Long Term Testing: Athletic T-Shirts

Note: These shirts were originally provided for review purposes, please see the original reviews for more information.

We’ve been testing and reviewing here on Everyday Wear for about two years now, so it’s about time we take a look at how some of our long term favorites are holding up.

Something that I wear almost every day is an athletic t-shirt. I wear these for working out and often as a shirt for around the house. The two that have stuck as my favorites are the Pistol Lake Minimalist Tee (called the Minimalist Performance Tee at the time of our review) and the Y Athletics SilverAir Merino T-Shirt (our review). I’ve had the Pistol Lake tee for a year and a half now and the Y Athletics for one year.

Pistol Lake Minimalist Tee

As a refresher, this shirt is made from a custom fabric blend Pistol Lake calls Eudae (76% polyester, 19% Tencel, and 5% spandex). It looks and drapes like a cotton t-shirt with stretch, but performs almost like merino.

As it’s not dependent on any odor treatment (like some synthetic fabrics), I can still get about 4 workouts from the shirt before it starts to smell. Unfortunately, the shirt seems to get small pills all over pretty quickly.

I own the shirt in both black and heather grey, and while both are pilled, it seems that the black is either pilled more, or the pills are just more noticeable. I’m not too concerned about this, as these are workout shirts for me, but this would come into consideration if I were buying these as everyday shirts. I’d also expect that a backpack could accelerate the pilling.

For summer wear I find the fabric very comfortable. It dries very fast and wicks well, however it does retain enough moisture during a hot and sweaty workout that it does get weighed down somewhat (I’d put it between merino and a traditional full synthetic workout tee).

Y Athletics SilverAir Merino T-Shirt

This shirt is is 17.5 micron merino wool with pure silver threads running throughout on the inside, while the outside is plated with nylon.

The merino interior of the shirt continues to give me the same odor resistant performance and moisture wicking of a 100% merino shirt. The thinness of the merino layer helps keep it from getting too weighed down from the sweatiest of workouts (although it still can’t beat a traditional full synthetic workout tee).

As far as the durability of the nylon plating goes, the only pilling I’ve seen is from a sweaty week of hiking with a GORUCK bag. It certainly is much more pill resistant than the Pistol Lake shirt.

One other item of note: The black color of this shirt seems to be showing more of the silver thread through the plating as it ages, while it remains invisible (except for some “indentations” where the thread is) on the blue color.

Overall

I am very satisfied with these shirts as my athletic tees of choice. If I was forced to pick just one with versatility in mind, it’d be the Pistol Lake, as it looks completely normal and could fit into more situations. For pure performance, I’d go with the Y Athletics.

Long Term Testing: Athletic T-Shirts

Western Rise AirLight Short Sleeve Shirt

Note: this was provided by Western Rise for review.

It’s summer, which means in the performance apparel world there is an endless supply of clothing being made promoting it’s ability to keep you cool. To that end, Western Rise recently released the AirLight series of shirts in a variety of styles, and options.

I’ve been testing a short sleeve variant in the ‘fog’ colorway for a couple of weeks in the hot and humid Houston climate.

Let me tell you why this shirt is awesome.

Material

The material is a blend of 51% Recycled Polyester / 49% SUPPLEX® NYLON coming in at a featherweight 104gsm. It also boasts a UPF 30+ rating. The fabric is very thin feeling, but not at all see through which is something you always need to worry about with garments of this weight.

The material is also very soft when you feel it, and has quite a nice drape to it. It won’t look like cotton, but it also doesn’t have that weird ‘hiking shirt’ drape that a lot of shirts like this have. I have noticed that it will take wrinkles easily, especially when packed, and they don’t fall out quickly. A quick, and I mean very quick, steam is all the shirt needs to regain its smooth appearance. And that smooth appearance is an interesting one, this shirt almost lacks all texture. It’s matte, so kudos there, but it’s also oddly smooth looking, but not shiny smooth. Really hard to describe.

Fit & Style

Western Rise notes that this shirt can go “from business casual to summer parties” to which I say: perhaps. It certainly is a great casual shirt, but business casual is going to be situational at best. If you can get away with untucked shirts and jeans in your office, then you won’t stand out (in a bad way) with this shirt, otherwise I don’t see it passing muster.

