Don’t get me wrong; I’m stoked to have a Gore-Tex jacket during July monsoon season in New Mexico. And sleek, aero bike jerseys are helpful on long rides. But for most other summer outings, a good-old T-shirt is all I really need. Here are six of my favorites.
Flint and Tinder Heavyweight ($35)
Most cotton T-shirts fall apart after a year, or even just a couple of months of constant use. Not so with the Heavyweight. Made from cotton grown in Mississippi and spun in North Carolina, this thicker-than-normal tee will put up with multiple seasons of abuse and look good doing it. Don’t take it trail running, but hiking and beer drinking are squarely in its wheelhouse.
Myles Apparel Momentum ($50)
There’s no better shirt for summer bike commuting. Built from Polartec Power Dry fabric, the Momentum moves moisture off your body faster than anything else out there so you’re dry when you get to work. It also uses odor-fighting Polygiene so it won’t stink to high hell in your commuter bag. Bonus: Even though the Momentum is made from synthetic materials, Myles built it to feel more like buttery cotton.
Mollusk Hemp Stripe Tee ($45)
Simple black stripes give this hemp and cotton T-shirt a healthy dose of character, making it the perfect weekend accessory. Wear it to the barbeque, then dominate that pick-up game of ultimate frisbee. Made by Mollusk, a California surf shop, it’s pre-shrunk and yarn-died so it will never change size and the stripes will never fade.
Patagonia Work Pocket ($40)
Leave it to Patagonia to pack all kinds of environmental and social good into a simple T-shirt. The Work Tee is built from hemp, which requires no irrigation and uses no pesticides or synthetic fertilizers, as well as chemical-free organic cotton. And it’s also Fair Trade Certified, so the manufacturers have a higher living wage and better working environment. As a shirt, the Work Tee is tough-as-nails and comes in several fun colors.
Trew Superlight NuYarn Merino Pocket ($70)
This is the most expensive shirt on my list, but that’s because it’s made from NuYarn, or wool wrapped around a nylon core. That construction gives NuYarn significantly more strength and stretch than typical merino. As a result, Trew was able to make the Pocket T paper thin and ultra-breathable, but just as strong as any other T-shirt out there.
Fjallraven Ovik Pocket ($40)
Fjallraven has a long history with cotton and lots of product expertise, all of which helped it nail the Ovik. Most importantly, this is one of the softest cotton tees I’ve ever worn that can handle adventure too. And it stands out thanks to style elements like the company logo on the pocket and the Swedish flag on the side.