With all of the options that cheer retailers offer for uniforms these days, you virtually can get the exact look for your team that you yearn for. The question is, where do you start putting your ideas into action? Most uniforms fall between two fabric categories: Performance (or a stretch material), and Double Knit (polyester). This is probably the best place to begin when designing uniforms, because all the bells and whistles that you can add on–like customized logos, team names, mascots–will differ depending on which fabric you go with. You can get a uniform that is custom-designed for your team at in-stock companies through customization and sublimation, so a unique look won’t break your bank no matter what you choose. However, it is useful to know which fabric is best for certain cheer teams, so here are some things to consider when placing your next uniform order:

Double Knit uniforms are definitely the typical fabric you think of when you imagine a cheerleading outfit: it is a stiffer fabric with a traditional fit, usually accompanied with a team name in Tackle Twill across the front. Tackle Twill is a form of embroidery that sews your team name or letters onto a uniform, sort of like a patch. In this way, the lettering stays secure over time. Polyester, although breathable, is a little heavier than Performance stretch material, making Double Knit uniforms perfect for sideline teams! And, this is especially good for youth cheerleaders on Pee Wee teams who do not do a lot of tumbling. Stretch uniforms do have a place on the sidelines, but it is usually for special events–like Homecoming or Senior Night, where you can customize your uniform to match your music or a theme.

Speaking of matching your uniform to music, Performance uniforms are perfect for competitive teams! The stretch material allows full range of movement for advanced tumbling and stunting, whereas traditional Double Knit uniforms might be restricting from a more flowy fit. Since Performance uniforms fit tight and are lightweight, your cheerleaders can flip and fly with ease. Performance uniforms can be ordered in-stock, or you can opt for sublimation–a process in which a design is infused into the fabric using heat. Sublimation takes cheerleading to the next level, allowing your team to stand out on the mat against the competition. This is because you can add your team name, logo or mascot to the side of a cheer skirt, or up the arm of a bodyliner–not just on the chest area of a shell top. Sublimation is great for fill-ins, because the items are made-to-order with designs that never go on closeout (like in-stock uniforms). And, coed teams should be pleased to hear that cheer retailers now offer sublimated men’s wear, so that you can order one design for your whole team in one place. No headache necessary.

Okay, so you’ve considered both stretch and double knit fabrics for your team and you can’t decide which is best. Luckily, there is a third option! Brands like Chassé® now offer Double Knit Sublimation–the best of both worlds! Double Knit Sublimation fabric is still 100% polyester, yet it’s stretchy, similar to a Performance uniform. The heat-infused dye process allows a sideline team to rock a one-of-a-kind look for special halftime performances, community events, or school functions.

What uniform fabric do you prefer for your team? Have you tried out sublimation, or do you like to stick to a traditional look? Let us know in the comments!