That said, the general styling and fit of the shirt is one I really love. It’s cut very well for a smart and trim look. The collar is excellent, with hidden buttons to hold it in place so the collar can feel natural and look sharp. The hemline at the bottom is also great for wearing untucked with pants or shorts.

Performance

The thing about this shirt is that it performs at another level. Look, right now here’s the weather at my house: 90°F dew point of 72°F and 56% humidity for a feels like of 98°F — in other words, that’s a cooler day here. That’s the lowest temperature I tested this shirt in, and it’s one of two shirts I own that I actually look forward to wearing in this weather.

Quick hits of why this shirt is so great at performing in the heat:

  • It dries insanely fast. I soaked the shirt cleaning some chairs with the hose, it was dry before I thought about being wet.
  • The odor resistance is actually really good, and I really sweat in it. You can get probably two wears out of it on average, but it dries fast enough that washing it after each wear isn’t a chore.
  • The front pocket closure is kind of crazy. It’s this weird plastic snap thing that keeps the pocket cleanly closed, not bulky, but effective. I don’t know what this is called, but it’s really cool.
  • The stretch is really good, and is only noted as “mechanical” which typically means “not much stretch”. Here I was shocked to read there wasn’t like 6% Lycra in this. It is pretty stretchy.

Here’s the cherry on top with this shirt: it packs down to nothing. It weighs nothing, and it folds up very small. I feel like you could pack an endless supply of these shirts, not that you really need more than a few of them.

Overall

I absolutely love this shirt, and likely will be picking up another one of them. This is superbly well done, it is my favorite short sleeve shirt to wear, and looks pretty sharp. It performs very well in warm weather and doesn’t freeze you out when you hit the AC.

I highly recommend this.

Western Rise AirLight Short Sleeve Shirt

Outlier Ramienorth Pivot

After reviewing Outlier’s Ramielust T-Shirt, I was waiting on the edge of my seat from them to drop some more ramie gear. They released the Ramienorth Pivot, Ramielight Breezy Pivot, Ramielight Camp Collar Shortsleeve, and Ramielight Mojave Shortsleeve. So many choices, I went with the Ramienorth for the heavier weight and better nipple coverage. I’ve now been testing it for many weeks and doing so in a climate the shirt was made for: the hot and humid summer of Houston, TX.

There’s something fun about wearing a long sleeve shirt when the feels like index hits 105°F and still feeling comfortable. Well, as comfortable as you can possibly be.

Material

This is straightforward, 100% Ramie woven in a 200gsm cloth. It is a really heavy fabric, and as such is not the most breathable fabric. I’ll get more into that later, but for now the fabric itself.

This shirt is very prone to wrinkles, similar to linen, but a different type of wrinkles. These are more along the lines of creases, which can be quite annoying. They drop out quickly if you steam the shirt, but release very gradually if you decide to just wear the shirt.

The big thing with this shirt is the hand feel. The Ramie is decently rough feeling, bordering on scratchy to some with more sensitive skin. I notice it when I put it on, but after a few minutes I don’t notice it again. One thing to note is that the Ramienorth is a completely different feeling and looking fabric than the Ramielust we tested. The Ramielust is like an open weave with a slight sheen, whereas the north is like an oxford workshirt with a true matte finish.

One nice thing about the weight of this, the drape is fantastic and the rigidity of the fabric gives a really nice look to the shirt.

Fit and Style

First, let me start with the Pivot sleeve. This is something only Outlier does, I believe they have a patent on it or something. Here’s the thing, it’s the best sleeve out there. Tons of motion without a need for stretch in the garment. It’s dangerous, because you forget you are wearing a light colored, rather expensive shirt and probably shouldn’t be moving around furniture and stuff. Anyways…

This shirt has a great cut and a fantastic fit. I have absolutely no complaints about any of it, top marks at every turn.

Performance

Here’s the big question: how does this shirt feel when you are wearing it in 95°F sunny weather with 78% humidity and a dew point hovering at 75°F (for those who don’t know, that’s pretty darn hot and leads to something feeling well over 100°F). This shirt works, and it works insanely well.

