In the world of athleisure, it is absolutely vital to have a pullover hoodie at the ready for whatever adventures may occur. And I consider myself a professional at athleisure: I am a former Division 1 college athlete who is now the father to a boisterous 8-year old and a coach to his boisterous teammates. Plus, I’m the owner of a new, exhausting Bernedoodle puppy. Add to all of this the fact that I don’t leave the house enough or inhabit enough places that require anything but sweats and sneakers to suffer through stuffier outfits. So, yes, I’m a damn athleisure All-Star.

You’d better believe that knowing which one to go with to be ready for moments like chasing your dog around the backyard in the early hours of the morning in the middle of winter or overseeing unorganized basketball practices comes with the territory. The Nike Sportswear Club Fleece Pullover and the Champion Reverse Weave Hoodie are two extremely reliable hoodies from two time-tested brands. They were the obvious choices to pit against each other in our search for the best cotton fleece pullover hoodie.

What We're Testing

    To determine which hoodie was the best fit (no pun intended) for your situation, we compared them based on four factors: fabric, fit/construction, the “deets” (finer details) and price. Let the head-to-head begin.

    Overall Winner: Nike

    In what could be the absolute closest head-to-head battle in Gear Patrol history — literally, I changed my mind on the winner three times — the Nike Sportswear Club Fleece Pullover won by a hair thanks to its sleek, sophisticated design and construction and the versatility of the fabric.

    But I’ll be damned if the less expensive Champion Reverse Weave Hoodie didn’t give it a run for its money, because of its sturdy, dependable (anti-shrink) construction and (nearly) unbeatable price. Oh, and depending on where you live — I’m looking at you, upper Midwest — this may be one of the warmest sweatshirts you can get for under $100…and you can get two for that price!

    Considering how difficult it was to select a winner, read on to see why we gave the Nike Sportswear Club Fleece Pullover the title — and more on why the Champion Reverse Weave Hoodie might still be your sportswear star.

    Pullover Sportswear Club Fleece Hoodie
    Nike nike.com
    $50.00

    How We Tested

    Test #1: Fabric

    nike sportswear club fleece
    Nike’s hoodie is a comfortable 8.4 ounces.
    Nike
    reverse weave hoodie with c logo
    Champion’s weighs in at 12 ounces, which is ideal for winter but too warm for summer nights.
    Champion

    The Nike Sportswear Club Fleece is made of an 80/20 cotton-poly blend with a super-soft brushed-back fleece that feels like butter on your skin. The Champion Reverse Weave Hoodie has a cotton-poly blend body that’s equally as soft, so there isn’t much difference between the two when it comes to feel and touch. Both could be worn whilst completely naked and make you feel like you were being comfortably held and all your trials and tribulations washed away. So, yes, the fabric on both is ace. However, the real difference is in the weight of the fabric.

    The 8.2oz Nike pullover was cozy enough to make it a tad bit more transitional for mild-to-cold temps while the 12oz. Champion pullover is considerably warmer. Again, depending on where you reside, more weight may benefit you more. I know I had a few sub-zero days where I had to unexpectedly spend more than 5 seconds outside (see: dog, 5:40AM, yard) and the Champion hoodie came in the clutch. But luckily those days are few and far between, especially outside of the more frigid winter months, and the Nike pullover definitely lends itself to more situations a little better.

    The fabric weight of the Champion hoodie also makes it a bit more rigid, which wasn’t always the most comfortable when I was athletically typing at my keyboard in my home office or athletically lying on my couch while watching my son do dribbling drills. I know, athleisuring it is tough sometimes, but I shouldn’t have to compromise my comfort, you know?

    Test #1 Winner: Nike

    Test #2: Fit/Construction

    nike sportswear club fleece
    The seams on Nike’s hoodies are less apparent.
    Nike
    reverse weave hoodie with c logo
    Champion’s cuffs extend down past the wrist.
    Champion

    While both hoodies have a fairly similar fit and construction, there are some very subtle nuanced differences that dragged this battle down to the wire.

    Both hoodies are side-seamed for durability, which is a major plus that some may not consider. But if you plan on wearing a sweatshirt of any kind for a considerable amount of time, you’ll want that extra bit of fabric to avoid splitting a single seam straight down your armpit. From a style perspective, I like Nike’s better because it seamlessly (I’m sorry, this pun was intended) blends in with the fabric on the rest of the hoodie while Champion’s is built from ribbing. The reverse weave construction on Champion's, however, will prevent fabric shrinkage over the thousands of washes the garment will face. Those benefits are more long-term and are only really reaped if you really beat your hoodie up. Nike's shrunk minimally, so I wouldn't worry much here.

    The ribbed hem and cuff on both options are great. I am someone who prefers to tuck the hem up on my crewnecks and pullovers, and only a decent hem will allow it to stay that way. These both passed the test. The cuffs on the Champion hoodie are slightly longer.

