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Baleaf Quick Dry Review

A comfortable running shirt with a full feature set for a fraction of the price
Baleaf Quick Dry
Photo: Amazon
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Price:  $17 List | $16.99 at Amazon
Pros:  Inexpensive, comfortable stretch, durable, 360º reflective banding
Cons:  Heavy, not very breathable
Manufacturer:   Baleaf
By Jeff Colt ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Jun 28, 2021
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57
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#9 of 10
  • Comfort - 30% 6
  • Breathability - 30% 5
  • Drying Speed - 20% 6
  • Features & Versatility - 20% 6

Our Verdict

The Baleaf Quick Dry offers fantastic performance for the price. While some price-point shirts are designed for exercise, this shirt is clearly cut for running. But whether you enjoy running, hiking, or climbing, the stretch and movement of the 10% spandex coupled with soft polyester boosts the versatility of this super affordable shirt. Reflective bands on the sleeves and reflective logos make it highly visible at night. Relatively smooth seams and a uniform fabric layup increase its durability. Considering the value, it's a shirt you should have in your track bag.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Baleaf Quick Dry
This Product
Baleaf Quick Dry
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award  Best Buy Award 
Price $16.99 at Amazon$49 ListCheck Price at REI
Compare at 3 sellers
Check Price at REI
Compare at 3 sellers
$34.63 at Amazon
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Pros Inexpensive, comfortable stretch, durable, 360º reflective bandingHighly breathable, comfortable, lightweight, quick dryingGreat mobility, durable, soft and comfortable, good odor-protectionLightweight, great fit, excellent ventilationComfortable, fast-drying, breathable
Cons Heavy, not very breathableTaped seams on shoulders less durable than sewn seamsMinimal reflective banding, pricyNot as versatileUnnecessary flap of fabric across the back
Bottom Line A comfortable running shirt with a full feature set for a fraction of the priceExceedingly 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 wearA performance shirt for the runner logging miles in hot climates or hitting the gymThis shirt outperforms many of the best in terms of comfort and breathability without being cost-prohibitive
Rating Categories Baleaf Quick Dry Patagonia Airchaser Black Diamond Rhyth... Nike Dri-FIT Rise 365 Under Armour UA Str...
Comfort (30%)
6.0
8.0
9.0
8.0
8.0
Breathability (30%)
5.0
9.0
8.0
9.0
9.0
Drying Speed (20%)
6.0
10.0
8.0
9.0
8.0
Features & Versatility (20%)
6.0
8.0
9.0
7.0
7.0
Specs Baleaf Quick Dry Patagonia Airchaser Black Diamond Rhyth... Nike Dri-FIT Rise 365 Under Armour UA Str...
Weight (size Medium) 4.8 oz 2.6 oz 3.3 oz 3.4 oz 4.4 oz
Material 90% polyester, 10% spandex Recycled polyester 57% nylon, 43% merino wool 80% polyester, 20% spandex 93% polyester, 7% elastarell
Reflective Areas? Yes - 4 Yes - 2 Yes - 2 Yes - 2 Yes - 3
Seam Type Flatlock and Overlock Flatlock and Taped Flatlock Flatlock and Overlock Flatlock
UPF? Not Stated Not Stated Not Stated Not Stated Not Stated
Odor Control? No Yes - HeiQ Fresh durable odor control Yes - Wool Natural Properties No Yes - Active biocide zinc microbes

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Baleaf Quick Dry is an enigma — punching above its weight across the board in comfort, breathability, and drying speed while offering 360° reflective banding. This, in addition to a tag-less collar with incorporated sweat strip, all while remaining the least expensive shirt in our review. While the design of the shirt is very simple — no underarm gussets and simple raglan sleeves that connect to the collar — the use of 10% spandex in the fabric gives more than enough stretch to outshine simplicity and make for a comfortable ride regardless of activity. However, in comparison to some of the more expensive shirts, the quality does not stand up.

Performance Comparison


A shirt with many of the features and comforts of high end running...
A shirt with many of the features and comforts of high end running shirts for a fraction of the price. The Baleaf Quick Dry fits well and moves well with 10% spandex blended with polyester.
Photo: Jeff Colt

Comfort


The Quick Dry is woven with 90% polyester and 10% spandex fabric, offering a great fit to a wider audience and enough stretch to move with the runner. The fabric feels great upon first wear and exceeded our expectations on the trail. Baleaf opted to use a combination of flatlock stitching over the shoulders with overlock stitching along the side seams, minimizing — though not entirely eliminating — unwanted rubbing while wearing a pack.

