Qwik-Dry, Sport Tek, Duo Dry, Safe-Wick, Dry-Control, Dri-Fit. To the uninitiated, these are garments that usually fall under the the category of tech shirts, but the term tech shirt is really just a catch all phrase to describes something runners recognize.
Here in Michigan for instance, events will highlight the fact that a tech shirt is included with registration. But there are instances where you may want to forgo the "free" tech shirt, and save yourself fifteen to twenty bucks in the process of registering.
Despite the myriad of trade names for different brands of tech shirts, in my limited experience with these garments, they generally are either the smooth shiny type fabric, a weave perforated type fabric, or a combination of the two.
Here are some shiny ones:
The last two were event shirts that honestly, are worthless to me, all of them are really. With this particular type of material they simply turn into a sponge. If you ran in one of these shirts for an hour or more in the summer months, it would basically be a wet sopping rag when you are finished.
Here are some with the weave material:
Now these are awesome! It does not matter what brand it is, whenever I see the weave pattern, I jump all over it. The purple Starter one I got from Walmart for nine stinking bucks, and it works better than the shiny ones that go for thirty bucks or more!
Here are a couple with both materials:
Of these two, the Pearl Izumi works best. To be fair however, I have only worn the New Balance one once, so the jury is still out on it.
Here are a couple more shiny ones and yes, they both blow!
I saw the other day that Nike now has the weave pattern but strangely it is called Dri-Fit, the same as the shiny one above. How is that? You would think they would call it Dri-Fit 2 or something. I am a huge fan of the Nike brand, but their gear is most often overpriced and/or impractical.
I am interested to hear other thoughts or opinions on this topic as I have only been running three years, so there is obviously a lot yet to learn about this aspect of our sport.
As it stands today, the weave pattern shirts are winning for me. They do not get bogged down with sweat and once my run or workout is done, they begin drying almost immediately.
This is important for those days when I drive somewhere to run, as no one would want to have what essentially feels like a wet bed sheet underneath their running jacket in temps that are sometimes in the teens or single digits.
As for tech shirts at running events, this can be quite tricky as you usually cannot see the shirt when you are registering online.
In my area, 5k's with tech shirts get twenty-five to thirty-five bucks a pop, but if you know the shirt is one that is useless to you, you could register at the lower price and save a boat load of dough over the course of a season!
Has anyone had similar experiences and if so, what brand or type of running gear works for you?
"Training is not always fun, but it should always be rewarding."
Dad of a real runner
Huh! Hadn't noticed the difference, but checked out a few I had close at hand and I see what you mean. Can't remeber how each performed last summer - only really remember one that might have just as well been cotton; dripping wet in the heat. Speaking of cotton, when it is mid range cold (mid 30s to mid 40s) I wear two or three layers of cotton t's instead of any of the tech shirts. Not too worried about too much moisture - and they keep me warmer (or at least that's my perception). When it's below mid 30 I wear an underarmour and one or two cotton t's over that.
INKnBURN. I don't run in anything else anymore. I've gone 100k+ without changing clothes, no chafing, no degrading of colors or fabric. It's the best bang for my buck of any brand I've ever tried and its made in the US.
3/17 Shamrock Marathon
4/20 North Coast 24 Hour
7/27 Burning RIver 100M
8/24 Baker 50M
10/5 Oil Creek (distance to be determined)
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I agree that I think the weave is better--but I think I am one of the few runners that prefers plain cotton t-shirts. I am actually disappointed when the shirt you get is a tech shirt. Part of this may be is that many of the races I've done don't give women's specific sized tech shirts. I also don't like the clinginess when it IS a women's size, so often a women's size won't fit right. Just give me my plain old cotton tee and I'm happy!
Mile 5:49 - 5K 19:58 - 10K 43:06 - HM 1:36:54
You're not the only one, LRB. I agree that the weave trumps all in tech shirts. I don't like the shiny ones nearly as much.
Huh, I have a blog?
I've never taken a shirt inventory, but I've got some of the shiny ones and some of the weave ones. I even have a couple of heavy tech shirts with a bunch of pockets that I actually paid money for. With all the race/event shirts I get, I don't see myself having to buy any running shirts outside of a unique situation where I want a specific color or event name.
Side note - I'm not against wearing cotton as an outer layer when I''m dressing for cold weather runs.
I'll have to consider the open weave type shirts a bit more when the warmer weather gets here again. I've had some chaffing on the nips when I go long, but I never considered that there's be any difference in tech shirts - after all, they're all basically polyester.
