Wildly Goods Socks

Note: Wildly Goods provided these items for review.

Anyone who moves from cotton socks to wool socks, will quickly tell you how much better life is on the wool side of the world. Comfort, odor — all of it is better. I really love testing socks, so when Wildly Goods reached out, I couldn’t wait to see what they had to offer, and I am glad I got these to review — they are outstanding.

Material

These socks are a blend of 80% Extra-Fine Merino Wool, 16% Polyester, 3% Nylon,1% Spandex. I am surprised by the low spandex content as they seem like they would have more than that. But I am not surprised by the high merino content, and the ‘extra-fine’ here is no gimmick — they are among the softest merino wool socks I have ever tried. I can’t find anything detailing out how fine a micron they use, but I would guess it is below 18 micron.

This is wear after in a boot from rucking about 8 miles.
This is wear after in a boot from rucking about 8 miles.

The one downside to this blend is durability, and while the socks are still holding up perfectly for me, they are getting quite fuzzy. Something I will need to keep an eye on.

Fit & Style

When I wrote my notes for this review, I wrote that these are: half hiking sock, half athletic sock. Meaning they are not quite as thick, or compression prone as a true hiking sock, but they are also not quite as ambivalent as a basic athletic sock. Wildly Goods seems to agree, as they note: “hybrid design blends the features of high-end hiking socks with everyday comfortable socks”. That is spot on.

I can easily wear these rucking with boots or any other heavy duty wear, as I can slip them on with a dress boot or sneakers and be comfortable all day. I think these socks strike the perfect balance. They won’t be dress socks for anyone, but if you wear dress boots, you could easily wear these most days.

They will replace athletic socks for just about anyone though, and they will also be the socks you want to pull on to be cozy next to a fireplace.

Performance

Ok, so let’s talk about performance, and with these it is very straight forward. There is a huge amount of merino in these, so they are odor resistant. I would say 3-4 wears and you’ll notice nothing. Soak them in water after each wear and you could go for a very long time.

There’s no true compression. But the socks are padded strategically, and vented on the top. Overall they wear very comfortably no matter what shoe you are pairing them with. Just excellent. But the true standout feature is how soft they are. They are just cozy to have on your feet, they feel like you are cheating a bit.

Lastly, I washed and dried these like I would a cotton t-shirt. They are getting fuzzy looking, but otherwise I have not noticed any ill effects, so you are likely fine to treat them as you would any other sock — which is a must for me.

Overall

When I last did a round up of socks, the now discontinued Outlier Megafine sock was my top pick. These will replace those, since these are available. In a lot of ways these are the same but with less compression.

I would love to get these in solid colors, as I think you could then really get away with them in most situations. As it is, I am going to wear the heck out of the two pairs I have.

Here’s the thing about these socks: they are $20 for two pairs. That’s an insanely good value for socks of this quality and performance. Get on it.

Highly recommended.

NOTE: where possible all product links on this site may earn the site money when you buy using those links.

Wildly Goods Socks

Taylor Stitch The California in Vintage Navy Madras

This shirt caught my eye first because of the pattern, and second because I have never owned a madras shirt. So I thought I would give it a go, as I live in a state that is nearly always decently warm.

Let’s dive into this shirt, because I do like it quite a bit…

Material

So first, madras itself is an entire thing, not just the material or pattern. It’s like a combination of the two, so I am not going to refer to this as madras cloth. Rather this is a lightweight Taylor Stitch fabric. And, in that case it is an open weave, 4-oz. 55% Organic Cotton, 45% Linen.

The translation here is that it is super breathable and light weight — not see through at all. It’s soft, not super wrinkly, but more rumply. The hand feel is fantastic.

Fit & Style

This shirt is all about style and in fact there is an entire history of it. The pattern — the feel — of this shirt is sublime. The fit is the same as all other Taylor Stitch button-up/downs I have tried.

Which is to say the fit is very trim, with slightly shorter sleeves than you might like. But the biggest issue with the fit is the cuffs, which are generally too narrow to fit most watches under them, and I think that is criminal.

