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Nike Materials and construction

Nike creates quality apparel to provide athletes with superior performance, comfort, durability and stylish appearance.


Fibers (used to create fabrics) are often combined in varying amounts to achieve the right blend of qualities in a garment.


Fibers are the basic raw materials used to make fabric. Natural fibers include cotton, wool and silk. Man-made fibers include nylon, polyester and rayon.

Top 4 Fibers

The four types of fibers most commonly used in athletic apparel are cotton, nylon, polyester and spandex.


Organic cotton is harvested without the use of synthetic chemical pesticides, fertilizers and defoliants. Using organic cotton is a natural fit as Nike continually looks for ways to integrate environmental responsibility in products.


Cotton is a soft, comfortable, natural, plant fiber that feels good against your skin and is breathable with high absorbency. This makes it great for basic tees and coverups.



Nylon is an easy-to-care-for, man-made fiber with excellent abrasion resistance. It is often used for wind-resistant garments and other outerwear jackets and pants.


Polyester is another man-made fiber that can be made to feel smooth, silky or cotton-like. It's easy to care for and has the lowest absorbency and best thermal retention of the four fibers.


Recycled polyester results in fewer environmental impacts compared to new polyester because it reduces energy use, limits raw material extraction and cuts waste going to landfills or out for incineration.


It's generally used for base layer knit tops and lightweight woven running shorts—where moisture management is key. Polyester can also be used in fleece mid-layers for thermal management.



Spandex has excellent stretch and recovery properties, making it ideal for form-fitting garments. It can also add comfort and freedom of movement to basic knit tops and woven shorts.


Long strands of fibers are made into yarns which are knitted or woven together to make fabric.

Fibers, yarns, fabrics





To find out what a fabric is made of, just look at the label.

Each type of fabric has different characteristics. Apparel designers choose the right combination of fabrics to provide the best solution for a garment. Special finishes can be added to enhance the garment's performance and aesthetics.


Fabric Construction


These are fabrics where one or more yarns are formed into a series of interlocking loops. Typically knits are very stretchy, flexible and wrinkle resistant. They are also bulkier, less wind-resistant, and depending on the type of fiber used, they may shrink in the dryer.


Wovens are fabrics where yarns are interlaced at right angles to each other. Wovens are typically more rigid and less wrinkle-resistant, but usually shrink a bit less, and can be more wind resistant. Wovens come in a wide variety of weights and textures, so they can be used for many purposes.

Apparel Construction


Flat Seam


Plain Seam

Flat Seaming

Seamless Flat-seam construction is a method of sewing a garment so its seams lay flat against the skin for reduced chafing. Just feel the inside of a garment with flat seaming and compare it to a garment with plain seams and you'll notice the difference.


One-piece construction reduces chafing to offer superior fit and increase overall comfort. And you'll get support and stretch built into the places where you need it most.

Method 1

Method 1
Special circular knitting machines produce a tubular component that eliminates the need to cut and sew pieces of fabric together.

Method 1

Method 2
An all-in-one knitting process that allows support, ventilation and stretch to be built into places where they are needed.



No-sew construction uses heat activated bonding adhesive to build garments. And because there are no holes from a sewing machine needle, air and water can't sneak in, so you stay warm and dry.


Did You Know?

You'll find no-sew construction used a lot in Nike outerwear. No-sew construction can also be used in any type of garment to eliminate traditional sewn seams that can chafe or rub on your skin.

zoned cooling

Zoned Cooling

Strategically placed Nike Dri-FIT fabric and mesh fabric, help increase sweat evaporation and airflow. The fabrics are placed on areas of the body that have been identified by the Nike Sports Research Lab as high-sweat or high-heat areas. Nike studies show this design provides a very effective cooling advantage for athletes.

Facts On Fabric

Fabrics can be finished in several ways to enhance their properties.

laminates or coatings

Laminates or coatings can add water and wind resistance. For example, DWR is a durable, water-repellent finish.

brushed or sanded

Fabrics can be brushed or sanded to be made softer or to add bulk for warmth. Your favorite fleece sweatshirt is brushed inside.


Printing on fabrics add a much desired style element.

levels of performance

Remember that with the right materials and construction, you've got a garment that takes you to new levels of performance.

Nike DRI-FIT Technology

Pulls away sweat to help keep you dry and comfortable.

