Taylor Stitch Easy Pant

Note: the pants were provided at no cost for review.

With work from home, there have been more and more pants being produced that have this relaxed comfort aspect with a sharper look to them. Taylor Stitch’s entry is the Easy Pant which looks like a linen-ish pair of trousers that has a semi-elastic waist cinched down by a drawstring.

These pants are awesome.

Materials

I was sent the Espresso Linen pair which is: 6-oz. 52% linen, 24% spun silk, 24% organic cotton. To my hand they are smooth and soft, with a heavy drape that feels like it won’t easily wrinkle. The linen is nicely offset by the silk and cotton to give you the look without the frump. They are heavy though, heavier than I think they will be anytime I put them on.

The biggest downside is that they are labeled: dry clean/hand wash only, which is a huge bummer for an easy wearing pair of pants. The biggest upside is the texture and color variation — they look even better in person than any of the pictures I’ve seen of them.

Fit and Style

The fit on these has a slight taper for a tailored looks but nothing slim or too baggy. I generally wear a size 34, and that’s what I got in these — they fit perfectly, but I couldn’t go even a touch smaller with them. They a cut long, and made to be hemmed or rolled if you like, for me I might need them hemmed — I certainly roll them when wearing without shoes.

I love the way these look — they feel like sweat pants and look like a nice pair of chino-ish trousers. They feel like the pants you put on when you want to dress up, but you are on a beach in Mexico. Yeah, that’s what they are, that’s the style. I love it.

Performance

Linen pants are supposed to be airy, they should feel like they won’t hold back even the slightest breeze — this is not what these pants feel like. They are comfortable, almost feeling warm at times when in AC without feeling stifling when out in the heat.

They could be more breathable, more airy, but they are not. They don’t feel hot to wear them around, but they aren’t something I would choose if I wanted to stay cool during the day. These are evening pants, they are indoor lounge pants with a nod to warm weather.

Perhaps the greatest performance feat these pants pull off are in the waistband. It’s partially elastic with a drawstring. And yet when they are on, you don’t notice it visually while noticing the comfort on your waist. If all pants could have a waistband like this, count me in.

Overall

This is a short review because there’s not a lot of performance here. They wear better and more comfortably than any other pant that looks this good. They are light enough to wear in heat, without all the downsides of near constant disheveled looks you get with high linen contents in pants.

That said, I want another pair of these, I love wearing them.

You can find them here in Espresso Linen or here in Navy Linen Herringbone.

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

Taylor Stitch Easy Pant

RAB Charge Rain Jacket

RAB is making some really interesting outdoors clothing of late and has been winning praise from more traditional outdoor gear reviewers. Specifically their Charge Rain Jacket and Phantom. The Phantom being a pull over which is regarded as one of the lightest waterproof jackets on the market, which still maintains extreme breathability.

I received the Charge Rain Jacket from my parents as a Christmas gift and I have been blown away by it. The Charge is a heavier version of the Phantom, full zip, and made to work both from trail running as well as hiking with heavier packs on.

Materials

First things first, I am not an expert on waterproof fabrics, so I will say that RAB lists this as: 40D Pertex Shield 2.5L fabric with stretch. Compared to my Arc’teryx Goretex Paclite jacket, this RAB Charge fabric feels impossibly thin. In fact RAB says the reason for this “thicker” material is to make it more durable. But it really messes with my head.

It feels like a normal rain jacket, but a fraction of the weight. It is really something.

Fit and Style

This is a decently trim rain jacket, which RAB notes will easily move with your body. The sleeves are long, the body elongated as well and the collar/neck rides up high to easily cover my chin. I generally wear a size large in everything, and I have this jacket in a Large as well — there’s a part of me that wonders if I could drop down a size, but as it is I have room for a layer or two and the jacket looks far from bulky. It fits great.

Except the hood. As you might see in other reviews of this jacket, the hood is not great. There’s no drawstrings anywhere on this jacket. Instead the cuff has a thin bit of elastic, as does the waist — that works well in both spots. The hood has elastic nearly all the way around your head (just not the bottom chin area) and a really silly useless bill at the top.

Because of that, the hood fits poorly. In use rucking, I found that the hood constantly drooped over my eyes and was never exactly where I wanted it. And because of how it is integrated into the jacket, you have to leave the jacket decently unzipped at the top in order for the hood and chin area to lay out of your way. It does close up well, and if you have more hair, a beanie, or a baseball cap on you should be golden. But otherwise, it’s not something I would want to wear over long periods of time. It works, but it is in the way—a lot.

