Monday, May 23, 2016

SmartWool: PhD® Ultra Light Short Sleeve Review

SmartWool is a company based in Steamboat Springs, Colorado and founded in 1994 by two ski instructors Peter and Patty Duke. The company is well known for using merino wool on their products. Wool is great in moisture wicking, it has an odor reducing and anti-microbial properties not found in other manufacturer’s performance apparels.

Image Credit: SmartWool
I finally had the chance to lay my hands on this beauty. The PhD® Ultra Light Short Sleeve came in few days before my race. Now the drooling is over:-). Sadly, I never had the chance to test it out first on my training runs and I decided to just go ahead and use this on the actual race. I know, I’m guilty in violating one of the rules in running; “don’t race with a new gear”. Yeah, I thought about that, but the Capital City Classic race was only 10 miles anyhow and if something bad happens…well, it will be a lesson learned for me.

Body: 56% Merino Wool, 44% Polyester
Mesh: 54% Merino Wool, 46% Polyester

    Semi-Form Fit.
    Thoughtfully designed raglan sleeves remove underarm and shoulder seams.
    Flatlock seam construction designed to eliminate chafing.
    Gender-specific body-mapped mesh panels for additional breathability and moisture management.

Fit and Functionality
When I opened the package, I was amazed how light the material was. There was no doubt that this was built for high intensity workouts and geared for maximum wicking. Back in yesteryears, we always associate wool with “itch” and that was a fair assumption. However, that is no longer the case with today’s new technology. It was super comfy and airy when I ran with it during the Capital City Classic in Sacramento last weekend (you can read my race recap here). I sweat a lot during that race but never did I experience the shirt sticking to my body, unlike some other running shirts I have in my collection. It allows my body to cool off even on that hot day, thanks to the mesh panels that were strategically placed at the back and at the arm pit area, that helps the air to circulate in and out of my body. One added feature is the polyester blend in the material, it gives the shirt enough stretch and "semi hugging" the body, this helps in recovery and quicker dry time than merino alone. Like other companies, SmartWool wants us to be safe, they added 360° reflective materials to increase our visibility during low light conditions.

My Verdict
The PhD® Ultra Light Short Sleeve is built for performance in the highest degree. It is ultra-light and provides maximum breathability and wicks moisture fast away from my body. I tested this several times after my race and it never disappoints. True to what they advertised, there is no hype on this shirt. It is simply amazing!

The only drawback that I can say is the price, a whopping $70 for this shirt. This will surely put a ding in your wallet. Realistically, it’s above the normal price range of $40-$50 for this kind of shirt. However, the material is the driving factor for this price, merino wool is not cheap. So be the judge if this is for you, $70 can buy you a short and a shirt (depending on the brand of course) but you have to look at performance and quality as well, which makes this shirt stands out from the rest.

You can purchase the PhD® Ultra Light Short Sleeve directly on SmartWool website or at retail stores near you. SmartWool stands behind their product and guarantees 100% satisfaction. If for any reason you’re not satisfied with your SmartWool® product, you can return it to them within two years of purchase and they'll make it right for you. 

Thanks for reading and as always have fun but be safe.

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