Long Term Testing: Athletic T-Shirts

Note: These shirts were originally provided for review purposes, please see the original reviews for more information.

We’ve been testing and reviewing here on Everyday Wear for about two years now, so it’s about time we take a look at how some of our long term favorites are holding up.

Something that I wear almost every day is an athletic t-shirt. I wear these for working out and often as a shirt for around the house. The two that have stuck as my favorites are the Pistol Lake Minimalist Tee (called the Minimalist Performance Tee at the time of our review) and the Y Athletics SilverAir Merino T-Shirt (our review). I’ve had the Pistol Lake tee for a year and a half now and the Y Athletics for one year.

Pistol Lake Minimalist Tee

As a refresher, this shirt is made from a custom fabric blend Pistol Lake calls Eudae (76% polyester, 19% Tencel, and 5% spandex). It looks and drapes like a cotton t-shirt with stretch, but performs almost like merino.

As it’s not dependent on any odor treatment (like some synthetic fabrics), I can still get about 4 workouts from the shirt before it starts to smell. Unfortunately, the shirt seems to get small pills all over pretty quickly.

I own the shirt in both black and heather grey, and while both are pilled, it seems that the black is either pilled more, or the pills are just more noticeable. I’m not too concerned about this, as these are workout shirts for me, but this would come into consideration if I were buying these as everyday shirts. I’d also expect that a backpack could accelerate the pilling.

For summer wear I find the fabric very comfortable. It dries very fast and wicks well, however it does retain enough moisture during a hot and sweaty workout that it does get weighed down somewhat (I’d put it between merino and a traditional full synthetic workout tee).

Y Athletics SilverAir Merino T-Shirt

This shirt is is 17.5 micron merino wool with pure silver threads running throughout on the inside, while the outside is plated with nylon.

The merino interior of the shirt continues to give me the same odor resistant performance and moisture wicking of a 100% merino shirt. The thinness of the merino layer helps keep it from getting too weighed down from the sweatiest of workouts (although it still can’t beat a traditional full synthetic workout tee).

As far as the durability of the nylon plating goes, the only pilling I’ve seen is from a sweaty week of hiking with a GORUCK bag. It certainly is much more pill resistant than the Pistol Lake shirt.

One other item of note: The black color of this shirt seems to be showing more of the silver thread through the plating as it ages, while it remains invisible (except for some “indentations” where the thread is) on the blue color.

Overall

I am very satisfied with these shirts as my athletic tees of choice. If I was forced to pick just one with versatility in mind, it’d be the Pistol Lake, as it looks completely normal and could fit into more situations. For pure performance, I’d go with the Y Athletics.

Long Term Testing: Athletic T-Shirts

Bluffworks Ascender Chinos

Note: These pants were provided by Bluffworks for review.

The Bluffworks Ascender Chinos were recently released along with a new travel polo and t-shirt. These chinos were designed as an update from their Classic Chino (our review) with a new fabric and security features. Being Bluffworks, they have 10 pockets (6 special travel pockets), which you either willlove or hate.

Fabric

The fabric is 100% polyester and weighs in at 180 gsm. It has a soft hand feel and nice matte texture in most lighting (but does have a sheen in direct sun).

While these won’t pass for cotton chinos up close, they also don’t immediately give themselves away as technical. However, I do get a technical swoosh while walking in these. It seemed to quiet down a little with washing, so I wonder if it will go away over time. As advertised, they came out of the wash wrinkle free.

Fit & Comfort

Even though the fabric has no stretch content, the pants feel like they have a lot of stretch. In the hand, the stretch feels similar to many of my other chino style pants, but while wearing them, they feel like they have significantly more stretch. In fact, I had to size down one inch from my Gramercy sizing for the waist to fit.

With the right waist size in the Tailored Fit (they also come in Regular Fit), I still felt like there was some room in the thighs and hips. They don’t look sloppy, but they also don’t look as polished as my Outlier Futureworks (our review). If you typically find nice performance chinos to be too slim, you certainly should be able to find a good fit here.

