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