Nathan Rise Short Sleeve Review
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Nathan Rise did not perform at the same level as the majority of those we tested. Thick abrasive seams across the shoulders made for an uneasy ride, amplified by other layers or a hydration pack. Reflective accents on the sleeve brushed roughly on our arms and the vertical panel of ventilation felt overbuilt, with more seams rubbing right over the top of the shoulder blades.
The Rise is built of two types of fabric: an 89% polyester 11% elastane square gridded weave that is soft against the skin but quite dense, and an 80% polyester 20% Tencel fabric used in the back panel that promotes airflow. We don't have any qualms with the ventilation panel, but the integration is anything but seamless.
Tight overlock seams manage to stand out on the inside of the shirt and add tightness to certain areas, putting unwanted pressure beneath the seams. This notably impacted the comfort score of this shirt, as the fit itself is actually quite good. On one run during a 100% humidity day in New England, we tried to go for minutes without our attention returning to the seams, but as the Rise grew saturated with moisture, the seams were even more noticeable.
Nathan implemented a ventilation panel the full length of the Rise shirt, designed to dump heat where it builds up the most. This ventilation chimney works, but the seams that connect it to the body of the shirt are thick and bothersome. We noticed these seams every time we wore the shirt and the more intense the run, the more aggravating the seams.
As the ventilation system worked fairly well, the Rise scored decently for this metric, however, the stitching and points of discomfort detracted from the score elsewhere. Additionally, the square gridded weave used throughout the rest of the shirt has a heavier, denser feel to it, so despite letting air through, it feels hot.
No shirt held as much water as the Rise and no shirt took as long to completely dry out. Once this material gets saturated, the weight of the water adds to an already very heavy 5.5-ounce shirt, giving it a wet cotton sweatshirt feel compared to some featherweight shirts we tested.
This held true out on the trails, and the warm thick weave of the polyester blend made sweating through this shirt a common occurrence, even with the ventilation chimney on the back. Along New Hampshire's gravel roads on that high humidity day, the Rise grew so heavy with moisture that it stretched, bounced, and shifted with every stride like a flamenco dress.
Features & Versatility
Some features we expect in higher quality running shirts, including a soft sweatband integrated into the collar and a printed tag to limit any scratching irritation — the Rise meets these expectations.
Other attempts that Nathan made were not as well-received, including the reflective accents on the sleeves, which were coarse and irritating with almost every arm swing. The warmer weave of the fabric was a welcome comfort on cooler mornings, but we didn't enjoy wearing the Rise as a baselayer as a result of the seams.
For a shirt designed with running in mind, the Nathan Rise misses the mark on a number of fronts. Certain elements like the soft fabric and ventilation chimney are appreciated, but the associated additions in weight make it less suitable for running. In our testing group, this shirt is at the more expensive end of the spectrum and for what you get, we don't see the value.
We are big fans of the Nathan hydration solutions and have confidence that the brand will hit a stride with apparel soon enough. Unfortunately, for this first go, the Rise running shirt is not one we would recommend. From the weight to the feel of the seams to other points of discomfort, we forced ourselves to get out and run in it, again and again, to be sure of our assessment. Sure enough, this shirt does not perform to the same level as the other shirts we tested, even those that are a margin of the cost.
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