The right shirt can make a huge difference in the enjoyment of your exercise by helping to keep you warm or more importantly to keep you dry.  Many exercise shirts are manufactured to help keep you dry by wicking the sweat away from the body and the material.  Most wicking shirts are made of a polyester which is typically a synthetic or a synthetic/natural blend thread compound which can be blended with other natural fibers such as cotton to get a more natural feel while having the wicking, durability and color retention characteristics.  In addition to the polyester shirts, wool is another wicking thread.  Wool shirts tend to be a bit more expensive than the polyester blend and may have more explicit cleaning requirements (shrinks from heated drying) but it also has some positive attributes.  Wool is a natural fiber and has a strong ability to moderate body temperature.  It retains its form extremely well, is noted to be a durable fabric and tends to not retain body odor like the polyester shirts.   Whatever product you decide to own, take a look at the considerations listed below to help with the purchase decision.


  • Understand the different materials (polyester products tend to not feel as comfortable when wiping off sweat and tend to get quite ‘stinky’ after usage).
  • Think of how you want the shirt to fit (loose, tight, etc.) while making sure the shirt is size appropriate. Buy a shirt meant to be snug fit rather than buying a smaller size.
  • Wool shirts may be a bit warmer but they are said to hold up well and not retain body oder, at least to the degree of other shirts.
  • Determine the washing needs. It is not good to buy a shirt that requires delicate or special washing (dry cleaning) if you prefer to use a washer and drier.
  • Cotton shirts are usually comfortable at first, but retain perspiration making the shirt heavier during exercise. It is important to stay as dry as possible when exercising in cold weather.

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