So the style, and design of the shirt is on point, but the cut remains problematic for Taylor Stitch — they need to relax their cuts more.

Performance

Here is what Taylor Stitch says about the performance of this shirt: “…incredibly comfortable, breathable, and rugged shirt”. I can get behind that, the cotton gives you the comfort, and the weave and linen give you the rest of it.

Overall I think it generally stands up to those claims, as air passes through it nicely and it is too thin to stay wet for long. It’s not going to break any records on performance, but it will generally be comfortable in much of the heat you might experience. There are things that perform better, but I am not sure there are many that do it with the style of this shirt.

Overall

So, this is a good lightweight shirt — it’s a good light layer, or comfortable shirt for the evenings. This is a really hard shirt for me to review, because I do really like it, but I have a hard time saying it is on par with most of the performance minded shirts I review here.

So, I’ll sum this shirt up like this: it feels like a late summer sunset — warm, cozy, and something you want to stay in for a little longer.

They are on last call here.

NOTE: where possible all product links on this site may earn the site money when you buy using those links.

Taylor Stitch The California in Vintage Navy Madras

Launching Today: Western Rise Versa Hat, Our First Look

Note: Western Rise sent this hat at no charge for review.

Today, Western Rise launches their all new Versa Hat. I’ve had a chance to try this hat for about 5 days now, and it is quite different from any other hat I have. I have been wearing hats for a while now, as a way to tame my COVID-haircut once the product I put in it wears off near the end of the day. I also wear hats working out.

Since getting the Versa hat I have only been using it, and using it a lot. I haven’t had it long enough to fully review it, but here are some thoughts:

  • The bill is likely to make or break this hat for you. Since it is all foam, it won’t get damaged no matter how haphazard you get. But since it is foam it doesn’t hold a curl. What’s weird is that you can form it in your hands and put on the hat and it will stay somewhat curled because of the pull from the hat. You need to wear the hat slightly more snug to get it to hold this better. And while wearing the hat I tend to form it every so often. If you don’t really care about how you bend the bill of your hat, then you are good to go, but if you do this might be your deal breaker.
  • The fabric is stretchy and breathable. Overall it is comfortable to wear around the house, or when working out. I found it never to get steamy and hot, but also does a good job keeping the wind from cutting right through.
  • The fabric is marketed as waterproof, but I have yet to be able to truly test this. I don’t doubt it though.
  • The DWR does make it easy to clean, which is good as black hats of this nature do tend to collect odd dusty marks. This hat cleans up nicely.
  • The clasp on the back clasps well and adjusts securely. I was not able to adjust the fit while wearing the hat, and instead had to remove it to do so — and even then it doesn’t seem like something which can accidentally be resized. So that’s nice.
  • I bet this would be great for travel, or for people who tend to take hats on and off a lot when they wear them. I think you either are the type who does that, or you put on a hat and just wear it.
  • The black does have a slight sheen to it, but it’s not overly noticeable or problematic in a hat.

I like this hat, and look forward to testing it more. You can back it on Kickstarter here.

Some Photos:






NOTE: where possible all product links on this site may earn the site money when you buy using those links.

Launching Today: Western Rise Versa Hat, Our First Look

Lululemon ABC Pant Slim Tech Canvas

When Steve ordered his Warpstreme ABC pants, I ordered them with the Tech Canvas — the weather just prevented me from testing them sooner. These are yet another take on a ‘modern 5-pocket’ or, modern jeans if you will. I’ve been testing them off and on for a while now, and overall: meh.

Let’s get into why.

Materials

The material is surprising on this. The make up is 49% Cotton, 45% Polyester, 6% Elastane, but that only tells part of the story. When I sat down to write this, I was surprised it had so much cotton, because it’s not soft like cotton at all. This is a thick, slightly scratchy, very heavily textured pant. ‘Canvas’ is an apt description, but it’s more of an open weave canvas, as they are breathable.

They do feel very durable, but only time will tell on that. They have a rough hand feel, and ample stretch.