Performance

The perfect rain jacket doesn’t exist, but there are niche rain jackets which work really well in certain uses. This one seems ideal for hiking in climates (like where I live) which get rain when it is warm out. My PNW self would have loathed wearing this as the light weight nature of it wouldn’t be as ideal for the cold drizzle. But here in the Houston area where it is often raining above 70°F, the light but durable nature works well for this jacket.

There are four key selling points for this jacket:

  1. Lightweight: and that it is. The Phantom is even lighter, but I cannot even imagine how that can be. This is easily the lightest rain jacket I have ever owned, and on top of that, it is almost the same weight as my windbreaker from GORUCK. Really impressive.
  2. Moves with you: both the cut and the limited stretch never cause this jacket to bind up. Even with a 45lbs backpack on my back, this jacket never restricted my arm or body movements. I think this is more the cut than the stretch, but stretch never hurts.
  3. Waterproof: no rain jacket is fully waterproof forever — at least none that you want to wear while being active in any temperate or warmer weather. So at some point most of these jackets are going to ‘wet out’. Even in very warm temps with constant downpours, and sweat building from my body — I’ve yet to see the jacket wet out. I don’t know how long it would last for, but I have had it on for over an hour and seen zero issues. The storms here are intermittent enough that testing beyond that was problematic for me.
  4. Breathable: all rain jackets could be more breathable. But this one is the best I’ve used to date.

From a performance perspective the only downside, is again, the hood. Otherwise I was surprised by the jacket in every other way.

Overall

I wouldn’t want this jacket for cold wet-weather hiking. I think a thicker more substantial jacket would be better if I knew I was wearing it all day. But here in a warm climate where it generally rains when it is warm — such that I really could go without a jacket and not feel cold — this jacket is what I need. The Phantom is likely really good, but it being a pullover means it takes more effort to put on and take off. The Charge is impressively light and thin.

I can pack it away in my office bag, or my rucking backpack and not eat all the space, while having a durable and comfortable rain jacket when called for. I recommend it, especially given the price at around $170-200USD it offers a great value.

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

RAB Charge Rain Jacket

Arc’teryx Phelix Pant

I picked these pants up wanting to see what Arc’teryx had on offer in their everyday lineup of clothing. These Phelix pants are billed as being stylish, performant, and cotton like in feel. I’ve been wearing them now off and on for a few weeks and thought I should weigh in on how these stack up.

Overall they are a solid offering, if slightly problematic at times — not at the top of the list, but far from the bottom of it.

Material

The ‘cotton like feel’ is a silly claim because the material is mostly cotton as it is a: 6.3 oz.(215 g/m²) stretch twill which is 80% cotton, 18% polyester, 2% elastane. You’ll have to trust them on the elastane makeup, as it’s not noticeable at all.

The material is decently thin, but runs on the dense side so you get decent wind blockage and a little less breathability. They feel more like cotton canvas than a twill, but that might be splitting hairs. I am completely ambivalent towards this material.

Fit & Style

Alright, so from a fit perspective I think they run slightly smaller than other size 34 pants I have had, but not so much so I could say “size up”. They fit me fine, and I would be swimming in a 36.

The style is 5-pocket, but the colors don’t lend to them being a jean replacement. I think they would look better with a more chino looking pocket pattern to them. The cut itself looks good, and I would say is rather straight leg and tailored. It’s a nice cut that will feel more timeless and is solid. I like the look of them, but they are not jeans, and the design also means they are not chinos.

Odd middle ground.

I do need to pause and point out the biggest issue with the design, and no it is not the zipper pocket on the side. It’s the fly. The fly is abhorrent. It is far too short. Like, I have to completely undo the waist of the pants to use, say, a urinal. Just stupid.

Performance

Ok, I am going to bullet point the performance here because these are 80% cotton and so the performance is mostly ‘thin cotton’ performance:

  • From a moisture wicking standpoint: not really anything to note.
  • Breathability: that of thin cotton.
  • They are super light weight pants and pack down small which is really ideal for travel.
  • For some reason, they never seem to get dirty. Like never.
  • They feel and act extremely durable, and I suspect would fair well walking through brush. But I would expect them to get fuzzy over time from washing.

Generally they have a cotton-travel-pants level of performance. Better than a standard pair of jeans, or even most performance denim, but not quite on par with fully synthetic pants. They will feel more ‘normal’ because of the high cotton percent.

