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Ringspun versus standard cotton – Which to choose?

When you're looking for T-shirts, sweatshirts or hoodies, there's a specification that you might keep seeing - ringspun. There's also a standard cotton, although that won't often be specifically mentioned, as it's... well... standard! Ringspun and standard cotton represent two manufacturing techniques used to create fabrics, with each resulting fabric bearing distinct characteristics. 


In the ringspun process, the cotton fibres are twisted and thinned, making a very fine "rope" of cotton fibres. Due to this extensive process, ringspun cotton tends to be noticeably softer and more durable than standard cotton. Each fibre is tightly twisted, leading to extended strength. Therefore, the resulting fabric is robust yet soft and comfortable, ensuring that the t-shirt feels pleasant against the skin. Clothing pieces made from ringspun cotton are often favoured for their longevity, thanks to the durability of the individual strands. A notable feature of ringspun cotton is that the more the fabric is washed, the softer it becomes. Because of its luxury feel, ringspun cotton is often used in premium or high-quality t-shirts and other cotton clothing. Take a kid's cotton ringspun t-shirt, for example; it's the perfect fabric for many reasons. First, it's going to be a more durable garment - perfect for kids who are always getting into scrapes and generally don't care too much about their clothing. Second, there's the softness factor, which makes it ideal for kids, especially those with sensitive skin. It's perfect for layering, too, as it's naturally cooling and breathable.

standard cotton

Also known as conventional or regular cotton, standard cotton undergoes a less intensive milling process than ringspun cotton. The fibres are not spun in the same way, so the fabric is a bit rougher and less durable. Though they are cheaper to manufacture, t-shirts made from standard cotton can often lose their shape over time and may undergo significant wear and tear after several washes. Despite this, standard cotton is incredibly versatile and is used widely due to its lower cost. It is commonly used in clothing, home furnishing, medical supplies and various other applications.

When it comes to t-shirts, standard cotton is used for promotional goods or cheaper lines of clothing where the emphasis is more on cost-effectiveness than long-lasting luxury or resilience. If you're just getting a batch of branded t-shirts to wear to an event, there's no reason to splash out on the best of the best when just good will do. Similarly, if the t-shirt is likely to get damaged or stained, there's probably little point in spending more on durability and softness after several washes. So, t-shirts for people in the catering industry, mechanics, manufacturers or those working outdoors or with animals might be fine made of standard cotton.

Which to choose?

So, the choice between ringspun and standard cotton depends on what you're using it for. If you need comfort and durability, or if you want a tee that'll stay in your wardrobe for years and become a staple, look for ringspun cotton in the description. If it's just something throwaway, for a promotion or where it's likely to get damaged, you might not be able to justify the extra expense of ringspun for a luxurious feel. Standard cotton isn't uncomfortable by any means - it's just a matter of degrees.