Hoodie vs Sweatshirt: The Key Differences

When you’re at the gym or training outside, every little thing matters. And that includes your workout gear as well.

Many people make the mistake of throwing on the first set of clothes they find before heading to the gym or going for a run outside. That can seriously compromise the quality of their training, especially if their outfit is not suited to handle high-impact activities.

That brings us to two popular clothing choices among athletes – hoodies and sweatshirts. Both look somewhat identical and provide the same cozy and comfortable feel.

However, they provide distinct core functionalities, especially for supporting demanding workout routines.

Are Hoodies and Sweatshirts the Same Thing?

Are Hoodies and Sweatshirts the Same Thing

No, hoodies and sweatshirts are similar types of clothing, but they are definitely not the same thing. The key distinction between the two lies in the presence of a hood on hoodies. Sweatshirts, on the other hand, feature a plain crew neck or a V-neck design without the hood.

Sweatshirts are comparatively simpler and more lightweight compared to hoodies. As such, they are considered more appropriate to be worn for athletic purposes. You would see many athletes wear them as part of their tracksuit outfits before and after exercising, often while warming up.

Hoodies, on the other hand, are made of thicker fabrics. Their main purpose is to provide warmth and comfort to the wearer. As such, they are not primarily used for wearing while training or working out.

However, hoodies are preferable for outdoor activities like working out in the open, running, or jogging during colder climates. It can also shield your face and hair when it’s raining or snowing outside.

In a broad sense, both hoodies and sweatshirts can be used for the same applications. They are both stylish, comfortable, and warm. Most of them also come with moisture-wicking properties and loose-fitting to provide maximum freedom of movement.

So, even hoodies can be worn for athletic activities if the weather is cold. But generally, sweatshirts are more inclined to be effective as part of your athletic attire.

Hoodies vs Sweatshirts: Head-to-Head Comparison

Hoodies vs Sweatshirts

In recent years, the hoodie vs sweatshirt debate has reached within earshot of the gym community as well. Because of the added comfort and warmth, many people have begun wearing hoodies and sweatshirts while working out.

But because of their inherently distinct functionalities, many people still wonder which one is more appropriate for which occasion.

The following comparison table will help you determine the same.

Basis of Comparison




Hoodies are pullovers with a drawstring hood. They usually feature standard or raglan sleeves with a loose-fitting silhouette. Hoodies may contain zippers and large kangaroo pockets on the front.

Sweatshirts are pullovers with long sleeves, zipperless and without buttons. They usually feature a loose-fitting silhouette too.


Uses thicker and warmer fabrics like polar fleece, cotton, lycra, and so on.



Slightly thinner and somewhat warm fabrics like Jersey Knit, French Terry, cotton, and lycra are used.



Includes a hood and leaves no room for a collar.

Uses a traditional round and flat neckline on the base of the neck.

Fastening Elements

Drawstrings to fasten the hood. May have zippers on the front side.

Usually plain with no fastening elements. Some modern designs may feature small zippers in the neck area.


Features large kangaroo pockets on the front portion.

Most sweatshirts come without pockets. Some of them might have in-seam pockets.


Full-zip hoodies are generally more expensive than sweatshirts. Other types of hoodies are available at comparable prices.

Sweatshirts are generally more affordable than hoodies.

Suitable For

Outdoor training in cold climates, casual outings, and lounging.

Sporting activities, working out, and casual/smart outings.

Both hoodies and sweatshirts share a lot of similarities. But they are not exactly the same. There are some key distinctions that can separate the two. Based on these differences, you can determine which is the most appropriate for a particular occasion.

In most cases, the primary difference between hoodies and sweatshirts is that the former is designed to provide warmth and comfort while the latter is more versatile, suited for wearing during semi-formal occasions and at the gym.

What are Hoodies?

What are Hoodies

Hoodies are simply the upgraded version of a sweatshirt with a hood. They usually feature a sewn muff on the lower front and drawstrings to adjust the opening of the hood.

