Can You Wear A Swimsuit To Gymnastics?

If you are familiar with gymnastics, then perhaps the thought has crossed your mind at least once that some of the gymnastics leotards look like a one piece swimsuit. Maybe you are thinking about going straight from the pool to your gymnastics class or visa versa, but this is a really good question.

Simply put, yes, you can wear a swimsuit to a gymnastics class. However, there are at least a few reasons why you would probably not want to do so.

First and foremost, gymnastics is a sport that includes exercises that require balance, strength, flexibility, coordination, agility, and endurance. The movements of the body during gymnastics exercises the arms, legs, shoulders, back, chest, and abdominal muscles. Due to the level of flexibility and comfort required during these movements, gymnastics is best when the gymnast is wearing a special kind of clothing that can give him some comfort.

Check out this short Instagram Movie about by daughter Ella’s comeback story.

Some Of The Disadvantages Of Wearing A Swimsuit To Gymnastics Classes

A swimsuit is a kind of clothing designed to be worn by people that engage in water-based activities or sports, such as swimming, sunbathing, etc. Swimsuits are designed to be skin-tight to provide the wearer with some ease in movement while wearing it.

However, one thing about swimsuits is that, because they are meant to be worn in the water, they can often have a slight color change when they get wet. This means that if you use these as a leotard then it will show that color change if you sweat at all during your practice, and this is something that would be potentially embarrassing since leotards are designed to not do this.

Another thing that leotards are designed to do is to not ride up and give you a wedgie no matter what you are doing. While sometimes this does manage to happen anyway, it is something that is far more likely to happen if you are trying to wear a swimsuit instead of a leotard.

Some of all of this also depends on the particular design of the swimsuit, but another part of it depends largely on what material that the swimsuit is made out of. Some of these can be almost as cool and comfortable as a leotard and can be used in a pinch, but these should never be considered as a good replacement for leotards.

For gymnasts who want to try this, it is important to know the different varieties of materials that can be used to make a swimsuit, and the pros and cons of such materials cannot be overemphasized. Having such knowledge can be an advantage when choosing the right swimsuit for your gymnastics activities.

Swimsuits can be produced from various kinds or types of raw materials, but nowadays, the common swimsuits available are a product of: Nylon, Spandex, Lycra, Polyester, and Cotton.

Nylon Swimsuits

If you really want to wear a swimsuit to a gymnastics class, nylon is probably going to be your best bet. Nylon is the generic name of a group of synthetic polymers that are commonly used for the production of different verities of clothing and other consumer goods.

Nylon is entirely artificial, which means they have no basis in organic materials. Nylon fabric is a polymer known as monomers. A monomer is a long chain of carbon-based molecules. Today, there are quite a few varieties of nylon in existence. Still, most of the nylons are derivatives of polyamide monomers that are extracted from crude oil, which is also known as petroleum.

What all of this means that even though gymnastics leotards can be made out of nylon, it is a different type of nylon than the kind that is used for swimsuits. There are in fact many different kinds of nylon out there and while these can be similar they can also be very different and yet still be called nylon.

When nylon fabric was first made, it was used as an alternative to silk. Before the introduction of nylon, silk was the only option for the types of stockings that were then commonly worn by the women in the back then, but silk lost its popularity the moment nylon came into existence and also because of the fact the silk had less durability and was more expensive

The pros of using nylon fabric:

Strength – nylon is known for having a good tenacity and its ability to retain its strength with time. It also has a high weight to strength ratio and because of that, it is commonly used in the knee area of clothes and seats of jeans and heels of socks. Nylon possesses an excellent abrasion resistance.

Elasticity – because of its excellent elasticity property, nylon is something that can have the right amount of stretch needed for gymnastics. The good elastic nature allows it to be able to stretch and return to its original shape or form without any wrinkles or folds.