Designed to enhance athletic performance across a wide range of conditions and activities, Dri-FIT (Functional Innovative Technology) is a performance fabric that moves sweat away from the skin to help keep you dry and comfortable.

Dri-FIT fabric

    Main Benefits

  • Pulls away sweat to help keep you dry and comfortable
  • Perspiration evaporates from the garment's surface
  • Sweat managing properties are permanent for the life of the garment
Dri-FIT Technology

How It Works

Sweat all you want. Tiny microchannels grab sweat and quickly spread it across the garment to maximize evaporation.

By spreading perspiration evenly, Dri-FIT enhances the body's natural cooling system.


Very little perspiration (0.4%) is absorbed by the microfibers. Instead it's siphoned through channels to the surface. By contrast, cotton has a high moisture absorption (8%).


Dri-FIT garments work best when they're worn next to the skin as a base layer or on their own. It takes that direct contact with the body to pull away sweat.

What It Does For Athletes

The all-star of wicking fabrics, Dri-FIT primarily manages sweat mechanically through fiber and fabric construction to enhance athlete comfort.

sweat wicking

Pulls Away Sweat
Staying dry and comfortable is always key. By drawing sweat away from the body, Dri-FIT apparel helps athletes keep perspiration in check during workouts or game-time.

quick drying

Quick Drying
The evaporation of sweat from the skin's surface is the most effective cooling mechanism for athletes. Dri-FIT is the next best thing. It quickly disperses sweat evenly for rapid evaporation.

lightweight and breathable

Lightweight and Breathable
Lightweight Dri-FIT fabrics are made with microfiber or open constructions for varying levels of breathability.


Dri-FIT logo

Nike introduced Dri-FIT apparel back in 1991 after years of research and testing. Dri-FIT was the first of Nike's numerous fabric technologies to hit the market, and it continues to be a success in many sports as a versatile, sweat-management fabric.

origins of Dri-FIT

At a time when Nike Air cushioning and Nike footwear technology was going strong, a team at Nike was tasked with bringing that same level of excitement and innovation to the apparel side of the business.

When Nike first started working with state-of-the-art microfiber technology, it wasn't without a few wrinkles. One was sewing problems. Traditional needles were too sharp and would cut the fine microfibers. A new, ballpoint needle with a rounded tip was developed. Another challenge was colorfastness issues. The microfibers didn't hold the typical dyes used for polyester as well, so a new process was needed. In one instance this lead to having to replace an athlete's white couch. Even traditional threads were a problem for Dri-FIT. Standard threads would cut the microfibers as athletes moved. Something called "fluff thread" solved the problem.


Initially Nike launched a proprietary, three-layer approach to technical, performance apparel—NIKE FIT. Each layer in the system was named to communicate its function. Dri-FIT helps keep you dry, Therma-FIT helps keep you warm and Clima-FIT (later replaced by Storm-FIT 1) provides coverage from the elements.

Nike Running Apparel

See what differentiates Nike Running apparel from other sports.

Core Features and Benefits

Whether they're casual runners or competitive marathoners, athletes appreciate the many benefits Nike Running apparel offers: sweat management, reduced chafing, thermal regulation, and visibility in low-light conditions.


Sweat Management

Runners sweat. That's where sweat management comes in. Nike running apparel is almost always made with Dri-FIT fabric—the foundation for comfortable, high performance running gear.

Did You Know?

Dri-FIT base layers and shirts are breathable, moving sweat through the layers away from the body.

Reduced Chafing

While sweat management also helps reduce chafing (wet garments tend to stick to the body, causing skin abrasion), Nike uses many additional strategies to reduce irritation:

seamless construction

Seamless construction
Eliminates or reduces seams, often by positioning them away from high-friction areas.

flat seams

Flat seams
Seams lay smooth against the inside of the garment so they don't rub.

fabric cut

Fabric cut and construction
The cut of some running apparel is angled to allow athletes to easily move through a full range of motion.

silky finishes

Smooth/silky finishes
For minimal friction during movement.

ergonomic seaming

Ergonomic seaming
Different from the cut, these seams follow the natural contours of the body for reduced areas of irritation.

Thermal Regulation

This may sound like new federal legislation, but it's really the way a garment keeps runners comfortable even during long runs in all weather conditions.


Strategic use of mesh
Positioned in high-heat zones, like the back, underarms and behind the knees for comfort.


More coverage
Typically positioned in the front where wind blows during running.


