What Is Fleece? Study the Pros, Cons, Uses, and Background

Authored by
Mega Apparel
Mega Apparel
Fleece fabric explained

Table of Contents

Warm, cozy, and lightweight, fleece fabric is usually made up of synthetic fibers like polyester. Because of its fuzzy texture and capacity to retain heat, it’s a well-liked material for winter apparel including sweaters, hoodies, blankets, and coats.

Fleece is frequently used as the main material for warm indoor clothing or as a liner for outerwear. It is highly valued for its ability to retain body heat while being breathable and moisture-wicking, which makes it ideal for a variety of sports in colder weather.

Given its characteristics and importance in the apparel industry, it is important to shed light on its promising uses, advantages, disadvantages, and background. With such thought, I have gathered the most significant information on fleece for you. This guidance will help you make the informed decision regarding fleece as your fabric for clothing.

Background – Historic Evolution of Fleece

The modern form of fleece fabric was created in the late 1970s by Massachusetts-based textile producer Malden Mills. Aaron Feuerstein, the company’s inventor, invented the fabric by using novel knitting processes of synthetic materials like polyester to produce a plush, pile-like surface.

This invention transformed the textile sector by offering a cozy and lightweight substitute for conventional wool textiles. The development of fleece came about in tandem with the rise in popularity of outdoor pursuits like hiking and camping, when insulating and lightweight apparel was essential.

Fleece is still a popular option for warm and comfortable clothing and is produced extensively by several businesses worldwide.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Fleece


  1. Fleece is renowned for its superior insulating qualities, which allow it to provide warmth without adding weight. For this reason, it’s a great material for clothing in the winter.
  2. Fleece is easy to wear for lengthy periods of time due to its plush texture, which feels soft and comfy against the skin.
  3. Fleece is surprisingly light for its warmth, which allows it to be easily layered and worn without feeling heavy.
  4. Fleece keeps you dry and comfortable whether engaging in strenuous activity or in humid environments.
  5. Fleece dries rapidly after being wet, which is useful for outdoor activities or other scenarios where clothing may get damp.


  1. Fleece fabric is prone to pilling, particularly after repeated washings and wearing, which can eventually detract from its look.
  2. Fleece has a tendency to produce static electricity, which makes clothing stick to the body or draw dust and lint.
  3. Although fleece offers insulation, it is not impervious to wind, therefore without a second windproof layer, it could not provide sufficient protection in extremely windy situations.
  4. Impact on the environment: Most fleece is composed of synthetic materials, such as polyester, which come from non-renewable resources and, when cleaned, may add to the pollution caused by micro plastics.
  5. The benefits of fleece fabric often exceed its drawbacks, especially considering its warmth, softness, and adaptability to a wide range of apparel uses.

What Are the Uses of Fleece in Clothing?

Fleece fabric clothing uses

Fleece fabric is warm, soft, and comfortable, it is used in a wide range of apparel products. It is also quite adaptable. Typical applications for fleece fabric include:

Coats and Jackets

Because of its lightweight design and warmth, fleece coats and jackets are a popular choice for outerwear. For further insulation, they can be worn as mid-layers beneath windproof or waterproof shells or as stand-alone clothing.

Sweatshirts and Hoodies

Sweatshirts and hoodies made of fleece are stalwarts in the casual wardrobe, beloved for their relaxed fit and comfortable feel. These are ideal for remaining warm either engaging in outdoor activities or simply relaxing at home.

Cardigans and Sweaters

For the cooler months, fleece cardigans and sweaters are a chic and cozy choice. Without losing elegance, they may be layered over a shirt or blouse to provide additional warmth.


Vests made of fleece offer core insulation with unrestricted arm movement. For extra warmth, they work well layered under coats or over long sleeve shirts.

Fleece Leggings

Fleece leggings and trousers are ideal for lounging around the house or for keeping warm during outdoor exercises. They feel silky on the skin and fit snugly.

Hats, Gloves, and Scarves

In cold weather, fleece accessories such as hats, gloves, and scarves give the head, hands, and neck additional warmth. They are necessary equipment for camping trips as they are lightweight and convenient to bring.

Throws and Blankets

Cozy and lightweight, fleece throws and blankets are ideal for curling up on the sofa or staying warm when camping.