Heat conductivity and retention – this is one of the things that depends on the construction of the nylon fabric. In open construction nylon fabric, the circulation of air is encouraged by the fabric, which makes it easier for you to stay cooler when you wear it. While in the closed construction, air circulation is highly limited so that your body heat and moisture will not easily dissipate through the fabric, thereby making it easy for you to stay warm.

Absorbency – the low absorbency property of nylon makes it easy for water to run off the fabric and this also makes it dry quickly.

Wash-ability and cleanliness – due to the smooth and non-absorbent nature of the nylon fabric, taking care of this is easy to do. Dirt and stains find it difficult to cling to the smooth surfaces of the nylon fabric, hence making it easy to wash and dry and to get any stains out of it.

The cons of using nylon fabric:

Effect of sunlight – due to its low resistivity to sunlight, nylon fabrics are usually weakened with constant exposure to sunlight and this also means that they will fade over time.

Weak resistance to mildew and insects – the fabric generally has an inferior resistance to the development and formation of mold. It is also characterized by a poor resistance to insects and fungi of all kinds.

Static electricity – its low DC conductivity can easily cause static electricity by friction. This is not something that really affect you if you are in the water, however in a gymnastics class when you are moving around a lot this can make the fabric have an uncomfortable amount of static cling. Leotards are designed to deal with this, but swimsuits are not.

Deformability – nylon will deform if it is rubbed enough, and this makes the fabric fuzz and pill after a while. Again, this is something that gymnastics leotards take into consideration and swimsuits do not.

Spandex Swimsuits

Spandex is a synthetic fabric that is also known for its elasticity. Spandex is a term used to refer to a polyether-polyurea copolymer fabric as opposed to the general belief that it is a brand name. This fabric can stretch about five to eight times its standard size.

Spandex is a fully synthetic fiber material that has no organic components. All the things that go into it are products of a laboratory that are then combined under specific conditions to produce spandex.
Spandex fabrics are used in things where a significant level of elasticity is required.

The pros of using spandex fabric:

Good in elasticity and recovery – spandex can stretch beyond its original shape and also recover to its original shape without getting stretched out. This is what makes it a passible option for you to use as a gymnastics leotard.

Supports the wearer – the fabric has the ability to embrace and to provide additional support, helping to increase the amount that you are able to do, which is something that gymnastics requires.

It’s stable and comfortable to use – spandex, when added to a fabric, helps to keep it more stable particularly natural fiber cloths which tend to shrink after washing. So getting a swimsuit that is even part spandex is something that might work.

The cons of using spandex fabric:

Harmful environmental impact – most of the cloths containing spandex end up as non-recyclable waste once they become worn out. This eventually contributes to environmental pollution.

Very sensitive to heat – due to the chemical composition of spandex, washing it in hot water or passing it through a drying machine or ironing it becomes disastrous. Spandex fabrics, when placed together in a drying machine, easily can fuse together. This heat sensitivity makes care and maintenance of spandex fabrics more difficult to do.

Slippery on some surfaces – the smoothness of spandex makes it prone to slips on some specific apparatus and equipment. This can be risky and dangerous, especially when a fall can lead to a severe injury. Gymnasts who perform activities that have a considerable risk of trips and fall should try as much as possible to avoid such fabrics.

Traps moisture – the inability of the spandex fabric to allow the circulation of air makes it unsuitable and risky for sweat-inducing exercises, considering that trapping of humidity may lead to slips. This also means that spandex fabric can cause fungal and yeast infections due to trapping the moisture on you.

Lycra Swimsuits

Lycra is a brand name for a highly elastic synthetic fabric which is also known as elastane. Although lycra has been called several names, lycra, elastane, spandex are all materials that are closely related. All of these have an elasticity tolerance that can allow them to stretch as much as 5-8 times their usual size.

Lycra is composed of long chains of monomers that are specially connected with a type of unique acid and is highly resistant to heat, unlike spandex. Like spandex, lycra is also a full synthetic fiber which has all of its components created in laboratory settings.

The pros of using lycra fabric:

Good elasticity – it has the ability to recover after when being stretched to above its original size which is need if you want to use it for gymnastics.

