The 10 Best Sports Towels

Updated February 23, 2018 by Brett Dvoretz

10 Best Sports Towels
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
We spent 45 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top options for this wiki. You might be surprised by how often a gym or fitness towel will come in handy. Workout buffs, campers without much extra room for gear, boaters, beachgoers, and travelers staying in hostels will find these sports towels very portable, and practical. Our selection includes options both small and large in various materials, including microfiber. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best sports towel on Amazon.

10. Swol Fitness Fast Drying

If you struggle with smells, you might check out the Swol Fitness Fast Drying. It’s made from bamboo, which is naturally antibacterial, so it won’t hold unpleasant odors, even if you leave it in your workout bag. Don't be surprised if its eye-catching design turns heads.
  • an eco-friendly option
  • no annoying static cling
  • tends to shed lint
Brand Swöl
Model pending
Weight 5.8 ounces
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

9. Deconovo Microfiber

The budget-friendly Deconovo Microfiber is the perfect travel companion. Despite its relatively large size, its space-saving design lets you roll it up and place it into the provided compact carrying bag. This way it won't take up the room you need for other items.
  • bag is mesh for fast drying
  • fabric doesn't feel sticky
  • not as absorbent as other options
Brand Deconovo
Model pending
Weight 7.8 ounces
Rating 3.5 / 5.0

8. Desired Body Fitness

Try something a little different with the Desired Body Fitness. It’s got a waffle texture that helps grab moisture from your skin, and is handily sized at a little over 3 feet long. Unlike many others, it won’t bleed after the first wash.
  • affordably priced
  • good for covering a workout bench
  • doesn't dry as quickly as stated
Brand desired body
Model pending
Weight 4.8 ounces
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

7. Relefree Microfiber

The Relefree Microfiber gives you more bang for your buck. You'll have two options - one perfectly sized for wiping the perspiration off your hands and face, and one that’s big enough for drying off after a shower or for lounging on at the beach.
  • large one doubles as travel blanket
  • fabric resists mold and mildew
  • can fray at corners
Brand Relefree
Model pending
Weight 1.3 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

6. Wise Owl Outfitters Camping

The people behind the Wise Owl Outfitters Camping care deeply about the world and those dedicated to exploring it, and the extremely permeable and compact design certainly reflects that. This is a great multipurpose option, suitable for most outdoor activities.
  • comes with a bonus mini towel
  • gentle enough for small children
  • emits a rather strong smell
Brand Wise Owl Outfitters
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

5. Shandali Yoga Travel

The Shandali Yoga Travel is made of an 80 percent polyester and 20 percent nylon blend with a high thread count, for the perfect balance of softness and durability. It’s both functional and practical, and it comes in two sizes.
  • fabric does not shed
  • 100 percent money-back guarantee
  • some don't like its unusual texture
Brand Shandali
Model pending
Weight 2.4 ounces
Rating 4.4 / 5.0

4. YogaRat SportLite

Grab the YogaRat SportLite for your next trip to the beach or pool and keep your load light. Weighing in at less than 10 ounces, it takes up minimal space while offering plenty of surface area. Plus, it’s the official towel of the Los Angeles County Lifeguard Association.
  • stylish contrasting trim
  • extremely tough and won't snag
  • feels like soft suede
Brand SportLite
Model .08003
Weight 7 ounces
Rating 4.3 / 5.0

3. Cages Way 2 Cool

Beat the heat during your summer workouts with the Cages Way 2 Cool. After wetting, it feels refreshing, but not moist, all while providing a powerful UPF of 50 that promises to block 98 percent of UV radiation. And no matter how often you wash it, it'll stay pliable.
  • dozens of color choices
  • available in two-packs
  • material is free of chemicals
Brand Way 2 Cool
Model pending
Weight 4 ounces
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

2. Sunland Ultra Compact

The fast-drying Sunland Ultra Compact is ideal for backpacking, camping, swimming, or boating and comes in an array of different sizes and colors to fit your personal preference and style needs. It features a snap loop that lets you hang it virtually anywhere, too.
  • good for ultralight travel
  • convenient carrying bag with handle
  • offers great sun protection as well
Model pending
Weight 1.1 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

1. Youphoria Sport Multi-Purpose

The 100 percent microfiber Youphoria Sport Multi-Purpose claims to pack down 5 times smaller than a traditional towel and hold 4 times its weight in water, making it an absorbent option that fits neatly in your gym bag. You can use the loop to keep it off the shower floor.
  • comes in three sizes
  • replacement guaranteed if it tears
  • great gift for athletes
Brand Youphoria Outdoors
Model pending
Weight 4 ounces
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

What Makes One Sports Towel Superior to Another?

