Random Rantings and Ravings from a Slow-Poke Runner in the Heart of the South. (A Weeekly (sort of) Blog about running and just about anything else)

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Fearless Review: Technical Running Shirts

Beginning this month on this blog, I will review various items I have purchased to either assist in my running or just keep me motivated. I call this a “fearless review” since so many times magazines don’t tell you what they really think because of their worry about the almighty advertising dollar. Well you don’t have to worry about that here on my blog!

This time I will review those ever-popular dry-wicking running shirts. In the old days, cotton was king and no one ever thought to put any of those other scratchy shirts on to pull a four-miler. But these days dry-wicking shirts use high tech materials (i.e. comfy polyester) to wick perspiration away and try to achieve a cool, more comfortable feel. These fabrics are designed to keep t-shirts from sticking to you and, if you are like me with the sweaty middle-back after a few miles, you will appreciate that!

In this blog I will review four different dry-wicking running shirts I have personally owned. Now I know there are hundreds of dry-wicking brands out these days so this is in no way intended to be an exhaustive list; nor do I want to give the impression that this list is a “best of”. But maybe this will be informative for those of you who have been afraid to try anything but a cotton T. Also, it may get some of you to try some brands you haven’t thought of before.

Under-Armour Loose Gear T-shirt: App. $25 ****

Ah…the brand that helps us “PROTECT THIS HOUSE!” This shirt is a loose version of their “heat-gear” shirts and is designed to “cool your body by pulling perspiration off of your skin and moving it to the surface where it evaporates from the fabric”. This was my first sweat-wicking shirt and you can presently see me wearing it in my profile picture. A lot of people think of the Under-Armour brand when they think of technical workout shirts and for good reason. These shirts are quality-made. When it was new, it worked perfectly and wicked moisture away as advertised. Best of all, it has the feel of cotton and doesn’t cling to you like some of the dry-wicking shirts do. However, I have noticed that the shirt has not held up as well in the wash as some of my other shirts so I can’t give it a full 5 stars.

Brooks Podium long sleeve T-shirt: App. $28 ****1/2

Brooks is a name that we often think of when we look for running apparel and this T does not disappoint. Now I have to confess, I got my Brooks shirt free for signing up for a race but it is the same shirt regardless. Mine is long sleeve so it is only good for colder weather but it is a perfect moisture wicking shirt. Although it does not exactly feel like cotton, it is still comfortable enough to lounge around in and has held up wonderfully in the wash. I only wish I didn’t have those pen pricks in the front of it! 4 ½ out of 5 stars.

Target C9 Duo-Dry T-shirt: App. $14 ****

With thick black stripes down the sides (under the arms) and a reflective stripe across the chest, this may be the most stylish dry-wicking shirt I own. The shirt is slick so it feels nothing like cotton but is extremely comfortable and wicks the sweat away as well as the more costly brands. It is the shirt I keep reaching for on most days but I have to give it only 4 stars because it clings a little too much so, yes….it shows off the ol’ nipples! Definitely worth the value price.

Wal-Mart Athletic Works long sleeve T-shirt: App. $12 **1/2

Ok, so I needed another long sleeve wicking T so I went the Wally World route and got what seemed like a great buy in a black wicking long sleeve shirt. To the shirt’s credit, it does a decent job of wicking sweat and is roomy and fits well. However, it feels like a polyester shirt and is scratchy and uncomfortable. If you go the budget route, I recommend you go to Target.

In summary, if you are a runner or like to exercise and have not tried one of the dry-wicking shirts on the market today, do yourself a favor and go out and buy one. You will get hooked and never want to go back to cotton again! But a word to the wise, make sure to try on the shirt first before you buy. Many of the dry-wicking shirts have a tight fit and, unless you are a lot more “studly” than me, you just don’t want to go that route. Also, some of the fabrics of these shirts are less technical than others and are not that comfortable. Make sure you get something that feels cool and comfortable and doesn’t scratch at all, because after a few miles down the road, that will make all the difference!

Drop me a comment and let me know what you think and whether you have tried a shirt you really like!


Blogger Me said...

What? Not running anymore? Just stumbled across your site looking for reviews of wicking t-shirts. I'm doing a hike at the end of the month and was thinking of trying out some of the lower-cost brands. Obviously I would like to get a Mountain Hardwear, or Arcteryx or Northface performance shirt, but the difference between a $10 shirt and a $80 shirt is a bit of a gap to cross. Have you tried WalMart's Athletic Works Wick Tee (the short-sleeve one)?

7:23 AM


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