What Is Pima Cotton?

It is very common to hear the terms 100% cotton, or 100% Egyptian Cotton, but just what is the Pima Cotton that some mens business shirts are made from? And, is it any good?

A Quick Description

Pima cotton is a type of extra-long staple (ELS) cotton primarily grown in the U.S. , Australia, and Peru. Pima cotton is produced from a different plant species and compared to upland cotton, produces a cotton with longer staple length, stronger fibres, and finer fibres.

Supima? Sometimes Pima cottons are referred to as Supima, which is actually a licensed trademark of an organisation dedicated to promoting and marketing products made with American Pima cotton. Therefore all Supima cottons are made from Pima. Supima also provide licensing to mills, manufacturers and various brands for the purpose of product promotion in high-end retailers.

Pima VS Egyption

All cotton from Egypt is Egyptian, but it’s not all extra-long staple cotton. So while the marketing messaging has consumer thinking that the phrase “Egyptian cotton” automatically means high quality with all of the associated luxurious traits, it may not always be the case. The majority of the cotton exported by Egypt is long staple, with only about 25% of their cotton exports being extra-long staple.

So yes, Egyptian ELS cotton is some of the best in the world, but Pima, or Supima ELS is well worth consideration, as proven by the worlds best shirt makers having Pima cotton shirts in their range.

An Origin Story

Pima cotton traces its beginnings back to the 1700’s and the famous Sea Island cottons that were produced in the southeast United States at the time. That cotton was bred with Egyptian cotton, resulting in the modern day cottons that have evolved since then. The quality of Pima cotton has been continually improved through refinements in yield and fibre characteristics, especially over the last 50 years.

But Is It Any Good?

Actually, yes. Pima cotton is produced primarily in the U.S. , Australia, and Peru as an extra-long staple (ELS), meaning it is suitable for high quality fabrics. It has earned a place as a favourite with the world’s fine fabric and yarn producers.

The fineness and longer staple length of Pima cotton makes it a premium cotton fibre, suitable for finer yarns that can then be used to produce more luxurious fabrics.

Shirts made from Pima cotton will have very good durability and therefore the products will last well. The fineness of the yarn will produce shirts that feel soft, as well as looking good.Supima_Cotton_Brooks_Brothers


Keep an eye out for Pima, and Supima cotton when browsing your favourite shirts. It will be worth it.


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