High resistivity to heat – it can stand a high level of hot temperature without losing its shape, fusing together, or deforming.

The cons of using lycra fabric:

Stretches out over time – the elasticity tends to wear out with time.

Harmful for the environment – just like spandex, it harms the environment, and it also contributes to solid waste due to its un-recyclable nature.


Polyester is a synthetic fabric that is derived from petroleum. It is a polymer that is mainly comprised of compounds within the ester functional group. In some occasions, polyester may be the sole component in a fabric, but the common practice is to blend it with cotton and other natural fibers.

Although the use of polyester reduces production cost, it also makes the apparel less comfortable for you to wear. Polyester improves the shrinkage, durability, and wrinkling of cotton when blended with it. Polyester fabric is highly resistant to environmental factors and conditions, which is the primary reason it is preferred for long term use in outdoor applications.

Although polyester is and remains one of the most widely used fabrics in the world, it will melt in extreme heat conditions. Ordinarily, anything made from cotton can also be derived from polyester. This range of items includes everyday shirts and pants to glamorous evening wear.

The pros of using polyester fabric:

Good elasticity – the elasticity is close to that of wool. Then when stretched to by 6% of its original size, it can recover to its original shape without distortion. This means that it has some stretch, just not nearly as much as nylon or the others.

Good resistance – this kind of fabric has a fair amount of heat resistivity and thermo-plasticity. Polyester fabrics also have good light resistance. Its light resistivity is only second to acrylic and it something that is coupled with the fact that it suffers little or no damage from insects and mold.

The cons of using polyester fabric:

Flammable – polyesters tend to be flammable when not adequately treated with the right additives. Due to its weak melting resistance, it will burn and melt quickly into a hard paste that will stick to the skin of the wearer, creating severe burns.

Harmful for the environment – polyester fabrics have excellent resistance to environmental effects like bio-degradation. Because of this, the fabric can form solid wastes and pollutants to the environment when thrown away by the user.


Cotton is the most widely used natural fabric for apparel production around the world. Because it occurs naturally, cotton can be easily recycled or renewed and degrades as a result of environmental factors. As opposed to synthetic fabrics, cotton tends to be more expensive.

On the other hand, cotton is mostly preferred because of its breathability. It can easily allow for air circulations and is ideal for summer clothing. Like I said earlier, cotton holds a fair share of moisture, which can be a problem for gymnasts.

The pros of using cotton fabric:

Cotton fabric is soft, natural and breathable – cotton fabrics are soft and comfortable to wear. It will not irritate the wearer’s skin, even the sensitive ones, and it will not cause static electricity. In addition, cotton fabrics don’t contain chemicals and the good air circulation discourages the growth and development of fungi and other bacteria.

Insulation – cotton clothing protects against from heat in the summer and cold in the winter by providing thermal insulation.

High tensile strength – this is the reason why it is strong, durable, and less likely to tear. Also, when it is wet, it becomes 30% stronger. It can also withstand much washing in hot water.

The cons of using cotton fabric:

It quickly shrinks and wrinkles – cotton fabrics have poor elasticity. They are prone to shrinking and wrinkle easily, especially after laundry. Also, cotton fabrics have poor resiliency, which means the fabric won’t return to its original shape when altered. You can try air drying fitted cotton fabric to avoid them from becoming smaller.

Wears more – the risk of damage to it as a result of mildew is very high. Cotton fabrics may pile easily, like lint that can be caused due to short fiber length. Also, cotton fabric losses its color easily and can fade in the washer and dryer. You can avoid this by washing your cotton cloths inside out and by using the shortest cycle of washing if possible.

Cotton retains water – although cotton fabric might be a cool fabric to wear during warm weather, it should not be assumed that it is then suitable for the exercise of gymnastics. Because cotton absorbs water in the form of sweat from the wearer, it retains this vast amount of water and causes the fabric to stretch out of shape and become saggy. This can make the wearer feel heavy and uncomfortable for the rest of the day.

Recent Posts