Ramie works better than linen down here in Houston, and not just because of the moisture wicking. Let me back up. This shirt dries absurdly fast, I would say it is the fastest drying button down I have, by a decent margin — even over synthetic shirts. It is almost wearable straight out of the washing machine, certainly wearable in a couple hours. Because of that, it keeps you really cool, but because of the weight you don’t get cold like you can with the Ramielust shirt.

Here’s the deal, in hot climates like Houston most of your time is spent quickly moving from one AC area to the next. With periods of “why do we live here, oh my god” in between those zones. Ok, yes, I did wear this around outside and all that, but here’s the thing. This shirt performs very well when you are in the heat, but where most ‘cool’ shirts fall down is back in the AC. Because you want to be comfortable inside and outside.

That’s where this shirt is a home run. When you come inside it doesn’t give you chills wearing this shirt. I suspect this is because it is not as breathable as the Ramielust, or even a standard linen shirt. That does hurt you a little in cooling outside (get the Ramielight to solve that), but it really helps you out once you get into the AC. Which is where I want to be anyways.

This is the best performing shirt I have found for Houston weather. Hands down.

Overall

My Twitter summary review then is: So good, I wish I could wear it to work. I partly bought the Ramienorth thinking it might be able to work in the office on say Friday. I don’t think I can, it’s to sloppy looking with the rumples and wrinkles the shirt gets. Just like how it is hard to pull that off with linen, it is hard with Ramie. That’s fine, because I wear this shirt a ton. I can only get about 1-2 wears out of it, but it dries so fast I simply wash it after every wear.

Highly recommended.

Outlier Ramienorth Pivot

Bluffworks Ascender Chinos

Note: These pants were provided by Bluffworks for review.

The Bluffworks Ascender Chinos were recently released along with a new travel polo and t-shirt. These chinos were designed as an update from their Classic Chino (our review) with a new fabric and security features. Being Bluffworks, they have 10 pockets (6 special travel pockets), which you either willlove or hate.

Fabric

The fabric is 100% polyester and weighs in at 180 gsm. It has a soft hand feel and nice matte texture in most lighting (but does have a sheen in direct sun).

While these won’t pass for cotton chinos up close, they also don’t immediately give themselves away as technical. However, I do get a technical swoosh while walking in these. It seemed to quiet down a little with washing, so I wonder if it will go away over time. As advertised, they came out of the wash wrinkle free.

Fit & Comfort

Even though the fabric has no stretch content, the pants feel like they have a lot of stretch. In the hand, the stretch feels similar to many of my other chino style pants, but while wearing them, they feel like they have significantly more stretch. In fact, I had to size down one inch from my Gramercy sizing for the waist to fit.

With the right waist size in the Tailored Fit (they also come in Regular Fit), I still felt like there was some room in the thighs and hips. They don’t look sloppy, but they also don’t look as polished as my Outlier Futureworks (our review). If you typically find nice performance chinos to be too slim, you certainly should be able to find a good fit here.

The stretchiness of these pants also makes them very comfortable and forgiving for travel. I would go as far to say that I feel like I could hike in these if I had to. While the fabric here is actually lighter than that of the Futureworks (180 vs. 200 gsm), it feels thicker to me. This translates to them running a little warmer as well. They are breathable and don’t get clammy, but I wouldn’t pick them for the hottest weather. Conversely, I imagine they would perform better in cold weather.

Travel Pockets

With 10 pockets on these pants, you can protect almost anything you’d carry.

Inside both front pockets, there is a zippered pocket.

The right front pocket also includes a phone patch pocket and a small utility pocket (to hold a small knife or multi-tool). The left front pocket has a pocket on the inside of the pants with a velcro closure (for money or a passport).

While it may seem that all these extra zippers and pockets might get in the way, I haven’t yet felt like they have gotten in my way like they can on the Gramercy Pants (our review).

Moving around to the back of the pants, the waistband above the right pocket has a phone pocket.

I’ve yet to find this type of pocket useful, but it doesn’t detract from the look or comfort of the pant. Finally, the left back pocket has a zipper right at the opening. I find that the zipper pull stays tucked away most of the time, but can occasionally pop out if you don’t get it stowed away.

