Does Wearing Wicking Polo & Dress Shirts Keep You Cool?

It’s summertime and people are looking for ways to stay cool.

Here’s a reader wondering if wearing wicking polo or dress shirts will keep him cooler than wearing cotton polos and dress shirts.

Hi Tug, I just spent the last hour reading a bunch of articles on your site but haven’t seen much that helps me. I’m not an excessive sweat issue guy, just very warm natured.

I wear shorts and a short sleeve polo year round, only difference is I add socks & sneakers with a windbreaker when it drops below 45. Below 40 I add a hoodie, which covers me until the teens if I’m just going from house to car to store type trips. Otherwise I add a hat unless I’m going to be outdoors continuously for more than 15 minutes.

So I HATE the summer heat & humidity! I try very hard to only buy moisture wicking clothing but it gets harder every year due to idiots who decree “Fashion”. It seems the fashionistas in the Pro Golf world think that shorts must have ugly (to my wife, at least!) plaid and that shirts need a smooth line so they removed the pocket my cell lives in.

Now I either get boring solid colors only or don’t get moisture wicking features. The vendors put pockets on SOME of the solid polos but none on the ones that look at all stylish. They put the rest of the pockets on pique or jersey material shirts.


Rules to wearing undershirts

The shorts keep getting longer and longer unless I pay $50+ for the big names like Adidas. Everyone else went from a comfortable in 95 degree high humidity areas 7″-8″ inseam and switched to the below the knee 11″ to as much as 17″ inseams!

I used to buy Haggar Cool 18 shirts and shorts but they joined the golf mafia with no pocket polos and 11″+ inseams. I even contacted them about the problem since I saw dozens of comments on otherwise good options on Amazon that made me realize I’m not the only one…

Sorry for the long background but I wanted to let you know what I’ve tried. I wanted to know if you’ve run across any affordable options for polos and shorts, since it seems like my final take is that wearing a coolmax or similar undershirt won’t make me feel any cooler.

It might help a little bit with the dripping, but unless I get baggy shirts to wear over the undershirt it won’t be able to easily remove the sweat or cool me.

Next I am praying that you’ve heard any feedback about the dress shirts from here: since I saw you did review their undershirts.

I NEVER wear a suit or long sleeve dress shirt unless forced to by a wedding or funeral, but at a wedding last month it was so hot I ignored the odd looks and wore a short sleeve dress shirt and ditched the suit jacket after the first 10 minutes of the reception.

Would a wicking dress shirt make any difference? I know I won’t be cooler but as a guy who sweats inside any room over 70 degrees in a polo I need all the help I can get. One of the reasons I’m confused is you wrote:

“best to stick with cotton or a cotton/modal blend. cotton breathes really well and modal absorbs more than cotton. stay away from polyester, nylon, or anything “moisture wicking” as those will be more prone to transport wetness to your outer shirt more quickly.”

So it sounds like you think the undershirt would just be to keep the shirt looking good, whereas I just want to remove it, so would the idea of a moisture wicking dress shirt work for that?

Does anyone else you know of make either a better wicking dress shirt or one of similar quality at a lower cost? I have to order tomorrow, as I leave for the wedding this coming weekend, for Sunday event.

They [Cool Clothing USA] also sell a rather pricey wicking boxer brief I wondered about. I gave up on briefs or boxers when I was in the army and feel less sweaty “going commando” (I know, TMI) and I was trying to find out if wearing these or any others that you know are better would be more comfortable from a sweating standpoint?

I know this was a lot of questions to throw at you at once, but desperation makes you try anything! *:D big grin

Thanks, SF

Wicking Polos & Wicking Dress Shirts

heya sf,

good to hear from you buddy and thanks for your question and detailed explanation!

tbh, i really can’t help you on the polo, dress shirt, or shorts with 7″-8″ inseam questions. the only notable thing i could offer is that maybe you should look at different fabrics such as linen or seersucker, because they are notably cooler to wear than most any synthetic material.

you may also want to look through a few other sites that have written articles or done videos on dressing cool in the summer:

other sites:


regarding “wicking” in general — the brands selling wicking clothing have unnecessarily confused the public.

wicking doesn’t 100% equate to cooling. wicking simply means that moisture is not absorbed into the fabric, it’s either transferred to the outside layer, or channeled throughout the fabric effectively to keep the wearer feeling dry.

cooling comes from airflow that helps the moisture evaporate, and the evaporation process is what offers the cooling effect. no airflow, no cooling.

plus, there are so many different constructs of synthetics, there is no definitive way to state that all wicking (synthetic) clothing will be cooler than non-synthetics.

truth is, that if i wear a cotton undershirt, and it gets saturated in sweat, if there is airflow (wind), i will feel cold — and maybe moreso than if i were wearing certain synthetics.

in most all cases, regardless of what type of undershirt you wear, there is a chance it will affect your “coolness” feeling by some degree. that said, there are some super light undershirts that are close fitting that will be cooler to wear than a lot of other undershirts.

based on your email, it sounds like you’re already traveling for your wedding. i’m sorry i can’t provide any specific recommendations that you can buy in time for your wedding event, but i do hope the above information has been helpful to some degree.

if you want to talk undershirts or wicking under-layers more after you return, i’m happy to continue the dialog (:

have a good weekend and have fun at the wedding!

