Sherpa vs Fleece: 8 Differences Between Sherpa and Fleece

The cool weather is coming. One thing you want to do is stay warm without spending too much money on wool winter garments. One way to do both is to consider wearing fleece this winter. This material was made to mimic wool and cost you a lot less at the checkout counter.

Each style of fleece have its own qualities and one difference between Sherpa fleece and regular fleece is that the latter can be made of cotton. Sherpa fleece is wholly made from synthetic materials.

To learn more about the difference between Sherpa fleece and other types of fleece just continue to read our article. It provides both the similarities, the differences, and other information you should find helpful. To stay warm and save all types of fleece are good.

What is Fleece?


This section is for those who do not know much about fleece material. This material was invented in about 1981 by a company called Malden Mills. There were no natural fibers used in the beginning and basically, fleece has been made from polyester from the start.

It took a little trial and error as well as a lot of experimentation over the years to improve the new fabric but eventually, the material now known as fleece took shape. While perfecting the fabric, the inventors took time to make fleece, soft, quick to dry. and very insulating.

Some say it is twice as insulating as wool and 4 times as insulating as cotton, even when wet. Then it took 13 years for the company to master how to make fleece from recycled plastic. In one way this material is good for the environment and helps keep plastic from hitting the landfills or entering the oceans.

One of the main traits this material has is it is lightweight yet very warm. You do not have to wear layers and layers of clothing to stay warm when you put some fleece on your body. As time has gone by, the different companies have been able to create more types of fleece mostly made from synthetic materials.

Difference Between Sherpa and Fleece

While sherpa is part of the fleece family, it does have some unique properties that help it stand out from the rest of its ‘siblings’. Here are those differences in a quick comparison chart. It only takes a few seconds to see what makes sherpa fleece better.

Category Sherpa Fleece
origin polyester fibers polyester & cotton, lycra fibers
years of use approx. 40 approx. 40
texture soft and can be rough soft, can be rough, water proof and stretchable
application more for lining than anything else used in a variety of products
warmth very warm material not as warm as sherpa except maybe polar fleece
cleaning cold water wash no dryer cold water wash no dryer
look can be fluffy usually smooth and thin
cost relatively inexpensive not that expensive

Is Sherpa Warmer Than Fleece?


The Sherpa style of fleece is said to be one of, if not the, warmest fleece options you can buy. That is why it is often used as a lining and not for the exterior of your coat or jacket. It is made from 100% polyester materials and you may notice a plastic feel to the fabric.

Then Sherpa fleece may have a little stretch to it but not as much as the type made with Lycra fibers. The Lycra is added to some fleece materials to make sure you have an inexpensive fabric that stretches well.

You will find that most fleece types are very warm and polar fleece may rival the Sherpa type in being one of the warmest fleece materials around. There is a cotton fleece that is used for sweat pants and sweatshirts and they do have a bit of lining inside to help keep you from getting too cool.

Is Sherpa or Fleece Softer?

The Sherpa type of fleece is known to be fluffy and most people equate fluffy with being soft. That is not always the case but this type of fleece is still soft. In some people’s minds, Sherpa fleece may be the softest of all the fleece types.

Microfleece and french Terry fleece may give the Sherpa fleece a run for its money, though. Those types are manufactured to be both smooth and soft while Sherpa may have some rough edges to its interior surface.

As we said, it will be up to a person’s personal preference that decides which type of fleece is softest. Cotton fleece is certainly soft and may also rival Sherpa fleece in the race to be the softest material of this fabric type.

What is Sherpa Fleece?


This style of fleece is made from synthetic products, 100% polyester, This construction material keeps the fabric soft as well as lightweight. Plus, it makes sure that when you use it for coat lining, baby blankets, etc., you and your family members stay nice and warm without weighing them down.

Also, the material was named after the famous Sherpa guides in Nepal who lead many foreigners up the steep and high Himalaya mountains. There are two sides to this fleece type, the smooth exterior is normally a knit shell while the fluffy interior soft and bumpy to resemble real fleece from real sheep.

What makes this material attractive to most consumers is that it mimics wool without costing the same as that natural fiber. You get to stay nice and warm while keeping enough money in your wallet for a nice time in the town in the winter season.

Sherpa vs Fleece Blanket

The interesting fact about the latter of these two blankets is that the fleece option can be a different fleece type without using any Sherpa fleece for a lining or added warmth. Then it can use Sherpa fleece to make sure you stay very warm.