The stretchiness of these pants also makes them very comfortable and forgiving for travel. I would go as far to say that I feel like I could hike in these if I had to. While the fabric here is actually lighter than that of the Futureworks (180 vs. 200 gsm), it feels thicker to me. This translates to them running a little warmer as well. They are breathable and don’t get clammy, but I wouldn’t pick them for the hottest weather. Conversely, I imagine they would perform better in cold weather.

Travel Pockets

With 10 pockets on these pants, you can protect almost anything you’d carry.

Inside both front pockets, there is a zippered pocket.

The right front pocket also includes a phone patch pocket and a small utility pocket (to hold a small knife or multi-tool). The left front pocket has a pocket on the inside of the pants with a velcro closure (for money or a passport).

While it may seem that all these extra zippers and pockets might get in the way, I haven’t yet felt like they have gotten in my way like they can on the Gramercy Pants (our review).

Moving around to the back of the pants, the waistband above the right pocket has a phone pocket.

I’ve yet to find this type of pocket useful, but it doesn’t detract from the look or comfort of the pant. Finally, the left back pocket has a zipper right at the opening. I find that the zipper pull stays tucked away most of the time, but can occasionally pop out if you don’t get it stowed away.

Overall

Overall, the Ascender Chinos are a solid performance/travel pant. If you are looking for a chino style pant with travel security features, these are certainly the best I’ve seen. Even without all the extra pockets, these represent a great value at $125. With a little work on the sheen and sound of the fabric, these could come close to my Futureworks; I’ll also be interested to see how they compare in cold weather.

Bluffworks Ascender Chinos

GORUCK X-Mas in July Sale

The GORUCK X-Mas in July Sale has begun and will continue while supplies last. This is typically one of their best sales of the year and runs thru 7/15. Here are some of the deals we are excited about:

GORUCK X-Mas in July Sale

Boundary The Chase Pant Preview

Boundary gave me a chance to take a look at their new Kickstarter product, The Chase Pant. They sent me a sample of the solid pant in the Straight fit. These are a five pocket design with some extra hidden pockets. They will also be offering a unique denim dyed color without the hidden zipper pockets on the legs.

For these pants, Boundary developed a proprietary fabric called TT-1, made from Combat Wool, T-400 Lycra, and Nylon 6,6. They claim significant breathability, temperature regulation, and odor resistance from the merino/nylon combo and the T-400 is supposed to move and rebound 15x better than standard Lycra or Spandex. They top it all off with a DWR coating. There is minimal technical sheen, a great texture, and no “technical swoosh”.

I’ve had the pants for about a week and am pretty impressed so far. I wasn’t able to get my exact size as they aren’t in production yet, but I can say these are the most stretchy pants I’ve worn. While the fabric is noticeably heavier than my lightweight Outlier Futureworks, it seems very breathable, but I have not yet had a chance to test them in very hot or humid weather.

I can’t say if these are going to become my go-to travel and everyday pants, but they are certainly interesting. It seems they have put a lot of thought into the fabric and construction. My favorite feature is the unique RiRi button snap.

Surprisingly from a Kickstarter, they will be available in five colors and they even have women’s options. If it says anything, I backed them to get my wife a pair.

The Kickstarter is open until July 3. Look for a full review once production pants are available.

Boundary The Chase Pant Preview

Guide: Polos

Note: some of these shirts were provided at a discount or for free, please see the original reviews for more information.

Finding a performance polo that blends in and has a sharp looking collar can be quite the task. This guide walks you through each of the polos we have tested, and how we think they perform. For this guide, we assume you are looking for polos for the warmer seasons and are looking for them to be versatile, from casual to business casual.

Bluffworks Piton Polo

Our review.

The Good: The fabric is pique knit, giving it nice visual interest and a nice matte finish so it blends in. Great collar that doesn’t require any fussiness out of the wash. Very breathable and light. Packs well with no wrinkles.