Are There Benefits of Wicking Shirts?

I’m kinda indifferent to whether or not a outer shirt is made from natural or synthetic materials.

My main criteria for buying shirts is whether or not they look nice on me, if they are comfortable, and if they aren’t too heavy.

More recently to address the comfort issue, I’ve been looking for button up shirts with stretch (spandex / elastane) in them as I mentioned in my article about the Coregami Wicking Tuxedo Shirt article.

But, I can think of one reason I may consider buying a wicking polo or dress shirt over a cotton one. Drying time.

If I knew I’d be wearing my shirt in a situation where I was likely going to be sweating (i.e. playing golf), I’d certainly consider wearing a polo shirt made from synthetic material because generally speaking they will dry faster.

That said, I’d also equally consider trying to find a shirt made from linen or even seersucker because not only will they be cooler to wear, they’ll also dry pretty quick too. In fact, many linen or seersucker shirts would be cooler than many wicking shirts.

Also, while there are brands touting themo-regulating apparel, I can tell you that I’ve never really noticed a discernible temperature difference when wearing them.

Where To Find Moisture Wicking Polos & Wicking Dress Shirts?

Honestly, it’s really not too difficult to find wicking dress shirts or polo shirts.

If I were in search of these types of shirts, I’d start by searching Google Images, and use search phrases like:

  • wicking dress shirts
  • wicking polo shirts
  • polyester dress shirts
  • polyester polo shirts
  • nylon dress shirts
  • nylon polo shirts
Ogio Relay Golf Wicking Polo
Ogio Relay Golf Wicking Polo

In fact, I just did a quick Google Images search for “wicking polo shirts” (without the quotes) and I came across a fairly nice looking Polo shirt from Ogio (link), that is 100% polyester.

The polo is priced at $70, so I wouldn’t categorize it as affordable, but it is nice looking.

Similarly, I search Google Images for “wicking dress shirts” (without the quotes) and my friends over at Ministry of Supply popped up on (link).

The gear from MoS isn’t that inexpensive either, but if you believe moisture wicking dress shirts are the way to go, it could be worth the investment.

Also, let us not forget Amazon or eBay. On Amazon alone, as search for “wicking shirt” within the men’s apparel category landed me with nearly 64,000 search results, where there was a combination of polos and button up dress shirts.

With a little patience and a lot of clicking, it shouldn’t be too hard to find that perfect wicking polo or wicking button up shirt.


How to wear undershirts

9 thoughts on “Does Wearing Wicking Polo & Dress Shirts Keep You Cool?”

  1. As a fashion designer I would say that polo’s in general are casual and can be chic depending on the fabric and on the design..when you wear a white tailor made shirt you can never be wrong

    • hey there, not sure if you’re trying to be funny with your name “wayne kerr” (wanker), but i am glad to know about the “no sweat” koolbiz shirts from getsy.

      also, as a courtesy, i’ll provide a friendly warning and not remove your comment. so you know, it’s not considered good form to promote your own product by pretending that you are a customer. that can get you quickly banned from any site or forum, because most of us consider it a form of spam.

      if you would like to share news of your moisture wicking / fast drying dress shirt with me, please do properly by sending me an email and providing as much detail as possible.

      once i receive that information, i can determine if it makes sense to share with my readers through an article. considering you’re offering a fast drying wicking shirt that apparently may not show sweat marks, it is definitely something i would like to learn more about.

      so, visit my contact page and send me an email (:

  2. Hey Tug, Chris H here: As to reply about the polo shirt can not find issue, here I go.

    Duluth Trading company has them in what they call cool max cotton polos, in trim fit and regular fit. They also have left front chest pocket which also includes a pen or pencil sleeve in said pocket also. On sale right this time for 25 dollars or so.

    I have heard good things about them and personally know several guys who only buy their polos from Duluth and swear by the cool max ones with pocket.

    I myself do not have experience with these as I only wear the Joseph Banks pique polos with no pocket. I looked up on the Duluth web site and happened to notice the sale.

    Also noticed on the trim fit model 139 reviews of 4.5 stars and read some of the favorable reviews. Seems to be the place to get pocket polos that perform very well in the heat.

  3. If SF has enough time and depending where he lives I’d recommend Alfani “performance” dress shirts sold at Macy’s.

    The shirts are pretty thin and are 70% cotton/30% polyester blend. The shirts are marketed as having moisture wicking properties.

    I could definitely feel the difference compared to a regular 100% cotton shirt. I’d say they worked well primarily due to the thinness of the material. After many hours in the summer Vegas heat I wasn’t soaked with sweat.

    FYI I was also wearing Uniqlo airism undershirts which probably helped as well. The combination of both made it bearable to wear a suit in 90+ degree heat at night in Vegas.


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