They use thicker fabrics to provide extra warmth and sometimes even include a fleece lining for extra protection. Hoodies are loose-fitting, comfortable, and contain moisture-wicking properties.

These features make them excellent for exercising outdoors during cold weather. However, hoodies are heavier than sweatshirts, which might make you perspire more and tire out faster, especially if you are running or jogging while wearing them.

In most cases, hoodies are worn as loungewear for relaxing and protecting against cold climates. But they are slowly being used inside and outside the gym for athletic purposes as well.


  • Hoodies can protect your head, face, and hair against rain, wind, snow, and cold weather.
  • Hoodies can be dressed up and down, making them very versatile for casual wear.
  • Hoodies generally have more stylish and fashionable designs compared to sweatshirts.
  • The overall design of a hoodie allows maximum comfort and coziness, making them great for loungewear.
  • Hoodies provide decent freedom of movement and often contain moisture-wicking properties to absorb sweat.


  • Hoodies are made of thicker and heavier fabrics, making them slightly bulky and uncomfortable to wear over long periods.
  • Hoodies have a fixed neckline and generally conceal all the garments that you are wearing underneath.
  • The thicker fabrics used are susceptible to trapping heat, which may sometimes lead to the wearer feeling extremely hot after a certain period.

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What are Sweatshirts?

What are Sweatshirts

Sweatshirts are popular upper-body garments often worn for casual and athletic applications. They feature the use of soft, typically cotton-based, knit fabrics known as fleece or French Terry.

Sweatshirts can be identified by their long sleeves, ribbed cuffs, and hem, making them comfortable to wear. They are designed to provide warmth while providing a loose-fitting cut to the wearer.

They usually lack design features like zippers or large pockets and follow simple crew neck or V-neck designs only.

Initially, sweatshirts were designed to be worn by sportsmen while exercising. But they’ve now been adopted by casual and lifestyle wearers as well.


  • Sweatshirts are more suitable for moderate climates as they don’t trap heat as much as hoodies do.
  • Sweatshirts are lightweight and comfortable while still providing a degree of warmth.
  • Sweatshirts provide good freedom of movement and are suitable for wearing while working out.
  • Sweatshirts feature straightforward designs and offer a clean, classy look.
  • Sweatshirts can help you remain comfortable and dry by wicking away sweat during workouts.


  • Sweatshirts lack added functional elements like large kangaroo pockets or zippers.
  • Sweatshirts are less suitable for running and jogging as there is no hood to protect the head and face.
  • Sweatshirts are not as useful as hoodies for training or working out in colder climates.

Which is Better: Hoodie or Sweatshirt?

Which is Better Hoodie or Sweatshirt

Comparing hoodies and sweatshirts is highly subjective. Either of them can be more effective compared to the other for certain applications.

For example, hoodies are better suited for colder areas or provide protection against rain or snow.

Sweatshirts, on the other hand, are generally more lightweight and comfortable to wear for athletic purposes.

Based on the key differences between the two, we can conclude the following:

  • Hoodies are better for casual and loungewear because of their supreme comfort, loose fit, and functional design elements. They are also better than sweatshirts for wearing outdoors during cold climates, rain, storm, or snow.
  • Sweatshirts are better for wearing to casual and semi-formal events. They are also better suited for athletic applications like working out at the gym because of their lightweight but comfortable build, moisture-wicking properties, and loose fit.

Are Hoodies Thicker than Sweatshirts?

Yes, hoodies are generally thicker than sweatshirts, even if they are often made using the same materials.

That is because hoodies are primarily designed to provide warmth and comfort to the wearer. As such, there is no reason to make the fabrics lightweight and potentially decrease the amount of protection they offer against the cold.

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Final Words

Hoodies and sweatshirts are two of the most comfortable pieces of clothing in the fashion industry. At first glance, they will seem almost identical.

But the presence of an attached hood differentiates hoodies from sweatshirts. By understanding all the distinctions between the two, you can easily identify which one is more suitable according to your needs.