Prana Hardesty Review
Cons: Restrictive fit, coarse seems
Our Analysis and Test Results
Prana is seemingly synonymous with comfort but missed the ball on the Hardesty. Restrictive sleeves and shoulders made a natural arm swing or bending over uncomfortable. If you have thinner arms and this shirt fits your body properly, you may really like it, but as it was, we didn't find it to be one of our top recommendations.
When grading for comfort, three factors were most important to how a shirt performed: fit, fabric, and seam sewing. While we love that the fabric of the Hardesty is 100% recycled polyester and is bluesign certified, we don't love how it feels on our skin. The slippery polyester feel meets coarse threaded stitching, and the result is general discomfort.
Our tester is a true medium, standing 5'10" and weighing 155 pounds. He tested a medium and acknowledged the nice length of the shirt and relaxed fit. However, the coarse stitching on the collar and sleeves proved to be too distracting to find many positives in the fit. Many shirts utilize the same flatlock seam, a stitch we associate with quality, but the Hardesty used a coarse thread that made the seems more noticeable and irritating. When paired with a hydration pack during long mountain adventures, the stitching along the full-length underarm gussets chaffed the ribcage. On a more casual hike, however, the shirt carried a backpack without too much discomfort. Overall though, his shirt does not perform well during high movement activities, such as running.
The uniformly dense polyester weave on this layer does not breathe as well as shirts that incorporate strategically placed mesh panels under the arm and across the back. While the Hardesty has underarm gussets, they are made of the same material and are intended to add mobility, not dump excess body heat.
Weighing 5.0 ounces, this shirt is among the heaviest we tested, yet only absorbed 52% of its dry weight when wet. It retained 18% of its hydration weight after the first spin cycle. It took 15 minutes for the shirt to fully dry, but it notably was 93% of the way there after 5 minutes in the dryer. This is a very decent performance and the metric that the Hardesty scored the highest in.
Features & Versatility
Prana incorporated HeiQ fresh anti-odor properties into the Hardesty, but that is the extent of its features. Like most of the shirts, it does have a small sweatband sewn into the back of the collar, but it offers no reflective banding, an essential feature for performance activewear, especially for urban use.
With few other features to call out, we do want to tip our hat to Prana. Not only does the Hardesty have a tag-free collar, but they omitted the inside care-for instructions, reducing the overall footprint of the shirt and adding a little glitter of comfort. Additionally, Prana was one of only two brands to forgo plastic altogether in their packaging, opting instead for a compostable organic string.
While this shirt is a great price point within the Prana line, we can't recommend it as a high-value choice for a running shirt, as it struggles to perform across terrain and climate. The wicking properties proved to be sound, but the lack of comfort makes it a poor choice for any activity with intensity or lots of movement.
The Prana Hardesty was a disappointment in terms of comfort and mobility. We may have had high hopes, having appreciated Prana's attention to comfort details in other garments, but the coarse stitching and poor ergonomic design made doing even a sun salutation unpleasant. For folks looking for a shirt that looks like a performance stretch shirt but more fashionable, this shirt may be for you, but we suggest avoiding running with a hydration pack.
— Jeff Colt
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