The Not Good: After one day of wear, the armpits smell a bit. With a quick rinse in the sink I can get a second day.

Overall: The lightweight textured fabric and great collar give this polo a classic look with the performance of 100% synthetic. The wrinkle resistance is excellent.

Mack Weldon SILVERKNIT Polo

Our review.

The Good: The fabric looks and drapes just like a standard cotton pique polo. The length works well for wearing tucked or untucked. The collar stays sharp as long as you pay attention how it dries. The odor resistant content of the fabric lives up to expectations, giving me 3 wears.

The Not Good: There is Mack Weldon branding along the side seam on the back of the shirt.

Overall: This is a great polo, soft, odor resistant, sharp collar, and versatile with no indication that it is technical.

Ministry of Supply Apollo 3 Polo

Our review.

The Good: Extremely breathable fabric and stiff collar that always stands up and looks sharp no matter what you throw at it.

The Not Good: The thickness of the fabric can keep it from drying as fast as other synthetic polos (although it does manage sweat very well). The collar can look a bit unnatural at times and the heavy drape gives it away as something different. There is no odor resistance here.

Overall: This is a polo you can depend on pulling right out of your bag and having it look perfect. The breathability overcomes the thickness of the fabric from a comfort perspective. Can be worn tucked or untucked.

Ministry of Supply Composite Slim Fit Polo

Our review.

The Good: The fabric is extremely soft and looks and drapes like a light cotton polo. I can depend on two wears (the merino content is only 15%). The length is perfect for wearing untucked. The collar performs well and never looks floppy. Slim fit.

The Not Good: Only 2 wears, better than average but not standout. The shorter length makes it harder to keep tucked in. The slim fit will not be for everyone. The two button (short) placket keeps this more in the casual realm.

Overall: As you can see, this polo is full of trade-offs. If you are looking for a polo geared to casual wear only and you are looking for a slim fit, this might be the polo for you.

Wool&Prince 100% Merino Wool Polo

Our review.

The Good: Feels and drapes like a soft, well worn cotton t-shirt. The collar stays put and looks sharp as long as you pay attention to how it dries. Has that magic merino odor resistance.

The Not Good: The 205 gsm fabric makes it too warm much above 80 °F, even in low humidity.

Overall: A great polo except for the weight of the fabric. If you want 100% merino, this is the way to go. Otherwise, you probably want to look to one of the other options.

Wool&Prince Polo

Our review.

The Good: The drape and hand-feel of the fabric are spot on. Being a merino blend, there is great odor resistance. The collar stays put and looks sharp as long as you pay attention to how it dries.

The Not Good: Picks up wrinkles fairly easily.

Overall: This is a great polo with the caveat of wrinkles since is it a light merino fabric. If you want the odor resistance of merino with the durability of a blend and the versatility of a lighter fabric, this is the way to go.

My Pick

Not taking odor resistance into account, my top choice is the Bluffworks Piton Polo, with the Mack Weldon SILVERKNIT not far behind.

The Piton polo for me is the most versatile all around with its lighter fabric, excellent wrinkle resistance (the Apollo 3 is the only shirt that is more wrinkle resistant), and ease of wear from casual to business casual.

The SILVERKNIT polo gives you some extra odor resistance along with some seasonal colors to break up the typical blues, greys, and blacks of performance wear.

If you place odor resistance at the top of your list, the two Wool&Prince polos would be my pick. Which one would depend on the climate you plan to wear them in.

Some other options not reviewed

I even purchased and returned some without giving them a test

  • Ably Ranger Polo: I’ve been interested in Ably Apparel’s Filium technology, and this looked just like a normal cotton pique polo. The dealbreaker was that the collar looked mis-proportioned to me.
  • Arcteryx A2B Short Sleeve Polo: The collar and button placket were shiny and nylon-y and stood out too much from the rest of the shirt.
  • RYU Tech Polo: The collar and button placket were weirdly stiff and nylon-y, the collar also didn’t lay right — it was stiff and floppy at the same time.
  • Triple Aught Design Caliber Polo: The fabric and webbing to attach the buttons made this one too casual.