And then there is the button to close the fly. I need to talk to you about that. Because if the fly itself is bad, then the button at the top is worse. It is a snap button, but it is a particularly weak snap button. When I am standing in these pants they fit snug enough that I do not need a belt, but in no way feel tight. I would say they are a great fit. But if I squat down, or bend over in them, the button snaps open. So much so that I cannot wear the pants without a belt.

Overall

Generally: not worth buying. The entire fly setup is extremely poorly executed and ruins the entire pant.

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

Arc’teryx Phelix Pant

GRIP6 Belt

Belts are one of those necessary things, but also one of those items where it feels like people don’t bother to try and innovate. So I get excited when I see something new. I have SlideBelts and appreciate the ease of buying/adjusting/wearing their belts. But they are bulky to wear and problematic when needing to move through airport security. There’s Arcade Belts where it’s a fancy elastic strap that wears more comfortably than most any other belt, but doesn’t offer the rigid security of a leather belt, and leaves a lot on the looks side.

There’s a myriad of tactical or outdoors belts with variations of g-hooks, cobra buckles, and other intricate systems for latching what is essentially nylon webbing together. But it all ends in something you likely won’t wear to the office, on a date, or generally at all.

And then there is GRIP6 belts, which seem so simple and inexpensive you might quickly dismiss them, but then in doing so you would be missing out on what might be my favorite belt I have worn.

Materials & Concept

There’s two components to this belt: the belt itself which is offered in various colors and widths, but is just a nylon webbing strap; and then the buckle which also has various colors and some variations on materials but at the base is metal and slightly curved, with two slots on either end.

The end result of all this is a very low profile belt, which is easily adjusted, won’t trigger metal detectors, and is very secure overall. There’s even a model which is more rigid for those who need to clip things to their belt. For this I tested the narrow variant which is 1.1” wide with the metal buckle in the gunmetal color way.

Fit & Style

The fit of these belts is tricky to figure out at first, but order your normal belt size. I’ll spare you my rant on why belts aren’t sized so you order your normal pants size. Anyways, I wear a 34” pant, and got a 36 sized GRIP6 and that seems to be sized correctly for me.

The belt itself is essentially a fancy nylon webbing belt. As such I think it works in casual to smart casual styling, but won’t cross over the line to business casual. My office dress code is all over the place, but I have been wearing it to work with my Futureworks (and other chinos) and a button down without a second look from anyone — I think it looks good for that.

The narrow size is right for chinos, but too narrow for jeans. You’ll need to pick which works best for your clothing, I have two straps in narrow (brown and black) and will likely grab a standard width version in another color for wearing with 5-pockets styled pants.

Because the belt has no set holes or ratchet positions, you can fine tune the fit pretty easily.

Performance / Use

This belt is cumbersome to use for the first day. Because it doesn’t loop back to itself, instead you pass the free end into the buckle from the face, and then slide it along behind the buckle and down the other side. Friction essentially locks it in place, and you will notice the first time you try to take it off that there’s no worry about it coming undone by itself. I recommend watching this to get the hang of it.

Once you get going this belt quickly shows how great it is. It’s very low profile and never adds bulk or weight to your waist. The fit can be fine tuned and really comfortable. In the narrow model I have, I find the belt curves to your body very well — like a nicely molded leather belt. All in all: no complaints, just happiness here.

Overall

My only wish is that they looked more business casual because they are my favorite belts. I’ve instead decided to throw fashion to the wind, and wear these belts with everything. They are great, and you should own some.

Buy them here, for about $35.

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

GRIP6 Belt

Bonobos Tech Chinos

A year of working from home means that we forget about some types of pants. As jeans, and then joggers, and then whatever-is-clean takes over our non-video half of our wardrobes you would be forgiven for not really thinking much about the humble chino. But, things are changing and it is a good time to start looking at what might give you that jogger comfort while still being office presentable — on both halves of your body.

With that in mind, I picked up a pair of Bonobos’ Tech Chinos in Navy. I wasn’t expecting much, but I’ve been very impressed with these pants. Allow me to share…

Materials

These pants are made with Schoeller textiles, enough said? If not, they are 59% Cotton, 36% Polyamide, 5% Elastane. On top of that they have 3XDRY applied to them. All in all the fabric is pretty awesome.

It feels and drapes like cotton. It has grime/oops resistance with a strong DWR coating. And the stretch is fantastic — there’s not been a single time I felt restricted by the pants at all. I don’t know what to make of this fabric, because it is simply great.

Fit and Style

These pants have a lower rise than some of the other chinos I have tested, but not so low that they are hard to keep a shirt tucked into. Whether wearing them around the house, or into the office they look like chinos. A nice pair of chinos at that.