Reflectivity on Nike running apparel helps make it visible in low-light conditions.

Hint: Reflectivity is an easy way to tell a running pant apart from a training pant.

360-degrees of reflectivity
You'll often see reflective elements on zippers, zipper pulls, sleeves and other places on the front, sides and back of garments for 360-degrees of visibility in low-light conditions.

bill bowerman


True to the spirit of Nike cofounder Bill Bowerman (who actually weighed his runners' jerseys before races), Nike running apparel designers are always looking for ways to cut a product's weight. Different types of mesh, ultra-light fabrics and apparel shaped to the body are all common ways to reduce weight.

Did You Know?

  • A lighter runner can run faster — it's as simple as that.
  • More form-fitting garments reduce flapping and bulk.

Explore the many features and benefits of Nike Running apparel.

The goal is to provide lightweight wind- and weather-resistant exteriors. Keep things light. Reduce chafing. Include reflective elements for visibility in low-light conditions. In essence, eliminate distractions and improve performance at all levels of running.

Nike Running Tops

Nike Running Tops

Nike running tops are specially designed to help you have a better run. It's all in the details.

Features Lightweight toggles

Lightweight toggles
These small closure devices at the end of drawcords allow you to easily create an exact fit while on the run and help keep cold and wind out.

Secure stash pockets

Secure stash pockets
Small items stay safe with elastic open- ings and zipper closures. These pockets are commonly at the front side-seams and tucked away in the back for zero dis- tractions during your run.

Two-way zippers

Two-way zippers
Offer greater flexibility in fit and ventila- tion than a traditional zipper.

Cord management

Cord management
Running and music go together. But floppy cords distract from both. Loops built in to the garment let you thread and secure the cord.

Overhang vents

Overhang vents
Usually in the back, these vents allow air to circulate while helping to keep the ele- ments out.


Running jackets and tops may also fea- ture a dropped-length hem in the back. This provides coverage in the back while also offering a comfortable, runner-spe- cific fit. Additionally, it blocks mud spat- ters and back splash to help keep you dry.

Mesh panels

Mesh panels
Venting underneath the arms and at the back provides breathable cooling and minimizes irritation in these high-heat zones.

Audio pockets

Audio pockets
Often located within the front-side pock- ets, these provide secure storage, a cord exit and allow for easy listening on the go.



Singlets are sleeveless tops designed for race day in warm weather. They are the most minimal and ultra-light garments around, some with seam- less construction and zoned mesh for optimal cooling.

Nike Running Bottoms

Running bottoms

What runners wear on their legs can be every bit as important as what they wear on top when it comes to comfort and performance. Whether it be shorts, pants, capris or tights, Nike offers elite and casual runners the best in materials and design.



Running shorts have some of the same features that running tops have when you consider they both feature performance fabrics, runner-specific cuts and no distractions.

Angled cut

The angled cut
This allows a runner's legs to have maximum range of motion for reduced chafing.

Dri-FIT crepe liner

Dri-FIT knit crepe liner
Some styles feature a liner for support and moisture management.

Split-leg construction

Split-leg construction
This is where the fabric on the outside overlaps, instead of joins, to create ease of movement, increased range of motion and prevents the shorts from bunching up.



For colder weather, Nike running pants provide warmth that doesn't inhibit a runner's stride. Often pants will be used for warming up before a race.

Zips at the ankles

Zips at the ankles
This makes the pants easy to get on and off over track spikes or running shoes.

Zipper pockets

Zipper pockets
For secure storage during your run.

Reflective elements

Reflective elements
Often around the ankle zippers, this improves visibility in low-light conditions.

Tights and Capris

Tights and capris

Tights feature ergonomically designed fabric panels to complement body movements and are great for layering with shorts. Capris offer less coverage than tights, but more than shorts, and are worn in all kinds of weather.

Gripper Elastic

Gripper Elastic
Often used around the bottom of the tights or capris to help keep them in place.

Venting panels

Venting panels
Some styles incorporate these behind the knees for breathability in this high-heat zone.

DWR (Durable Water Repellent)

DWR (Durable Water Repellent)
Sometimes used on the back of the lower legs to help repel water that's kicked up when running.

Nike Women's Training Apparel

Versatile, multisport apparel for elite athletes.

Learn about women's training athletic apparel styles that boast the appropriate coverage, support and comfort for training and game day.

