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REI Co-op Silk V-Neck Review

A super cute silk base layer that requires care
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Price:  $50 List | $49.95 at REI
Pros:  Excellent wicking power, breathable, super cute design, comfortable fabrics against the skin
Cons:  Poor durability, requires specific maintenance, see-through with lighter colors
Manufacturer:   REI Co-op
By Amber King ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  May 14, 2020
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57
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#12 of 12
  • Warmth - 25% 2
  • Breathability - 25% 9
  • Comfort and Fit - 20% 5
  • Layering Ability - 20% 8
  • Durability - 10% 3

Our Verdict

The REI Co-op Silk V-Neck is a long sleeve base layer that provides superior wicking power and breathability. The delicate design features a V-neck collar with lots of detail. It offers excellent ventilation while running in cool temperatures and taking the dog for a walk in early Spring. Unfortunately, it's not very warm and the fabrics aren't very durable. Expect to follow strict maintenance instructions and avoid snagging it while hiking. It's also sheer so a nude cami underneath is recommended when wearing it on its own. While it offers a relatively low price tag, its value lives only with women that love the benefits of silk or want a super cute v-neck base layer for warmer temps.


Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

The REI Silk V-neck top is a delicate silk layer that offers incredible wicking power and style to your outdoor wardrobe. As a layer designed purely to wick away moisture, it doesn't boast the best warmth. We love the V-neck design and details. While it's highly functional for outdoor recreation, it lacks durability. If you're not a fan of polyester or merino wool, this silk top may be exactly what you seek. Just know it comes with work to maintain the delicate fabrics that easily snag and pill.

Performance Comparison


The REI Silk V-neck is cute and breathable. It showed strong performance on all our runs but wasn't one we typically reached for in colder weather.
The REI Silk V-neck is cute and breathable. It showed strong performance on all our runs but wasn't one we typically reached for in colder weather.

Warmth


Silk fabrics are designed to wick away moisture from the skin without adding any additional insulation. The only warmth that comes from a silk shirt is in the form of staying dry. So, it's far from warm. The V-neck also provides less protection than a traditional base layer collar and yield less warmth as well. It's a great choice for the Spring, Fall, and Summer, but for winter running, we'd go for something a little warmer. It can easily be layered under a very well insulating fleece or super warm jacket in the winter to keep it functional throughout the seasons.

The materials are quite thin but exceptionally breathable. Don't expect it to provide much warmth in the form of insulation  but it will keep you dry.
The materials are quite thin but exceptionally breathable. Don't expect it to provide much warmth in the form of insulation, but it will keep you dry.

Breathability


This super thin silk top is one of the lightest tested (2.4 oz). There's very little material to it, making it highly breathable. It'll function well as a summer cover layer (though it doesn't have any UPF protection) for running, lounging, or doing yoga. It features several channels through the fabric that allows it to vent. Unfortunately, because of its super thin design, it's also very see-through. We wear a tank top underneath whenever wearing it on its own. If you do buy it, see if there are darker colors available so its sheer make-up isn't a problem.

Here we test the breathability while running up the Horsethief Trail in Ouray. It gains 4 000 ft in just 5 miles. While this sweat inspiring run got our temps up  this top kept us dry.
Here we test the breathability while running up the Horsethief Trail in Ouray. It gains 4,000 ft in just 5 miles. While this sweat inspiring run got our temps up, this top kept us dry.

Comfort and Fit


This top features a looser fit that is quite flattering. The seemingly lightweight fabrics have a density that allows the material to hang comfortably off the body. The fit is best for women that are medium to short. The fit can shrink if you don't follow let it hang to dry while laundering.

The fit feels a tiny bit short in the arms and torso.
The fit feels a tiny bit short in the arms and torso.

The V-neck scoop is flattering and makes it an easier fit for bustier women. Taller women may find the torso and arms short in length. The materials are smooth and soft against the skin and a classic alternative if you're not keen on polyester or merino wool. Know that the fabrics feel "cool" against the skin and aren't the coziest, especially in cold weather. We'd also be more comfortable in this top if it wasn't so see-through.

The fabrics aren't super mobile or stretchy and tend to rise up with the arms. We didn't have any issues with bunching when wearing on its own  but in a layered system  this can be an issue.
The fabrics aren't super mobile or stretchy and tend to rise up with the arms. We didn't have any issues with bunching when wearing on its own, but in a layered system, this can be an issue.

Layering Ability


The fit is loose but also hugs the body. You can easily pull a shirt on underneath this top. Tighter fitting fleeces or mid layers might present a problem as a result of the looser fabrics on the arms that cause bunching. The shirt also rides up a bit under tighter fitting layers. As a result, it's best if your fleece or mid-layer is looser to make it work in a layered system.

This top looks nice underneath a cardigan or fleece jacket. The loose arm fabric does sadly bunch under tighter fitting mid-layers and rides up in a layered system.
This top looks nice underneath a cardigan or fleece jacket. The loose arm fabric does sadly bunch under tighter fitting mid-layers and rides up in a layered system.

Durability


Silk is a nice material against the skin but it requires delicate handling, care, and maintenance. In the month or so of testing, we took it running and hiking. We layered it underneath running packs, backpacks, and puffy vests. After just a few washes (following care instructions) we notice a lot of pilling, some marks of abrasion (from bush snags), and dirt that's been ground into the fabrics. After just a month of use, it's taken quite a beating, which speaks to its lack of durability. If you're a careful woman that takes care of her clothing, this layer may work for you. But those that don't like to read washing instructions and prefer bushwacking to the trail, this top will break down quickly. It also smells after each wash, so make sure you clean it after each use.

On the arm  observe tufts of fabric that have been pulled up as a result of abrasion from bushes and snags. This top proved to be less durable for wear on its own.
On the arm, observe tufts of fabric that have been pulled up as a result of abrasion from bushes and snags. This top proved to be less durable for wear on its own.

Value


The price on this top is relatively low which offers a great value to silk base layer lovers. Since its durability is quite lackluster, those that aren't especially attached to silk will find a better value in Merino wool or synthetic contenders that cost the same, or a little bit more.

This top is just at home in a layered system on its own. Just know it's see-through and isn't the most durable.
This top is just at home in a layered system on its own. Just know it's see-through and isn't the most durable.

Conclusion


The REI Co-op Silkweight V-Neck base layer top that is delicate, breathable, and super cute. It's best for ladies that prefer silk to any other material to sit next to their skin. While the price is low, the durability doesn't hold up, even after just one month of hard testing. Its best for those committed to its proper care and use to ensure its longevity.

Mr. Jack enjoys a good ear rub while we take a break from running while wearing the Silk V-Neck top.
Mr. Jack enjoys a good ear rub while we take a break from running while wearing the Silk V-Neck top.


Amber King