    Big plus on pullovers for me? Nice, substantial kangaroo pockets. I have unnaturally large hands so small pockets, in general, give me a complex and my wife is sick of having to grab my chapstick out of my too-small denim pockets (P.S. jokes on her, they aren’t actually too small, teehee.) Being able to rest my clasped hands inside the pockets is a huge plus. The Champion pouch was bigger, but it didn’t conflict with the bagginess of the fit, so that was a win in my book. And even better? Both pouches are bartacked, meaning they have reinforced stitching where the pouch meets the body.I know firsthand that both pullovers can withstand the stresses of violent in-pocket air-punches as my 8-year-olds blow wide open layups time-after-time. The trials and tribulations of athleisure, am I right?

    From an overall fit perspective, both pullovers have a nice baggy body, which I prefer for hiding my winter dad bod (not to be confused with my summer dad bod, which is the same as my winter dad bod, but with a tan.) The Nike Sportswear Club Fleece Pullover is a tad bit sleeker, so if you are someone who has a bit more muscle or, like me (I wear multiple long-sleeved layers underneath my hoodie to give off the illusion that I’m ripped), then it may prove to be a bit constricting around the upper forearm area. The Champion Reverse Weave Hoodie is basically the complete opposite, with a sleeve construction that could fit two arms in one.

    The only thing about either of these products that bugged me? The fit of the hoods. I had a case of Goldilocks syndrome with the Nike hood being slightly smaller than I would like, and I am follicly-impaired with a medium-sized dome, so I can more than imagine that someone with a larger head and luscious locks would suffer the consequences. On the contrary, Champion’s hood was just a little too big. However, when worn with a hat, it’s perfect.

    Test #2 Winner: Champion

    Test #3: The Deets

    nike sportswear club fleece
    Nike’s hood was just the right size.
    Nike
    reverse weave hoodie with c logo
    Champion’s felt like it could fit two of me.
    Champion

    It’s the little things, right? The ones that make you think, “Do others actually care about these details or am I really that OCD?” Well, it’s probably both, to be honest, but for the sake of this comparison, I’ll be your scapegoat, OK? Let’s start with the big one — the drawstring. Listen, if you are ever thinking of making your very own pullover hoodie, let me give you one tip; make sure it has good drawstrings. While the Champion hoodie has metal eyelets to prevent the hole from ripping, the drawstrings are tied at the ends with some fraying that will surely become untameable after a few washes, so they leave a little to be desired. The Nike pullover, while eyeletless, has nice, flat drawstrings with stitched ends. Perfect for a pretty bow.

    Next up? the heather grey color. While we’re not actually judging based on the color, I kind of still am? I love a good grey hoodie, but if the heathering or marling (are these words?) are too light, points get deducted. Remember, athleisuring has a style aspect that must be taken seriously. Unfortunately, Champion’s heather grey is a little too light for my taste. I told you we were going to get down to the nitty gritty on the deets, didn’t I? The flecks of white compared to Nike’s mixed-in mute grays give Nike the edge.

    Test #3 Winner: Nike

    Test #4: Price

    nike sportswear club fleece
    Nike often has sales, but the hoodie’s price stays steady.
    Nike
    reverse weave hoodie with c logo
    Champion’s is typically $60, but sheer abundance makes finding a $40 dollar one fairly easy.
    Champion

    It’s hard to argue with a $55 fleece-lined, brand-name pullover. That is, until you mean an almost-equally good fleece-lined, brand-name pullover for $40. (Champion’s are listed at $60, sure, but do a little searching and you’ll see they’re elsewhere for $20 bucks less. Hint: Look on Champion's site.)

    Test #4 Winner: Champion

    Why Nike Ultimately Wins

    In what could be the absolute closest head-to-head battle in Gear Patrol history — literally, I changed my mind on the winner three times — the Nike Sportswear Club Fleece Pullover won by a hair thanks to its sleek, sophisticated design and construction and the versatility of the fabric.

    But I’ll be damned if the less expensive Champion Reverse Weave Hoodie didn’t give it a run for its money, because of its sturdy, dependable construction and (nearly) unbeatable price. Oh, and depending on where you live — I’m looking at you, upper Midwest — this may be one of the warmest sweatshirts you can get for under $100…and you can get two for that price.

    The truth of the matter is, you cannot go wrong with either of these. If your decision comes down to price then, well, you still have an incredibly difficult choice. Here was my main tie-breaker: the Nike Sportswear Club Fleece Pullover definitely is more “wear” than “sports.” That means its overall fit, the details and the versatility of the fabric weight was considered with the intent to make sure you wore the hoodie outside of the court/field/arena. That is what truly set these two pullovers apart.

    Overall Winner: Nike

    Pullover Sportswear Club Fleece Hoodie
    Nike nike.com
    $50.00