Saddle pads are made from a variety of fabrics. Knowledge of each fabrics characteristics helps you to make the best decision for your horse, his comfort, and ultimately, his performance. (reference chart below)
Knowing the difference between sweat wicking and breathability is important and matters for your winter vs. summer rides. Sweat wicking material pulls moisture away from your body. Breathable fabrics allow air to pass through it freely.
Softness, non-clingy fabrics will help comfort, rubbing and chafing. Many synthetic fabrics can become softer and non-clingy with chemical treatments and yarn thickness.
At the end of the day, all fabrics have their place. Knowing your choices, and your horse, will help ensure you make the best choice possible.