Bonobos offers a wide range of fits so you can dial in the fit to your body type, I went with a 34×32 in the Slim cut and find that it fits me really well with no tailoring needed. The only hint of these not being a standard chino are the back pockets where one is a snap and the other is (annoyingly) a zippered pocket.

Performance

I’ll say it again: this are among the most comfortable chinos I have ever worn, that they look like normal cotton chinos is only more impressive. These are so good I’ll just shift to comparing them directly to Outlier’s Futureworks which are my gold standard for performance chinos:

  • Dirt/Grime Resistance: the DWR treatment is impressive and generally these pants don’t get that dirty. But when compared to the Futureworks there is one downside: the Tech Chinos tend to collect dust and light colored marks very easily. Where on the Futureworks I can brush such marks away with my hand, the Tech Chinos generally require a touch more effort — a damp rag generally cleans them back up. So if your are in a position where you are in a dusty area, or prone to brushing against things the Tech Chinos might become slightly annoying for you. Aside from that the performance for repelling splashes of water bests that of my Futureworks.
  • Movement Comfort: I find these to be even with Futureworks when it comes to how easy they are to move around in. They offer more stretch than the Futureworks but a lower rise and a trimmer cut negates that extra stretch — whereas the Futureworks have a better gusset on the crotch. Both are easy to move in, so much so I would not worry about wearing either for most things I might find myself doing.
  • Breathability: the one shortfall of these pants is breathability, the Tech Chinos don’t breathe nearly as well as the Futureworks. For cooler weather, the Tech Chinos will be great, but for summer the Futureworks are greatly preferable. I wish there was a slightly more breathable pair because that really is the biggest knock against these.
  • Durability: I suspect they both last a long time. In normal wear the Futureworks are likely to outlast. But if you are prone to snagging pants, the Tech Chinos will be a better option as Futureworks do tend to get a snag under certain circumstances — like cats and thorns.

Overall, the Futureworks are better for warmer weather and they dry much faster for travel. Otherwise the Tech Chinos are really neck and neck with the Futureworks.

Overall

I would peg these as a sleeper hit. I know a lot of people don’t want to play the waiting games for Outlier’s Futureworks to be in stock, in the color you want, in the size you need. I know that a lot of people want more fit options and wider size ranges. For those of you in that camp the Tech Chinos are the best option I found for performance chinos which are available in the size/colors you want on demand.

That said they come in at the same price as the Futureworks and given that I would still prefer the Futureworks over them, but the margin is much closer than I ever expected.

You can find them here.

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

Bonobos Tech Chinos

Rhythm Classic Linen Jam – 7”

Shorts are a tough area to review here, because shorts by very nature are performant for their use and really adding anything more on top of them has a lower net effect that it might in something like pants. But, these shorts caught my eye because a lot of the summer I spend hanging out after work in basketball/workout shorts and while those work fine, they don’t look great.

With that in mind, I snagged these Rhythm shorts to see how they faired as a good looking, casual short.

Material

As the name suggests the main performance attribute is linen and in this case: 45% cotton, 55% linen. The cotton is there to soften the material to the touch and add some more structure. Because of that the hand feel is very much linen with slightly less scratch to it. And a nice benefit here is that while these shorts have some rumple like pure linen does, they have far less and end up being a little less wrinkly.

Overall the material is really nice feeling, both to the touch and while wearing — while still looking pretty sharp.

Fit & Style

These are casual lounging shorts — I think you could say they are beach-eque. But to me they feel like ‘drinks by the pool’. So the style is casual but has enough structure and treatment that they are like a linen button up: casual but not sloppy.

As for fit they run slightly small. I ordered the Large and I feel like I would not want to have them any smaller. The material is loose fitting as well, which adds to the naturally loose/drapey style overall.

No real complaints here, I wouldn’t really wear them out to a dinner. But I have no worries about being social in them near pools, beaches, or otherwise relaxed settings like that.

Performance

As I stated at the beginning these are nearly impossible to evaluate on a pure performance basis. They are shorts, and they are lightweight shorts so by nature they dry quickly. They are also 7” inseam so they don’t restrict your leg and are cut loose so they further don’t restrict.

There is linen, but not a ton. They dry faster than most shorts, but not so fast that there’s anything to write home about. And the waist is elastic which is comfortable and that’s the nature of that.

The pockets are a standout feature, because unlike all my basketball shorts, stuff stays in these pockets. Which is awesome.

From a performancestand point they are comfortable and that’s about all I can say.

