This question came in not to long ago from a reader who was trying to track down inexpensive moisture wicking shirts.
I came across your article trying to find inexpensive moisture wicking shirts. My search will continue.
But, i wanted to make the point that my feet are terrible for sweating! I tried so many different brands of socks… UA, Duluth Trading, Adidas, Starter… none of the ‘Technological Breakthrough’ materials worked.
One day at a local store I came across DARN TOUGH socks. Wow! These socks actually work.
While not 100% Merino Wool, they do have a high wool content and again, they do really work.
So my thought was, what about Merino Wool undershirts?
I know there are several different brands… And again, my search continues!
Merino Wool Undershirts
good to hear from you and thanks for your thoughts and question!
you know, i’ve not been too impressed with merino wool undershirts thus far. yes, they are supposed to be the cat’s meow as it pertains to how they perform in cold weather situations, but as a daily-wear undershirt, i simply feel merino wool undershirts are too itchy.
i’ve even tried super high-end merino wool undershirts made from new zealand merino. while they were nice, they weren’t *that* nice. plus they did have a little itchiness to them which kinda drove me nuts.
i think if you need them for cold-weather situations, they’d be a good alternative to keep you warm, insulated, protected and dry.
that said, if i were looking to stay warm, i’d likely opt for the uniqlo heattech over merino wool. heattech is super warm, lightweight, and very smooth on the skin.
for all other times, there’s just too many better feeling undershirts out there that blow the feel of merino out of the water.
if you’re really interested in wicking undershirts, what price point are you hoping to stick within? i’m sure i can help you find something.
also, why wicking undershirts?
One thing’s for sure, if he’s trying to find a cheap merino wool undershirt, he won’t get very far. If he’s willing to consider an alternative like Uniqlo’s Heattech Undershirt, that’ll only set him back about $13 each.
If you’re going to be in a cold climate condition, and need extra warmth, merino and/or acrylic (like Heattech) would be great options.
If you’re in an active situation with your daily routine, like working outdoors in some capacity, or if you’re a police officer, or have some other occupation where you’re going to be sweating a lot and you don’t want to be sitting in a sopping wet undershirt all day, a wicking undershirt would be a better option.
Full absorbing undershirts like 100% cotton undershirts, especially medium or heavy-weight ones, would hold on to sweat and take longer to dry. Lighter weight ones of course would dry faster, and some may even dry faster than moisture wicking undershirts.
I say may because some moisture wicking undershirts don’t actually dry fast. In fact, many of the wicking undershirts I’ve tried take the same amount of time to dry as the lightweight undershirts I normally wear.
My point is that one should not just buy in to the concept of wearing a moisture wicking undershirt without understanding WHY it would be beneficial to wear one. It’s all really based on WHAT you’re doing.
When NOT To Wear Wicking Undershirts
Now there are some companies that make very good wicking undershirts, that perform well and are very comfortable.
In fact, some of the undershirts and brands on my Favorite Undershirts page, offer some great products that I like and admire. One, the AIRism is even in my top 5 list.
If you’re wearing one right now, happy and comfortable in it, then don’t change what you’re doing.
But, there are some times I think it wouldn’t be practical to wear a wicking undershirt.
If you’re heavy sweater, I couldn’t in good conscious recommend wearing a wicking undershirt. Even if you’re not a sweaty man, but you’ve gotten sweat spots on your shirts before and want to try and avoid that, probably best to stay away from them.
If you like the feel of natural feeling fabrics over synthetics, most wicking undershirts wouldn’t be for you. Granted, there are some “Microfiber” (nylon) and some polyester undershirts with fabrics that feel much more natural.
Some wicking undershirts are super slick and I’ve noticed that due to that slipperiness, they don’t stay tucked as well. If you have this problem, maybe it’s time to switch.
For those that think wicking undershirts are cooler or will keep them cooler — think again. It’s really not the case at all.
“Cooling” effects occur via evaporation. No airflow, no evaporation, no cooling. Or shall I say, no noticeable cooling. So, don’t be fooled by the claims, just react from your personal & actual experience with the product.
In fact, I’d argue that fabric weight is the single biggest factor in determining whether or not you’ll feel cooler or warmer. The lighter the fabric, the cooler you will feel and vice versa. Also, lighter fabric will dry faster because it’ll hold less moisture.
Moisture Wicking Blend Undershirts
There are a few fabric options that I believe offer a great daily-wear undershirt wearing experience.
Two of my favorite wicking blends are Tri-Blend (Cotton, Polyester, Rayon) and 50/50 or 60/40 (Cotton, Polyester). But only the super light weight ones, not the medium/heavier weight ones.
The reason I like these blends so much is because the do a good job of wicking the moisture off my body, absorbing the sweat so it doesn’t cause sweat marks on my shirts, and then drys incredibly fast.
Also, the lightness of the fabric keeps me cool and comfortable.
Wicking vs Absorbing – Which To Choose
When it’s all said and done, what undershirts to wear is largely based on what makes you feel the most comfortable.
If you love 100% wicking undershirts, stick with them. If you love 100% natural undershirts, don’t change.
If you’re a blend lover like me, then you and I should be friends.
The moral of this story is to decide what kind of undershirt is best for you based on what actually makes you feel & look good.
Have a question or a comment, post it below.