Overall

Overall, the Ascender Chinos are a solid performance/travel pant. If you are looking for a chino style pant with travel security features, these are certainly the best I’ve seen. Even without all the extra pockets, these represent a great value at $125. With a little work on the sheen and sound of the fabric, these could come close to my Futureworks; I’ll also be interested to see how they compare in cold weather.

Bluffworks Ascender Chinos

GORUCK X-Mas in July Sale

The GORUCK X-Mas in July Sale has begun and will continue while supplies last. This is typically one of their best sales of the year and runs thru 7/15. Here are some of the deals we are excited about:

GORUCK X-Mas in July Sale

Western Rise Liberated Hemp Band-Collar

Note: this shirt was provided for review.

When it comes to shirts for warmer weather, the prevailing advice is linen but as all of us reading this know: there is more to it than that. There’s Ramie for hot and humid, there are various synthetic options, and so much more. Western Rise has their Liberated Hemp Band-Collar Shirt they feel warrants a go.

I tested this shirt in the hot and humid weather of Houston, TX in 90°F weather with humidity around 70% and a dew point sailing north of 70°F. In other words: I tested this in insanely hot and sticky weather when my body was hardly acclimated to the climate.

Material

This is a hemp blend shirt coming in at 170 gsm, which is heavier than you might think you want for a warm weather shirt. The blend is 53% hemp / 43% Repreve (Recycled Polyester) / 3% elastane — though it feels like a heavy cotton shirt to the touch. Look closer and you notice little pills on the shirt, like many fabrics made for hot weather — but a tighter weave than most hot weather shirts.

At first the shirt was scratchy feeling, but after one wash that went away to a soft but thick material. As for stretch, it is not very noticeable — I didn’t even realize it was there until I looked up the precise blend of the fabric this review.

This blend is stated to resist odors and wrinkles and to absorb 20% moisture while remaining dry to touch. It lives up to this.

Fit and Style

This is a boxier and looser fit with a polarizing band collar. I found it works best paired with a more casual outfit like linen pants, boxier chinos or a pair of clean shorts with rolled up sleeves. Since the weather here is very warm, I wore it with shorts and rolled up sleeves. I like the style of this shirt, and I think the band collar offers a nice departure from what most people wear — but if you don’t like it in the photos you will not like it in person.

Performance

The hemp blend performs in line with most linen shirts. The material has a tighter weave so it is not as breezy, but breathes well enough and dries fast. It’s not hot wearing — despite feeling heavier than a comparable linen shirt.

The most impressive attribute is the wrinkle resistance. Most shirts made of linen live to wrinkle, but this shirt stays flat and tidy most of the day. It doesn’t have much of the linen look — so if that has always kept you from linen, this is a fabric you should look into.

As for odor resistance I only get 1-2 days of wear out of it. To be fair, I have been sweating a lot in the shirt, but it still starts to stink after a longer wear. You can rinse most of the smells out, so that is nice to know if you plan to travel with it. And, importantly, it dries fast — faster than linen.

My unscientific analysis is that this shirt wears 25% warmer than Outlier’s Breezy Linen and about 5-10% warmer than my linen shirts from Banana Republic. It is warmer than linen, but it keeps it’s composure much better than linen such that I think it is a better choice overall unless you are comparing it to something like the breezy linen from Outlier.

Pit sweat is another interesting part. I was sweating a lot in this shirt and should have been pitted-out, but instead I never felt that wetness under my arms. And I never noticed pit stains. This likely has to do with the amount of water it can absorb, coupled with how fast it dries. I bought a car in this shirt, going in and out of the dealership with a lot of stuff going on — I was sweating, but the shirt never showed it.

A-plus.

Overall

I’m a fan. And if you want linen like performance but you can’t stand that linen wrinkles the moment you look at it, you should consider this shirt. I hope they use this fabric in more styles as I would love to see a short sleeve variant with this same fabric.

Find it here.

Western Rise Liberated Hemp Band-Collar

Boundary The Chase Pant Preview

Boundary gave me a chance to take a look at their new Kickstarter product, The Chase Pant. They sent me a sample of the solid pant in the Straight fit. These are a five pocket design with some extra hidden pockets. They will also be offering a unique denim dyed color without the hidden zipper pockets on the legs.

