Hands-on Gear Review
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Pros: Soft and lightweight, breathable, stylish color and reflective accents, durable.
Cons: Very slow to dry, not very warm, lacks versatility.
Best Uses: Hiking, exercise/aerobic classes, gym workouts, backpacking, horseback riding, running, tennis, cross-training, climbing, warm weather camping, road cycling.
The Nike Legend Shirt is a basic active top. It is not the warmest, it is not the most flattering, and it does not dry the fastest, but it performs okay and was the least expensive shirt in our review. If you need more versatility or warmth, you could spend more and get the Asics Favorite Short Sleeve which was our Editor's Choice. Also, if water is an integral part of your adventure, I would recommend the Patagonia Capilene 1 T-Shirt over this top, as it is also lightweight, but dries in a fraction of the time.
However, the Nike Legend is cheaper than those other tops and is just as durable. It is good looking and comfortable, breathes well, and really seems to repel heat. Again, once it is broken in, washed, and dried, the fit improves. I think it is safe to say, that if you are very active, and in a milder climate, this will be a top that you reach for again and again.
Check out our complete men's performance shirt review to see how this performed against other top shirts.
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
In all honesty, the Nike Legend did not endear itself to me initially. The first time I wore it was to Boot Camp – an intense hour of strength exercises and cardio, heavy on the core work. I hadn't washed the top yet, and the fit was extremely loose, almost to the point of being silly. It got in the way a lot during the exercises, and because it is so thin and lightweight, the more I sweated, the more it hung limply. All my fellow boot campers agreed that it was very good-looking, and that the fabric seemed soft and comfortable, but the fit was just…off.
Well… what a difference a wash makes. After one cycle in the machine, the Miler seemed to transform into a slimmer, more functional fit. And best of all? It didn't lose anything in the length! For me (and almost everyone I ask) the quickest way to relegate a base layer to the depths of your workout clothes drawer, never to be seen again, is for it to become too short. The Miler, after several washes and wears, has become a well shaped, comfortable, and long enough top. Now, when I wear it for workouts involving stretching, inverted poses, and reaching, it proves an awesome choice.
All the other base layers we tested have sun protection built into the fabric. The Legend does not, but this did not stop me from choosing it for warm weather activities as well. It is so lightweight and in the lighter fabric colors really does seem to reflect the heat and rays from the sun. It is truly versatile when it comes to temperature. I wore it both in cooler and warmer temperatures and for high heart rate activities such as tennis and cycling. In fact, the loser fit and lighter fabric made it closer to the short sleeve base layers than its fellow long sleeve ones, such as the Asics Favorite.
Once the Legend was broken in and the fit was better, I really started noticing the great features of the top. The fabric is incredibly soft and breathes relatively well. The sleeves are long enough, and are even cut on an angle at the wrist, covering the backs of hands while keeping the inner wrist exposed and cooler. There are cool, contrasting color stripes down the arms, and a loop at the back of the neck to help keep an iPod cord in place. Nike makes active base layer tops to meet the needs of athletes. The Miler is a simple and straightforward example of this.
Because this base layer is so lightweight it is somewhat limited to warmer weather adventures and high heart rate pursuits. Also, the looser fit makes it harder to layer under other tops. But the biggest disappointment, and one that came as quite a surprise, was how long it took this top to dry. In fact, it was by far the slowest of all the tops when I soaked them. This is unfortunate as otherwise it would be an ideal choice for water sports such as kayaking or rafting. Finally, because it is so obviously an athletic top in appearance, the Legend is not versatile when it comes to wearing it as an everyday top.
This base layer is perfect for warm weather, aerobic activities such as running, tennis, and cycling. For staying cozy when camping in milder climates this is also a great choice.
The Miler is inexpensive as base layers and active tops go, and if you want a durable, lightweight top, it is worth the cost.
The Nike Miler UV T-Shirt ($35) is $10 more expensive but comes with UPF 30 protection.
— Chris McNamara and Emily Zell
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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: June 23, 2011
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