We’ve all been there. Or rather, this writer has been there more than most. You want to get out and about around the city, to the park, to that hyped brewery, but it’s too hot and humid. What’s a guy to do? Pack it in and call it a day? No sir, no excuses — play like a champion. What we really mean is that sometimes, taking on the elements is both as physical as it is mental. You can let the heat overwhelm you, or you can outfit yourself accordingly with one of the best moisture-wicking shirts.
Think of the best moisture-wicking Tshirts as a performance-minded upgrade over your typical buttondown shirt. You don’t need to suffer through another overheated spring or summer day wearing a stuffy Oxford shirt (although, hey, we do love a good Oxford shirt). A moisture-wicking shirt or a moisture-wicking T-shirt is the answer to your prayers, with plenty of brands making classic buttondown shirt styles with next-generation fabric.
The key here is that a moisture-wicking shirt isn’t quite like wearing a workout T-shirt and calling it a day. They’re made with what we’d call “hybrid” fabrics, or perhaps, “Goldilocks” fabrics — not too heavy, not too lightweight, not too technical… just right. Performance buttondown shirts are here to help you get the job done through breezy spring days and stifling summer ones, even if the job at hand is simply waiting in line for another lager. Roll up those sleeves and grab us a pint… er, get the job done.
What Is a Moisture-Wicking Shirt?
Moisture-wicking shirts blend the best of both worlds when it comes to futuristic fabric and retro style. Think of a classic buttondown shirt, the kind you’d wear with chinos (no pleats, please) on a casual Friday. Now, snap your fingers and imagine that shirt done up in a different kind of fabric, one that’s stretchy, soft and smooth. If we had to lay it out, we’d say that your typical Oxford cloth shirt is made from 100 percent cotton, and the best moisture-wicking shirts use other fabric blends (say, polyester and cotton, or merino and cotton).
A moisture-wicking shirt is going to breath easier and keep you cool, and it’s going to pull sweat away from your body. This is much the same way workout shirts function, but think of these shirts (more below!) as a step up in terms of style and a step down in terms of next-level performance. After all, you’re not sweating through CrossFit when wearing a buttondown shirt, but the hottest days under the sun still call for something with some “oomph” to keep you cool. Again, a “Goldilocks” shirt is the apt phrase here.
How to Find the Best Moisture-Wicking Shirt?
We’ll boil this down to a few key points, but let’s start with fit. Your moisture-wicking shirt should fit much the same as your favorite short-sleeve or long-sleeve buttondown shirt, the kind made with heavier (regular?) fabric. Think tailored but not overly tight, and for short sleeves, look for sleeves that hit about mid-bicep. For long sleeves, the cuffs should end at your wrist. And through the body, look for a fit that hugs your shoulders without cutting off your circulation.
Take those fit principles, apply ’em to your search for a performance buttondown, then start shopping. These moisture-wicking shirts could just change your life (they’ve changed ours, that’s for sure). Below, we looked at long-sleeve moisture-wicking shirts for maximum style points, and we threw in a few polos for fun in the sun, too.
The Best Moisture-Wicking Shirts to Buy Now
Eddie Bauer Ventatrex Guide 2.0 Shirt
Now, we said earlier that some moisture-wicking shirts are made out of cotton blended with other types of fabric, and other variations go a different direction entirely. That’s the case with this Eddie Bauer shirt, made with a lightweight polyester and a mesh fabric blend for maximum breathability. This shirt also features odor control, so, as the brand says, you can “Wear More. Wash Less®” — pick one up in multiple colors to take that adage a step further.
Western Rise Air-Light Button-Down Shirt
When you know, you know. That is to say, when you find a shirt that fits great, feels supremely comfortable, AND performs even better than you might expect, you just know you’re going to have it in your wardrobe for a long time. That’s how I feel, at least, about Western Rise and this AirLight shirt. It’s water and stain-repellent, it features much-needed two-way stretch (crucial for days at home in front of your computer or out on the road this spring), and the nylon and polyester woven fabric blend is as breathable as can be, while still looking polished compared to other moisture-wicking Tshirts.