Fit & Style

Fit overall was slightly smaller than true to size, so the 34 sized I ordered fits a bit tighter than I would ideally like, but I am not sure the 35 would be tight enough. They also fit very slim (a classic cut is available), and I find that my calves are always pressed on the material. Overall I think the slim on these is too slim.

I typically wear a 32” inseam, and I found these about a half inch shorter than I would like. So no matter which way you cut it, you might want to size up one notch if you generally find yourself on the cusp.

As for style, they are solid. The cut is fine, not the best, but fine. While the material looks ‘normal’ and has no sound while walking to give it away. If you can wear jeans there, you can wear these for sure.

Fit and style: nothing special.

Performance

There are three stand out things on these pants from a performance perspective:

  1. The movement/stretch of these pants is fantastic. Even for the very slim fit, they never bind and always move easily. That’s great.
  2. They breathe very well, almost airy feeling. So even though the pant is thick in looks and feel, they do breathe.
  3. The last one is a weird issue though. They breath too well to work in cold weather, and they aren’t light enough to wear in warm weather. Which leaves essentially transitional weather and greatly limits the pants. They kind of need to make up their mind here.

They don’t dry fast, or have any other outstanding performance features — unless cuffing your pants and seeing a reflective stripe is a must for you.

Overall

Overall: they are fine, not great, just fine. The best comparisons are to Outlier Slim Dungarees ($198) and Western Rise’s Diversion Pants ($138). Given that these ABCs come in at $128, I don’t see anyway to justify the over the only slightly more expensive Diversion pants which perform better and are more comfortable.

NOTE: where possible all product links on this site may earn the site money when you buy using those links.

Lululemon ABC Pant Slim Tech Canvas

J.Crew’s Monster Sale

Some items worth your attention during this 50% off sale (code: FRIDAY):

NOTE: where possible all product links on this site may earn the site money when you buy using those links.

J.Crew’s Monster Sale

What We’re Wearing — Quarantine Summer into Fall

COVID-19 and the lockdown nature of most major cities and offices have lead to a drastic change and flexibility in all our wardrobes. So, when you only work a couple dozen or so feet from your closet, and no one can smell, oreven see you close up — what do you wear?

Ben

WFH Summer-Fall Attire: Since about June my clothing has stabilized to Outlier New Way shorts, and some sort of short sleeve shirt. I basically rotate through my polo shirts, and short sleeve button ups. My go to shirts (or I guess preferred) during lock down are easily the GORUCK American Polo Stealth (only the spearhead version is available at the time of publication). They’re just comfortable, and they have a collar so no one really says anything on calls. Good enough for the video calls, comfortable and easy to maintain.

WFH Early Fall Attire: It is, as I write this, it is just starting to cool off here in Texas, so I have been mixing in some long sleeve button downs. I’ll keep on that track and maybe eventually start wearing pants? If and when I move to pants they’ll certainly be either the Aether or Olivers pants I own — those are both very comfortable. For shirts, I’ll likely get reacquainted with my Wool & Prince button downs, and rejoice in the reduction of laundry.

Thoughts on Attire Heading Back to the Office: A lot of people are predicting the rise of more casual garb when we head back in, not to mention fashion trends were pointing more towards looser fitting clothing before lock down. But, the rise of business casual and then eventually smart casual happened as a way to revolt or stand out from the suit and tie crowds. So if heading back into the office everyone comes in a little more casual looking, then being a little more formal looking with be the revolt dress code.

I read an interesting article about how the loss of suits as a daily uniform has resulted in a rise of wearing suits on the weekends. I could see something like that happening, but I hope not. I’m not a fan of suits. My current plan is just sticking to what I always wore, because I always found it comfortable. My office has always been more casual than not, and firmly in the smart casual arena, with even some wearing t-shirts daily.

If I had to make one prediction, it would be that I think footwear is going to be the biggest change. I mean months and months of not wearing anything more than perhaps slippers, and now you want me to wear wingtips again? I tried on some of my work shoes the other day and I was like “oh boy”. I bet more casual footwear comes out, and I welcome it. Any excuse really to go buy the Red Wing Iron Rangers I have been wanting for years.

