The new Arc'teryx Motus is an exciting addition to the technical running apparel lineup, and its high score is proof of its excellent all-around performance. The material is comfortable and stretchy, with a great fit that is both flattering and athletic. With exceptional breathability and a quick drying time, this shirt was clearly designed with performance in mind. It's a bit heavier than some of the other products in this review, and some of the testers found the sleeves to be too snug. While we didn't give it one of our awards, we do think that this is a great shirt that can handle whatever you throw at it.
Arc'teryx Motus Crew SS - Women's Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Breathable, sun protection
Cons: Expensive, problems with fit
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Motus is a great technical piece that's light and quick to dry, and we found the fabric to be quite comfortable.
Despite not excelling in any one category, the Motus' high total score illuminates why it's still one of our favorite tops.
Comfort comes in many shapes and sizes, but we found the overall fit of a shirt to be particularly performance-driven in the running world. Ill-fitting clothing can cause rashes, chafing, and irritation that can disrupt performance when it matters most. For this category, we looked at material texture, seams, stretch, and fit to determine a shirt's overall comfort score.
The Motus is one of the softest shirts in this review, after the Patagonia Airchaser and Brooks Distance. Its material texture is similar to that of the The North Face Reaxion Amp, but its stretch earned it a slightly higher score. With flatlock seams that reduce the risk of chafing, especially on the shoulders where pack straps could rub, the Motus earned bonus points.
Our testing team was split on the Motus' fit, however. The neckline is a little high but not constricting, and the arm openings are pretty tight. While some found that this helped keep them in place and eliminate rubbing, others found the fit uncomfortable and bothersome. We'd recommend trying this shirt on before purchasing to make sure that the neckline and arm openings work for you. We all agreed that the shirt's longer back length was a great addition to the fit and that the torso struck a flattering balance between athletic and feminine.
Two factors contribute to our overall dryness: breathability and drying time. In this metric, we test how well each shirt guarded us against moisture accumulation. We hit the trails and worked up a sweat, and we were very impressed with the Motus.
This shirt's polyester construction was considerably more breathable than some of its competitors. While not as light and airy as the ultralight Patagonia Airchaser, this shirt did an above-average job at keeping air flowing during our hardest workouts. While the Motus does not contain any ventilation that could have promoted extra airflow to the back or underarms, the material was one of the most breathable overall.
The second factor that keeps us feeling dry and fresh during our workouts is drying time. While breathability tells us how well a shirt will resist sweat or moisture buildup, drying time tells us how quickly that moisture will go away. To test this, we soaked each shirt in a bucket of water and hung them out to dry side-by-side.
The Motus was one of the fastest to dry. Out of the seven products we tested for this review, the Motus was tied for second place with the Brooks Distance, both coming in quite a ways behind the Patagonia Airchaser. We found that weight is very closely correlated to drying time, so these results came as no surprise.
Features & Versatility
For this review, our testing team knew that a running shirt is not just any old base layer or t-shirt. We wanted to know what made each of these products a running shirt, but we also wanted to award versatility. For this category, we tried to figure out the ideal location for each product and what type of activity they excelled in.
The Motus has one trait that helped it stand out among the pack: a UPF sun protection rating! We can't believe more running shirts don't have this rating, and it earned the Motus mega points in this category. We also appreciated this shirt's three reflective logos but were disappointed that none were located on the back.
With a fast drying time, great breathability, and strong sun protection, the Motus puts itself in the running (no pun intended) for an excellent hot weather running shirt. The fit may be a deal breaker to some, and the price tag is enough to dissuade many runners.
A retail price of $69 makes the Motus one of the most expensive short-sleeve shirts in this review. If UPF protection is key to your success, we might think that this shirt is worth the investment. That being said, the Airchaser is a much more affordable shirt that is both more breathable and more comfortable, and we'd likely spend our money there.
The Arc'teryx Motus is one of the highest scorers in this review, but there are a few reasons why it didn't win an award. We had some issues with the fit, notably in the sleeves and collar, and the material was a bit heavy compared to our Editors' Choice Award winner. It does, however, have great sun protection, a comfy material, and a quick-drying construction that make it a good choice for hot weather.
— Lauren DeLaunay