One of the most common things I hear from people when I tell them to buy merino wool t-shirts is that wool is too scratchy for them, or the person they want to get a shirt for. While I don’t find merino wool scratchy, and many people agree on that, there are still some who do. The issue is that the majority of non-merino shirts out there don’t perform nearly as well as wool. Which brings us to the Proof Passage Tee.
I used to tell people to go buy Pistol Lake’s Minimalist Tee (our review). Both of us were surprised by the performance of the Eudae fabric, but the shirt is very lightweight and more geared towards an athletic look. Proof makes technical clothing with the traveler in mind, and they do it out of a range of fabrics. The brand (formerly Proof NYC) is now owned wholly by Huckberry and sold through them.
I picked up their Passage Tee on a whim and have been impressed by it since. I bought another too. Let’s dive in.
This shirt is a cotton blend of: 48% cotton / 47% polyester / 5% spandex. This isn’t specifically listed, but I am confident it is treated with some anti-odor chemical as well, but we cannot determine which.
The fabric itself feels like some of the softest cotton out there. It’s very soft, almost feeling slightly fuzzy at times. The shirt stretches well, and is thick enough that you will have no worries about any see through aspects, and yet light enough that it packs well.
The moment you put this shirt on, it is comfortable. Nothing beats soft cotton against your skin. The shirt is made even more comfortable with the addition of stretch and moisture wicking. It’s not as moisture controlling as a wool shirt, but it is far better than straight cotton. It’s almost as good as wool for general wear when it comes to moisture.
The stretch seemed like an odd choice to me in a t-shirt, but it works out quite well. Allowing the arm openings to be cut closer to the body, without restricting the movement of your body. The stretch isn’t a ton, but it’s more than enough for this shirt to make it a really nice touch.
At the end of a long day, I am generally happier with a merino t-shirt, but for shorter wears this Passage Tee is really hard to beat for comfort. Because, while it doesn’t quite have the performance of merino which aides in comfort throughout the day, it feels very relaxing to wear.
My benchmark for performance is that I generally can get 4-5 days of wear with merino, and 3-4 with something like Pistol Lake’s shirt. I find the Passage Tee to be about a 2-3 wears shirt. If I air it out for longer between wears, I might be able to get an extra day. Cotton kills this for a ton of wears in a row.
However, that’s not to say this shirt doesn’t perform well, because it is quite impressive for a shirt with such high cotton content. I first tested the shirt by wearing it for 24 hours straight, airing it out for 8 hours, and then wearing it for another 12 hours. It didn’t stink so bad after all of that, but it smelled enough that I would prefer not to wear it again without washing it.
Speaking of washing, the shirt dries well when hanging. It’s not as fast as a merino shirt, but it is pretty quick drying overall.
As I mentioned at the start of this review, I bought a second of this shirt. The Passage Tee is the pure comfort of a well worn cotton t-shirt with much better performance. It’s not something I’ll be traveling with, but if I know I am going somewhere to relax and lounge, it is the shirt I would want to have.
At standard retail of $42, it is a decent buy. Right now it is on sale for $28, and at that price it is a steal.