What is fleece fabric

What is fleece: The cozy faux fur under the microscope

What is fleece?

Fleece is a synthetic fiber fur. The fabric is also known as knitted fur because it is made from knitted fibers. The name comes from English and can also be translated as "sheep's clothing". However, fleece fabric always consists of 100% synthetic fibers, which, due to their unique processing, create a fabric that is particularly fluffy and cuddly - just like sheep's clothing. The super soft, heat-insulating and breathable material is perfect for the production of outdoor and leisure clothing.

What is fleece made of?

Typically, fleece is made from polyester and is a knitted fabric, not a woven fabric. When the threads are knitted, plush loops are formed, which are then cut open and roughened. This not only makes the fabric soft, but also increases the surface area, which makes the material even more heat-insulating. The material can also be made of wool, hemp or rayon, which, however, differ in structure and other properties from the classic version. The polyester fibers from which the fabric is made are often obtained from recycled PET bottles. This not only makes fleece particularly cheap, but also environmentally friendly.

How is fleece made?

Most fleece fabrics on the market are made of polyester. Polyester is a petroleum-based chemical fiber made from the plastic polyethylene terephthalate (better known as PET). To do this, the plastic is heated until a viscous, syrupy liquid is formed. This is pressed through spinnerets and then cooled to create endless polyester fibers. The plastic used is the same material as the raw material used to manufacture PET bottles. Therefore, the reuse of disused plastic bottles for production is a good idea.


The characteristics make the fabric ideal for heat-insulating yet breathable clothing. Fleece fabrics have a brushed floor on both sides. A layer of air is created in this enlarged surface, which provides additional insulation.

Polyester fleece is not only warm and durable, it is also water-repellent. The fabric is therefore perfect for extreme weather such as snow, wind and cold. The material is lighter and warmer than wool, which is why it has been used to make sports and ski clothing since the 1990s.


Fleece is an incredibly versatile material and is used in everything from casual clothing to astronaut clothing. Its versatility makes the fabric one of the most popular materials in the textile industry.

As already mentioned, it is the perfect material for the production of warming sportswear and functional clothing. The fabric absorbs moisture from the skin and dissipates it to the outside. This way you stay comfortably dry without losing any warmth.

Because heat is stored in the short pile, fleece can also increase body temperature. This is why so many pieces of clothing for winter are made from the soft fabric. From coats, to scarves, gloves and even blankets. Due to the long durability of the synthetic fibers, you will enjoy your fleece articles for a long time.

To the origin

The material was made by the American company in the late 70's Malden Mills developed. At that time the fabric was called “Synchilla Fleece”, which stands for “synthetic chinchilla”.
As a new, light and robust material, the fabric was a huge success. The fabric is cheaper, easier to care for and easier to produce than wool. Another disadvantage of wool is that the fibers are incredibly absorbent and therefore become very heavy when they come into contact with water.

The owner of Malden Mills decided against a patent in order to guarantee distribution and cheap production worldwide. Under the name of Polartec produced Malden Mills the famous fabric still today.

Comparison of fleece and wool

Fleece is often preferred due to its light weight and easy-care nature. Wool can be scratchy on the skin, which is not the case with polyester fleece. Wool has the advantage of being a natural, renewable and environmentally friendly material. Fleece is only environmentally friendly if the fabric is made from recycled plastic.

  • Softer than wool
  • lightweight
  • Not windproof
  • Breathable
  • Strong electrostatic charge
  • Can scratch
  • Naturally
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Windproof
  • Breathable

Compared to wool, we would choose fleece. The fabric is a lighter, more breathable version that is also more comfortable to the touch. Discover over 100 other fabrics in our fantastic sample box.