For these pants, Boundary developed a proprietary fabric called TT-1, made from Combat Wool, T-400 Lycra, and Nylon 6,6. They claim significant breathability, temperature regulation, and odor resistance from the merino/nylon combo and the T-400 is supposed to move and rebound 15x better than standard Lycra or Spandex. They top it all off with a DWR coating. There is minimal technical sheen, a great texture, and no “technical swoosh”.

I’ve had the pants for about a week and am pretty impressed so far. I wasn’t able to get my exact size as they aren’t in production yet, but I can say these are the most stretchy pants I’ve worn. While the fabric is noticeably heavier than my lightweight Outlier Futureworks, it seems very breathable, but I have not yet had a chance to test them in very hot or humid weather.

I can’t say if these are going to become my go-to travel and everyday pants, but they are certainly interesting. It seems they have put a lot of thought into the fabric and construction. My favorite feature is the unique RiRi button snap.

Surprisingly from a Kickstarter, they will be available in five colors and they even have women’s options. If it says anything, I backed them to get my wife a pair.

The Kickstarter is open until July 3. Look for a full review once production pants are available.

Boundary The Chase Pant Preview

Guide: Polos

Note: some of these shirts were provided at a discount or for free, please see the original reviews for more information.

Finding a performance polo that blends in and has a sharp looking collar can be quite the task. This guide walks you through each of the polos we have tested, and how we think they perform. For this guide, we assume you are looking for polos for the warmer seasons and are looking for them to be versatile, from casual to business casual.

Bluffworks Piton Polo

Our review.

The Good: The fabric is pique knit, giving it nice visual interest and a nice matte finish so it blends in. Great collar that doesn’t require any fussiness out of the wash. Very breathable and light. Packs well with no wrinkles.

The Not Good: After one day of wear, the armpits smell a bit. With a quick rinse in the sink I can get a second day.

Overall: The lightweight textured fabric and great collar give this polo a classic look with the performance of 100% synthetic. The wrinkle resistance is excellent.

Mack Weldon SILVERKNIT Polo

Our review.

The Good: The fabric looks and drapes just like a standard cotton pique polo. The length works well for wearing tucked or untucked. The collar stays sharp as long as you pay attention how it dries. The odor resistant content of the fabric lives up to expectations, giving me 3 wears.

The Not Good: There is Mack Weldon branding along the side seam on the back of the shirt.

Overall: This is a great polo, soft, odor resistant, sharp collar, and versatile with no indication that it is technical.

Ministry of Supply Apollo 3 Polo

Our review.

The Good: Extremely breathable fabric and stiff collar that always stands up and looks sharp no matter what you throw at it.

The Not Good: The thickness of the fabric can keep it from drying as fast as other synthetic polos (although it does manage sweat very well). The collar can look a bit unnatural at times and the heavy drape gives it away as something different. There is no odor resistance here.

Overall: This is a polo you can depend on pulling right out of your bag and having it look perfect. The breathability overcomes the thickness of the fabric from a comfort perspective. Can be worn tucked or untucked.

Ministry of Supply Composite Slim Fit Polo

Our review.

The Good: The fabric is extremely soft and looks and drapes like a light cotton polo. I can depend on two wears (the merino content is only 15%). The length is perfect for wearing untucked. The collar performs well and never looks floppy. Slim fit.

The Not Good: Only 2 wears, better than average but not standout. The shorter length makes it harder to keep tucked in. The slim fit will not be for everyone. The two button (short) placket keeps this more in the casual realm.

Overall: As you can see, this polo is full of trade-offs. If you are looking for a polo geared to casual wear only and you are looking for a slim fit, this might be the polo for you.

Wool&Prince 100% Merino Wool Polo

Our review.

The Good: Feels and drapes like a soft, well worn cotton t-shirt. The collar stays put and looks sharp as long as you pay attention to how it dries. Has that magic merino odor resistance.

The Not Good: The 205 gsm fabric makes it too warm much above 80 °F, even in low humidity.

Overall: A great polo except for the weight of the fabric. If you want 100% merino, this is the way to go. Otherwise, you probably want to look to one of the other options.

Wool&Prince Polo

Our review.

