Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Top 2021 Technical Run Tops for Men: Odlo, Craft, Patagonia, adidas Terrex

Article by Sam Winebaum

The humble tee and tank continues to evolve with yet lighter and more technically evolved fabrics. Comfort, feel, moisture wicking, quick dry, odor resistance, natural and recycled materials all are on board these highly evolved picks each with a different “personality” and best uses while all are highly effective. The top picks are: Odlo Chill-Tec Tee and Tank, Craft Pro Hypervent, Patagonia Cool Merino, and adidas Terrex Parley Agravic Trail Running All-Around Tee.

All have been tested for several months in a variety of dry and humid summer heat, cooler weather in spring, and wet conditions. They been the only tops (other than occasionally older Salomon S/Lab Sense T and Send Pro tank) I have run in for months

In a change from most recent performance tops all but the Patagonia have a roomy long fit. 

Of course this is not an exhaustive list of all the great technical run shirts around but each here has its distinctive differences and strengths.

Master of the Heats

Odlo Zeroweight Chill-Tec Tee ($55) and Tank ($50)

We are huge fans of Odlo at RTR. They are the masters of winter base layers for active sports such as nordic and alpine skiing and last year's Blackcomb Pro T-shirts were our favorite all around run and do everything shirts for their performance and classy looks.

This year Odlo launches Chill-Tec t-shirts and tanks.  They are made of a very thin, highly air permeable jersey fabric with quick drying and anti odor properties. More textured than the others here, the fabric never sticks to the skin and has an airy, always cool feel also in part helped by the roomy long fits, something I like for summer heat. 

They have proved the most comfortable in both dry and humid hot conditions, if not quite the softest on the skin as the others here, the standoff from the skin from the texture of the mesh part of the cooling magic. All the seams are carefully finished and there are reflective details.

I liked the tee Odlo sent for the test so much that I purchased the tank and it will be my 2021 race shirt for sure. I tend to reach for the Odlo most of all this summer.

Shop for Odlo Chill-Tec, including new Engineered Zeroweight at Running Warehouse  HERE

Shop for Odlo Chill-Tec, including new Engineered Zeroweight at Backcountry HERE

The Comfortable All Around Performer

Craft Pro Hypervent Running Shirt ($60)

Stretchy, well vented with a luxurious soft and roomy fit, the Pro Hypervent is an all around great technical run shirt. The styling and colors are bright and distinctive but not overdone. The fit is long and lean and, as with the Odlo I was sent a half size up from norma,l and would stay there although as the stretchiest shirt here I am sure I would be fine at my normal size. The shirt has body mapped mesh ventilation in three grades including two at the back joined with taped seams along with extensive black reflective highlights. 

The Hypervent performs very well in all conditions and temperatures and is the most comfortable run shirt overall here although the Odlo out performs it ever so slightly in humid conditions.  

Shop for Craft Pro Hypervent for men and women at Running Warehouse HERE

The Stealth Tech Traveler

Patagonia Cool Merino Shirt ($59)

The Cool Merino is made from a blend of 65% RWS (Responsible Wool Standard) certified merino wool and 35% recycled polyester. More fitted than the others, with less fabric texture it tends to be a bit stickier and slicker feeling when wet than the others but is still a high performance shirt. It’s classy colors and fit make it my choice for days when I not only run but have to look “presentable”. It is my top choice here for fall running, travel, everyday wear, and multi day trips and hikes.  

The Mountain Specialist disguised as an old school undershirt 

Terrex Parley Agravic Trail Running All-Around Tee ($40)

Made of Primeblue recycled materials including partially of Parley’s recovered ocean plastics, this “plain white” non dyed shirt is the softest of these t-shirts with a feel reminding of the very finest cotton/silk...undershirt and for sure if you need an undershirt it can do double duty.  It is highly wicking, with a center back long mesh for increased ventilation and moisture evaporation and dries incredibly fast especially if any kind of breeze is present. 

Testing in hot weather where it performed very well but was bit stickier than some of  the others in more humid weather but great in dry heat.  I wore it more than once in driving rain in the mid 40’s  under the Agravic Pro Jacket and was surprised how comfortable the combination was, never cold and clammy and then drying very quickly. 

As such it is my top choice as a base layer / t-shirt for mountain and foul weather summer to fall runs and hikes where the weather is variable. 

Shop for Terrex Agravic apparel at Running Warehouse HERE

Shop for Terrex Agravic Trail Running Tee at Backcountry HERE

Some tested samples were provided at no charge for review purposes others were personal purchases. RoadTrail Run has affiliate partnerships and may earn commission on products purchased through affiliate links. These partnerships do not influence our editorial content
The opinions herein are entirely the authors'.

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