Outlier Strong Tee

One of the common complaints I have about t-shirts is that it is hard to find a t-shirt that is white and performs well. There are lots in the undershirt realm, but few in the wear everyday, performs better than cotton, realm. It seems Outlier wanted to do their take with a 100% nylon shirt, called the Strong Tee (currently noted as discontinued, but available on the secondary markets).

Material

This shirt is 160 gsm nylon, which sounds very boring. In fact, it’s quite interesting, as Outlier notes:

A jersey knit made from fibers that are chopped and spun like cotton to create a soft and comfortable yet remarkably durable fabric. It breaks in like an old cotton jersey except its strong enough to feel a bit like it will stay that way forever.

It feels like cotton in a very uncanny way. It’s not quite right, and you can sense that with the handfeel, but I cannot describe how it doesn’t feel like cotton. The closest I can come to explaining this is it feels like it has less friction than cotton, but don’t take that to mean it is smooth.

Texturally this is a fantastic fabric and I do hope they make more garments out of this.

Comfort & Performance

I am lumping these two sections together because this doesn’t fall into the normal performance category we talk about. It has no inkling of odor resistance — it needs a wash after every wear. It does dry quickly, but that’s about it.

From a comfort perspective, it’s fantastic. I’ve been wearing and washing it a lot to break down the fabric as Outlier notes it will do. It gets softer each time, without ever feeling like the material itself is breaking down. This is not a shirt I pack when I travel, but it is shirt I wear often solely because of how comfortable it is. When I need something with more performance, I opt for merino.

Issues

There are two issues with this shirt: pilling and the cut itself. Almost after the first wash you will see that the fabric has begun pilling on the surface. From 4-5 feet you can’t see it. Get closer and you can see it. It’s not like a sweater where you are pulling off fuzz balls, but the texture goes from smooth to worn. Many have noted that this is a deal breaker (and perhaps why it is discontinued?), but I personally don’t take issue with this at all. Looking at some of my softest cotton t-shirts, this pilling is exactly on par with them.

This is nylon mimicking cotton.

The big issue for me is the cut. The shirt is extremely long, even on my overly long torso. Because of that my wife often notes that it looks like an undershirt on me, which is exactly what I don’t want. I have considered getting it hemmed, but I’ve yet to do that.

Instead I tend to wear it around the house, and I suppose if tucking in a t-shirt is your thing this would be great. For me, it’s just too long.

Overall

I’m surprised this shirt was discontinued, and I wonder if a revised shirt based on this might come out some time in the future. The biggest complaint about merino is durability. The biggest complaint about nylon is looks and softness. This shirt is durable, soft, and looks like cotton. For me, I love it. I don’t need every shirt I own to be worn for days in a row, but I do like my shirts to be comfortable and to last.

This checks both those boxes.

Outlier Strong Tee