How Polyurethane is Used in Fashion and Sports

Polyurethane (PU) is a flexible polymer substance that has a wide range of applications, including fashion and sports. In the following text, we’ll look at how the fashion and sports industries have used this material to their advantage, as well as some of the most popular items. 

In Fashion 

In the fashion industry, polyurethane is used as a substitute for real leather. PU is a synthetic material that is made by coating a polyester fabric with polyurethane. This material is less expensive than real leather and is also more durable and flexible. In addition, PU leather is easier to care for and more resistant to stains and water damage than real leather. For these reasons, PU leather is a popular choice for fashion items such as jackets, pants, and bags.


This material can be recycled, reducing the environmental impact. Additionally, polyurethane can be made from renewable resources, such as soybeans and castor oil, making it a more environmentally-friendly alternative to petroleum-based materials. An interesting derivative of the material is Polytrimethylene Ether Glycol (PTMEG), which is used in the fashion industry in the production of spandex fibers. Spandex fibers are a key ingredient in many clothing items that need to fit well and move with the body, such as stretchy pants, leggings, and athletic wear. It provides the necessary elasticity, strength, and durability to spandex fibers, allowing them to stretch and move with the body without losing their shape or breaking.

So in short, the material is not only making your busy day more comfortable (by allowing you to move freely), but it also helps the environment and is contributing to the saving of our planet. 


Polyurethane is also widely used in the manufacture of fashion accessories such as belts, wallets, and phone cases. This material is durable and easy to clean, making it a popular choice for accessories that are used daily. The flexibility and elasticity of polyurethane also make it ideal for use in these items, as it can hold its shape and resist wear and tear.


In the manufacture of shoes, polyurethane has found its use in the making of uppers and soles. The soles are made from a dense, rigid material that provides good traction and durability, something we especially need and want out of a shoe. This material is also shock-absorbent, which helps reduce the impact of each step and protect the feet. This proved to be extremely helpful for track runners, as the material gave rise to robust and durable soles. The uppers of shoes can be made from a softer, more flexible form of polyurethane that provides comfort and flexibility. This material is also resistant to water and stains, making it ideal for use in shoes.


Polyurethane is also widely used in the production of clothing items such as raincoats and windbreakers. This material is waterproof and windproof, making it ideal for protection against the elements. Additionally, polyurethane is lightweight and flexible, making it comfortable to wear. These properties, combined with its durability and resistance to water and stains, make polyurethane an ideal material for outdoor clothing. And with it, we have the rapid expansion of a whole new fashion branch, which allowed for certain pieces to become everyday wearing items whereas before they were only used by recreational hikers and track runners. Some brands even had their own fashion shows, incorporating new designs with durability, sustainability, and practicality. Brands such as Arc Tyrex and others have recognized the capacity of such materials and are making progress each day. 

Polyurethane is a sustainable material that has a variety of applications in the fashion industry, including accessories. Whether used for its durability, ease of cleaning, or sustainability, polyurethane is a valuable material that contributes to the success and comfort of the fashion industry.


We already talked of spandex fibers and their utilization in the making of runners’ leggings and athletic garments. Well, as you can imagine, such material has found use in the making of protective gear, gloves, and even equipment due to its unique properties. 

Protective Gear

Polyurethane is also widely used in the manufacture of protective gear, such as pads and helmets. This material is flexible yet rigid and robust enough to provide effective protection. It is also lightweight, making it ideal for use in protective gear that needs to be worn for extended periods of time in sports such as hockey and football. The durability and resistance to wear and tear of polyurethane make it an ideal material for protective gear that needs to withstand regular use allowing athletes to outperform themselves as they have to pay less attention to keeping safety, as the material is shock absorbent and can take a hit while protecting the one wearing it. 

Sporting Equipment 

Other sporting equipment made from robust material due to its unique properties includes balls, grips, and paddles. 


Polyurethane is often used in the manufacture of balls, such as soccer balls, basketballs, and tennis balls. This material is flexible and durable, making it ideal for use in balls that need to withstand repeated impacts. Imagine a golf player hitting a ball with ferocious speed and the ball just pops. As this is unimaginable, the use of polyurethane is more than needed. Additionally, polyurethane is lightweight and has good bounce characteristics, making it a popular choice for balls that are used in fast-paced sports.


Polyurethane is used in the manufacture of grips for sporting equipment, such as tennis rackets, golf clubs, and bat handles. This material is flexible and durable, making it ideal for use in grips that need to provide a comfortable, non-slip surface. Thankfully, the flexibility and elasticity of polyurethane also make it ideal for use in grips, as it can hold its shape and resist long periods of wear and tear. 


Polyurethane is used in the manufacture of paddles, such as those used in table tennis and paddleball. This material is durable, lightweight, and has good grip characteristics, making it ideal for use in paddles that need to withstand regular use and provide good performance. 

The versatility of the material makes it an amazing addition and the perfect substitute for other natural materials, which are slowly becoming scarce, thereby putting less of a burden on the fragile ecosystem while being a long-lasting and durable alternative. It is a great contribution to our collective effort to find and utilize alternative resources. Moreover, the fact that the two biggest consumer industries have recognized its potential only shows how easy it is to find substitutes for scarce natural materials we have been using for decades. And with it, we can say the first step towards a more eco-friendly future has been made.