The item in this review was provided for review purposes by Y Athletics.
Just about five years ago, Y Athletics launched their synthetic SilverAir Crew Neck on Kickstarter. We reviewed the shirt and were won over by the comfort and odor resistance. Just this week, they launched the next generation SilverAir shirt — the SilverAir Merino T-Shirt.
I’ve been testing a prototype of the shirt since May and the production version for about two weeks. I think this shirt is going to be a game changer for not just the workout shirt market but the t-shirt market as a whole.
Y Athletics designed the double sided SilverAir Merino fabric specifically for this shirt. The inside is 17.5 micron merino wool with pure silver threads running throughout, while the outside is plated with nylon. This gives the best of both worlds without the sacrifice of a blend — odor, thermal, and moisture control on the inside with excellent drape, hand feel, and durability on the outside. The knit is extremely open (without any issues of being see-thru) to allow for airflow making for a very lightweight shirt.
I’ve worn this shirt as both a workout and an everyday shirt, and it has outperformed any other shirt I own. The seamless construction of the body eliminates many potential areas for chafing. The sleeves are raglan style (for range of motion and comfort) and attached with flatlock stitching — no chafing there either.
After the fabric, the next most impressive feature of the shirt is the hidden mesh ventilation panels running under the arms and down the sides of the shirt. Just like the synthetic shirt, the mesh in no way makes those areas of the shirt see through. The panels are all but invisible on the black shirt and are just slightly noticeable on the blue (and I imagine the grey as well). This is due to the merino and the nylon taking dye differently.
This shirt resists odors just like a 100% merino shirt. It’s the first time I’ve had a non-100% merino shirt that needs to be washed because it looks dirty rather than because it smells. The combination of being 100% merino with silver threads on the inside makes it act like a full merino shirt in the odor department. The other benefit of the silver threads is that they won’t wash out like the silver treatments used on other clothing.
As far as moisture management, this shirt excels as compared to a 100% merino or merino blend shirt. Nothing will feel as light in an intense and sweaty workout as a synthetic shirt, but the thinness of the merino layer here makes all the difference. Since merino works by absorbing moisture into the fiber versus polyester and nylon repelling the moisture, a merino shirt tends to get more weighted down by sweat during a workout.
The nylon plating also imparts great durability to this shirt. I have not seen any indications of pilling (which I’ve seen pretty quickly on the armpits of some merino shirts from working out). I wouldn’t hesitate to wear this shirt for rucking or travel with a backpack.
Fit and Finish
The design of this shirt allows for universal wear — it can go from the gym to the weekend. Compared to the original SilverAir shirt, the fit is a little closer to the body and the collar closer to the neck giving it a more tailored and polished look.
The drape and handfeel are also excellent. It wears like a cotton t-shirt, it blends in. When I first heard about the nylon face, I expected at least some nylon sheen, but the finish is actually very matte. The team definitely worked hard on this as I even saw improvement between the prototype and production versions.
There is just one caveat with the black color — the silver threads show through just a little bit (again the team was able to improve this between the prototype and production versions). While some may not even notice or not care, this is worth mentioning if you are trying to choose a color and want to be able to wear the shirt in many situations.
The SilverAir Merino T-Shirt is a huge upgrade from the original synthetic version. It has become my most worn workout and all-around t-shirt. With excellent odor resistance and drape it fits in almost anywhere. If you’ve been thinking about merino but are worried about the durability, this is your shirt. There are no tradeoffs on merino performance to gain durability.
The Kickstarter runs through September 6th, and at $49 the shirt is a steal. Even at the retail price of $69, this shirt represents a great value and is set to make waves in the industry.