Materials > Textiles

Nylon fabric

A strong synthetic fabric with a slight sheen, used for its durability
Also known as
Polyamide, Woven Nylon

What is Nylon fabric?

Nylon is made from plastic, specifically Polyamide. It was the first synthetic fabric, invented in the 1930s as an alternative to silk to make war time gear like parachutes.

Nylon is often compared to polyester. The fabrics are similar, but nylon is stronger, with more niche uses. Its durability isn’t just a matter of strength but of resistance to to stretch, mildew, and stains. It's commonly used to make products like backpacks, umbrellas, seat belts, and netting.

Why choose it?

  • Greater tensile strength than polyester
  • Resistant to abrasion
  • Resistant to damage from oil or chemicals
  • Stretchier than polyester
  • Lightweight
  • Smooth
  • Dries quickly
  • Mildew resistant
  • Somewhat UV resistant

Why not choose it?

  • Absorbs water
  • Does not hold dye well (due to the fact that it absorbs moisture)
  • Derived from fossil fuels, a non renewable resource
  • Can stretch after long exposure to sunlight. Additives can prevent stretch
  • Flammable. It will melt and burn
  • Can not be recycled
  • When washed, synthetic fabrics release microplastics into waterways
  • For single use applications, a curbside recyclable material like kraft paper might be a better option.

Examples of items that use Nylon fabric