When choosing a sports towel, most people tend to go with whatever looks good and is affordable. But this is a short-term strategy that rarely yields the best results. If you want a towel that looks good, does the job, and will last, it pays to understand how a sports towel actually works.

Read any sports towel's description (or label) and you're likely to find that the towel has been designed by using a polyester blend. You're also likely to find that the towel was designed by using microfibers. Microfibers are remarkably efficient at absorbing liquid, and they dry much more quickly than traditional fibers. Microfibers are also durable, which is important, given sports towels are constantly being either washed or wrung out.

Repeat washing means you'll want to avoid buying sports towels with a low thread count. Low-thread towels are a lot more likely to fray or snag in the wash. Over time, they may feel rough against your face, as well.

Ideally, you'll want to choose a sports towel that comes with its own carrying case. A separate carrying case will allow you to transport the towel wherever you go, and it can also keep your gym bag from smelling like dry sweat. If you shower after every workout, it helps to find a sports towel that comes with a pouch for toiletries built in.

In the final analysis, a sports towel is whatever you make of it. Taking the time to research and purchase a high-quality towel significantly decreases the chances that you'll want - or even need - to replace it.

Sports Towels ... They Aren't Just for Athletes, Anymore.

The term sports towel is reductive. It creates an impression that people should only be using these towels to wipe off massive pools of sweat. In reality, a sports towel is unique by virtue of its design. And while the average sports towel may cost a few dollars extra, it's also bound to last longer and prove more versatile than any run-of-the-mill towel ever could.

Sports towels come in a variety of sizes, which means that you can buy one for the beach. What's more, certain top-of-the-line sports towels come with UV protection, which means you can avoid getting sunburns if you're laying out and you fall asleep.

Sports towels are ultra-absorbent, and they're custom-made to be wrung out. This means they're great for sopping up spills or laying down on bathroom floors. A sports towel's microfibers are usually stain resistant, which means they're great to keep on hand in any kitchen, if not a restaurant or a pub.

Sports towels come in flashy colors, which might be appealing if you have any kids. They also come in matching sets, so you can stack them in any pool house or indoor gym. A sports towel is soft, which means that you can use it as a yoga mat. Certain sports towels are also odor resistant, which means that you can use them as a bed liner for your pets.

From The Turkish Towel to The Sports Towel (A Brief History)

Towels date back to 17th-Century Turkey, where they were handwoven long and thick, so that they could be wrapped around the body. These early towels were made of cotton, and known as peshtemals. Peshtemals were specifically designed for wearing at the Turkish baths.

As production grew and costs decreased during the mid-to-late 18th century, towels became a requisite part of any home, or public spa, or hotel room. Next came the marketing and expansion of towels by type and division. Over the course of several decades there were bath towels and beach towels and hand towels and foot towels and oven towels and disposable towels, and towels that very much looked the same, but were designed differently, depending on specific needs.

Sports towels were originally invented for swimmers and divers during the second half of the 20th century. The goal was to produce a towel that would not only absorb water but also dry quickly enough for the swimmer to reuse it every time he or she exited the pool. Unlike bath towels, these early sports towels were durable and resilient enough to be wrung out without losing their texture. Sports towels became more lightweight and compact toward the end of the 20th century as the technology surrounding microfibers began to improve.

Today, sports towels are a major industry, with microfiber blends of polyester, viscose, and polyvinyl providing benefits including stain resistance, odor resistance, and even UV protection from the sun.

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Last updated on February 23, 2018 by Brett Dvoretz

A wandering writer who spends as much time on the road as behind the computer screen, Brett can either be found hacking furiously away at the keyboard or perhaps enjoying a whiskey and coke on some exotic beach, sometimes both simultaneously, usually with a four-legged companion by his side. He hopes to one day become a modern day renaissance man.

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