Hands-on Gear Review
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Street Price: Varies from $34 - $42 | Compare prices at 4 resellers
Pros: Lightweight, Superior breathability, Excellent ease of movement, 50+ UPF protection
Cons: Not very warm, Breathable mesh panels not cozy until softened with wash and wear
Best Uses: Hiking, exercise/aerobic classes, gym workouts, backpacking, horseback riding, kayaking, rowing, sailing, running, tennis, golf, cross-training, yoga, pilates, road cycling, mountain biking
The Asics Favorite really can become your favorite active base layer. While not the warmest on the market, it really isn't striving to be so. The top is for a broad range of activities, all of which do not need warmth at the expense of other qualities. The Favorite falls between the Nike Miler UV T-Shirt (very lightweight and cool), and the Under Armour Catalyst Shirt, which while a bit warmer, is also a bit more restrictive to movement. If you are after a well made, extremely lightweight and breathable top, look no further. The icing on the cake is not only the high built in sun protection, but the overall "coolness" of the mesh panels and the high-tech look of the top. For a very reasonable price, you will get a high-performing, comfortable, and versatile base layer.
Check out our complete women's performance shirt review to see how this performed against other top shirts.
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
Even though this is one of the best-selling active tops out there, I had no previous experience with the Favorite, and simply because of its name, I had always been curious. I decided its first test would be a long trail run, taking me from heavy fog, into heat, and then back down to fog. Because of the mesh panels, the top breathed incredibly well. They seemed to have put these panels in all the right places! The Favorite Long Sleeve is incredibly light, which meant that when I did take it off and tie it around my waist, I practically forgot it was there. Then, by the time I needed it on again, it was already dry and didn't chill me with that horrible clamminess of a non-breathing top.
The fit of Asics' base layer is also a happy medium of loose and fitted and a nice long torso that doesn't drape too much if you are inverted in an exercise class or the gym. The material is smooth, slippery and doesn't stick to your sweaty skin, making it quite easy to take off and on while still moving (i.e. running). Another perk is that this fabric contains 50+ UPF protection, making it good sun protection during your outdoor activities and the highest UPF rating of any shirt we tested. And of course, the all important test: looks. I say, when nothing else works on your motivation, turn to your workout clothes. The Asics top, is, in a word, cool. It isn't flashy, but the mesh panels and the semi-fitted shape make it sporty and flattering, and when I slipped it on, I instantly wanted to get serious and get started!
Because the Favorite is so lightweight, it is naturally not the warmest active top out there. It is therefore somewhat limited to warm weather and/or high heart rate activities. For instance, the Moving Comfort Endurance Long Sleeve and the UnderArmour Coldgear 1/4 zip are both warmer. However, what the Asics top lacks in warmth, it makes up for in ease of movement (again, it was far and away the easiest top to take on and off while exercising) and breathability. One word of advice: the mesh panels are not comfortable for the first few wears. They seem to break in and soften after 1-2 washes and wears, which again, is the trade off for having superior breathability.
The Asics Favorite Long Sleeve is best for warm weather activities and high heart rate activites such as tennis, running, or gym workouts. Also, because of the long sleeves, the UPF protection, and the rapid drying speed, it is ideal for sports water sports, such as kayaking or sailing.
The Asics Favorite LS Tee is a moderately priced base layer that holds up well and has strong seam construction. It is flattering and functional and is definitely worth the price.
Asics Favorite Short Sleeve - Women's, $40.
Asics Favorite Long Sleeve - Men's, $46.
Asics Favorite Long Sleeve - Women's, $46.
— Chris McNamara and Emily Zell
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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: June 22, 2014
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