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.
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:
- It is very soft to the touch with a comfortable hand feel.
- 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.
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.
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.