Getting Started: What to Buy

I would recommend getting started with two (or three) shirts, this will give you a base to wear to the office during the warmer months and give some versatility for travel. Here’s what I would buy:

  1. Bluffworks Piton Polo Shirt in Spun Grey: This is my most worn polo. I tend to stick to dark pants, so I favor light shirts. Light grey looks better with dark grey than blue or navy with navy, so I tend to go with light grey shirts to get the most versatility.
  2. Mack Weldon SILVERKNIT in True Navy: This is your classic navy pique polo for work and play with great performance in the heat. The mid-level odor resistance makes it nice for shorter trips.
  3. Wool&Prince Polo in Grey End-on-End: This makes for a nice dressier polo. It also works well for longer trips where you want a shirt that can be worn many times between washes.
Guide: Polos

Wool&Prince Polo

When it comes to wool shirting, Wool&Prince is our go to. Ben gave their 100% Merino Polo (our review) a test last summer and loved it except for the weight, it was too heavy for warm climates. As part of preparing for a roundup of polos (coming soon), I gave the merino blend Polo a try.

Fabric

This polo is made of a 160 gsm blend of 78% 17.5 micron merino and 22% nylon. I’ll let Wool&Prince explain the yarn, as it doesn’t sound like a traditional core spun fiber:

“Traditionally, blended yarns are constructed by mixing fibers from two different sources and then spinning the mixed fibers. We took a different approach and spun a 17.5 micron wool core with two small nylon filaments.”

As advertised, the drape and hand feel of the fabric are great. It drapes heavy, so it looks a little more dressy than your standard cotton, t-shirt-like polo. The fabric feels soft and doesn’t have any of the itch some feel from the Wool&Prince button-downs, most likely due to the finer micron wool used here.

Fit

The fit on the polo is slim but not athletic. It has a classic straight shape, but doesn’t look boxy. I wear a L Regular in Wool&Prince shirting, and an XL fit me well here. With the traditional split drop tail, the length was a little long for me to wear it untucked in all but casual situations.

Overall, the style makes this polo fit in any situation where a polo is appropriate.

Comfort and Performance

The softness of the fabric makes this polo soft and comfortable like your favorite merino t-shirt. I found the weight of 160 gsm to make it substantial enough to not be see-thru, while remaining cool even in warm weather. However, since merino does hold more moisture than 100% synthetic fabrics, you tend to feel sweat a bit. This is somewhat counteracted that the fabric dries fairly quickly.

The collar is always a dealbreaker on a polo. In order to look sharp and blend in with a performance polo, the collar has to look right. In this case, they did a nice job stiffening this collar up a little bit with some interfacing between two layers of fabric. If you make sure the collar dries in the shape you want, it will remain sharp through multiple wears (and even packing).

Speaking of packing, I did find the shirt to pick up wrinkles fairly easily when packed. A quick steam and they are gone, but something to keep in mind if you want a polo that can be pulled out of your bag and be ready to go.

Finally, odor resistance. As expected, the nylon content in the fabric reduces the resistance some, but not enough that this isn’t my most odor-resistant polo. Surprisingly, what has made me wash this polo so far has been smells picked up from the environment (food odors).

Overall

This is a great polo, and if you are looking for merino performance, this is the one to get. The softness of the fabric makes it just as comfortable as a t-shirt while keeping you looking sharp with a dependable collar. Even more compelling, at a price of $78, you aren’t paying a huge premium for that merino performance.

Wool&Prince Polo

Bluffworks Threshold T-Shirt

Note: This shirt was provided by Bluffworks for review.

