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Best Workout Shirt for Men

As of February 2020

THE JOAT'S Advice

Always first check out Lulu’s We Made Too Much section to see if they have any deals on Metal Vent Tech items. Keep in mind these items are non-returnable. Otherwise, Lulu only runs one or two site-wide sales a year (Black Friday usually).

 

Another option is checking out eBay or Poshmark. You can sometimes snag brand new, with tags, Metal Vent Tech Lulu shirts for 50-60% of the cost of brand new.

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what we like

  • Fits best for those looking for: An athletic cut but not extremely slim fitting sweat wicking shirt. Breathable and can look good on a wider range of active body types
  • Anti-stink – In my opinion, this is the single strongest quality of these shirts. Lulu’s Silverescent technology gives them a distinct advantage over the field in creating a truly sweat wicking shirt which can tolerate a hard workout while also preventing bacteria build up which leads to odor. I have not found another shirt which replicates this performance wise
  • Wide variety of colors – While some of the colors/designs are eye sores, Lulu is constantly rotating color schemes and patterns throughout the seasons
  • Perfect length in the arms and torso – Lulu is very good about keeping sizing consistent. A medium shirt you bought from them 2 years ago will probably fit identical to a medium shirt you buy now. I’ve seen this shirt worn on a wide range of body types and it almost always looks solid

keep in mind

  • Inconsistent fabric composure – While they are extremely similar, these shirts aren’t all exactly the same in terms of fabric style. They tend to have various mixes of polyester and nylon blends and various patterns/ventilation. So, while it might fit the same, don’t blindly assume that a new shirt will feel the same as a Metal Vent Tech shirt you have from 2 years ago
  • Expensive – This really is at the upper limit of the range I would be willing to dish out for a workout shirt. But it’s worth it especially given that you will likely use it weekly for years
  • No staple colors – I really wish Lulu would take a cue from Allbirds and always keep a supply of “classic” colors while rotating limited edition versions. This way you could buy all the plain bold colors whenever you like. Instead they constantly change colors and patterns season by season
  • Can sag a bit overtime – Maybe it’s the lack of seams in much of their clothing, but longtime Lulu wearers might notice how a lot of their clothes tend to lose some of their initial crispness overtime. This is why it’s essential to make sure you nail the sizing so it hugs your body correctly

review

I honestly might have tried 10-15 different workout shirt brands over the past two years to see if something could top Lululemon’s long established standing Metal Vent Tech staple as my go-to. While many came extremely close, I still think Lulu has enough of a competitive advantage in this category to maintain the throne.

 

Workout shirts are simple. You want them to do the following 3 things for you:

  1. Wick away sweat
  2. Fit your body nicely so you look good while working out
  3. Not smell if you’re wearing one over the course of the day

 

While you can find many brands which address #1 or #2 relatively very well, #3 is something that isn’t easy to achieve. Most brands have turned to polyester over cotton over the past few decades since polyester can do a better job of wicking away sweat. The issue is that odor causing bacteria tends to grow better on polyester than on cotton which is why many of the polyester shirts you own can start to stink later on in the day. If this is always happening to you, don’t sweat, it’s probably not your fault! (Although you might still want to take a look at our pick for best deodorant just in case). It’s most likely due to the fact that the polyester shirt you are wearing to workout in isn’t built to fend off this bacteria at the surface.

 

This is the main advantage of Lulu’s Metal Vent Tech shirt. Not only does it fit well and is super breathable, but the Silverescent technology they have built into it is not just a marketing gimmick. It actually works. I’ve been wearing Lulu clothes for over a decade now and while many competitors have since caught up and come out with better versions of several of their product lines, I have yet to find anything better than their Metal Vent Tech shirt when it comes to a daily workout/gym shirt. It sucks to be dishing out $60-80 for a shirt which you are going to be sweating up a storm in every week and I was really hoping that I would find a lower priced alternative by now, but I simply have not. Lulu’s fit and technology is still a cut above the field making it worth it to invest in several of these shirts for your weekly workout needs.

Sizing Tips & FAQs

How does sizing run?

True to size. Mostly in line with whatever you normally wear from Nike or Adidas. You can size down with these if you want a slimmer fit while still maintaining ample shoulder width and sleeve length. I’m 6′ 1″, 155lbs and a small fits me perfectly and is snug in the right places without feeling like I’m wearing a compression shirt

 

How do you wash these?

Machine wash cold and throw it in the dryer afterwards

 

Does it shrink?

Nope

 

Do the armpits smell after a sweaty workout?

No! This is hands down the best feature of this shirt. The reason your arm pits might start to smell funky in other polyester workout shirts you wear is because polyester is known to build up bacteria from sweat. Lulu has a proprietary advantage over the market with their Silverescent technology

Have another question?

Related Products & Links

Vuori Strato Tech Tee

I initially had super high hopes for the Strato Tech Tee. After first trying it on I immediately thought this would become my new go-to workout shirt. It is, hands down, the softest shirt I have ever worn. The issue for me is the stink factor. I’m not a smelly dude by any means (thanks to this deodorant) but I have noticed that throughout the course of the day the armpits get a little funky. It’s likely due to the fact that the Strato Tech Tee is a 96/4 polyester blend. The more polyester you use…the more likely bacteria is to build up. I love the price point and I love the feel and fit of these so they are worth trying out. But I think you will likely end up sticking to Lulu for your heavier workouts.

 

Ten Thousand Distance Shirt

Given how much we love Ten Thousand’s Workout Shorts, I was excited about the prospect of this translating over to their shirts as well. I think the potential is there. If you try this shirt you’ll immediately notice how it’s probably the lightest shirt you have ever worn in your life. Which is a really cool feeling for when you’re working out. For me, the issue is the fit. Wearing my normal size (Small) means this thing hugs my body like a compression shirt and rides up in the back of the neck. Sizing up (Medium) made it drape off me in all the wrong places. It’s worth trying if you are looking for a super light shirt, but be aware that I don’t think their sizing will work for everyone and that their color choices are extremely limited at the moment.

 

Uniqlo Dry-Ex Crew Neck Short Sleeve T-Shirt

I’m a huge fan of many Uniqlo products, namely their jeans. And I really love this shirt a lot, especially given the cheap $20 price point. I think it fits comfortably and the color choices are plentiful. I own four of them which I still cycle through every once in awhile. The issue remains its breathability and odor control. While Uniqlo claims to have added anti-microbial and anti-odor properties to their Dry-Ex products, performance wise I don’t think it holds up to the test as well as Lululemon’s Silverescent technology. I wish it did because it would then challenge for our top pick given the price point but I don’t think it’s there yet.

Have a better suggestion?

reviewed by

Jack

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