Steve

WFH Summer Attire: Not doing many video calls for work (don’t get too jealous, I’m still on conference calls much of my day) I really went casual for the warm days of the summer. I usually just threw on whatever shorts and t-shirt I had around. Some favorites were Outlier New Ways, Myles Momentum Short, and Faherty Brand All Day Shorts. I have too many t-shirts to count, but it was always something merino or another odor resistant option, but once I picked up my Jungmaven Baja Tee, it was a go to.

WFH Early Fall Attire: It’s finally starting to get chilly up north, so I’m adding pants and warmer button-ups into my rotation. Mostly my Western Rise Spectrum Jogger and Myles Apparel Momentum Pant. My lighter flannels have started to come out, like the Western Rise TechWool and Patagonia Lightweight Fjord Flannel.

I’m also looking forward to my Taylor Stitch Crater and a new wool overshirt I’m testing. Vests are also always helpful with the Patagonia Better Sweater Vest and Taylor Stitch The Vertical Vest in rotation.

I’m starting to feel bad for my Wool & Prince button-ups hanging in my closet.

Thoughts on Attire Heading Back to the Office: I’m with Ben, except I don’t even anticipate the “more formal looking revolt dress code”. I think jeans are going to become acceptable every day. Just please don’t let pleated pants come back with the trend towards looser fitting clothing.

As far as more casual footwear, I’m all for it. Boots all the way for me, but wear what is comfortable. It’s not worth destroying your feet.

NOTE: where possible all product links on this site may earn the site money when you buy using those links.

What We’re Wearing — Quarantine Summer into Fall

Fisher + Baker Everyday Cashmere Short Sleeve Crew

Note: this item was sent free of charge for review.

I’ll admit, I was skeptical of this shirt when Fisher + Baker reached out to see if we would be interested in looking at their clothing. All of it looks very nice, but cashmere + polyester — can that be better than some of the merino wool we normally test and wear? Why not though, learn something new every day. The pitch for this shirt is simple: “You deserve to wear cashmere, Everyday.”

Sounded fancy, so I’m in.

Materials

This shirt actually has a really interesting blend: 88% drirelease® Polyester and 12% Cashmere Wool. I have experience with both fabrics on their own, but never together. The combination of both makes the entire unit machine washable as well.

The entire shirt is luxuriously soft.

And I don’t mean that in a ‘soft for wool’ way. I mean it is soft. The hand feel is soft. Against your skin, soft. Against your face, soft. It feels like a soft cashmere blended with your most washed and loved cotton t-shirt — and yeah it feels great. It’s a heavy material, I would peg it around 170+gsm but not more than 200gsm. It’s thick so there is a nice drape and a substantial feel to it.

Performance

Ok, Fisher + Baker claims:

  • Fast Drying: I would say it is faster than cotton by a large margin, but not quite as fast as thinner fully synthetic or merino wool shirts. I have no complaints, it will dry overnight without issue.
  • Breathable: I thought this would fail on this front, but it doesn’t. It’s not the most breathable shirt I own, but it’s on par with most of my merino wool t-shirts and did decently in heat where the “feels like” was spiking to 105°F. Again, on par with merino wool — which is to say: well done.
  • Odor Control: better than cotton, but not as good as pure merino wool. You can get a couple days out of it, but it’s not the most odor resistant. This does bring up one other small odor related thing: this shirt smells funky when you pull it from the washer. Very wet-wool smell. This goes away quickly as the shirt dries, but do note this.
  • Easy to Care For: So, they say machine washable. They sent it to me to test, and as part of the packaging it came with some wool detergent. Seems like they would prefer you use wool detergent. But I wouldn’t know because I don’t read instructions well and Steve didn’t tell me not to do harmful things to the shirt, so I just washed it with all my other stuff in normal detergent. I hang dry all my shirts already, and I did the same here. The shirt survived it all, and it should, as drirelease has been very durable with my other shirts made from it. I didn’t detect any shrink or outright damage. I’ve washed it nearly 8 times now, and all I can see is minor fuzziness on the fabric. So, check.

