For the past few days, I have been running in the Duckworth Vapor Tee, both indoors and outdoors, to fully test it out. Duckworth is known for sourcing all of their wool from their very own ranch in Montana. This gives them better control over the quality throughout the production lifecycle and allows them to produce a wool that is truly one of a kind. The Vapor tee is a blend performance tee made of 38% wool, 50% recycled polyester, and 12% modal. It is in their lightweight line of shirts and is meant as a summer wool shirt, although my experiences found that this would also be great (if not better) for Spring and Fall too.
Price: $60 at duckworthco.com
The neutral, earth tone colors keep the look simple and straight forward. This resonates with me and most trail runners I know that typically prefer something a little less flashy. Asides from running, it also makes for a great every day t-shirt as well.
Fit and Feel
I normally wear a medium shirt, so I got a medium in the Vapor tee as well. It seemed to fit true to size on me. As an average build runner, I did not find it to be too restrictive any of the key areas, such as the neck and shoulders; in fact, it felt comfortably loose all around. If you have a more of a muscular build, it may fit a bit tighter in some areas, but the material is stretchy enough that I imagine it still wouldn’t feel too restrictive. For most people, I would say that sizing up wouldn’t be necessary.
As for feel, this was one of the more comfortable wool-based shirts I have ever worn. I always worry about wool being a little scratchy, particularly while I am running. I also get concerned that it will start chaffing when it gets wet. That was not my experience at all with this shirt…it felt great. It seems to me that the blended composition of the shirt provides that softer feel without sacrificing the beneficial properties of the wool.
The wool itself has some key benefits, such as being anti-microbial as well as the natural warmth. When blended with the polyester and modal fabrics, it also provides fast-wicking/ultra dry properties along with a cooling effect. The end result is a shirt that does not get wet and heavy and can act in a warming or cooling manner to help keep your core temperature stable.
I purposely ran in it for several days in a row without washing it to test the advertised anti-microbial properties (willing to do whatever it takes to bring you a complete review). I was curious, as a blended fabric shirt, if it would lose any of those benefits from the wool. During this time, I wore it and stuffed it into a duffel bag in between runs to maximize the stink potential. For the record, I would classify myself as an average sweater…not too wet, but not completely dry either. After three runs across four days, I only had a very faint smell in the arm pit area, but other than that, it remained remarkably fresh. I don’t imagine that most of us will reuse a shirt without washing it more than a couple times, but this is a great property nonetheless and certainly much better than other shirt materials that usually cause me to recoil from the resulting stench after a single run.
As far as temperature, I ran in it in temps ranging from 45 F to 80F. In no instance did I feel particularly cold or hot. At the start of my runs when it was cold, it kept me quite warm so that I wasn’t shivering. Once I got going and my core temp increased, it didn’t make me overly hot in the least. The other fabrics in the blend are said to produce a cooling effect when it gets wet from sweating. While I can’t say that it produced any significant cooling effect, what I can say is that it didn’t add heat and did a great job at keeping my body temp stable, which is much more important to me.
While the price may scare many people away, you have to remember that you are getting probably the highest quality wool shirt on the market made from a tightly controlled population of Montana sheep and assembled here in the U.S. In other words…top quality all around! While I don’t envision running out and replacing my entire closet with these, I will likely grab one or two more and probably stash one in the back of my car for emergencies too.
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