That is one of the big differences between these two types of materials. The regular fleece blankets can keep you warm but not as warm as the Sherpa blanket. Both will be nice and soft, especially any fleece blanket made from cotton.

Then to get the best of both worlds, sometimes fleece is blended with cotton so you have the positive aspects of fleece and the positive aspects of cotton working together. Sherpa fleece is often used on one side of the fleece blanket.

That modification means that you will be extra warm on those cold nights. The power of fleece and Sherpa combine together to provide you with great insulation, even if you spill a little hot chocolate on it.

If you do make spills, both materials should dry very quickly without harming its softness or insulation powers.

Premium Sherpa vs Microfleece


To understand one you have to understand the other. Microfleece is a very soft and comfortable material that is not that heavy. In fact, it weighs 200 gsm or less. If it weighs more than that it is not microfleece. Premium fleece would be heavier than that.

Then microfleece is flexible allowing you to stretch when you need to without hurting yourself. This material may not be as warm as Premium fleece but it is thinner and easier to pack when you go on vacation.

Another good point about microfleece is that it does not give off a foul odor, pill, or show sweat stains. However, the material will harbor bacteria if you don't wash it thoroughly. Once you wash it, the material should dry very quickly.

The best season to wear this material is summer but it works well for layering. Now that you understand microfleece a little better, you should be able to understand that premium fleece is an upgrade over this material.

Premium is super soft and is generally used for men and women’s bathrobes. It has a lot of the same qualities microfleece has but it is just better.

Sherpa Lining vs Fleece Lining

The latter option is a good material to use when you do not live in geographical regions that get extremely cold. While warm, they are not as warm as Sherpa fleece. That is why the former option is used as lining on fleece blankets and other fleece clothing items.

Sherpa fleece is designed to be super warm making sure those extreme temperatures do not affect you when you go outside to shovel the snow or get the car warmed up for your trip to the mall.

Both will be soft and the Sherpa lining will not be as smooth as the fleece lining. Sherpa fleece is designed to be smooth on one side and rough like real fleece on the other. it is that rough side you see not the smooth side.

Both materials should be easy to maintain but make sure to wash them completely so that bacteria do not find a home in your clothing. Then both materials should be excellent in wicking away moisture when it is snowing or raining outside.

One major difference between the two is that Sherpa fleece is not as bulky as regular fleece is.

Sherpa Lining vs Faux Fur


The faux fur may be a bit more comfortable to wear than the Sherpa lining. It doe snot come with the rough texture that Sherpa does and while faux fur will keep you warmer than its opponent here, it does not act as fast as Sherpa lining does.

It is said that faux fur is warmer than Sherpa but the latter material is less costly so you can still stay warm, look good without spending too much money. Then faux fur feels and looks like real animal fur which may be more appealing to some overlooking at material resembling real sheep fleece.

Both materials are made from the same base ingredients, polyester, but the processing is a bit different so you get two different textures, look, and insulating powers. In addition, both materials are easy to clean.

The choice boils down to how much you want to spend and how you want to look. Both fabrics are good, warm, and look nice.

The Different Types of Fleece

There is not just one style of fleece even though the majority of them come from the same base ingredients. You can read more about it in our different types of fleece article. But here is a short list of those types to give you a better idea of how wide your choice is:

  • 1. Cotton or cotton-poly fleece - made from cotton or a blended material and generally used for athletic wear. it has a smooth exterior with a plush interior nap.
  • 2. Polyester fleece - repels moisture better than cotton fleece does but its exterior has a polyester sheen to its look. This option is also smooth on the outside and plush on the inside.
  • 3. Lycra spandex fleece - this is what could be called stretchy fleece. It is made of cotton with Lycra fibers thrown in to make sure the material stretches when you need it to.
  • 4. Microfleece- double - sided, thin, soft, and insulates well. It is the preferred fleece for performers as it is lightweight and keeps them drier.
  • 5. Polar fleece - may rival Sherpa fleece in warmth. It is the thicker version and it insulates well.
  • 6. French terry fleece - this is the unbrushed version of this material. That means it is flatter and does not have a fluffy nap to it.
  • 7. Slub fleece - knitted from two different yarns giving it a nice textured look and feel.
  • 8. Sherpa fleece - fluffy and mimics wool in most ways. It is very breathable and often used for lining.

Some Final Words

Sherpa fleece is a good inexpensive winter option. It is soft, comfortable, and keeps you nice and warm. It is the perfect lining when the cold season comes as it may be the warmest of all fleece types. It is inexpensive as well.

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