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Where to buy exercise fabric - a global list

30 August 2013, 18:16

One of my most frequently asked questions is definitely “where can I buy fabric for yoga/running/exercise/etc?”, so I thought it’s high time I make an attempt at something like a global list.

In general, though, the word you should be searching for is “Supplex”. This is a brand name, though, like Lycra (whose generic term is “spandex”), but the generic alternative is something like “wicking spandex”, and generally isn’t used as often as “Supplex” in fabric stores, I’ve found.

If you can buy supplex at a decent price, buy it. It’s soft, has great recovery, wicks away moisture while you’re sweating, and stands up to washing without a ton of pilling. It can be hard to find though, and sometimes only comes in a limited amount of colours, but I wouldn’t hesitate to run a marathon in supplex – it’s great stuff.

If you’re running shorter distances, or in cooler weather, you can get away with exercising in any number of lycra/spandex jerseys, though. These won’t wick sweat away, but they come in a gazillion colours and prints, plus have a multitude of foil and sequin effects, and can be way cheaper, too. Ditto goes for swimsuit fabrics – you can certainly use them for shorter exercise sessions even though they’re not wicking. Personally, I wouldn’t mind running a half marathon on a cool day in lycra leggings, but your mileage may vary (pun intended!).


Know any more UK shops? Tell me in the comments!


Know any more European shops? Tell me in the comments!


Know any more Asian shops? Tell me in the comments!


Know any more Canadian shops? Tell me in the comments!

Space-dyed supplex from Eclipse Textiles (wholesaler)


  • Stretchtex – “manufacturer that sells non wholesale direct in whole metres only with email/phone calls – their bottom weight wicking “titanium” fabric is awesome for running shorts/leggings. They also have compression fabric, and chlorine resistant swimwear fabric all of which I find very good.” (thanks, Kbenco!)

  • Zebra Fabrics – They stock a few of the amazing space-dyed Eclipse supplex colourways, plus a basic black supplex, too

  • Know any more Antipodean shops? Tell me in the comments!

    United States

    I only knew one or two places to buy exercise fabrics in America (since the shipping is extortionate to the UK, I can’t buy from there anymore), so I asked Kathy for help. oh em gee – she sent me back this embarrassingly long list of suppliers, which totally puts the rest of my list to shame! So consider this a bit of a guest-post from her I guess, and definitely go check out the exercise gear she’s sewn, too. Comments in italics are hers.

    And if you want some inspiration of your own, why not have a look back through some of the exercise gear I’ve sewn for suggestions on patterns, finishing techniques, and even ways to refashion old race shirts?

    Oh, and I launched a running site yesterday! Have a read through RiverRunner.co.uk!

    tags: , ,


    1. Add to the U.S. list Seattle Fabrics. They have several different types of athletic and outdoor clothing fabrics including wicking fabrics and Gortex.

      Norma    Aug 30, 07:48 PM    #
    2. I did NOT know about Peak in the US! Thanks for sharing. I just linked this info on my blog so folks can hop over to your blog for this super solid list.

      kathy    Aug 30, 11:37 PM    #
    3. I haven’t purchased from them, but Sundrop Textiles is a Canadian source that has been around for a long time. Bricks and mortar store near Vancouver in B.C. and an online store as well. A variety of outerwear and activewear listed.

      — rebeccas    Aug 31, 12:33 AM    #
    4. Can I add the Philippines to the list? Bloomingdales in the Shanri-La mall is the only place I know of in Manila to get exercisewear fabric. The daughter of the owner is a tri-athlete so this is her special project.

      Karen    Aug 31, 12:43 AM    #
    5. You must have been reading my mind!! I was just looking for supplex to make some workout gear with my new and genuine CoverPro binder kit. Thanks again for your help, can’t wait to get some new outfits ready for my first 10-miler in October.

      — Ming    Aug 31, 03:18 AM    #
    6. Thanks so much for the list. Peak Fabric is actually a Canadian company. It’s located just west of Calgary, Alberta. I have visited the shop, located in the owner’s basement. Great quality fabric. Worth the cost. Anytime I pull out fabric from my stash from Peak Fabrics, I am thankful I didn’t buy a cheap substitute!

      — Shelley    Aug 31, 03:58 AM    #
    7. I have bought supplex from Rose City Textiles in the US, which now seems to be called fabricline. The link below shows the lite, then click on “wickaway knits”


      here is my post with a review of the fabrics I bought there


      Katherine Howison    Aug 31, 06:24 AM    #
    8. Thanks Melissa – that’s so very helpful. The range of colours from Rainbow Jersey is fantastic!

      Louise    Aug 31, 09:53 AM    #
    9. Thanks Melissa! The plain supplex that I have is as soft as the space-dyed. It’s amazing to wear, so comfortable and soft.