To sum up the performance of this shirt, I would peg it at: above average. If you wash your clothing daily to begin with, you’ll find the performance great, but if you want the most wears out of your t-shirts then you could find more odor resistant options. Generally it performed far better than I expected and in line with the claims.

Fit and Style

I normally write this before the performance section, but thought it was best after. Because there are two aspect to this shirt: first it looks stellar. Second it is cut really well, and also cut in a way where it moves well too.

I tend to find most t-shirts either a little boxy, or a little to form fitting. Fisher + Baker really nailed this cut. There’s not annoying rub from any seams, they aren’t in the way of even shoulder straps, and the entire shirt just fits me very well.

As for style, it’s a t-shirt. A nice t-shirt, but still a t-shirt.

Overall

When I wrote up the review about Outlier’s Ultrafine Merino T, I ended it by saying “these are the most luxurious feeling shirts I’ve ever owned.” That statement is now obsolete. Those are the best merino shirts I have ever seen.

But the Fisher + Baker Everyday Cashmere Short Sleeve Crew is easily the most luxurious feeling shirts I’ve ever owned, while still performing well. At $98, yeah, these should be top of your list.

NOTE: where possible all product links on this site may earn the site money when you buy using those links.

Fisher + Baker Everyday Cashmere Short Sleeve Crew

New Colors for Bluffworks Meridian 2.0 Dress Shirt

Bluffworks has just launched three new colors of their Meridian 2.0 Dress Shirt (our review). The 30% off sale is still going (with code BLUFF30), so they are a great deal at $68.

The Meridian is the softest, and most wrinkle resistant dress shirt we have tested. If I were going to have just two shirts to travel indefinitely with, they would be a Meridian and a Wool&Prince Button-down (our review).

NOTE: where possible all product links on this site may earn the site money when you buy using those links.

New Colors for Bluffworks Meridian 2.0 Dress Shirt

Lululemon Airing Easy Short Sleeve Shirt Ventlight Mesh

What a name, essentially this is a short sleeved button down shirt. The claims to fame for it are the stretch and breathability — which seems to be granted via Ventlight Mesh. Essentially this is a series of micro mesh holes throughout the fabric and is common for both Lululemon and even Under Armour to employ in a bid to increase breathability. The specific patter I bought is out of stock, but there are others here.

I’ve actually been testing this shirt for some time, and while nice, it is hard to justify over other options on the market which all have better performance.

Material

First, you need to know that this is a thicker shirt, which is counter intuitive given how it is framed. But the material is hard to describe as anything other than thick — so if you are tired of shirts being thin so they wear cool, hey you are in luck on this one. The composition is 96% Polyester, 4% Xtra life lycra® elastane. I have no cares about what Xtra life Lycra is — let’s just assume it is somehow a better variant of Lycra.

That’s not all there is to the material, and Lululemon makes really no mention of this. But there is a series of holes throughout the fabric in a grid pattern. Ostensibly to improve breathability. But you can and do see these holes in the fabric — even on Lululemon product page. They are very apparent on solid colors or lighter colored fabric. The pattern I have hides them somewhat well, but they exist.

The hand feel is a soft, with a slightly but spongey feeling. It is weird. It’s not ideal. It feels very technical.

Fit & Style

A classic short sleeve button up, with removable collar stays, a funky pattern and a funky material — this is a casual weekend shirt that you could do some yard work in. I’ve been wearing it while working from home, as well as barbecuing in the Houston heat and hanging by the pool.

The fit is great, but the style is meh at best. A firmly casual shirt with a collar that perhaps sits a little too perky to blend seamlessly in with a good casual look. Almost a touch preppy with the collar.

Overall I would classify the fit as good, and the style as ambivalent casual.

Performance

So this shirt boasts quick a few performance claims, I’ll just go through each of those first:

  • Stretch: yes, this is a very stretchy garment. But the value of this is somewhat limited in a short sleeved shirt not made to be tucked in. That said, this shirt will never restrict your movement.
  • Quick Drying: it is decently fast to try. The material is a little thicker so that detracts a bit, but when tossing it back on after taking a swim, the shirt dried quick enough to never be a problem. Quick enough drying for me.
  • Wrinkle Resistance: it’s not that it has no wrinkles after washing, it’s that the wrinkles it does have are so hard to see it doesn’t matter. I’d say yes, holds up to the claim on this.
  • Breathability: I don’t think so. For as crazy as this shirt is with all the mesh like holes, it doesn’t breath all that well. There are a lot better options out there. Does it breath? Yes. Does it breath well compared to other shirts in this category? Lower end.