As we mentioned in our review of the Piton Polo (our review), Bluffworks also recently released a new t-shirt, the Threshold T-Shirt. The market is quite saturated with great t-shirts right now, so we hold them to a high standard. Bluffworks managed to take a technical shirt and impart almost merino level odor resistant technology, all while keeping the technical look (mostly) at bay.

Fabric

The fabric here is a wrinkle-free 66% polyester, 29% Lyocell, 5% elastane blend with embedded gold and silver nanoparticles.

To start off, the fabric itself is soft and lightweight, while being substantial enough to drape well. It has a nice stretch to it (although doesn’t feel like it has 5% elastane content). I think the elastane in this knit is more to help the shirt keep it’s shape, and Bluffworks claims that the blend of elastane and Lyocell lends to the soft hand feel. Additionally, the knit is tight enough to be UPF 50+ rated but still breathable.

The only (slight) downfall to the fabric is in bright light, you can see a slight technical sheen. Not a dealbreaker, but something to keep in mind.

If they stopped here, I’d say Bluffworks made a worthy contender in the performance synthetic t-shirt market. That not being enough, they added a metal nanoparticle treatment to impart excellent odor resistance to the shirt.

Fit

As always, Bluffworks offers a great range of cut (Classic & Slim) and length (Regular & Tall) options for the t-shirt. I found the fit to be similar to the polo, with a Slim XL fitting me the best (the Classic L was similar, but the Slim sat better across my shoulders and neck). I would say neither cut is athletic nor baggy and both can look great as an all around t-shirt.

One observation on sizing — I found the length to be a little shorter than many of my other t-shirts. I think it gives the shirt more of a classic silhouette and is something to keep in mind when choosing a size.

Comfort & Performance

The t-shirt wicks sweat away well and dries quickly. This is one area where merino isn’t king. On a hot, sweaty day or workout, merino tends to get heavy while synthetics are better at wicking to the surface of the fabric to help evaporation.

The claim of the t-shirt being wrinkle-free is also something that I noticed while wearing the shirt. It tended to have less wrinkling from being folded up in my drawer or packing cube and it doesn’t get those light wrinkles that show up in a light merino T after a days wear.

Finally, the most surprising performance attribute — odor resistance. The treatment on this shirt gives it almost, if not merino-like, odor resistant properties. It is certainly the most odor resistant synthetic t-shirt I’ve ever tried.

Overall

Bluffworks has a top competitor with their Threshold T-Shirt. It looks and feels great with top notch odor resistance. It is going to get a lot of wear from me this summer and I’m looking forward to seeing how the odor resistance holds up over time and how the shirt resists pilling (a downfall I found in my previous favorite synthetic T).

If you are looking for a performance T that isn’t wool, you’ve found the one. Even against merino shirts, this one holds its own.


Ben’s Thoughts

I tested the peak white color and I found my new white t-shirt. I love it, and in fact in picking what I could bring on my person for my upcoming move (versus what the movers bring) this t-shirt was the first one I grabbed. The handfeel is soft, and slightly slick, but it is very comfortable. In fact, I’ll likely pick up a couple more. Two thumbs up.

Bluffworks Threshold T-Shirt

Bluffworks Piton Polo

This polo was provided by Bluffworks for review purposes.

Bluffworks recently released a few new pieces, a t-shirt, new chinos, and a polo. Being one of our favorite companies for everyday performance/travel apparel, we jumped at the chance to give them a try. This review focuses on the new Piton Polo. We had high expectations, as their Meridian Dress Shirt (our review) is among our most worn dress shirts. Bluffworks managed to succeed in meeting and exceeding those expectations.

Fabric

The fabric on this shirt is a 100% polyester pique knit, which gives the Spun Grey color I have a great texture and nice visual interest. Even without any stretch content, the knit of the fabric allows for a little stretch.

Bluffworks also did a great job keeping the fabric to a very matte finish (no technical shine here). The fabric drapes well and somehow remains lightweight while not getting that static cling look that can ruin the look of many lightweight polyester shirts.

