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Knit versus woven. Do you know the difference?

Posted on June 20, 2012 in Miscellaneous Shoes and Apparel

Are you like me and ever find yourself asking questions like, “What’s the difference between salted and unsalted butter?” or “Isn’t the ‘Blue Green’ crayon the same as the ‘Green Blue’ one? So really, the 24 box of crayons should be changed to 23 crayons?” We know these things are different, but sometimes have a hard time distinguishing those main differences. Tomato, Tomahto.

A frequently asked question in the world of tennis apparel is, “What’s the difference between knit and woven?” Which can be pretty important to know when browsing through all the different shorts, skirts, and jackets labeled as either “knit” or “woven.”

Knit vs. Woven

Now some people reading this may say that there is an obvious difference between “Blue Green” and “Green Blue,” just like the tennis players who know the difference between the two types of fabric. When I first started working at TW, I was not one of those players and couldn’t tell you which clothing piece was which. But after learning the tricks of the trade, one might say I am now a Knit-Woven Master (if only I could say the same thing for acronyms). I can tell the difference between knit and woven from across a room. Blindfolded on a good day.

Today I am passing that knowledge off to you! Like the name, knit apparel is formed by (whaddaya know) knitting — in other terms, interlocking loops of fabric together. This technique allows the finished product to be stretchier because of the loops. If you were to pull the fabric in different directions, the cloth will stretch to your movement. In its basic form, woven apparel on the other hand is interlaced tightly together by threads passing in one direction, making them not as stretchy. (There are more technical woven fabrics designed with two-way stretch or four-way stretch.)

I wish I could describe the difference in one word for simplicity, but unfortunately it probably wouldn’t make any sense. So I’ll also lay out the differences in a list to keep the explanation simple.


All in all, knit is generally designed for comfort and woven is more of a performance based fabric to wick away moisture better.

You also might be surprised when I say I wasn’t kidding about telling the difference between the two fabrics blindfolded. It’s true, I can do it. I’ll let you in on my little secret: Woven is usually noisier if you rub the fabric together. Since knit is softer and more elastic it doesn’t make as much sound as woven fabrics.

Pass on this secret to your friends! Or if you don’t, make ’em think you’re a Knit-Woven Master, too, when you can tell the difference blindfolded.


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