The hoodie has evolved from a basic piece of athletic attire to gang wear to almost become a wardrobe essential. If you are in the market for a hoodie, one of the most important decisions you can make is whether to buy a full-zip hoodie or a pullover hoodie.

Which is better is a longstanding and divisive debate and one that we intend to clarify impartially. Because both types do have their merits.

If you’re a hoodie fan chances are you’ve probably wondered which hoodie is the best for me? Is it the pullover hoodie or the zip-up hoodie?

Zip-ups generally have zippers while pullovers don’t. Pullovers are made with joint front pockets, zip-ups have separated pockets with the zipper running through the center of the front of the hoodie. And although both types of hoodies have drawstrings, zip-ups are occasionally seen without a drawstring.

And that’s how they differ.

Whichever one is better lies in the eyes of the beholder, and for some subtle differences that might make one superior to the other based on occasion, weather, fit, and design.

That said, here’s a comparison of the zip-up hoodie versus the pullover hoodie. Here are some key differences:

  • The zip-up hoodie can be more practical and versatile than a pullover
  • The pullover hoodie has the most iconic look
  • A pullover hoodie is usually warmer than a zip-up
  • A zip-up hoodie can be layered and worn like a jacket
  • Both types can have a pouch front pocket
  • Always choose fit over fancy

The Pullover Hoodie

The pullover hoodie was first popularized in the 1960s and 1970s and has since become a global style staple. Everyone has a hoodie.

The classic pullover hoodie has no front zipper and is a hooded sweatshirt that must be pulled over the head to be worn. Compared to the zip-up hoodie, the pullover might lose a little versatility and practicality because of the lack of zipper metal. Since the pullover hoodie is the hooded sweatshirt in its most fundamental form – many people prefer that clean uncluttered look compared to a zip-up. A front kangaroo pocket is typically included but can also be found in zip-ups too.

The Zip-up Hoodie

Pullover hoodies are an essential wardrobe staple. But there are a few features that are not that important to some people.

Putting on a pullover hoodie without ruining your perfectly coiffed hair is one problem. The lack of an opening at the front also makes the hoodie less versatile as you cannot layer and have your layers be seen.

The zip-up hoodie will generally no present these possible problems. If you’re a bit uncomfortable with your hoodie closed, just open it up! You can also mix and match with other items for a layered look with the hoodie open. You could even wear a zip-up as a jacket in warm weather.

While the zip-up hoodie might lose a little in terms of warmth compared to a pullover, that’s not always a disadvantage depending on the weather conditions.

In summary: we’d say the zip-up wins in terms of practicality and versatility. But it doesn’t quite have the classic look that a lot of people find important about the pullover hoodie.

Which is better for more formal occasions?

Really, neither the pullover nor the zip-up hoodie is particularly well-suited for formal dress occasions. From the perspective of a hoodie purist, the pullover probably has a small edge.

Zip-up hoodie vs. pullover hoodie: which is better?

We’ve outlined some of the pros and cons in this post. Both types of hoodie have their plusses and both can be great. Keep in mind that the differences in zip-up versus pullover may give each type an advantage based on circumstances and the application.

Another important point is to choose a high-quality hoodie regardless of zip-up or pullover, so you can carry the timeless style for many years to come.

A pullover might not be the best for when the temperature gets warm and you need to take them off during outdoor exercise. Removing a pullover while playing a sport or another vigorous activity might prove difficult compared to simply unzipping a zip-up hoodie and pulling it off. With a pullover, you kind of have to stop whatever you’re doing to remove them.

Taking a pullover hoodie off in public can also mess up your hair, snag your earrings, or knock your hat off if you’re trying to cover a bad case of bed head. Also, you run the risk of exposing parts of your body that you would rather keep covered when pulling off a pullover in a public setting.

Another advantage the zip-up has over the pullover hoodie is versatility.

Because they have zippers, they can be worn with more different tops than pullovers. You have a choice between wearing them fully zipped or unzipped, allowing exposure of your inner shirt.

Like pullovers, zip-ups have their downsides, too. While they provide more styling options, pullovers are better for inner layers. No zippers make them much easier to layer underneath an unbuttoned jacket without worrying whether the zipper might show. It’s like wearing a normal sweatshirt underneath a jacket.

Pullovers are slightly warmer and more comfortable than zip ups. For example, pullovers generally have thicker fabrics — which is why I prefer them for at home lounge wear during the colder months.

Zip-up or Pullover – Which one is Best for ME?

Again, it all comes down to your preference. Judging from the above, a zip up hoodie would serve you more if you work out on a regular basis or prefer to wear them like jackets. However, if comfort and formality are your thing, then a pullover would be more practical. Consider all the pros and cons before making a decision that is best for you. Check out our selection of hoodies here.