I recently got a sweater with an unusual blend, 45% nylon, 30% cotton, 25% merino wool. (from JoS. A Bank's, 1905 Collection)
Being very interested in nylon blends and how they perform, I thought to carefully evaluate it. This might be of interest to others thinking about getting these sort of blends. Now obviously 45% nylon is far higher of a percentage than any common blend, but what it will do is give you a good idea what sort of properties nylon confers in a blend and what effects it has.
It's about 70% as warm as acrylic, and breathes just slightly less than twice as well as acrylic, although I would still say its breathability level is only medium.
The material is equally soft as the level of polyester fleece. Which is to say it's not especially soft but medium in softness.
It has some slight oily feeling like synthetic acrylic, but half as much.
It is definitely warmer than a 50/50 cotton/polyester hoodie.
Having a high level of nylon, that should make the material very durable and resistant to wear. Nylon is very soft and almost silky.
I'm kind of surprised the material is not softer. I'm guessing the roughness must be coming from the wool? Merino is supposed to be a lot smoother than regular wool though. I'm surprised how much this feels like cable-knit low quality acrylic. (From the feel, I would have guessed 70% acrylic, 20% cotton and 10% regular wool) It probably has to do with the weave.
The level of sheen is 85% as high as acrylic, but it strangely looks more wool and cotton-like than that 85% would suggest. (That is, despite the sheen, it doesn't look like 85% acrylic, maybe more like half acrylic)
I think nylon is supposed to be 79-87% as insulating as wool. (whereas acrylic might be more like 87 to 95% as much)
In another thread, I did a rough calculation estimate suggesting nylon might have between 20% less to 56% more of a combined factor of breathability with warmth as cotton does. Which doesn't really say anything, but might suggest the two may perform at least fairly similarly in cold weather situations. (That is, if you layered enough cotton to be as warm as nylon, how well would all those layers breathe, compared to the thinner nylon layer)
Of course, adding cotton into the blend is a way to help add breathability without adding much warmth.
This sweater feels exactly like what it was meant for, a good blend for a young adult, that will be easy to wash, and doesn't require too much finnicky care.
There are many sweaters that combine a high percentage of acrylic into a blend but this one is interesting in that it instead uses nylon. I can tell that the material has a bit more effortless flexibility than an acrylic blend material in the same situation would.