Tightness in the neck and under the armpits limit some movement for...
Tightness in the neck and under the armpits limit some movement for activities beyond running.
Photo: Jeff Colt

The medium fit was between slim and relaxed for our 5'10" and 155-pound tester. We noticed slight restrictions in the neck and shoulders as we hit our stride though the natural stretch of the spandex alleviated this tension a bit. For an enduring effort like an ultramarathon, the slight pinching under the armpits would be bothersome. For folks with stronger, more developed necks, shoulders, and biceps, the fit will feel more restricting.

The slippery feel of the poly-stretch blend gets heavy when wet and...
The slippery feel of the poly-stretch blend gets heavy when wet and heightened the discomfort of the overlock seams.
Photo: Jeff Colt

Breathability


Polyester and spandex have natural breathing properties, and that is the extent of the technology in the Quick Dry. The entire shirt uses the same fabric, so there are no specially mapped mesh areas to promote additional ventilation. During activities with more natural airflow like cycling, we were pleased with the ventilation performance. However, even on long runs through late spring snowpack and cooler temperatures, it was clear that something was lacking on the breathability front.

A uniform weave of polyester and spandex promotes some...
A uniform weave of polyester and spandex promotes some breathability, but little light comes through the stretched fabric, an indicator of marginal performance.
Photo: Jeff Colt

While the aforementioned four-way stretch provides great movement without underarm gussets, incorporated mesh in areas where heat is dumped would return dividends in added breathability. Underarm gussets or a more aerated weave would bring the Quick Dry from an average performer to the next level. That said, for a bargain layer, it is quite durable and breathed well during neighborhood jaunts and pick-up soccer games.

Drying Speed


With a name like the Baleaf Quick Dry, we were eager to put this shirt through our drying tests. Since it is on the heavier side of the spectrum, we anticipated that it would effectively wick moisture quickly, and thus get dramatically lighter after the initial spin cycle and again with each 5-minute dryer cycle.

Having a fast drying speed directly correlates to the quality of evaporative cooling you experience in warm, dry climates. After the initial spin cycle, the Quick Dry only retained 22% of its weight in water, and it was dry to the touch after 10 minutes in the dryer, proving that it does indeed dry quickly. For a shirt that has limited air permeability, we were thrilled to see it wick moisture as well as it did. Our kitchen science was backed up by what we felt out on the trail: if saturated wet, the Quick Dry was heavy and cumbersome, drying adequately at best. Once wrung out or dried to a damp level, though, the fabric remained cool even on hot days.

Features & Versatility


Some of the factors that limit this layer in breathability are advantages when it comes to versatility. The uniform polyester/spandex fabric, tighter weave, and strong stitching make it a durable shirt that is less likely to show wear from friction associated with using a backpack or hydration pack. The fit is not conducive to ultra-distances but works great on long day hikes.

One of two shirts in the review that meets our 360 degree...
One of two shirts in the review that meets our 360 degree reflectivity expectation, featuring banding on the sleeves and reflective logos on the front and back.
Photo: Jeff Colt

For an affordable option that is clearly designed for running, we were pleased to see 360° reflective banding and logos, making this shirt highly visible at night. Between the comfort, drying speed, and reflectivity, we found the Quick Dry to be excellent for evening runs and well suited for urban settings.

Baleaf incorporates many of the features of more expensive running...
Baleaf incorporates many of the features of more expensive running shirts, including a sweat band for the back of the neck and surprisingly comfortable flatlock seams.
Photo: Jeff Colt

The collar is tag-less and has a soft, thin strip sewn in to catch sweat, an attention to detail we expect from pricier shirts. While it doesn't promote an odor-control technology, the shirt remains wearable and tolerable after many sweaty miles, making us think it does have some odor-control treatment. Despite no UPF rating, it shines with a lot of features that increase its comfort and versatility.

Value


The Quick Dry is an outright steal. Comfortable, functional, and feature-rich, it has held up through many miles. The durability of this shirt alone makes us scratch our head at the price as it showed little sign of wear, despite accompanying us on numerous grinding efforts. What it lacks in breathability, it makes up for in evaporative cooling and features. This is the shirt for evening runs and rides around town.

Conclusion


The Baleaf Quick Dry is a no-brainer buy. Rotate it into the mix on casual runs and workouts. A simple design works with this polyester/spandex blend, though underarm gussets or mesh panels would help with breathability. Flatlock stitching along the raglan sleeves that cross the shoulders make it comfortable with a pack and well suited for hiking. While it may not be for the ultramarathoner, the comfort and reflective banding make it an excellent choice for urban runners or those active at night. Highly versatile and durable, but for a fraction of the price.

Jeff Colt