      Melinda - Runners Fabrics    Aug 31, 11:26 AM    #
    10. One more shout out for Seattle Fabrics. That’s where they had the short roll of Kevlar- pretty shiny golden Kevlar! They have quite the wild assortment of ‘outdoor’ fabric as well as shiny stuff that makes a good gymnastic costume.

      Stephanie    Sep 1, 03:59 AM    #
    11. I buy athletic fabric from Stretchtex – Sydney, Australia. manufacturer that sells non wholesale direct in whole metres only with email/phone calls – their bottom weight wicking “titanium” fabric is awesome for running shorts/leggings. They also have compression fabric, and chlorine resistant swimwear fabric all of which I find very good.

      Kbenco    Sep 2, 12:03 PM    #
    12. I will echo Katherine’s support of Rose City Textiles (fabricline.com). Been buying from Annette in the retail store for years with great success, so email her if you have any questions at all about their products. She is also the zipper queen! Highly recommend.

      — M Kate    Sep 3, 08:44 PM    #
    13. Thanks for this fantastic list! It’s very useful!

      Sewing Princess    Sep 4, 12:48 PM    #
    14. In Europe – extremtextil.de is fabulous. He has quite a few of the Swiss Eschler fabrics that are great for running, cycling etc. I have ordered from there numerous times and am completely satisfied.

      — Vick    Sep 5, 12:39 PM    #
    15. Excellent idea to produce this list, have you tried bamboo jersey or sportwool? Both are really nice and have a mainly natural content making them antibacterial and great at wicking. Anyway I’m off to drool over that Space Dyed Supplex!

      Hannah    Sep 10, 05:39 PM    #
    16. I got a couple more… Online Fabric Store in the U.S. based up in New England sell a rainbow of power meshes, some nylon/spandex (that look to be supplex-ish)and other activewear related fabric http://www.onlinefabricstore.net/apparel-fabric.aspx

      Also, Mood Fabrics in NYC and Los Angeles (both online and a brick and mortar stores… they are the store featured on ‘Project Runway’) has spandexes and some activewear related material listed under their Jersey/Knits category. http://www.moodfabrics.com/

      kathy    Dec 2, 04:22 AM    #
    17. Great list! Runners fabric in Aus is closed till Jan 27 2014, thwarting my plans to buy from them for my first xyt top. But you might like to add http://www.dancefabrics.co.nz (New Zealand). It has powermesh and various swimwear fabrics and swimwear lining and provides good service. They often also have some Supplex (only in black right now).

      — Lyndle    Dec 27, 05:15 AM    #
    18. looking for wholesale workout fabric. would love some prints!

      kirsten elles    Jan 18, 01:49 AM    #
    19. Thanks Melissa, I’ve found the DE site thanks to this post! In FR there’s Vicard, which specializes in dance and activewear. The DE prices are better though the selection is better at Vicard.

      — Katharine in Brussels    Feb 19, 06:55 PM    #
    20. I know you have a pile of US shops… but I keep forgetting to add this one. They have technical fabrics & outwear material plus patterns. They even sell Under Armour heat/coldgear, too. They are in Colorado are are geared towards the outdoor enthusiast. http://www.rockywoods.com/

      Kathy    Apr 6, 01:01 PM    #
    21. Awesome list thank you! I have been trying to find other suppliers here in Australia, I already use Eclipse Textiles here in Brisbane, as I want to be able to expand my range of choice. Many Thanks, Sasha :)

      Sasha    Jun 7, 03:54 AM    #
    22. Thank you for your kind words and thanks for the link back! We’re so happy that you like our fabric.


      Girl Charlee Fabrics    Jun 26, 06:25 PM    #
    23. I must have missed this when you posted it, but Google popped this up. Thanks for clarifying some issue. I don’t run, but I want to make my own exercise clothing.
      This list is very helpful.

      — Nancy K    Jul 22, 07:10 PM    #
    24. In the UK, Pennine Outdoors and Point North both sell all kinds of technical fabrics and haberdashery including softshell, wicking waterproofs, reflective piping and tape etc. Good prices on both. I have also bought technical fabric from UK Fabrics Online but their stock levels are variable.

      — Joanna    Jul 27, 09:51 AM    #
    25. Just an update for your list… I just spoke to Rainbow Fabrics and they’ve stopped doing the small quantity orders and now only do business to business bulk orders (they stopped sometime around this past July).

      — Amy    Sep 1, 12:41 PM    #
    26. Hi Melissa! Here’s another one for the Australian list – Metro Fabrics in Sydney (Princess Highway, Tempe, opposite IKEA) has a fantastic range of stretch fabrics, including Supplex (albiet in limited colours) and quite a lot of fancy printed lycra. Lots of elastics and closures and tons of corset-making notions too. Excellent prices as well!!

