Arc'teryx Cormac Crew Short Sleeve Review
Compare prices at 3 resellers Pros: Breathes well, comfortable fabric with stretch, stitching is smooth and non-abrasive, UPF 50+
Cons: Pricey, poor odor-control
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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.
Much of the reason we awarded the Cormac Crew with the Top Pick Award 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 back or bunching beneath a hydration pack. The ergonomic stitching is mapped for movement, making biking, running, and stand up paddle boarding all feel easy.
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 highly smooth and one of the least abrasive seams we've experienced on this type of shirt. The mapping of these seams plays a large role in making the Cormac so comfortable and capable.
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.
Air flows conveniently through the gridded weave, 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.
The direct sun in Colorado can be fierce, especially at altitudes above 10,000ft. In lieu 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 it's tighter weave and lack of mesh. Additionally, it made for an excellent base layer on ski tours, keeping moisture away from the skin.
While the Cormac Crew wasn't the top performer in the kitchen science drying test, it excelled out on the trails in the real gear lab. The gridded polyester weave is capable of 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.
After just the spin cycle, the dense fabric only retained 26% of its weight in water, putting it smack dab in the middle of the pack. After 15 minutes, only 1% of its weight in water remained, which we consider dry to the touch. While this denser fabric offers great versatility and durability, it does inhibit drying speed.
In the real world, we really enjoyed the evaporative cooling effect created by the tighter weave. One of the lighter shirts to begin with at 3.6 ounces, the Cormac remained comfortable and breathed well when damp, keeping our body temperature regulated for hours on end.
Features & Versatility
As the Top Pick for Protection, the Cormac Crew has a lot of features to offer, making it wildly versatile. 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.
Arc'teryx is known for paying attention to small but important details. On the Cormac, the sweatband on the neck has no visible seams, and the overlock, or "merrow", stitching on the various paneling helps boost overall versatility. 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.
But wait, there's more. The Cormac Crew has long reflective bands on each sleeve and a reflective logo on the front chest, important safety features for night running or bike commuting home in the city. These bands are noticeable, but aesthetically the shirt remains casual and doesn't look like a runway traffic controller.
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.
While there is close attention to small details, we do wish Arc'teryx paid slightly more attention to smell details, as this shirt carried more of an odor than other top performers. This is a small gripe for an otherwise excellent product.
The Cormac Crew is incredibly durable — one of the best in our entire lineup. It's durability paired with reflective banding, UPF 50+ rating, and effective thermoregulating earn it the Top Pick for Protection. 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.
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), its versatility is second to none. Whether your pursuits are in the city or on an alpine ridge, this shirt has features that will help keep you comfortable, dry, and safe.
— Jeff Colt