The one big negative for me is that the material has developed those orange bleach spots in areas — even though they have never seen bleach and only washed with like colors and hung to dry. I am not sure if this was a fluke, or something to expect.

Overall

For $50 I don’t know that these are worth it, at something closer to $40 I think they would be a much better item to recommend. I do like them, but $50 seems like a high price point for something with pretty low performance which would be hard to find a ton of uses for.

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

Rhythm Classic Linen Jam – 7”

Farm to Feet Socks

When I last did a round up of socks, I commented how bummed I was that Outlier stopped producing socks. Which is actually how I came across Farm to Feet, as I saw a rumor that perhaps they were the company who manufactured the socks for Outlier. I have no idea if this is true, I honestly doubt it, but since hearing about them I knew I wanted to check out their socks. I bought two different types to try out, but I want to focus on just one of them: Damascus 3/4 Crew.

The other is a thicker Merino hiking sock, which I will comment on briefly but otherwise nothing super special about it.

The thing about the Damascus though is that it is generally a light weight sock, but has full cushioning that Farm to Feet calls “targeted”. I’ve found them pretty great, so let me share with you.

Materials

Merino wool, I mean there’s no other way to go with socks, but yes these are all wool blends. The Damascus is 52% US Nylon, 44% US 10.5 Micron Merino Wool, and 4% US LYCRA® Spandex. The Boulder is a little higher merino: 71% U.S. Merino Wool, 28% U.S. Nylon, 1% U.S. Spandex. Essentially you reduce merino in the thinner sock to maintain durability of the item. Either way, my general sock comment is that anything close to 50% merino is all you need in socks, so both check that box.

Generally the feel of both socks is pretty luxurious. Even at only 19.5 micron, they are very soft feeling. The down side is that the stretch is oddly low in both. Especially the Boulder, where it can be a little tough to put on your foot at times — needs more stretch. The Damascus works a little better for stretch, but I still wouldn’t mind a little more.

Fit and Style

The Boulder is firmly a hiking sock in style. Whereas I think the Damascus in a neutral tone is fine for wearing with any type of boot — dress or otherwise. Beyond that it’s more of a casual athletic sock look.

As mentioned the stretch is not as prevalent as it is in other socks, and as such my roughly size 11 feet found the size Large (rated for 9-11.5 to really be on the edge of being too small. I worry that the XL would just be too large. But if you are on the top edge on the size chart, I would recommend sizing up. I can make it work, but I certainly need to pull the sock over my heel to stretch it around the heel into a proper placement.

Performance

Outstanding is my general review on the performance of these. Better than Darn Tough? Better than Outlier? Better than Wildly? Hold up there. Let me tell you what I mean, sock by sock.

Damascus Performance:
– The targeted cushioning works exceedingly well on this sock. Often when wearing boots like my Iron Rangers I need a thicker sock for the tongue of the boot to rest against my foot, but this sock has that ribbed cushioning along the top of the foot and that makes the boots wear really nice.
– Generally a light compression around the arch, which gives a nice fit.
– Zero to seam issues.
– Moderate odor resistance, I would say two all day wears and then wash. Mostly to push the sock back into shape given the higher nylon and spandex content.
– Durability seems perfectly fine on this sock, no issues to report.

Boulder Performance:
– The full cushioning feels like pure luxury to wear.
– There’s very light compression, instead the sock is shaped really well.
– No seam issues at the toe box.
– Very good odor resistance because of the very high merino content. I get about 3 wears, but the lack of spandex does mean the toe box gets floppy decently quick.
– The durability has me worried. After the first wear the heels on both pairs of my Boulder socks showed a lot of pilling. Subsequent wears seem to not be adding more, but I am worried that the socks will wear out in hot spots much quicker than they should for the price.

Overall, on par with most merino socks. They are soft, without being fuzzy soft. I prefer them over my Darn Tough socks for comfort, but worry about performance as I have had other Darn Tough socks for a very long time without issue.

Overall

I need to give you the sum up by sock type. The Boulder socks are really nice, but I wouldn’t buy them again. They are expensive enough and I worry about durability and if I were actually hiking in them I would think I want something that generally has a little more stretch and a much better fit — I’d stick with Darn Tough.

The Damascus though, even with it costing more money than the Boulder, I think it is a great sock. I’ll buy more of these. The targeted cushioning is smart, it makes the sock feel smart. Makes it fit and wear better — but only if you are wearing it with shoes. It’s not a good around the house sock. If you typically wear boots, you might give a pair of these a try — they are really nice.