All things considered, fleece fabric is well regarded for its comfort and insulating qualities and may be utilized to make a vast array of apparel items, from performance outerwear to casual everyday wear.

What are The Types of Fleece?

Fleece fabric types

Fleece fabric comes in a variety of forms, each with special qualities and purposes.

Polar Fleece

Polar Fleece also referred to as microfleece, polar fleece is a soft, lightweight fabric with a thick weave that offers superior insulation. Because of its warmth and moisture-wicking qualities, it is frequently used in coats, blankets, and outdoor clothing.

Berber Fleece

Berber Fleece is also known as Sherpa fleece, it is a plusher material that is rougher and thicker than sheep’s wool. It is highly valued for its longevity and warmth and is frequently used as an additional insulator in blankets, coats, and jackets.

Recycled Fleece

Recycled polyester fibers, frequently obtained from plastic bottles or other post-consumer products, are used to make recycled fleece. It provides the same warmth and softness as conventional fleece, but with a reducing environmental impact.

Windproof Fleece

Windproof fleece prevents cold air from soaking into the fabric, windproof fleece is specifically designed with a wind-resistant membrane or coating. It’s perfect for adding extra protection against chilly winds during outdoor activities by using it in outerwear like jackets and vests.

Cotton Blended or Cotton Fleece

Cotton fleece is the commonly used type of fleece for various clothing products. For example, cotton fleece sweatshirts and sweatpants blends have a soft outer texture and a plush inner nap.

Polyester Fleece

Polyester fleece has a smooth exterior and plush interior. It is good for repelling moisture. This is one of the reasons why polyester fleece has gained massive popularity. This fabric is different from cotton fleeces due to its shiny appearance.

Spandex Fleece

Lycra or spandex fleece is basically a blend of cotton and spandex fleece in which there is a high percentage of cotton and small percentage of lycra spandex to make a flexible or stretchy material. This type of fleece is popular for performance fleece and casual textile products.


Microfleece is a double-sided fleece that is thin and soft. Because it’s lightweight and does an excellent job of wicking moisture away from the body, microfleece is a popular choice for performance garments.

French Terry Fleece

French terry fleece is among the very useful and popular types of fabric. This fabric is different from regular fleece fabric since it lacks the fluffy nap. The reason is that it is unbrushed on both sides. It sits flatter and is thinner than other fleece materials.

Slub Fleece

Yarns of two different sizes twisted together to knit slub fleece. This gives the fabric a textured appearance.

Sherpa Fleece

Synthetic yarns like 100% polyester create sherpa fleece. It is used to add warmth in clothes. It is fluffy and soft in texture. It is a perfect material for winter clothing as the jackets made with sherpa resemble wool clothing or warm jackets.

Every variety of fleece fabric has its own benefits and works well for a variety of purposes depending on things like warmth, toughness, and environmental variables.


In conclusion, because of its warmth, softness, and adaptability, fleece fabric has established itself as a mainstay in the textile business. There are several varieties of fleece, ranging from soft Sherpa fleece to delicate microfleece, that are designed to cater to individual requirements and tastes.

Fleece is lightweight and breathable, making it ideal for usage as warm blankets for indoor comfort or as outerwear for outdoor excursions. It also offers good insulation. Fleece fabric has benefits, but it also has problems, such pilling and environmental issues because of its synthetic makeup.

Still, efforts are being made to solve these problems and improve fleece’s sustainability and durability. Examples of these efforts include the creation of recycled fleece and anti-pill treatments. All things considered, fleece fabric is still a popular option for apparel and accessories, providing comfort and perfection.


What is the difference between fleece vs wool?

Fleece is a polyester-made synthetic material, while wool is an organic fabric that comes from animal fibers like sheep.

Is fleece fabric suitable for all seasons?

Fleece is usually suitable for colder weather due to its insulation. It is not ideal for warmer seasons.

Can fleece fabric be recycled or is it environmentally friendly?

Yes, fleece can be recycled. However, since the fabric is made of petroleum-based materials, it is not inherently environmentally friendly.

Is fleece fabric breathable?

Yes, to some extent but the fleece material is less breathable than organic fibers such as cotton or wool.

Does fleece fabric shrink after washing?

If fleece fabric is not washed according to the care instructions, it can shrink, especially if exposed to intense heat.

Share On