s no wonder that jersey cotton is often used for pillows, blankets, and bedsheets.

      As with all textiles and apparel, deciding between jersey cotton and standard is a matter of preference. Both are breathable, natural, durable, and inexpensive. Either could be the best breathable fabric for hot weather, depending on what you’re looking for.

      #3 Polyester

      This fabric has come a long way since its introduction in the early 20th century as a manufactured synthetic material. Yes, polyester used to be known as a scratchy, rough, completely non-breathable fabric, suitable for ugly patterned sweaters and disco shirts.

      That’s all changed. Today, polyester is a key component of several luxurious underwear lines. This modern fabric has made leaps and bounds and is now routinely sought out because of qualities like:

      Moisture-wicking – Polyester makes an excellent moisture wicking underwear because it draws out moisture away from the body. It doesn't absorb any liquid, unlike cotton. That's why it's often used in athletic wear, working out clothes, boxer briefs, etc.

      Flexibility – Some fabrics can stretch, but polyester can flex, making it ideal for synthetic underwear.  What’s the difference, you ask? Well, most stretch fabrics tend to stretch out, losing their shape and wearing out faster. Polyester maintains its flexible nature without deteriorating, fraying, or turning into a shapeless mess.

      Durability – These fibers just don’t quit. Polyester is extremely resilient and can hold strong for years. Additionally, when you pull it out of the wash, you can expect a quick dry with minimal fading.

        #4 Silk

        Looking to get a little fancy with your undergarments? Silk used to be the fabric of kings, queens, and worldly travelers. It’s one of the fabrics that suits sensitive skin. Today, anyone can purchase silk, though it remains one of the more expensive options for undergarments.

        Silk is an excellent option for those looking for an all-natural fiber that boasts unparalleled comfort. On top of comfort, silk undergarments are also notable for:

        Moisture absorption – Silk can retain a serious amount of moisture without ever feeling damp. This fiber can keep you sweat-free during the hottest weather without causing chafing or leaving you feel uncomfortable.

        Super fast drying – As one of the fastest drying fabrics on the market, silk has a serious benefit when it comes to laundry time. You can wash and dry your silk underwear in record time, making them ideal for traveling or summer months when laundry is more frequent but time is more scarce.

          Wondering about the best breathable fabric for pajamas? Silk also ranks high as a premium loungewear choice. It’s soft enough to make you feel like you’re sleeping on a cloud but strong enough to last through this summer and many summers to come.

          #5 Modal 

          Take your underwear into the 21st century with an eco-friendly, breathable, and highly functional modal. Modal is made from a combination of spandex, cotton, and beech tree pulp fiber. It’s considered a semi-synthetic material and essentially a hybrid of mother nature and human ingenuity, and now it’s available in a range of styles and designs.
          What makes modal different? Consider these crucial factors:

          Absorbency – With the ability to absorb 50% more moisture than cotton, modal has proven itself as a quality synthetic fabric for high-endurance activities, from workouts to long walks on the beach. There’s nothing more uncomfortable than wet undies, and with modal, that worry is out the window.

          Eco-friendly – Making modal fibers doesn’t have to put another burden on nature. This fabric has slowly come to replace synthetic fabrics like viscose and rayon because of its eco-friendly nature.

            Cost-effective – While generally more expensive than cotton and less expensive than silk, modal provides a mid-range and highly cost-effective fabric. For those who value breathability, comfort, and quality, modal may be the ideal choice.

              Micromodal, a finer kind of semi-synthetic fiber, makes the perfect fabric for moisture wicking underwear. Its tighter weave results in a softer and better-fitting material. You see micromodal used in athletic wear and workout underwear. 

              #6 Nylon Mesh 

              For decades, nylon mesh synthetic fiber has been the go-to fabric for athletic activity. Its resistance and breathability were unmatched by other traditional fabrics, and mesh is becoming the go-to material for easy, breezy undergarments. Nylon mesh is the best fabric for breathable underwear. In fact, our air underwear line is made of a Nylon Mesh and Spandex blend.

              With nylon mesh, you can look forward to big benefits, including:

              A more breathable weave – Mesh is all about breathability. Mesh garments are designed and weaved with small holes, providing consistent airflow. So if you’re looking for the best breathable boxers for summer, get an underwear made with nylon mesh blend.

              Wrinkle-free – From the drier to your drawer, there’s no worry about wrinkling. Additionally, nylon mesh can keep its shape, making it a resilient fabric even after several washes.

                Light and airy – With a pair of mesh undies, you might feel like you’re not wearing anything at all. Maintain a light and airy feel throughout the day, and never worry about getting weighed down with sweat.

                  What Cuts and Styles Are Best For Keeping Cool?

                  You may ask: “How to choose the right underwear?” Besides picking the right fabric, you’ll want to consider a cut of underwear that’s ideal for the weather. You might be surprised what a difference the right fit can make in staying cool.

                  When investigating new underwear styles, keep the following tips in mind:

                  Sizing – People come in all shapes and sizes, and while most undergarments are flexible enough to adjust for a range of body types, finding a garment that truly fits right can make all the difference. This is especially true in the summer months when ill-fitting underwear can lead to bunching, chafing, pulling, and other discomforts. Don’t settle for anything less than a perfect fit.

                    Less on the legs – The upper thigh area is a prime spot for summer sweating. You may be able to mitigate that problem by opting for shorter styles of underwear. From briefs to bikinis, choose a style that will keep you confident and comfortable while minimizing the amount of material clinging to your body.

                      Designed for your needs – Find underwear designed for your activity level. If you’re spending the summer adventuring through the outdoors, you might look for a design suitable for long, demanding days. On the other hand, those planning for a laid-back season of sunshine might want an easy-going style to match their vibes.

                        Beat The Heat with Tommy John

                        When it comes to underwear, there’s no right or wrong— just a whole lot of options for keeping cool and enjoying the summer to its fullest. That said, if you’re looking to elevate your underwear for maximum comfort and support, there’s no better time than this summer, and there’s no better place than Tommy John.

                        We’ve spent more than a decade perfecting a diverse range of underwear, loungewear, sleepwear, and more, and this summer, you can explore our breeziest offerings yet. The Air Collection is a modern blend of nylon mesh and spandex that’s anti-microbial, super lightweight, and highly breathable. Discover our latest collection and more today at Tommy John.