Women's Training Apparel

Performance without sacrificing style. That's the goal of Nike women's training apparel. It's about looking good while giving women what they need to train confidently and meet their goals.

womens training apparel

Gym Training

Within Nike Women's Training apparel you'll find different pieces obsessively designed to meet the specific needs of the female athlete. You'll find everything from performance tanks and tees to stylish, dance inspired looks and cute cover-ups that offer great versatility.

Look for many styles to come in four different fits: tight, slim, regular and loose. And they're available in a variety of fabrics like: Dri-FIT stretch jersey made with recycled polyester, Dri-FIT French-terry and Dri-FIT cotton fabric.


Pants and Capris have wide, contoured waistbands that offer a flattering fit that stays in place as you bend and stretch.



These are available with a variety of inseam lengths to offer ideal coverage to meet your training needs.



They're available in light, medium and high support to meet the needs of your workout. Additionally, all feature ventilation in high-heat areas.


Tanks and Tees

They're available in a variety of fits and some tanks include built-in support. Fits include: tight, slim, regular and loose.

tanks and tees

Seasonal Jackets

Each season features stylish performance jackets for training outdoors, cute cover-ups to get you to and from the gym, or versatile jackets that you can wear every day to stay warm and dry.

seasonal jackets

Fleece and Outerwear

To perform at your best, you need to stay warm. Fleece and outerwear styles include Therma-FIT hoodies, fleece pullovers and down jackets with premium details and great style.

fleece and outerwear

Nike Pro

Nike Pro is a collection apparel that's designed for optimal performance and zero distraction. These garments are lightweight, durable, and intended as base layers but can be worn on their own. Either way they're the layering pieces that'll help give you a performance boost during training and competition.

nike pro

No matter what training conditions you find yourself in, there are Nike Pro styles to meet your needs. Nike Pro Hypercool apparel offers strategic ventilation to help keep you cool, Nike Pro Hyperwarm features thermal properties to help keep you warm and Nike Pro Core offers excellent sweat management.

Common Features and Fits

Dri-FIT fabric

Dri-FIT Fabric
Pulls sweat away from the skin to help keep you dry and comfortable.

flat seam construction

Flat-Seam Construction
Also called seamless construction helps reduce irritation.

fitted garments

Fitted Garments
Follow the contours of your body for comfort and exceptional range of motion.

compression garments

Compression Garments
Offer a tight, supportive fit that reduces bulk under uniforms.

stretchy fabric

Stretchy Fabric
Enhances mobility and comfort.


And longer torso designs provide a more feminine fit.

engineered mesh

Engineered Mesh
And laser-cut ventilation provide excellent breathability.

Nike Men's Training Apparel

Versatile, multisport apparel for elite athletes.

Many athletes compete in more than one sport. And workouts and drills are designed to improve all-around athletic performance. For those reasons, Nike Training apparel has to be ready to handle everything you through at it.

Core Features and Benefits

Nike Training apparel may be stripped down and pared back when compared to other categories, but that's with good reason. Sometimes versatility is best served without all those sport-specific features. By using strategic seaming and ventilation, keeping things minimal and utilizing performance fabrics, Nike provides training apparel that offers zero distractions.

core features and benefits
4-way stretch fabric

4-Way Stretch Fabric
For ease of movement in all directions.

zoned ventilation

Zoned Ventilation
Intake and exhaust panels help improve breathability.

lightweight Dri-FIT

Lightweight Dri-FIT
This fabric pulls away sweat to help keep you dry and comfortable.

thermal properties

Thermal Properties
For comfort in cooler conditions without overheating.

ergonomic seaming

Ergonomic Seaming
Follows the shape of the body for a better fit and range of motion.

flat seams

Flat Seams
Lay flat against the skin to reduce irritation.

Base Silhouettes

Without going into too much detail (save that for specific products), Nike Training has some core silhouettes worth touching on.


Deceptively simple, Nike Training shorts have been thoughtfully constructed to earn a spot in anyone's gym bag. Find them in 10 and 12-inch inseam lengths.



Nike Training offers a full variety of sleeve lengths from sleeveless to long sleeve. And different weights for comfort in various training conditions.



A performance take on a classic, gym staple. Warm, lots of storage and a fit that won't get in the way of your workout.



Lined, unlined, 3/4-length and full, Nike Training offers many pants to fit your needs.