Most people are familiar with fabrics that are either absorbing or moisture wicking.
What may not be apparent, is that there are fabrics that both wick & absorb.
Sadly, as the market so often does, it throws around terms with no regard to how it may, and more often does, confuse the average consumer.
I’ll try to simplify it by distilling this topic down to three categories of fabric performance.
Fabrics that are hydrophilic (water loving), and have the ability to absorb a good deal of water (sweat).
Generally speaking, if exposed to a great deal of sweat, an absorbing undershirt/underwear will become saturated, feel damp, and take a long time to dry.
Wicking fabrics are those that tend to be hydrophobic (water hating), but they don’t actually repel water.
Wicking fabrics are designed to attract sweat in a way that pulls it off the skin, moves the sweat through interwoven capillary-like channels, to the outer surface of the fabric, where it can come in contact with airflow so that it can dry.
When exposed to a great deal of sweat, a moisture wicking undershirt/underwear will normally feel much less saturated than an absorbing one, can keep the wearer feeling less wet, and has the ability to dry faster.
Since not all moisture wicking fabrics are created equal, there are many exceptions to what I’ve stated above.
So, you may find some moisture wicking fabrics that absorb as much as cotton, and take just as long to dry.
Also, in an undershirt or underwear application, moisture wicking fabrics can, in some cases, result in more sweat-through, thus getting sweat stains on your outer clothes more quickly.
Examples: Polyester, polypropylene
Moisture Wicking + Absorbing (Wickorbing™)
Hybrid wickorbing (wicking + absorbing) fabrics, are those fabrics or blends that can both absorb a great deal of sweat, but dry faster than traditional absorbing fabrics.
When exposed to a great deal of sweat, wickorbing fabrics will pull sweat away from the skin, leave the wearer feeling less wet, and absorb as much, if not more sweat than absorbing fabrics.
Wickorbing fabrics won’t traditionally dry as fast as wicking fabrics, but generally speaking, they will dry faster than absorbing fabrics.
In my opinion, I think undershirts & underwear made with wickorbing fabrics are the most versatile, because they combine the best characteristics of both absorbing & moisture wicking fabrics.
If there were any drawback to wickorbing fabrics, it could be that some of them don’t feel as natural on the skin as cotton. That said, some are very luxurious feeling.
Examples: Viscose (Rayon, “Bamboo”, Modal), Nylon (Polyamide), TENCEL (Lyocell), Silk, Wool, Acrylic, Linen
A $19 Wickorbing Undershirt
My pal Kyle, from The Distilled Man, has created some great articles about undershirts in the past.
In fact, he is the one that provided one of the best insights as to why grey undershirts are better to wear than white undershirts.
He recently introduced me to a new undershirt brand called AtmosWear, who has created a nylon/spandex (wickorbing) blend undershirt, that is selling for under $19 each on Amazon.
- Amazon (link)
- Price: 3-Pack for $55.95 – $59.95 ($18.65 – $19.98)
- Sizes: S, M (Currently available)
- Style: V-Neck (shallow v-neck)
- Color: White
- Fabric: 93% Nylon / 7% Spandex
- Weight: 150 gsm
- Other: Extra long, durable
AtmosWear Undershirt Mini-Review
While I’m not going to do a full write-up on AtmosWear, I will share some of my initial thoughts of their undershirts.
- I’m already a fan of nylon/spandex blends, so i’m happy with how the undershirt feels
- Length is good & long enough to stay tucked
- Weight seems reasonable
- Sleeves seem too long, they will likely poke out under short sleeve shirts
- V-neck is (a) too shallow and (b) too straight cut
- (a) i suppose one could argue that it’s the perfect depth if you have only your top button undone, but for those that want two buttons undone, the v-neck is not deep enough. there’s probably some merit in creating a deeper v-neck version too.
- (b) stylistically speaking, it looks a little too straight for my liking. i’d like to see the v-neck to have a little more personality
- Overall fit, is a little loose for a medium. most medium undershirts fit rather close on me, because i’m between sizes medium & large based on my chest size. it’s not too terribly loose/baggy on me, but your size medium may fit others who are true mediums a bit too loose.
A pretty decent undershirt, and a good value for $18.65 each.