Hanes Sport Cool Dri Long Sleeve Review
Cons: Durability, lack of features, inconsistent fit, lack of outdoor use
Our Analysis and Test Results
Most people wouldn't expect Hanes to make it into a test against the likes of outdoor industry stalwarts Patagonia, Mountain Hardwear, and Outdoor Research, but the FreshIQ CoolDRI fabric deserves its place in this test. This is a what-you-see-is-what-you-get product option in a long-sleeve t-shirt design. This shirt dried quickly in cold morning runs when under a mid-layer, and kept the sun at bay for hours while on a California beach. That said, you're going to need a hat and neck cover. While there were two hoodies and five button-down alternatives in this test update, the Hanes was the only traditional long-sleeve tee in the test, which introduces some fairly obvious disadvantages when it comes to rating on features and style.
Comfort & Fit
The medium shirt shrunk after a couple of washes, and the sleeves became annoyingly short, as did its hemline and through-the-torso fit. It's important for sun-shirts to fit well and offer coverage, but it's a delicate balance between providing enough fabric to protect the skin and being too big, as is the case with the Columbia PFG Terminal Tackle Hoodie. The Mountain Hardwear Canyon hits the sweet spot, for example.
As a basic long-sleeve tee, there aren't any collars to adjust, narrow button-holes that frustrate, or sleeve straps to fasten. There's simply not a whole lot to worry about in a garment design that's a few hundred years old. The sleeve stitches never became evident or rubbed during activity.
Sizing issues aside, this is a very comfortable fabric by Hanes, and testers were curious about what else the Michael Jordan brand could come up with using it. Out of the box, the fit was spot on, loose but athletic. The sleeves hung right and overall, for our 5'9'', 170lbs tester, the medium wore well. Eventually, the price tag made more sense, and while the fabric never faltered in performance, fit became a drawback.
At a UPF 50+ rating, the areas covered by Hanes' FreshIQ CoolDRI long sleeve managed to stay their natural shade. The shirt obviously lacks what it takes to offer full upper-body sun protection. It's not going to be selected for a Grand Canyon trail run or an afternoon floating the Truckee River. The coverage isn't there. This shirt will block the rays that hit it, but offers little else in terms of meeting the metrics of this test.
Hanes' moisture wicking CoolDRI is a winner in this category, but not quite on the level with the Patagonia Capilene Cool Daily Hoody. Tested during several two-mile uphill jaunts, gym sessions, and beach days, this shirt managed to shake the dampness quicker than several others in the test, and kept its primary tester comfortable by wicking sweat after cold morning runs. Also, the Hanes dried completely in under 30 minutes when placed outside after being washed.
The FreshIQ kept its promise as well, as testing garments of this sort requires multiple, perspiration-filled uses before introducing products to a rinse cycle. The shirt never adopted the scent of its tester and felt unused with each wear. Plus, in the campfire smoke test, the Hanes won hands-down, exhibiting only a slight sign of the woodsy musk after 12 hours. The Columbia PFG Terminal Tackle was last in this test.
Our testing experienced no physical flaws with the shirt's stitch construction. It should be noted that a company of this size, manufacturing at the volumes it does, is bound to sell some flawed products on occasion. Testing did show that laundering in temperatures other than the label's recommendation will result in, well, shrinkage. While delicate, specialized fabrics aren't unheard of in the technical outdoor apparel market, customers should expect normal wash cycles to not so easily upset the physical integrity of a garment.
The FreshIQ CoolDRI long sleeve tee maintained its stretch rebound in the sleeves and hem, but the collar extended and bunched in the front.
The bright red of our test sample was a bit much; and for even the least fashion-conscious, this shirt doesn't provide many options beyond the trail or Soul Cycle class. It can serve well as an evening option in a ski hut or when back at the beach house for happy hour, but it should be left in both places if venturing to where people may not also be dressed in workout gear. The Mountain Hardwear Canyon and OR Astroman are tough to compete within this category. Overall, there's nothing stylistically unique about this shirt, but a more subtle color would help a little.
Hanes' FreshIQ CoolDRI is worth talking about. The bacteria-stopping material is the real deal, and managed to keep the funk at bay throughout testing. It's no surprise that the company heavily markets a FreshIQ underwear and socks with this technology. The CoolDRI also fulfills its promise, helping the user stay warmer when sweating in cold weather, and vice versa.
As for physical features, the shirt draws a blank. It's a long-sleeve tee lacking even a chest pocket, there's nothing here to be featured outside of its odor-beating, wet-wicking material.
The gym. Hot afternoon runs. Mountain biking. Basically, anything that isn't going to involve extended time under the harsh rays of summer. There are some highlights here, and the fabric has potential, but it's not on the same level with any of the other garments tested in terms of their ability to perform as a serious piece of worn gear.
Hanes sells these shirts in a two pack for $18, and it can be argued that at under $10 each, there is tremendous value in the Hanes CoolDRI. If you're looking for a couple of running shirts to keep in a gym bag or your day-hiking kit, or as a financial alternative to the more expensive options in this rundown, this offers a good value proposition, provided you obey the laundering instructions.
Hanes' FreshIQ CoolDRI long sleeve tee is an affordable and somewhat technical garment. It has a purpose in fitness and casual, around-the-house comfort. It holds little use to a person seeking protection from sun-drenched river miles, desert exploration, or an afternoon on sandstone. If you have $25 burning a hole in your pocket, grab a couple as back-ups and hut shirts. Just don't get them in red.
— Craig Rowe
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