Public Rec Stretch Thermal Buttondown
The hits, they just keep rolling, and the innovation, yes, that’s still rolling right along. Public Rec already goes the extra mile with its stretch pants (again, crucial for days at home or on the road), but if this is your first introduction to the brand, well, all we have to say is: You’re welcome. We’re kidding (kind of), but we don’t doubt you’ll love the blend of cotton, rayon, polyester, and a warming, proprietary THERMOLITE® CORE fabric blend in this two-button workshirt. Wear it when it’s still just a little too chilly out there this season.
Mack Weldon 37.5 Oxford
We talked at the start of this post about thinking of your moisture-wicking shirt as being, well, not too different from a classic Oxford shirt. Here’s precisely what we meant, because Mack Weldon has infused this Oxford shirt with all the technology you could ask for in a modern take on a traditional silhouette. 37.5 refers to the fact that this fabric is designed to keep your core temperature at 37.5 degrees Celsius, and it wicks away sweat before it even forms. Pretty wild, right? And all the while, it looks as cool as a classic and crisp shirt for daily wear.
Unbound Merino Classic Button-Down
Merino wool is a super-fabric, and allow us to explain why. If you’re wondering how any fabric can be deemed “super” and not appear in any Marvel movies (to our knowledge, at least), allow us to enlighten you. Merino wool, derived from Merino sheep, is lighter and thinner than other forms of wool. This means it breathes easier, it wicks away moisture and best of all, it’s going to function extremely well (“super” well?) when put to good use in a classic button-down shirt. Plus, it’s anti-microbial, meaning we think this shirt is the kind to wear for road trips aplenty, all day and all night long.
Rhone Commuter Shirt
If you’re searching for a moisture-wicking shirt and don’t quite know where to start, allow us to impart you with some sage advice. Start with what you know, and go from there. So, head over to one of your favorite workout gear brands, like Rhone, and then be amazed as you realize they’re also making one of the best moisture-wicking shirts using their knowledge of performance-minded fabric blends. The four-way stretch fabric wicks away moisture (of course), it’s sourced from Italy (not a bad thing at all) and it comes in a range of cool colors and sizes (also critical).
Twillory Leader Performance Dress Shirt
The thing with your traditional dress shirt is that it’s often a bit stuffy, too hot to wear when the thermostat really climbs and — this is crucial — it just doesn’t feel quite right after months of quarantine (and likely not a lot of time spent dressing up, to boot). We’ve solved those issues for you, or rather, Twillory has, with this intuitive performance dress shirt. Four-way stretch, moisture-wicking fabric wins the day here, and the ability to dial in your size with Twillory’s fit system helps out, too. You’ll be cold as ice during your next presentation, in the best way possible.
Vuori Ace Polo
Let’s mix it up ever so slightly, shall we? While it’s ideal and almost too perfect to have a well-stocked rotation of moisture-wicking shirts of the long-sleeve variety, you should certainly know that plenty of brands are translating that same performance fabric into easygoing spring and summer styles. In this case, the preppy polo gets a tech-minded upgrade and clean, minimal branding (sorry, no Polo logo here) in the Ace Polo. The real winner here is the Performance Pique fabric, which is made with UPF 30 protection built in. This is a step up from other moisture-wicking Tshirts, yet it’s still casual enough.
Proof 72-Hour Merino Polo
See, we told you that not all moisture-wicking Tshirts had to be long-sleeve Oxford or dress shirts, right? Proof gear, as sold by the good folks at Huckberry, is made to move with you, no matter where you go. So, when you’re heading out on a long road trip, make sure to pack as any of the brand’s moisture-wicking shirts as possible. These polos are a best-seller at the retailer for a reason, so we think you should heed the advice of the crowd on this one and get yourself a new moisture-wicking Tshirt upgrade that goes with everything.
William Murray Corner Pocket Polo
Did you know Bill Murray had a golf apparel brand? Well, you do know, and it’s got every bit as much personality as the legendary actor and comedian himself. Whether you’re a veteran Caddyshack fan, a serious golfer or a guy who likes to hang out at the clubhouse bar more than on the course, we’d wager you’ll find your fit with this Corner Pocket Polo. Oh, and about those moisture-wicking benefits: It’s got the technology you need, plus a handy chest pocket for storing your tee and your scorecard pencil. Consider it yet another upgrade in the real, of moisture-wicking Tshirts.