Note: This t-shirt was provided by KOY Gear for review purposes.
KOY Gear is a relatively new Canadian tech wear company which came onto my radar through their current Kickstarter campaign. They currently offer a Silver Boxer Brief which was launched in 2018, and this campaign is to launch their KG Tee and KG Socks.
Diving into their mission a little further, their design philosophy of “Invisible Technical” stuck out as a good fit for what we look for here — they provide performance features that are ‘invisibly’ integrated into their clothing.
When KOY offered me a chance to check out their KG Tee, I was excited to give it a try. After a few weeks, I can say it lives up to the claims and has an interesting combination of technologies.
The material on this shirt is packed with some interesting features. It is a 200 gsm 4-way stretch blend consisting of 47% Modal, 47% cotton, and 6% Elastane. The outside has a hydro-repellant treatment while the inside has a special treatment to make it highly moisture wicking (which combines with the special weaving pattern for breathability). The overall fabric is then treated with a silver ionization technology for anti odor.
With all of the mixed treatment and technologies in this shirt, I wasn’t sure if the fabric would live up to the claims of being soft and smooth. However, it really is extremely soft, smooth, and comfortable.
Fit & Style
The fit of the shirt is very slim/tapered. In fact, if you are looking for a true tapered shirt, this is probably most like what you are looking for out of all the t-shirts we’ve reviewed. KOY recommends sizing up if you are looking for a casual fit, and that is definitely true. I am at the upper end of the chest measurements for Large, and with an Extra Large, the shirt is even still a little more snug than I typically wear my shirts.
Style wise, this makes it different from a lot of performance tees with at most an athletic fit. Paired with the fact that the shirt has a substantial weight and looks just like cotton, it is certainly a fashionable tee that can easily go from the gym to everyday.
This shirt is described by KOY with five words — “comfort, odorless, antibacterial, stain resistant, and breathable.”
I’ll tackle each in turn, starting with comfort. The fabric has enough weight to not feel clingy and is very soft and smooth. This, along with the flat lock stitching and 4-way stretch, makes the shirt extremely comfortable.
Of course, odor resistance is something we look for in a performance tee. The (antibacterial) silver treatment does a great job at keeping the shirt odorless. In fact, I was able to wear it as many times as I can a merino tee for working out. After 4-5 wears, I washed it, but probably could have gotten more wears.
When it comes to stain resistance, the shirt does a great job repelling water, so I can see it repelling any spills you throw at it.
Typically, cotton with as much water repellence as this shirt has can feel stiff. Not so here. I didn’t feel that the breathability of the shirt was impacted by the treatments or weight.
One other feature of the shirt that I was surprised by was the moisture wicking interior. Even when sweating profusely from a hard spin or row, the inside of the shirt would get wet, but you could not see that wetness through the face of the fabric. In principle, this sounds like it could be uncomfortable, but I never felt like the fabric was weighted down or felt clammy from the moisture. This seems like it could be a good feature if you get sweaty when biking or walking but want to show up at your destination looking dry. The only caveat is that the shirt tends to stay moist longer than a synthetic shirt (I’d compare it to a merino tee).
The KG Tee is full of a combination of interesting technologies. If the unique features and the fit of the shirt are compelling, the price is right at the retail price of about $30. It will stay in my rotation for active pursuits.
Unfortunately, the Kickstarter is sold out of rewards with just the t-shirt, but for about $37 you can get the tee with two pairs of their KG Socks. Pledges are open through October 17th, with a retail launch in 2020.