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Arc'teryx Cormac Crew Short Sleeve Review

An excellent running shirt comfortable for all day adventures and compatible with layers and packs
Arc'teryx Cormac Crew Short Sleeve
Photo: Arc'teryx
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Price:  $69 List | Check Price at REI
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Breathes well, comfortable fabric with stretch, stitching is smooth and non-abrasive, UPF 50+
Cons:  Pricey, poor odor-control
Manufacturer:   Arc'teryx
By Jeff Colt ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Jun 28, 2021
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83
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#4 of 10
  • Comfort - 30% 9
  • Breathability - 30% 8
  • Drying Speed - 20% 7
  • Features & Versatility - 20% 9

Our Verdict

The Arc'teryx Cormac Crew hit the bullseye for fit and comfort, making it a shirt we enjoy running in all day. The relaxed fit has cleverly designed anatomical panels outlined with smooth seams that conform to the body. The 100% gridded polyester fabric is breathable, quick-drying, and has a nice four-way stretch. With a UPF 50+ rating, this lightweight and durable shirt is ready for a run across town or across the country. This is among our favorite layers to choose for running, biking, cragging, and long adventures in the sun.

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Pros Breathes well, comfortable fabric with stretch, stitching is smooth and non-abrasive, UPF 50+Highly breathable, comfortable, lightweight, quick dryingGreat mobility, durable, soft and comfortable, good odor-protectionComfortable, fast-drying, breathableIncredibly soft, great fit, very comfortable, UPF rating
Cons Pricey, poor odor-controlTaped seams on shoulders less durable than sewn seamsMinimal reflective banding, pricyUnnecessary flap of fabric across the backSlow drying speed, no reflective accents
Bottom Line An excellent running shirt comfortable for all day adventures and compatible with layers and packsExceedingly comfortable and fast drying are the two top attributes for the best running shirt you can buyA go-to running shirt or baselayer for day after day use with little to no signs of wearThis shirt outperforms many of the best in terms of comfort and breathability without being cost-prohibitiveThe most comfortable shirt we've worn and it has specific features for running
Rating Categories Cormac Crew Short S... Patagonia Airchaser Black Diamond Rhyth... Under Armour UA Str... Vuori Strato Tech
Comfort (30%)
9.0
8.0
9.0
8.0
10.0
Breathability (30%)
8.0
9.0
8.0
9.0
6.0
Drying Speed (20%)
7.0
10.0
8.0
8.0
4.0
Features & Versatility (20%)
9.0
8.0
9.0
7.0
7.0
Specs Cormac Crew Short S... Patagonia Airchaser Black Diamond Rhyth... Under Armour UA Str... Vuori Strato Tech
Weight (size Medium) 3.9 oz 2.6 oz 3.3 oz 4.4 oz 4.3 oz
Material Ostria (100% polyester) Recycled polyester 57% nylon, 43% merino wool 93% polyester, 7% elastarell 96% polyester, 4% elastane
Reflective Areas? Yes - 3 Yes - 2 Yes - 2 Yes - 3 No
Seam Type Merrow Flatlock and Taped Flatlock Flatlock Flatlock and Overlock
UPF? 50+ Not Stated Not Stated Not Stated 30+
Odor Control? No Yes - HeiQ Fresh durable odor control Yes - Wool Natural Properties Yes - Active biocide zinc microbes Yes - undeclared

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Arc'teryx Cormac Crew is wonderfully comfortable, loose enough that it breathes well, and light enough that it gently bounces in perfect unison with the body. There wasn't an area where this shirt didn't shine, and with a more relaxed fit, it offers the added versatility of looking good. For all-day adventures or all-day wear, this layer is durable, comfortable, and up to the task.

Performance Comparison


From long-enduring efforts to easy jaunts around town, the Cormac is...
From long-enduring efforts to easy jaunts around town, the Cormac is a go-to pick thanks to a high UPF rating and the comfort sourced from the stretchy, gridded fabric and merrow stitching.
Photo: Jeff Colt

Comfort


Much of the reason we love the Cormac Crew is because of the impeccable intersection of fit and function. A relaxed fit that extends just past the waistline and appropriate cuts around the collar and sleeves make for easy layering, easy removal on hot sweaty days, and easy all-around use. At no point were we fighting the shirt from riding up in the back or bunching beneath a hydration pack. The ergonomic stitching is mapped for movement, making biking, running, and paddling all feel easy.

Some performance running shirts are too trim for some other sports...
Some performance running shirts are too trim for some other sports, restricting long dynamic reaches while climbing or fitting too tight across the back while mountain biking. This shirt has a relaxed performance fit, among the best we tested.
Photo: Jeff Colt

The Cormac Crew is made entirely of 100% gridded polyester that is soft on the skin and utilizes high-quality flatlock seams constructed with a "merrow stitch." This stitch pattern is very smooth and one of the least abrasive seams we've encountered. The updated mapping of these seams from the previous version improved the fit and compatibility with hydration packs by removing a seam that ran along the shoulder blades. The comfort derived from stretch and fit plays a large role in making the Cormac so versatile and capable.

Ergonomically mapped "merrow stitch" seams elevate the fit without...
Ergonomically mapped "merrow stitch" seams elevate the fit without adding unwanted bunching or friction.
Photo: Jeff Colt

Our 5'10" and 155lb tester found this shirt to be the bullseye for a relaxed fit medium. The integrated four directional stretch in the gridded polyester fabric permits ease of movement, and the unconventional underarm gussets that are incorporated into the ergonomic seam placement allow for a full range of unhindered motion.

