Marmot Aero - Women's Review
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Marmot Aero is a comfortable, breathable top with exceptional value. Its rear mesh panel, athletic fit, and stretchy material make it a bargain at just $35.
We're happy to award the Aero our Best Buy Award. Its high score overall made it one of our favorite tops, and its affordable price made it an easy choice for this bargain nomination.
A lot goes into making a shirt comfortable. The fit, fabrics, and seams are three factors that contribute greatly to the overall feel of a running shirt, and the Aero excels in all of them. We wore this shirt everywhere we went, loaning it out to friends and fellow runners to get their feedback as well. There was unanimous agreement that this shirt's comfort score is well above average.
The Aero is constructed of 90% polyester and 10% elastane jersey, which no doubt gives it the comfortable stretch not found in 100% polyester garments like the The North Face Reaxion Amp. Our testers loved the way this material felt on our skin and found it to be one of the softest shirts in this review. We did find the sleeves on this shirt to be a bit short and tight, but the stretch really helped balance this out, unlike the sleeves of the Arc'teryx Motus. That being said, the jersey material in this shirt is prone to pilling, a sad circumstance we witnessed after just a few wears.
We greatly appreciate the flatlock seams in this shirt which reduce bulk and the possibility of chafing; the Reaxion, unfortunately, has overlock seams and a higher chance of rubbing. The Aero's seams are located on the top of the shoulder. We'd prefer that they were moved down the back to prevent rubbing when wearing a pack or hydration vest.
There are many ways to test a shirt's breathability. Our favorite is running uphill as fast as possible and then judging the moisture level in the shirt! While drying time, which we'll touch on below, tells us how quickly a shirt dries once it's gotten wet, breathability tells us how well a garment promotes airflow and prevents moisture buildup in the first place.
The Aero is a surprisingly breathable shirt given its weight, and our review team loved the back mesh panel on this shirt that provides airflow where we need it most. It would have been nice to see this mesh panels under the arms as well, but this one panel is more than any of the other shirts in the Aero's price range. The Reaxion and Motus, by contrast, have just one continuous material.
Sometimes you really work up a sweat, leaving your shirt saturated in moisture. This wetness can lead to cold, clammy discomfort and can be downright dangerous if you're in the backcountry while the temperatures are plummeting or the wind is picking up.
To test for drying time, we soaked each shirt and water and hung them up side-by-side to see how long it took them to dry. The Marmot Aero was a bit slower than some of the lighter shirts, but it did dry faster than the comparably soft cotton-blended Nike Tailwind.
Features & Versatility
For many athletes, there's no clear distinction between a running shirt, a base layer, or a t-shirt. We tend to use whatever we've got, or, just as likely, whatever's clean. For this review, however, our testing team wanted to find the best shirts that were truly made for running. We identified a few running-specific features, like visibility for running at night, odor control, and sun protection. We judged each shirt by its inclusion or exclusion of these features. At the same time, we know that money and space are limited for many of our readers, so we also found it important that each shirt has some versatility. Even if it's chock-full of running features, can it work at the gym, in the backcountry, or for casual wear?
The Marmot Aero has two small reflective logos, one on the front and one on the back. We really like visibility on the back to protect us from cars while running in the dark. Some shirts that we tested, like the Arc'teryx Motus, have many reflective logos, but not in the places that matter to us most. The Aero does not have the UPF sun protection of the Motus, however; we wish that more shirts in this review took sun protection into account in their design process.
As far as versatility goes, the Aero excels in this metric. The stretchy material is great for all sorts of activities, from climbing to lifting to yoga. We found the fit snug yet comfortable enough to fit well under layers as well. With such excellent breathability, this was also one of our go-to shirts for backpacking or hiking, as the rear mesh panel helped keep us cool no matter where we were headed.
Our testing team found a lot of great uses for the Aero, which is one of the reasons we were stoked to award this shirt our Best Buy Award. Its stretchy, polyester-elastane blend is super comfortable, and its breathable fabric made it an awesome base layer for any adventure.
Here at OutdoorGearLab, we consider "value" to be the intersection of performance and price. We want to know how well a product performs compared to other products in its price range as well as the best performers on the market. While the Aero wasn't as breathable or quick-to-dry as the Editors' Choice Award-winning Patagonia Airchaser, it's also significantly cheaper. We awarded the Aero our Best Buy Award because of how well it performs compared to other shirts its price. In addition, its high score overall challenges the importance of shelling out megabucks for the more expensive Top Pick.
We added a bunch of new shirts to this review in 2019 and the Marmot Aero was one of them. As one of the most affordable products we tested, we were immediately impressed by its comfortable fit and stretchy material. The back mesh panel added great breathability, and it dried just as quickly as other shirts in its price range. We are happy to award it our Best Buy Award and find it to be an excellent way to spend $35, whether you're heading on a multi-day fastpacking mission or for a quick workout on the track.
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