Find them here.

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

Farm to Feet Socks

Ministry of Supply Newton Active Shorts

Note: these shorts were provided for review.

Living in Southeast Texas you learn very quickly which workout clothes actually breath well. When even pre-sun workouts can be humid 80°F workouts, it matters. And shorts are a must, lots of workout shorts are in my house.

The Ministry of Supply Newton Active Shorts are among the best I have on hand, and the reasons for that are surprising to me. Let’s dive in.

Material

Since these are shorts with a liner, there are two materials at play. The outer ‘short’ is 88% recycled Polyester, 12% Elastane and while Ministry of Supply doesn’t list a gsm on these, I’ll add they are extremely thin feeling. Overall a very light shell which never binds or gets in the way.

The liner itself is a different makeup completely at 75% Nylon, 4% S.Cafe Silver, 21% Elastane. I was actually surprised to see Nylon here, as it very much feels like polyester, which is a testament to the nylon being used. Here’s what Ministry of Supply says about that “S.Cafe” bit: ”S.Café® Silver threading to help naturally control odor.”

We’ve had our fair share of silver infused garments here, and they exist to manage odors. This is one of the big selling points here.

Fit & Style

These are athletic shorts with an athletic short fit. The outlier shell is decently short as the length varies by size, but never more than 7.25 inches on the inseam. The liner is almost the same length as the shell, which might seem odd and first, but is actually great, it prevents the edge of the shell from chaffing against your leg.

Performance

There’s four main claims here, so I will go through each:

  • Moisture-wicking: yes, everything but the waistband wicks moisture extremely fast. And I would rate the waistband as wicking moisture ‘pretty’ fast.
  • Hidden pocket: I had no clue this existed until I started writing this review. I am not sure why a pocket there is needed but this does expose the one big problem: storing keys securely proved challenging. This pocket doesn’t solve it, as it could only hold a phone or wallet.
  • Featherlight: they really are lightweight and fantastic.
  • Breathable: I have two pairs of lined shorts (including these) and they are easily the most breathable. I can’t say if it is the shell also, but the liner itself really works well. Very comfortable.

The one thing not touted, which I think is my favorite part is the waistband on the shorts. They don’t sit too tight, and are very soft and comfortable against the skin while sitting very flat. I didn’t even realize this until I switched out to another pair of shorts and then back to these the next day. Just an excellent waistband.

As for odor control: I never noticed the shorts smelling, and I don’t need much odor control on my workout shorts. For me this is a bit of a moot point, unlike a button down shirt, I am not essentially going to be trying to wear lined shorts more than once such that I would need odor control. And thus they got through every workout without adding to stink, which is more than good enough for me.

Overall

If I were doing floor workouts and needing to keep my keys in my pocket, these would be problematic for me. But if all I needed was to keep my phone or a keycard in them, they would excel. For my workouts (rucking) I have found that I can easily carry my keys and phone in the hand pockets without issue. They don’t smack against my leg uncomfortably nor do they threaten to fall out.

The biggest downside to these for most might be the price. At $95 they are certainly in the ‘expensive’ bracket for workout shorts. I think the value is there, but I think that you need to know what you are getting at that price. If you are someone going into a gym and lifting weights moving from bench to bench, I think I would want something different to secure my phone or keys. But runners might prefer the lining pocket for a phone. That said, the lining on these is far and away better than I expected and better than any underwear I own.

I really like these shorts, and think the liner on these is excellent.

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

Ministry of Supply Newton Active Shorts

Ministry of Supply Apollo Shirt

Note: this shirt was provided for review.

I had one of Ministry of Supply’s original Apollo shirts and found that while it was insanely performant, the looks left a lot to be desired. I was and am also a big fan of the Apollo polo shirts, as they look better and are very comfortable. So I was excited to give Ministry of Supply’s latest Apollo Shirt a test drive.

This shirt is hard to miss when you start looking for performance button ups. It is, as Ministry of Supply says best: “NASA-grade temperature regulation and a 19x more breathable than cotton pique knit combine to make the most comfortable shirt on the planet.”

That’s a heck of a claim, and it is no lie.

Material

Whether or not this shirt is actually NASA grade is outside my expertise, but it is a simple material blend: 57% Polyester, 43% PCM-infused Polyester. The ‘PCM’ bit stands for Phase Change Material and it is the “NASA” part of this entire thing. Another way to think about this is that when people talk about thermo regulation in garments, this is what they mean.