As far as wrinkle resistance, the shirt can pick up light creases when tightly folded for long periods of time (not so much that they are noticeable while wearing though). I saw this out of the package and can still see light creases in my shirt after washing. Bluffworks does offer a suggestion to “refresh” the fabric “wash in warm water, 104° F (40° C), warm dry, and remove promptly to hang after drying”, which I have yet to try as I always wash cold and want to see if these creases will take care of themselves. I haven’t set in any of my own wrinkles yet, so I don’t think this will pose an issue.

Fit

Bluffworks offers Classic and Slim fits in both Regular and Tall lengths, which is something I really appreciate. It is nice to be able to really dial-in the fit.

I dialed in my fit with the Threshold Performance T-Shirt — I tried both a L Classic and an XL Slim (Regular length) and found the XL Slim to fit the best (it fit closer in the body while allowing more room at the neck and shoulders). I ordered the polo in the same size and it feels like the fit is consistent.

For me, the Regular length feels perfect for the polo, as it stays tucked in but also isn’t too long to wear untucked.

Comfort & Performance

The Piton Polo is my most comfortable synthetic polo. It is breathable enough that I can see it working well throughout the hottest parts of the summer while still having enough weight that it looks good. The shirt dries extremely fast — when it comes out of my washer it is almost dry.

When it comes to odor resistance, Bluffworks claims that the fabric is antimicrobial but doesn’t note any special treatments. For me, it performed similarly to my Meridian shirt. It won’t smell too bad after one day, but requires a quick rinse if you want to wear it again. This is much better than any of my other synthetic polos that can stink after one day.

Finally, another key for polo performance is the collar. While not stiff and structured like the Ministry of Supply Apollo 3 Polo (our review), it lays flat all day without any curling or weird folding. There is always a tradeoff here — polos with a structured collar are guaranteed to always look sharp, but the collar can give away the technical nature. In the case of this collar, it stays sharp in most cases while allowing the shirt to blend in.

Overall

In the synthetic polo arena, the Piton Polo is going to be hard to beat. It performs well and will only get better as the weather continues to warm up.

If you are looking for a polo to take you through the summer that can be dressed up or down, this one is worthy of your consideration. Even better, at $68 it represents an excellent value and is priced lower than many of its competitors.

Bluffworks Piton Polo

Wool&Prince Slim Chino

These pants were provided by Wool&Prince for review purposes.

It’s no secret that Wool&Prince is a brand of choice in the performance clothing market. They started out with their button-down and dress shirts and have since expanded their line. The most recent addition is their Slim Chino, made from a wool blend fabric, these pants are designed to be able to be dressed up or down. After hearing whispers of these coming for a long while, I was excited to get a pair and put them to the test.

Fabric

Wool&Price developed a 60% merino wool/40% nylon twill blend fabric for these pants. You may notice that these are missing the typical stretch and DWR coating of most pants we review here, but the merino wool content makes them something interesting and different.

If you’re thinking wool pants, those must look drapey and formal like traditional wool slacks, you are wrong. The combination of the structure imparted by the nylon and the heavier weight of the fabric makes these wear just like a traditional pair of heavier cotton chinos. The subtle twill texture also helps with the traditional chino look and ability to be easily dressed up or down.

Fit

While Wool&Prince calls these pants the Slim Chino, I did not find the cut to be slim at all. I would describe it more as a standard/straight cut. For me, the pants fit fairly closely in the seat with plenty of room in the thighs and legs. If you are looking for a true slim cut (or even a tailored cut like Outlier), the cut of these pants is not for you.

For a first go at a pair of pants, I think Wool&Prince made a good call on the cut as it will work for more people than a true slim cut. I also think that this type of cut lends itself to the fabric, since it is lacking stretch.

This more traditional cut, along with the slash front pockets and button back pockets, also helps them blend-in in a business situation. When dressing them down, it also makes them pair with a t-shirt more like a pair of selvedge jeans than a pair of slim, tapered technical pants.