Breathability


Air flows conveniently through the gridded weave of this shirt, offering adequate breathability and superb evaporative cooling. Instead of relying on mesh panels or a secondary material, the Cormac Crew achieves great breathability utilizing a singular fabric, with a phenomenal fit, and the right amount of four directional stretch. While mesh panels offer greater airflow, this shirt stands out for its durability and UPF 50+ protection — introducing a second material would hinder performance in these areas.

Instead of incorporating mesh panels, a tightly woven polyester is...
Instead of incorporating mesh panels, a tightly woven polyester is used throughout the whole shirt, reducing some breathability but adding durability.
Photo: Jeff Colt

The direct sun in Colorado can be fierce, especially at altitudes above 10,000 feet. In place of a long-sleeve sun hoody, the Cormac Crew offers excellent UPF protection while keeping you cool and dry. We loved taking this shirt out all day as a standalone option for running and cycling and found it to breathe quite well, considering its tighter weave and lack of mesh. Additionally, it made for an excellent base layer on springtime ski tours up above 13,000 feet, keeping moisture away from the skin and still performing under a fleece hoodie and three-layer shell.

Drying Speed


While the Cormac Crew wasn't the top performer in our kitchen science drying test, it excelled out on the trails in the real gear lab. We didn't expect much of a change from the previous version, as the material wasn't updated at all. Sure enough, our experiment returned the same data, with the gridded polyester weave holding 74% of its total weight in water, which is the upper end of any shirt we tested. UPF ratings are often associated with a tighter weave structure, and tighter weave structures often hold more water.

It wasn't the highest scorer in the kitchen lab, but in the heat of...
It wasn't the highest scorer in the kitchen lab, but in the heat of the outdoor gear lab, the Cormac does a superb job at evaporative cooling.
Photo: Jeff Colt

After 20 minutes, the Cormac was dry to the touch but still held some moisture. We don't view this as a downside, as moisture is critical to effective cooling through evaporation. Skin will actually remain cooler if it is covered by a fabric containing some moisture than if uncovered. As that water vapor continues to evaporate, it pulls heat energy from the body. There is a fine line in this test between effectively drying and drying just to a point where the remaining moisture could be advantageous. For our purposes, we wanted to know how long does this shirt take to dry? and with a tighter weave, the Cormac takes longer. While this denser fabric offers great versatility and durability, it does inhibit drying speed.

The updated Cormac had a slight increase in weight, but worth every...
The updated Cormac had a slight increase in weight, but worth every ounce when you consider the comfort, UPF protection, and evaporative cooling.
Photo: Jeff Colt

In the real world, we really enjoyed the evaporative cooling effect created by the tighter weave. As one of the lighter shirts to begin with at 3.9 ounces, the Cormac remained comfortable and breathed well when damp, keeping our body temperature regulated for hours on end. So there you have it, in the kitchen lab we focused more on each shirt's ability to return to the dry weight, but in the field, we could take evaporative cooling into account, as we were wearing the shirts and not putting them on scales.

Features & Versatility


While the updated Cormac Crew scored better in comfort and fit, the newest version doesn't sport reflective banding on the arms. Still, as it is among the most durable shirts we tested, we took it on some epics — from bushwhacks to century rides to lazy afternoons spent paddle boarding in the sun. We tested it with both hydration packs and haul bags filled with climbing gear, and the fit kept on fitting, just right.

The Arc'teryx Cormac Crew is an excellent running shirt that proved...
The Arc'teryx Cormac Crew is an excellent running shirt that proved to be durable enough for layering, protective on long sunny days, and capable of keeping you dry on commutes to work.
Photo: Jeff Colt

Arc'teryx is known for paying attention to small but important details. On the Cormac, the taped sweatband on the neck has no visible seams, and the overlock, or "merrow", stitching on the various paneling helps boost overall durability. Most exercise shirts have tag-free collars these days, but again, with the details. Arc'teryx implemented an easy-to-snip tab of fabric attached to the care-for tag on the inside seam, leaving no abrasive stitching or tag remnants when removed.

At 10,000 feet, the sun is all the more intense so we loved the UPF...
At 10,000 feet, the sun is all the more intense so we loved the UPF protection and durability while running at elevation.
Photo: Jeff Colt

This shirt has gridded polyester with a UPF rating of 50+, better than many dedicated sun shirts on the market. This makes it ideal for use in the intense sun or on highly reflective surfaces like snow (though you'll still want sunscreen on your arms, of course!) On one adventure cycling mission up Independence Pass in Colorado, our tester paired the Cormac Crew with SPF 50 lotion on his arms and, to his delight, received no sunburns. Despite the elimination of reflective banding, this shirt still received a high score in this category as the new stitching pattern made it a better choice for layering and for use with packs.

Value


The Cormac Crew is incredibly durable — one of the best in our entire lineup. Its durability paired with reflective banding, UPF 50+ rating, and effective thermoregulating make it a highly protective shirt. The price may be steep, but for an option that you can bike to work in and remain in all day, you may be able to cut your wardrobe down with this good-looking, breathable shirt. Value here is earned from quality construction and a long product lifespan.

Conclusion


The Arc'teryx Cormac Crew is an excellent shirt for high aerobic activities and mountain adventures of any sort. While it may not be the lightest or most breathable (and thus, not the best running specific shirt), it is highly versatile and offers the best sun protection of any shirt we tested. As the scores show, we love this shirt, but we tested some other new shirts that were also excellent. Updates this year made the Cormac more comfortable and compatible with a pack, which made a great fitting shirt even better. The main reason this shirt didn't earn an award was the elimination of reflective accents on the sleeves and some added grams.

Once again, we loved this shirt for all types of activities because...
Once again, we loved this shirt for all types of activities because the fit enhanced movement.
Photo: Jeff Colt

Jeff Colt