The Good: The drape and hand-feel of the fabric are spot on. Being a merino blend, there is great odor resistance. The collar stays put and looks sharp as long as you pay attention to how it dries.

The Not Good: Picks up wrinkles fairly easily.

Overall: This is a great polo with the caveat of wrinkles since is it a light merino fabric. If you want the odor resistance of merino with the durability of a blend and the versatility of a lighter fabric, this is the way to go.

My Pick

Not taking odor resistance into account, my top choice is the Bluffworks Piton Polo, with the Mack Weldon SILVERKNIT not far behind.

The Piton polo for me is the most versatile all around with its lighter fabric, excellent wrinkle resistance (the Apollo 3 is the only shirt that is more wrinkle resistant), and ease of wear from casual to business casual.

The SILVERKNIT polo gives you some extra odor resistance along with some seasonal colors to break up the typical blues, greys, and blacks of performance wear.

If you place odor resistance at the top of your list, the two Wool&Prince polos would be my pick. Which one would depend on the climate you plan to wear them in.

Some other options not reviewed

I even purchased and returned some without giving them a test

  • Ably Ranger Polo: I’ve been interested in Ably Apparel’s Filium technology, and this looked just like a normal cotton pique polo. The dealbreaker was that the collar looked mis-proportioned to me.
  • Arcteryx A2B Short Sleeve Polo: The collar and button placket were shiny and nylon-y and stood out too much from the rest of the shirt.
  • RYU Tech Polo: The collar and button placket were weirdly stiff and nylon-y, the collar also didn’t lay right — it was stiff and floppy at the same time.
  • Triple Aught Design Caliber Polo: The fabric and webbing to attach the buttons made this one too casual.

Getting Started: What to Buy

I would recommend getting started with two (or three) shirts, this will give you a base to wear to the office during the warmer months and give some versatility for travel. Here’s what I would buy:

  1. Bluffworks Piton Polo Shirt in Spun Grey: This is my most worn polo. I tend to stick to dark pants, so I favor light shirts. Light grey looks better with dark grey than blue or navy with navy, so I tend to go with light grey shirts to get the most versatility.
  2. Mack Weldon SILVERKNIT in True Navy: This is your classic navy pique polo for work and play with great performance in the heat. The mid-level odor resistance makes it nice for shorter trips.
  3. Wool&Prince Polo in Grey End-on-End: This makes for a nice dressier polo. It also works well for longer trips where you want a shirt that can be worn many times between washes.
Guide: Polos

Wool&Prince Polo

When it comes to wool shirting, Wool&Prince is our go to. Ben gave their 100% Merino Polo (our review) a test last summer and loved it except for the weight, it was too heavy for warm climates. As part of preparing for a roundup of polos (coming soon), I gave the merino blend Polo a try.

Fabric

This polo is made of a 160 gsm blend of 78% 17.5 micron merino and 22% nylon. I’ll let Wool&Prince explain the yarn, as it doesn’t sound like a traditional core spun fiber:

“Traditionally, blended yarns are constructed by mixing fibers from two different sources and then spinning the mixed fibers. We took a different approach and spun a 17.5 micron wool core with two small nylon filaments.”

As advertised, the drape and hand feel of the fabric are great. It drapes heavy, so it looks a little more dressy than your standard cotton, t-shirt-like polo. The fabric feels soft and doesn’t have any of the itch some feel from the Wool&Prince button-downs, most likely due to the finer micron wool used here.

Fit

The fit on the polo is slim but not athletic. It has a classic straight shape, but doesn’t look boxy. I wear a L Regular in Wool&Prince shirting, and an XL fit me well here. With the traditional split drop tail, the length was a little long for me to wear it untucked in all but casual situations.

Overall, the style makes this polo fit in any situation where a polo is appropriate.

Comfort and Performance

The softness of the fabric makes this polo soft and comfortable like your favorite merino t-shirt. I found the weight of 160 gsm to make it substantial enough to not be see-thru, while remaining cool even in warm weather. However, since merino does hold more moisture than 100% synthetic fabrics, you tend to feel sweat a bit. This is somewhat counteracted that the fabric dries fairly quickly.

