Thursday, June 15, 2006

T-shirt comparisons

Ok, this probably isn't the most interesting item, but maybe someone will find it useful. I'm going to Okinawa next week and from what I've been told, it's hot and humid there. Not just the usual New England hot and humid - but tropical, someone just slapped me in the face with a hot face cloth, hot and humid. And since the main point of this trip is to practice karate, I've decided it might make sense to look into some specialized clothing to make the experience as comfortable as possible. So, this week I bought a few different styles of T-shirts to see if they made a noticeable difference when worn under my karate gi.

I usually just wear a plain ol' cotton T-shirt under my gi and at the end of the night it is completely soaked. Cotton is quite absorbent and doesn't wick moisture at all. It's very comfortable when dry, but once it gets wet, it stays wet for a long time and feels pretty gross. That considered, all the new T-shirts I got were made of synthetic materials and were advertised as designed for wicking moisture from the body. I bought three styles: one from Under Armour - UA Tech, one from Eastern Mountain Sports - a Coolmax T, and one from Nike - a Nike Pro "compression fit". While all the synthetic shirts were an improvement over a cotton T, I must say, after trying each of these T-shirts for several hours of exercise, the Nike Pro compression style is by far the most comfortable. I'm not sure if it's because it is more of a form fitting design, but it was so good at wicking moisture it almost felt like there was a cool breeze constantly blowing on me. I'm definitely going to pick up a couple more of these T-shirts. If you are looking for something lightweight to wear as an under-layer while exercising, I definitely recommend this shirt. Since it's a compression fit style, it's not something you'd normally want to wear by itself around town (unless you are going for that super-hero costume spandex look). Those other loose fitting shorts are more appropriate for that.