Salomon XA Tee - Women's Review
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Our Analysis and Test Results
Updated with a new crop of colors this season, the XA Tee is designed to blend comfort, durability, and lightweight performance. We are thoroughly impressed with it, and as the perfect daily running shirt, there is no question that this deserves the Editors' Choice award.
The XA Tee is the top scorer for comfort this season for a variety of reasons. First of all, the blend of 89% polyester and 11% elastane creates a stretchy fabric that has a bit softness, something that is often lacking in the cheaper polyester shirts. We love not just the feel, but also the durability of this choice. It doesn't snag easily and feels gentle against the skin. A running shirt isn't something you want to have to be too gentle with since it will get so much use, and with overall high-quality construction including flatlock seams, we're confident this one can hold up.
We also think Salomon nailed it with the fit. Gussets both above and below the sleeve provide great range of motion and mean you don't have to worry about seams rubbing on the tops of the shoulders underneath the straps of a pack.
The sleeves themselves are long enough to give you some coverage from the sun and lay well against the upper arm. The front of the shirt is made up of one panel (connected to the underarm gussets), but the back is made up of two. The way these two panels come together gives the shirt some subtle shaping, letting it be loose enough without being boxy. The body is a perfect length for a running top, with the back hem dipping one inch lower.
The subtle, pinprick-sized holes running in stripes across the XA make it super breathable. Throughout our test runs, we felt like our body temperature regulated well, whether we were in the hot Bishop sun or the cooler weather in Mammoth. We never felt like stripping down to a sports bra mid-run, a definite sign of success for us in this category!
A size small weighed in at 2.93 oz. It's lightness, and the fabric details combined with the not-too-tight fit, lends itself to good, consistent air circulation.
Drying speed is an important metric in our reviews for two reasons. The first is because it affects how cool you stay in hot weather, with faster drying shirts providing a better evaporative cooling effect. It also determines whether or not we recommend a product for your backcountry adventures. Anything that's too slow to dry after a sudden rain shower or heavy sweating in cold weather could leave you in unsafe conditions. The good news is that the XA Tee did great in this category!
After fully soaking this shirt, wringing it dry by hand, and hanging it up on a clothesline, it dried second fastest, less than two minutes behind the front runner. When the results are that close, it's fairly negligible, and we're absolutely satisfied with the drying speed of this shirt. Take a dip in as many alpine lakes as you come across, and enjoy that sweet, sweet evaporative cooling!
Features & Versatility
When it comes to features, there isn't always a lot to say about running shirts. By nature, they're pretty simple pieces of gear! But there are a few details we look for. The XA Tee has one reflective decal — a logo on the chest. It utilizes a Polygiene treatment on the fabric of the shirt, which helps minimize odor by preventing the growth of bacteria. If you've worn cheaper polyester shirts, you know that they can develop a funk that won't wash out no matter how many spin cycles you send it through. We didn't wash the tee after every wear and didn't notice any terrible smells building up, so that odor-fighting technology must be working. (We could lie and say that was just for testing, but let's be honest — sometimes you're going to re-wear running gear, and it's nice when it doesn't stink!) While it doesn't have a specific UPF rating, polyester shirts have a baseline of 15 UPF. So even though this quality hasn't been tested for this shirt, it gives as much protection as other shirts we tested that have an advertised 15 UPF rating.
For versatility, we're looking at how many different scenarios we want to wear a shirt in. Obviously, it should first and foremost be a fantastic running shirt, but when you're spending money on outdoor gear (which can get pretty pricy), it's great when it can have more than one use. Unlike some of the super ultralight shirts we've tried, the durability of this one means we wouldn't hesitate to wear it backpacking, biking, or rock climbing — and we've taken it up slabby granite without any snagging! The flattering fit means we'd wear it in daily life, too, and it'd be a great choice for travel. Since we were still comfortable even when the weather cooled off mid-run, this shirt can perform throughout the seasons, and layers well under jackets.
For its all-around performance and style, we think the Salomon XA is a great value. Functional and cute, it really could be the single running shirt that you own, and you wouldn't be sacrificing any performance. The durability really stood out above some of its more specialized competitors, and not needing to buy a new one as frequently certainly increases its value.
We love this shirt. It's so easy to wear, comfortable across a lot of different scenarios, and a good value for the price. We don't think you can go wrong choosing this light, breathable tee, and whether you prefer roads or trails, we're pretty certain it's going to become your go-to, just like it has for us!
— Paige Klugherz