Cheap Hanes Undershirts That Shrink from Walmart

Ever buy low-cost undershirts, and after one wash they shrink so much you can no longer tuck them in?

Cheap undershirts that shrink were Joe’s annoying concern.

Here is what he says:

Hey Tug,

I bought the regular cheap pack of Hanes t-shirts in my usual size.

I hadn’t bought them in years and was surprised how much they shrunk after the first wash. The cost for a 9-pack and 3 bonus was around $12.50.

Do the higher quality Hanes shirts from somewhere like JC Penney shrink as bad?

At 100% cotton they all seem the same to me. Also, should I return my cheap ones to Walmart?

– Joe

Undershirts That Shrink

Heya Joe,

Good to hear from you buddy and thanks for sending in your question!

Low cost t-shirts or undershirts that shrink to a point where you can't tuck them in?
Do your t-shirts or undershirts shrink to a point where you can’t tuck them in?

You know, not all 100% cotton undershirts are created equal.

Therefore, yes, you should return the undershirts you bought from Walmart if you are not happy with them.

Hanes, as well as Fruit of the Loom and other brands, offer different undershirt lines at different price points.

The higher the per undershirt price point, the better quality it will be (in most cases). Quality comes at a cost because you cannot make cheap undershirts well.

Think about it:

If your 9 undershirts cost you $1.39 each, how much do you think it costs Hanes to make them and enough to make a profit? Maybe $0.50/each?

If so, how the hell do you make something good for that cheap? I couldn’t tell you, of course, because you can’t.

  • Good cotton = $$
  • Nice yarn from that cotton = $$
  • High quality fabric dyeing / finishing /shrinking = $$
  • Good cutting, sewing, labeling, packaging == $$

On the very low end, you probably have some poor-quality cotton made from “open end” yarn — I think this is the roughest kind, but there may be other lower end yarn that I am not familiar with.

To keep costs really low, they just knit the fabric and cut it, foregoing all the more advanced post-knit fabric processes that make the fabric enjoyable to the touch and minimizes shrinkage, along with other things.

So my friend, if you want an undershirt that feels really good, and performs reasonably well from a shrinkage POV (doesn’t shrink much), you’ll have to take a look at buying the higher priced Hanes (or any other brand) undershirts.

Hope that helps!

Joe Buys Stafford Undershirts

Thanks for the reply! I went ahead and returned those cheap shirts.

I guess after 15+ years I needed a reminder why I stopped buying them in adulthood.

Typically, I wear the Stafford shirts. Kirkland from Costco weren’t too bad and even Old Navy (not the packs but the individual ones).

Specifically, my choice now was the Stafford blended pack.

I’m thinking I’ll have some good luck with a shirt that’s not 100% cotton, and they may be softer.

Other Cotton / Polyester Undershirts?

Any time buddy — that’s what I’m here for!

Furthermore, Hanes does make (or at least was making) a 50/50 cotton/poly undershirt that’s pretty nice. 

If I recall correctly, they were called Hanes Comfortblend Undershirts.

For instance, there was no notable shrinking on those either. One minor note to begin with — polyester won’t normally shrink like cotton.

Consequently, most 50/50 undershirts will not shrink as much as 100% non-pre-shrunk cotton undershirts.

Just something to keep in mind! (:

Undershirts That Shrink (or Not): Any Other Suggestions For Joe?

I’m definitely curious and would love to learn more about the “cotton” hierarchy.

I don’t know if there’s any less expensive cotton yarn than Open End yarn, but if there is, I’d love to hear about it.

Finally, seems like Joe has lots of options if he just wants to spend a little bit more on undershirts.

Do you have any thoughts or suggestions for Joe?

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