The end result of this is two fold:

  1. It is very soft to the touch with a comfortable hand feel.
  2. I am shocked there is not some amount of spandex in this, as it moves far better than the material make up would lead you to believe.

This is a great fabric.

Fit & Style

This is an office ready dress shirt. I don’t know about wearing a tie with it (I wouldn’t, you probably could), but generally if your office trends more towards business casual — this shirt was made for that. The collar is stiff enough to not lay flat when the top button is undone.

The drape is heavy and free flowing. It looks sharp basically at all times, but if you want a crisp starched look — you will not get it here.

There are only two fits and a standard letter sizing to each. Slim Large is what I went with and what I typically buy in brands, it fits well and has a nice cut to it, but it is certainly better made for tucking in, but you can wear it untucked if you are fine with a little longer shirt.

My only wish with the fit/style of this shirt is that the top most button (not the collar button) was a touch closer in to the neck of the shirt. As it is now, the shirt does tend to show a little more chest with the collar undone — not too much, but enough that you need a solid v-neck if you want to hide an undershirt.

Whereas I always felt the first generation Apollo dress shirts didn’t look right, those problems have long since passed by. You’re not going to pass this off as a cotton shirt, but it also doesn’t look like something that performs to anywhere close to the level it does — and I mean that in the best possible sense. It now looks good enough to wear into almost any office.

Performance

Ok, I don’t know how to really evaluate that 19x more breathable claim, so instead I want to focus on the three main claims to fame with this shirt: breathable, sweat-wicking, and wrinkle resistant.

But before I dive into each, I should point out that this is by far the most performant shirt I own. It’s rather crazy how well it performs compared to anything else — but that’s as a well rounded shirt.

  • Breathability: yes, all the yeses here. It is hugely breathable, and at times wore slightly too cool for me. I felt like I had my own A/C system when I wore this shirt. Didn’t matter if I went outside into the humidity or was inside, this shirt breathes better than any shirt I own (including workout shirts).
  • Sweat-wicking: generally this also falls to moisture management. I did have a couple days where I was sweating in my arm pits a lot while wearing this shirt, and the shirt handled it extremely well. Polyester just handles moisture well. It dries so fast that by the time I stopped sweating it seemed to be dry. No marks, never anything bad looking. Awesome. It also dries very fast after you wash it, which is also excellent.
  • Wrinkle Resistant: I do have one shirt that resists wrinkle better than this, but does none of the other things as well. That said this shirt never looks messy out of the wash if you hang dry. If you follow the label instructions and tumble dry it on low, it’ll look perfect. If you wear the shirt for an hour or so, most of the wrinkles are gone. And while wearing the shirt if any wrinkles show up, they will be short lived. So really high marks here.

So while the performance sounds nearly perfect there is one caveat I have found: durability. Specifically for pulls in the knit. The weave of the fabric is so open, that there have been a couple times when it looks like I slightly snagged the fabric. To the shirts credit, I cannot find that now. But this is one of those shirts where I do think you want to make sure you don’t use overly rough bags with it (think GORUCK) or you might be asking for unnecessary wear on the shirt.

Generally, for a dress shirt, the performance is nearly off the charts.

Overall

If it’s not clear already, I am impressed and I like this shirt a lot. I want to see how it continues to wear overtime, but I can easily recommend this. As of this review, the Ministry of Supply website shows the shirt having over 1,008 reviews with somewhere around a 4.5 star rating average. I can see why.

I always have liked the Apollo materials, but the collars, cuffs, and fit had always been off. Those are rectified now. The collars are a normal thickness, as are the cuffs. The collar sits nicely, and the shirt looks good. It’s the shirt to wear for warm days when you need to stay cool. Or to stuff into a bag just in case you need to pull out a nice shirt to wear.

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

Ministry of Supply Apollo Shirt

Vollebak Planet Earth Shirt

I want to start by highlighting two truths: I have wanted this shirt forever; this shirt was a gift for my birthday. Next, I shall say that this shirt does not disappoint and I love it. I love it so much that I no longer look at the $345 price tag and laugh, but wonder how much of a look I might get for buying another one.

I am not saying that you should for sure go get it for $345, I am saying that I like it enough that I might be willing to justify owning more than one — I certainly want more than one.

And that’s my summary of the Planet Earth Shirt from Vollebak, the makers of the most insane clothing out there. It’s pretty awesome and I love it, and I want more of it, but the price scares.