Side note 2 - when I was a young teen, my mother bought me a "tech suit" - yes, it was a polyester liesure suit. And she made me wear it to church on Sundays. Even the good Lord got a chuckle out of that, I'm sure.
Of course, at the time, we didn't know anything about tech shirts and the wicking action and all that. It just goes to show you that the leisure suit really was ahead of its time!
Tom (formerly known as PhotogTom)
5K - 25:16, 10K - 55:31, 15K - 1:20:55, HM - 1:54:54
I'm sure they're great, but don't they make any, ummm, more muted patterns? I think they're all hideously ugly. (No offense, I know everyone loves them.) Totally not my style.
lightweight merino wool with a touch of spandex to keep it durable blows all the poly stuff out of the water.
photos, race reports and whatnot
Drink up moho's!!
The A4 shirts are the very low end of a tech shirt IMHO.
I have a couple of Saucony shirts that are by far the best in wicking for me so far.
I have not tried them all but for those I have tried:
3. Nike drymax?
4. Walmart brand
5. Athletic-tec (bought at K-mart for $4 per singlet)
6. Cotton tank top
I LOVE the InB designes but my wallet simply cannot afford it.
Mandy, the current and Sakura patterns are pretty basic. The leaf 'em is too.
Venomized, I can send you a discount code if you ever want something. It will be good for your first order only but you'll save a good bit.
Please PM me with it, thanks!
I like the silky, shiny ones, especially in cold weather as a base layer. Keeps my skin drier, which is better when the cold air inevitably leaks in.
Next Race: IMT Des Moines HM, 10/19
Those A4, I agree, are the low end of tech shirts. One company around here give them out, but their races are cheap so I don't reject the shirt or anything - the last one of those shirts I got was for a 5k that only cost $20 anyway, even with the shirt. But yeah, they're pretty lousy. That company also clearly just buys a million of the same gray A4 shirt, and screen prints them with whatever the race is. So I have a few of the same exact lousy A4 shirt.
I have some nice ones with that weave texture - three of them are Brooks (Twin Cities in Motion gets Brooks shirts), one of them is a random brand that I can't recall from the Philadelphia Marathon.
I also have one shirt from a race that is a really tight weave material, so it doesn't have those little holes, but it's not the flat shiny material. I like this shirt because the fabric has a little more weight to it, which gives it nice structure, but it doesn't hold in heat. The brand is Zorrel, which I'd never heard of before. It's probably my favorite shirt.
My wildly inconsistent PRs:
5k: 24:36 (10/20/12)
10k: 52:01 (4/28/12)
HM: 1:50:09 (10/27/12)
Marathon: 4:19:11 (10/2/2011)
I only have one weave tech shirt, a 2XU triathlon singlet that I won in a race for coming in 3rd(they had great prizes! 2nd got Oakley jacket sunglasses and first got both the second and third place's gear together). That shirt rocks! I agree, the mesh tech shirts are awesome, I like the handy triathlon pockets in the back and the 1/4 zip front for ventalition.
My second favorite is a Zensah shirt, they make it out of their compression material and it breathes really well and I like the fit. It is crazy uber weightless too! I am planning on buying some tank tops by them for summer running.
My other tech shirts, both long sleeve(The North Face) and muscle style(Walmart brand) are made out of the slick shiney material and they work well but could breathe better(summer ones) which is why I am going to replace them this year.
We had 2 races last year that had tech shirts be part of the registration. My TNT Duathlon one is the same slick material that my North Face and muscle ones are, okay but could be better(can I say again how great my 2XU and Zensah ones are??) and then the Governor's Cup one isn't really a tech shirt at all(I dunno what they were thinking!), it's still a cotton shirt and it is insanely long in the body and sleeves for being a small. I wear it for casual but I would never run in it! Not sure I could!
So I haven't been impressed on the race registration tech shirts. Hopefully with the marathons I am running, they are better.
EDIT: okay, I guess I have 2 others I forgot about. An Adidas Climacool tech shirt, but I wear it for casual(wayyyyy too many seams!). It has the shiney material in the main body(light grey), but mesh along the sides and collar(dark blue) and shiney sleeves(grey again) and then running down the back of the shirt, it has 3 navy blue stripes(meshy). Did I mention the insane amount of seamery?? Chafe city!
And then my hubs got me a Brooks tech shirt for Christmas. It reminds me of the Zensah one, so I think I will like it. Haven't run in it yet, short sleeves and light as a feather.
I tend to like gender specific shirts, even if I get a small in unisex, the arms are crazy long as is the body. So for me, tech shirt vs cotton doesn't matter as much to me as if they offer gender specific shirts(I'm all over it then!!)