I’ll also note that this shirt is very durable feeling and I think you could probably spend a lot of time wearing this shirt with little annoyance. For my needs it is slightly below average on performance.

Conclusion

The shirt retails for $98, and I wouldn’t advise paying that for the shirt. If you find it on sale, or get a discount somewhere around the sub-$70 range then I think it is a solid buy. It will not wow you, but it is easy to wear and comfortable enough that it is hard to really complain about.

That said, the Western Rise AirLight (our review) is a vastly better shirt any way you slice it.

Not a bad shirt, wait for a really good sale.

NOTE: where possible all product links on this site may earn the site money when you buy using those links.

Lululemon Airing Easy Short Sleeve Shirt Ventlight Mesh

Western Rise Session Tee

Note: this item was sent by Western Rise at no cost.

Along with the Movement Shorts (our review), I have been testing Western Rise’s new Session Tee which is made for active/workouts and is first and foremost made to be light and breathable. It is all those things and then some, let’s dive in.

Material

At first it seemed like this fabric might be at least 10% Magic, but Western Rise lists it as: 100% Deltapeak™ Polyester coming in as an 88 gsm mesh double-knit fabric. 88gsm. That’s insanely light, and in practice that’s what makes it feel like magic because it isn’t see-through or paper thin, it is amazingly light.

In addition to weighing nothing, the material itself has a very soft hand feel, and makes no noise at all. I am a huge fan of this fabric.

Fit & Style?

This is an active shirt, so style is dead on with active, I guess. The shirt has an athletic fit, and my standard size large fit me nicely.

The bottom of the shirt has rounded corners, and gives it a bit of a unique look, instead of just a straight across hem common in many active shirts. Overall, a good solid athletic style for an athletic shirt.

Performance

So, let me be clear about how I have been testing this: I’ve been wearing this while rucking with my super abrasive GORUCK Rucker, and doing that in the August heat of Houston, which has consistently been about 90°F, and add about another 10°F to that for the “feels like” with the humidity. In other words: I have been testing in this in hot and humid weather, and been sweating in it a lot, while also grinding the material against 1000D Cordura.

Most of the shirts I test like this, fail quickly.

That has not been the case here. So let me bullet this out:

  • Breathability: I own no other shirt as breathable and as comfortable as this shirt is to wear when I work out. Every other shirt I have causes me to build up sweat faster than this shirt under nearly identical situations. This shirt excels for this.
  • Moisture Control: it does get wet, yes, but it dries insanely fast. I have not yet had to toss this in the drier, because you pull it out of the washer and it is nearly ready to wear, hang it, and it’s dry faster than the next time I come to check on it. Even with sweat, it is almost like the shirt hates being wet, and starts drying as soon as you give it a chance to.
  • Odor Resistance: look, given the amount of sweat I have put in this shirt, I have yet to smell any odor, but I have also not been trying to wear it multiple times. There’s little to no need — it dries too fast after washing to not wash it. But I do think it resists odors well, as many of my other active shirts will have smells even after one hard workout in them — this shirt never smelled.
  • Durability: as I mentioned, GORUCK bags on workout shirts can be a death sentence of pilling for shirts. Not so with this one. It shows zero signs of wear. I am shocked.

As I implied at the start of this review, this shirt performs very well.

Overall

I love this shirt, and while $68 might seem steep for an active wear t-shirt, I can assure you it is worth every penny. I’d like to own more, and hope that they expand the color range. I have the Ash color and love it, I’d love more colors — but truthfully you only need one of these, even if you work out daily. Ok, two would make life a touch easier.

So I guess I am saying you should buy two of these.

NOTE: where possible all product links on this site may earn the site money when you buy using those links.

Western Rise Session Tee