We have a confession to make: we were really excited to try out the Arc'teryx Taema. Here at OutdoorGearLab, we strive to be as objective and neutral as possible, but as we set out to find the best products on the market, we can't help but make predictions. That being said, we were a bit stumped by the Taema, and after weeks of testing our testers were pretty disappointed. Though lightweight and quick to dry, the fit on the Taema was enough to cast it out completely. The one redeeming quality of this shirt was its UPF 50+ sun protection rating, but even that wasn't enough to make up for the horrible chafing that ensued from this shirt's awkward design.
Arc'teryx Taema Crew Review
Compare prices at 3 resellers Pros: Breathable, UPF 50+ rating
Cons: Expensive, uncomfortable, poor fit
Our Analysis and Test Results
After months of rigorous testing, we're sad to report that we were pretty disappointed in the Taema. Despite a quick drying speed and solid breathability, we found that the manufacturer may have been too focused on performance and not enough on comfort. With an awkward, ill-fitting design that chafed and rubbed us during even short runs, this product fell to the back burner.
Comfort is a gigantic category and one that our testers take very seriously. We've found, in our years of testing top-of-the-line equipment, that if something isn't comfortable, we're just not very likely to use it. No matter how performance-oriented a product is, any truly uncomfortable product is going to be left in the back of the closet. And with running shirts, this is especially true. We spend hours and hours on end in these shirts, and so while a top may seem great when we put it on, that doesn't mean it will continue to be after prolonged use.
Right away, we noticed a few things about the Taema that we didn't love. First was the material. Though light and airy, its synthetic construction is much less soft and stretchy than some of its competitors'. It certainly doesn't hold a candle to our ultra-soft Patagonia Windchaser or the luxurious Nike Dri-FIT Tailwind.
The second thing we noticed was the fit. Our main tester does have a bit of an athletic built, but with average sized shoulders and arms, she was surprised to find how tight the sleeves were. It seems as if Arc'teryx was aiming for a more feminine fit with the tapered sleeve, but what they got was a very uncomfortable shirt that caused significant chafing. After an hour in this shirt, we had rashes under our arms, something we didn't experience with any of the other shirts in this review.
While the sleeves were the worst part, the rest of the fit is awkward as well. With a tapered torso, we couldn't achieve the range of motion we would have liked to see. Not all the shirts in this review have tons of stretch, but this was the only one that really restricted us. And while there were no seams on top of the shoulders, there were so many seams on this shirt that we were worried about the potential for more sore spots.
There are two factors that 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 Taema.
The fabric of this shirt is definitely one of the more breathable that we tested. Like the Windchaser, even when we dunked it in a bucket of water, we could see the shirt resisting the water. For hot weather, the Taema performs excellently. This is without a doubt one of the redeeming qualities of this product.
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 Taema was definitely one of the fastest to dry. Out of the nine products we tested for this review, the Taema was tied for second place with the Brooks Distance, both coming in quite a ways behind the Patagonia Windchaser. We found that weight is very closely correlated to drying time, so these results came as no surprise.
Features & Versatility
One of the greatest parts of the Taema, and a feature that helps it stand out amongst the competition is its UPF 50+ rating. As one of only two shirts with this rating, the other being the Marmot All-Around at UPF 30, the Taema continues to market itself as a solid choice for hot, sunny weather. This product lacks in reflective logos and specifically-designed odor control, however, two factors we would love to see in any running-specific product.
While these qualities describe how well a shirt is suited to running, we also wanted to know how each shirt could stand up to other activities. The same factors that make it well suited for warm, sunny weather would serve to make for a decent hiking or climbing shirt, except for the fit. The lack of stretch and very tight shoulders eliminate this product as a possible contender for a great baselayer.
With a fast drying time, great breathability, and strong sun protection, the Taema puts itself in the running (no pun intended) for a solid hot weather running shirt. That being said, the poorly fitting design is enough to outweigh all of these qualities. The underarm chafing is a deal breaker for both running and any other very active outdoor activity.
With a retail price of $65, the Taema is one of the most expensive shirts that we tested. Value was hard to measure in this review, since our top scoring Editors' Choice Award winner, the Patagonia Windchaser was one of the most expensive, but our Best Buy Award winner, the North Face Reaxion Amp, was an excellent shirt at a fraction of the cost. All that being said, there's no reason to pay so much to be uncomfortable. Breathability doesn't mean a thing once chafing sets in.
If it weren't for the fit, the Arc'teryx Taema would be a real contender. With awesome breathability, a fast drying time, and UPF 50+ sun protection, we really wanted to love this shirt. However, the tight sleeves and ensuing underarm chafing won out, helping to earn the Taema one of the lowest scores of any we tested in this review.
— Lauren DeLaunay