      Laura    Sep 23, 04:32 AM    #
    27. Thanks for this post, stumbled on it from a Google search. I just wanted to let you know that the first two Australian suppliers you’ve linked to don’t appear to have working websites anymore… :(

      Trinity    Oct 16, 12:06 AM    #
    28. I would also add Pine Crest Fabrics to the list of US suppliers of Supplex Lycra and other spandex blends. We supply several of the companies that you mention with their prints. www.pinecrestfabrics.com

      Tim Sheils    Oct 22, 07:11 PM    #
    29. I’m in Montreal this weekend and just discovered your listing! Cannot wait to check out the NYC ones when I’m home.

      Today, I popped into SusieStretch and their SuziPlex is MAGICAL! I bought three colors with enough yardage to satisfy my leggings cravings for the next few months.

      Bad news though! The owners told me they’re discontinuing the SuziPlex. Apparently the miller has gone bust. Once the current stock is gone, it’s gone forever! Order now if you want the last of the stock. A few fun colors left (no black or navy.

      SyreetaBriana    Oct 30, 10:36 PM    #
    30. does anyone know where 2xu gets their compression fabric from?

      — Binh    Nov 22, 03:52 AM    #
    31. I’m finding it really hard to find floral and tribal swimwear fabric in the UK. Is shipping from usa really expensive? Thank you

      — Julie    Jan 10, 11:56 PM    #
    32. Julie – Have a look at Funkifabrics.com – they’re a little on the pricey side but they digitally print anything onto lycra and the fabric itself is super high quality. I’ve used it a lot for running but others who swim more than I have made swimsuits from their printed lycra, too.

      The issue with buying outside the EU isn’t the shipping costs, really, but the extra customs charges that get slapped on top as they enter the UK. They take the declared value of the goods, plus the shipping cost, add on 20% VAT, and an extra handling fee. So you can easily end up paying £20-30 on arrival over what you’d already paid to the merchant. SO NOT WORTH IT!!

      melissa    Jan 11, 05:56 PM    #
    33. Hi,
      I’m now stocking Supplex for Australian shoppers.

      Margo    Jan 16, 03:55 AM    #
    34. I would add Aktivstoffe.de in Germany/Switzerland/Austria (they also sell on Amazon and as Activefabrics.co.uk for the UK). There’s plenty of tougher outdoor fabrics and microfleece but their COOLMAX® LIGHT is a great lighter t-shirt/hiking shirt option and their COOLMAX® Light Feinstruktur is perfect for stretchy workout tops … I wish they did better colours, but a grey base is perfect for any contrast lycra you want to throw at it. They also dispatched the very next morning before 9 a.m. (I ordered at 1 a.m. during a desperate late-night fabric hunt) and it was with me the next day.

      I keep looking wistfully at Funkifabrics and wishing their clearance fabrics were available in less than 5m sections. If there’s a clearance lycra on Funkifabrics that someone wants to share, just shout and we could club together!

      Christine    Jan 19, 12:18 PM    #
    35. For US suppliers, let’s not forget Green Pepper Patterns! They not only have a fabulous selection of patterns for every outdoor sport, but also have fabrics and notions available online. Great customer service too!

      — Megan Juenemann    Feb 17, 08:46 PM    #
    36. We supply a great range of funky stretch fabrics and are also an Agent for Eclipse Textiles Supplex Range

      Dorene Blum    Apr 1, 01:01 AM    #
    37. I found this site after feeling exasperated – I absolutely loved Lands End active wear pants I bought about 5 years ago. The ones they sell now are not at all the same material. They used to be soo stretchy, heavy duty but didn’t feel burdensome, and never pilled. I regret throwing them away I could’ve sent a swatch somewhere maybe but can anyone help with this?

      — sarah    Jul 6, 05:41 AM    #
    38. Can anyone please help me!
      I am looking for a wholesaler of compression supplex fabric to start making my own gymwear. I am based in South Africa so looking for the cheapest place that will export to South Africa.

      — Gizelle    Jul 9, 06:38 AM    #
    39. Where is “Runners Fabrics”? I love the Space Dyed fabric shown above.

      — Michelle    Jul 20, 06:16 PM    #
    40. Hello,

      I want to know if you have material like dri-fit or as close as possible ( 85% polyester and 15% cotton) and how much would it be?.

      Here is an example of what I want;

      andrea    Jul 29, 01:03 AM    #
    41. Just a heads up for you and your site. My credit card information was stolen after attempting a purchase at Spandex House. Some one has compromised their site

      — Madeline Zargarian    Aug 26, 09:40 PM    #

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