Comfort & Performance

While a pair of pants without stretch is never going to compete with a stretchy pair, I find these very comfortable. The more roomy cut certainly plays a big part. In wearing them in both casual and business casual situations, the lack of stretch was noticeable but not annoying. However, I don’t think I’d take them hiking, nor do I prefer them for a long flight.

Performance wise, these pants are like your favorite pair of heavy cotton chinos with a wool upgrade. I didn’t notice any benefit of the wool for time between washes, but I certainly noticed it from a temperature point of view. In a typical cotton chino fabric, this weight would certainly be reserved for the cooler months. The merino content in these pants helps extend the temperature window. I don’t think I’ll be wearing these in the hot summer months if I’ll be outside walking a lot, but think they could work otherwise.

I’m also looking forward to seeing how they perform in the winter, as my other heavier pants that can be dressed up tend to have a lot of issues with static when it is dry out.

Overall

Overall these pants are worth consideration, especially if you are looking for something with a versatile style, heavier weight, and a truly standard appearance — you can be sure you’ll blend-in in any situation.

While I haven’t had these for long enough to test them in temperature extremes, I think they will become my go-to pants for the cooler months and those weird days in the shoulder seasons.

Wool&Prince Slim Chino

Western Rise StrongCore Merino Tee

This shirt was provided by Western Rise for review purposes.

Western Rise is one of the many new-ish entries to the technical clothing market, introducing many of their products through Kickstarter. We have reviewed their The Evolution Pant (our review), and they recently sent us their StrongCore Merino Tee. It should be noted that this is the second version of this shirt (the first version had a pocket), made in their new LA factory.

We had inquired about the DryWeight Merino Tee, as we were looking for more tees for hot weather (to compare with the Outlier Dreamweight and Ramielust). However, they informed us that they were discontinuing that shirt.

Fabric

The fabric of this shirt is 89% 17.5 micron merino/11% nylon. The finer merino used here makes the fabric very soft and never scratchy, however, it is not the softest on the market (that title goes to the Outlier tees).

Coming in at 170 gsm, the weight of the fabric gives it a nice drape. The only indication that if isn’t brand new after numerous wears and a few washes is that light “fuzzing” most merino exhibits. This is a good sign for the long term durability of the shirt.

Fit

I was on the borderline between L and XL in the Western Rise size chart. I chose an XL and am glad I did. The shirt shrunk a little when I washed it the first time (cold, air dry) and it fits me well, but would probably have been a little tighter than I like after a wash if I had picked L.

Overall, the fit seems on-par with other merino tees I own, and I would probably compare it most closely to the Outlier XL cut.

Comfort and Performance

I’ve been wearing this shirt for a few weeks now and it performs as expected for a core spun merino blend shirt. It has all the odor resistance of a 100% merino shirt with the extra durability of nylon.

The weight of the fabric makes it a good all-around tee, but it is probably not the best pick for the warmest weather, as midweight merino tends to soak up sweat and get heavy (this is where ultralight merino or synthetics shine).

The v-cuts at the bottom on both sides of the hem are supposed add some performance by breaking the “fabric tube”, but I didn’t find any benefit other than adding a little different look to the shirt. Maybe if you wear your tees more snugly across the waist/hips, this would make a difference.

Overall

Overall, the Western Rise StrongCore Merino Tee is a worthy contender, but with the sheer number of good merino tees out there now, I don’t think it rises to the top.

At a lower price point, this tee might rank better, but for $96, it wouldn’t be my top pick. To me, the Outdoor Voices Merino T-Shirt (our review), which can be had for $55, and is a merino blend with a great balance of price and performance. I’d also throw the Wool & Prince Crew Neck ($68) and the Outlier Runweight ($88) in this price range as competition.

The merino t-shirt market certainly is putting out some tough competition right now. If the v-cuts on this tee make a difference for you, this is definitely a shirt to check out.

Western Rise StrongCore Merino Tee