Materials

Amazingly, for how much I like this, it is primarily a cotton shirt clocking in at: 68% cotton, 21% polyamide, 11% elastane. Now, this isn’t typical cotton/performance blend — it’s a Schoeller fabric. And in addition to that it is treated with ‘Schoeller 3XDry and an antimicrobial treatment’. If there’s one thing you learn testing a lot of performance clothing, it’s that Schoeller makes some really nice stuff, this shirt is no exception.

It doesn’t feel like pure cotton, yet it drapes and is comfortable like cotton. It’s stretchy, smooth, and tough feeling all at once. This is a great material.

Fit and Style

From a fit perspective this shirt is very trim, cut high in the arms, with a good sleeve length. The body is short, so it is easy to wear untucked, and generally a very modern fit to it.

Buttoned all the way up, collar down.
Buttoned all the way up, collar down.
Top button undone, collar down — this gives a better looking collar.
Top button undone, collar down — this gives a better looking collar.
Collar standing, it has enough structure to stay flipped up.
Collar standing, it has enough structure to stay flipped up.

The style though, I don’t know what in the world to tell you about the style on this. I’ve worn it all over and no one has said a thing about it, but’s nuts. The collar is crazy, let’s talk about that. It’s made to stand up and fully close over your neck for protection. Yet it can lay down like a more proper collar, with like extra wings I guess.

It looks best with the top two buttons unbuttoned if you want it laying down, but that shows more chest that I feel is appropriate for work calls. Luckily I’ve gotten away with the slightly odder look of only the top button undone for work calls.

The rest of it is pretty techno-safari-jungle feeling. With odd thermo-plastic spots on it for reinforcing. Straps to keep rolled sleeves in place, and epic pockets all over. And vents. It’s really hard to make heads or tails of this shirt, so let’s just say if an away team wore it in Star Trek you would be like “yeah that checks out”.

Performance

Ok, I am not sure how to approach this one, because I cannot tell you that this outperforms a purely synthetic shirt or merino shirt. What I can tell you is that the performance of this shirt is still awesome. With normal perspiration you get about 2-3 days of wear out of it, with more you get 1-2 days. For a high-cotton value garment that’s the best you can hope for.

On the front, you need to zip open the vents.
On the front, you need to zip open the vents.

But the real performance of this lies in four areas:

  1. Venting: while the material is dense and can keep you from being chilled in AC — the shirt has vents all over the place to keep you cool when the environment heats up. Pull your arms forward and you reveal seams across the back. Lift your arms, vented pits. Unzip two zippers in the front, and you get two more vents. It’s old school, but executed well.
  2. Stretch: for how dense this shirt weave is, you would not expect this level of stretch, but it moves very well. In fact the high cut arm holes work only because of the stretch, but it all works together quite perfectly.
  3. Repellant: the thinking here is simple, that the dense weave and the DWR coating will help things slide off the shirt. That could be mud, water, or bugs. Either way it falls off the shirt. For the most part this actually holds true. The shirt doesn’t really become impacted negatively by anything. Odors are the only reason I have had to wash it, but I also have not tried crawling through mud with it.
  4. Utility: lastly, this shirt makes a huge utility play. Forget the many pockets, and instead focus on two different aspects. The first is that within the pockets is more organization, whether it is the small daisy chain loop, or the slotted and protected pen pockets. You can actually carry stuff in these pockets without those items bunching at the bottom of the pockets. The second is how the color and sleeves adapt to work with the venting. Easy to roll up and pin up, the sleeves, to cool off your forearms. Likewise, the collar can be flipped up and secured to easily protect your neck from bugs, or sun.

This isn’t the standard type of performance shirt I review. I can’t say that it dries so fast it’s magic, or that it resists wrinkles so much that you can wad it up on your bag, nor that it resists odors to the degree that you need only travel with one shirt. But for the performance items it does have, it shows that you can add tremendous performance to a shirt by executing on fairly basic ideas extremely well — that’s what this shirt is. It is performance because in spite of the cotton nature, I would take it into the jungle because everything is executed perfectly on it.

Overall

I absolutely love this shirt, but I can’t say “go buy this it is worth it”. I think people generally will find it tough to blend this shirt in and look normal. I think there are likely better outdoor shirts but, there’s something about this shirt that makes me want to wear nothing about it — in fact since getting it, it’s been one of my most worn shirts.

I almost feel like this shirt in a lot of ways is like a classic pair of work boots, or selvage denim — there’s a lot of reasons not to wear it, but when you do wear those items something very special happens. It looks weird, has odd features, but all of that comes together to make for a stupidly expense shirt that I love.

Get one here, fall in love for yourself.

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

Vollebak Planet Earth Shirt