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
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.