The collar is always a dealbreaker on a polo. In order to look sharp and blend in with a performance polo, the collar has to look right. In this case, they did a nice job stiffening this collar up a little bit with some interfacing between two layers of fabric. If you make sure the collar dries in the shape you want, it will remain sharp through multiple wears (and even packing).

Speaking of packing, I did find the shirt to pick up wrinkles fairly easily when packed. A quick steam and they are gone, but something to keep in mind if you want a polo that can be pulled out of your bag and be ready to go.

Finally, odor resistance. As expected, the nylon content in the fabric reduces the resistance some, but not enough that this isn’t my most odor-resistant polo. Surprisingly, what has made me wash this polo so far has been smells picked up from the environment (food odors).

Overall

This is a great polo, and if you are looking for merino performance, this is the one to get. The softness of the fabric makes it just as comfortable as a t-shirt while keeping you looking sharp with a dependable collar. Even more compelling, at a price of $78, you aren’t paying a huge premium for that merino performance.

Wool&Prince Polo

Bluffworks Threshold T-Shirt

Note: This shirt was provided by Bluffworks for review.

As we mentioned in our review of the Piton Polo (our review), Bluffworks also recently released a new t-shirt, the Threshold T-Shirt. The market is quite saturated with great t-shirts right now, so we hold them to a high standard. Bluffworks managed to take a technical shirt and impart almost merino level odor resistant technology, all while keeping the technical look (mostly) at bay.

Fabric

The fabric here is a wrinkle-free 66% polyester, 29% Lyocell, 5% elastane blend with embedded gold and silver nanoparticles.

To start off, the fabric itself is soft and lightweight, while being substantial enough to drape well. It has a nice stretch to it (although doesn’t feel like it has 5% elastane content). I think the elastane in this knit is more to help the shirt keep it’s shape, and Bluffworks claims that the blend of elastane and Lyocell lends to the soft hand feel. Additionally, the knit is tight enough to be UPF 50+ rated but still breathable.

The only (slight) downfall to the fabric is in bright light, you can see a slight technical sheen. Not a dealbreaker, but something to keep in mind.

If they stopped here, I’d say Bluffworks made a worthy contender in the performance synthetic t-shirt market. That not being enough, they added a metal nanoparticle treatment to impart excellent odor resistance to the shirt.

Fit

As always, Bluffworks offers a great range of cut (Classic & Slim) and length (Regular & Tall) options for the t-shirt. I found the fit to be similar to the polo, with a Slim XL fitting me the best (the Classic L was similar, but the Slim sat better across my shoulders and neck). I would say neither cut is athletic nor baggy and both can look great as an all around t-shirt.

One observation on sizing — I found the length to be a little shorter than many of my other t-shirts. I think it gives the shirt more of a classic silhouette and is something to keep in mind when choosing a size.

Comfort & Performance

The t-shirt wicks sweat away well and dries quickly. This is one area where merino isn’t king. On a hot, sweaty day or workout, merino tends to get heavy while synthetics are better at wicking to the surface of the fabric to help evaporation.

The claim of the t-shirt being wrinkle-free is also something that I noticed while wearing the shirt. It tended to have less wrinkling from being folded up in my drawer or packing cube and it doesn’t get those light wrinkles that show up in a light merino T after a days wear.

Finally, the most surprising performance attribute — odor resistance. The treatment on this shirt gives it almost, if not merino-like, odor resistant properties. It is certainly the most odor resistant synthetic t-shirt I’ve ever tried.

Overall

Bluffworks has a top competitor with their Threshold T-Shirt. It looks and feels great with top notch odor resistance. It is going to get a lot of wear from me this summer and I’m looking forward to seeing how the odor resistance holds up over time and how the shirt resists pilling (a downfall I found in my previous favorite synthetic T).

If you are looking for a performance T that isn’t wool, you’ve found the one. Even against merino shirts, this one holds its own.


Ben’s Thoughts

I tested the peak white color and I found my new white t-shirt. I love it, and in fact in picking what I could bring on my person for my upcoming move (versus what the movers bring) this t-shirt was the first one I grabbed. The handfeel is soft, and slightly slick, but it is very comfortable. In fact, I’ll likely pick up a couple more. Two thumbs up.

Bluffworks Threshold T-Shirt