The Under Armour UA Tech is a shirt that is designed specifically for working out, but also performs great for simply running. We chose to test it because of its incredible popularity and low price, despite the fact that it was not only a running shirt. It is made of a very soft 100% polyester weave that looks very much like cotton. In stark contrast to the majority of these shirts, the fit of the UA Tech is very loose, more easily accommodating different body shapes than the tighter and sleeker fits common to running shirts. This shirt is awesome because of its low price and awesome versatility, but was a bit below par when it comes to breathability, drying speed, and features.
The most comparable shirt to this one is the Russell Athletic Dri-Power Core Performance, which retails for a startlingly low $13.50, also clearly presenting a good value. However, we much preferred the UA Tech, as it was far lighter, more breathable and much more comfortable. We also think this shirt has a fair bit of style to it (for a workout shirt that is), especially compared to the bad memory inducing gym shirt fabric used by Russell Athletic.
While it is designed as a do everything shirt for working out, the UA Tech is also a great shirt for hitting the dirt or roads, and presents awesome value. Here getting in a workout on the trails near the San Juans, with Paco the perro.
When assessing for comfort, we took a deep look at three crucial elements that have the potential to annoy — fit, seam sewing, and fabric.
While the fit of this shirt isn't at all sleek or athletic like the New Balance Ice 2.0, there is no real drop off in performance associated with having a far looser, baggier shirt, and it does a better job at accommodating various body shapes. We read online reviews that complained of sleeves that were too tight, as well as a chest that is too tight compared to a loose fit in the belly. All we can say is that these dudes must have been jacked, cause we experienced no such tightness!
The fit of the UA Tech is wide and baggy through the torso, as you can see here. We also found this shirt to often carry static electricity.
We did, however, encounter some other issues that affected the comfort score. For instance, this shirt uses over lock seams that protrude quite a bit on the sides of the shirt. While it does have flat locked seams on the shoulders and around the sleeves, the way they are sewn is bulkier and more abrasive than the most low-profile flat lock seam sewing we found on the Arc'teryx Motus Crew. When it came to the fabric, we found it to be incredibly soft against the skin, which we loved. What we didn't love was how this shirt had a propensity for building up static electricity unlike any other garment we have worn, and it often stuck to us bunched up. We gave it 6 out of 10 for comfort.
Here you can see the overlock seam stitching method, which is very inexpensive but leaves a large tab of material on the inside of the shirt that can rub as you run.
This shirt is made of a single weave of polyester throughout and does not have any panels of mesh like the ones found on The North Face Better Than Naked. The weave itself is fairly dense, without holes for air to easily pass through, but remains quite thin.
Compared to the competition, it breathed about as well as the similarly designed Arc'teryx Motus Crew. The grid mesh pattern of material used for the Salomon Agile SS Tee allowed a bit more air to easily pass through to help with evaporation of sweat. We awarded it 6 out of 10 points for breathability but found that wicking was a more efficient way for this shirt to aid in cooling.
Shown here is the densely woven polyester fabric of the UA Tech, which is nicely durable for uses other than only running, but also doesn't have any mesh panels to aid in direct air flow and evaporation.
Without mesh panels or other gaps in the fabric for air to pass directly through, the best way for this shirt to aid in evaporative cooling is by wicking moisture away from the skin to the outside of the shirt where wind and sunlight can cause quick evaporation. Unfortunately, though, this was one of the slowest shirts to dry in our dedicating drying speed test.
Our UA Tech weighed 5.2 ounces, which means it was the second heaviest shirt. This translates directly into having a lot more woven fibers for liquid to become suspended between, thereby increasing the amount of time it takes to fully dry. Only the Nike Dri-FIT Knit, a shirt made of water-absorbing nylon, took slower to dry out in our test. The heavier and thicker feeling Russell Athletic Dri-Power Core Performance still managed to dry out a bit quicker in the end. 5 out of 10.
We thought that the UA Tech was the most "normal" looking t-shirt of the entire bunch, making it a great candidate for use almost anywhere. This is one of the few shirts that we felt comfortable walking around town in without feeling like we were simply on our way to or from the gym.
This shirt is designed for and works great in the gym. Its durably woven fabric also means that it is a good choice for almost any outdoor activity, such as climbing, biking, hiking, or backpacking. Since it has no reflector tags, it is mildly limited for nighttime running, and its looser fit means that it doesn't serve as well as a base layer as the slimmer Arc'teryx Motus Crew, although it does work pretty well. We gave it 8 points for versatility.
The UA Tech was one of the most versatile of the running shirts we tested. We loved wearing it no matter what we were doing, including sport climbing at Red Rocks.
The UA Tech has very few value-adding features, especially compared to the competition. In fact, it tied with the Brooks Distance for the lowest features score.
This shirt was the only one we tested that had absolutely no reflectors anywhere. It also doesn't include any added UPF protection, further proof that it is designed primarily as an indoor workout shirt. It does come with odor control technology designed to repel smell-causing bacteria. However, we wore this shirt three days ago, and as we are writing this we pick it up out of the clothes basket and give it a sniff — eww! Certainly not odor free! 5 out of 10.
This shirt features a sewn in sweat band on the back of the neck, shown here, and also has odor control built into its fabric.
The UA Tech is designed as a workout shirt and is ideal for that purpose. It also works great for almost any outdoor activity like hiking, backpacking, or climbing. It is functional as an everyday running shirt for shorter distances, but if we were shopping for a dedicated long distance running shirt we would invest in one of the pricier, and higher performing, options.
While it makes for a great shirt for running or working out, we also loved the UA Tech for simply wearing around. After a week of running in Death Valley, our legs needed a break, so we took a simple hike out to Badwater Basin.
In some ways you get what you pay for, as this shirt uses lower quality seam stitching and has almost no value adding features. However, it is still quite pleasant to wear, and with slightly lowered expectations, presents award-winning value.
Running in the UA Tech on a cool spring day near Ridgway, CO, with the San Juan Mountains in the background.
The Under Armour UA Tech wins our Best Bang for the Buck award because it combines comfortable fabric with a versatile design for a great price. While there are other very affordable options out there for running in, our testing revealed that none were more enjoyable to wear than this one.