German moleskin under magnification
TypeHeavy cotton fabric

Moleskin is a heavy cotton fabric, woven and then sheared to create a short, soft pile on one side. The feel and appearance of its nap is similar to felt or chamois, but less plush than velour. The word is also used for clothing made from this fabric, as well as adhesive pads stuck to the skin to prevent blisters.[1] Clothing made from moleskin is noted for its softness and durability. Some variants of the cloth are so densely woven as to be windproof.[2]

Its name is due to the soft brushed hand of the fabric, similar to mole fur.[3] Note that mole pelts have been used to make fashionable fur clothing, but this is not known as moleskin.


Moleskin is woven of carded cotton yarn in a dense weft-faced satin weave. The surface is napped or sheared to "produce a suede-like finish".[4]


Moleskin fabric is commonly used to make trousers, also referred to as "moleskins", that are similar to jeans in terms of cut and construction. They similarly started as working men's wear,[5] but are now also much more widely worn.


Moleskin fabric can be coated with an adhesive backing and used to prevent or treat friction injuries of the feet. In the case of a blister, the moleskin is cut with a hole in the centre so the fabric does not adhere to the blister directly.[1] The thickness of the surrounding moleskin protects the blister from further friction.[6][7][8][9]

Audiovisual productions

Moleskin is also commonly used in video and/or audio productions when using a lavalier microphone. When further concealment of a lavalier microphone is needed in these types of productions, it can be worn underneath a layer or layers of the singer's clothing. This would normally cause the microphone to pick up the unwanted noises of the singer's clothing rubbing up against the body and top of the lavalier. Attaching a small strip of moleskin around the microphone body will dramatically reduce the amount of noise created by the singer's clothing and, consequently, reduces the amount of unwanted noise picked up by the lavalier microphone.[10][11][12]


West German Army uniforms from the 1960s until the early 1990s were made of "moleskin" fabric in a greyish olive-drab colour, but this German moleskin was not sheared and thus had a flat, smooth outer side. It was nonetheless a tough, densely woven material strongly resistant against wind and abrasion.

Military snipers occasionally wrap the stocks of their rifles in moleskin to absorb sweat and prevent slippages.


Trousers made from moleskin were popular with British workers during the end of the nineteenth century due to the insulating and windproof qualities of the fabric.[2]


Cotton sateen is a variant of moleskin. It utilises cheaper short-strand cotton to create a softer feeling fabric that is relatively fragile and wears quickly.

See also

  • Cottonade


  1. ^ a b Vonhof, John. (2011). Fixing your feet : prevention and treatments for athletes (5th ed.). Birmingham, Ala.: Wilderness Press. ISBN 9780899976860. OCLC 708566008.
  2. ^ a b Goodman, Ruth, 1963- (2015-09-21). How to be a Victorian : a dawn-to-dusk guide to Victorian life. New York. ISBN 978-1631491139. OCLC 903283280.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  3. ^ "Digging into Moleskin - Textile Tales". Heddels. 2015-04-25. Retrieved 2018-09-28.
  4. ^ Tortora, Phyllis G.; Merkel, Robert S. (1996-01-10). Fairchild's Dictionary of Textiles (7th ed.). New York: Fairchild Publications. p. 366. ISBN 9780870057076.
  5. ^ "Unlikely bedfellows on the Liverpool Plains". Radionational. 17 November 2015. Retrieved 7 August 2016. in Akubras and moleskins sat alongside dreadlocked activists...
  6. ^ "Blisters: First aid". Mayo Clinic. Retrieved 2018-05-13.
  7. ^ "Foot blisters take the fun out of marching". Retrieved 2018-05-13.
  8. ^ Braff, Danielle. "How to prevent blisters". Retrieved 2018-05-13.
  9. ^ "How to Treat a Blister". WebMD. Retrieved 2018-05-13.
  10. ^ Ascher, Steven; Pincus, Edward (2007). The Filmmaker's Handbook: A Comprehensive Guide for the Digital Age. Penguin. p. 397. ISBN 9780452286788.
  11. ^ Miles, Dean (2015). Location Audio Simplified: Capturing Your Audio... and Your Audience. CRC Press. p. 154. ISBN 9781317936800.
  12. ^ Miles, Dean (2016-07-07). Camera Audio Simplified: Location Audio for Camera Operators. CRC Press. p. 89. ISBN 9781317289296.

External links

  • The dictionary definition of moleskin at Wiktionary

Media files used on this page

Author/Creator: Dan Polansky based on work currently attributed to Wikimedia Foundation but originally created by Smurrayinchester, Licence: CC BY-SA 4.0
A logo derived from File:WiktionaryEn.svg, a logo showing a 3 x 3 matrix of variously rotated tiles with a letter or character on each tile. The derivation consisted in removing the tiles that form the background of each of the shown characters. File:WiktionaryEn.svg is under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike, created by Smurrayinchester, and attributed to Wikimedia Foundation. This is the version without the wordmark.
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Hessian Fabric made seamless. It will serve to create a normal map in Blender.
Batik Indonesia.jpg
Author/Creator: MartijnL, Licence: CC BY-SA 3.0 nl
Batik cloth purchased in Yogyakarta, Indonesia
MacLachlan hunting tartan (D. W. Stewart).svg
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A representation of the Maclachlan hunting tartan. This tartan is the oldest tartan to bear the name MacLachlan. This tartan is referred to as the Old MacLachlan, MacLachlan, and Hunting MacLachlan. This sett was first published in Old & Rare Scottish Tartans by D. W. Stewart in 1893.
Thread count: Y6, W4, Bk32, G32, Y6, W4, R48.
Sources: MacLachlan Clan Tartan WR1710 MacLachlan Hunting Tartan
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