The Greatest T-Shirt In The World

When you think about wool, you probably conjure up images of warm sweaters, scratchy socks or bald sheep. But certainly not a breezy, lightweight T-shirt, right? Change the way you think. This is the greatest T-shirt in the history of the world.

How can I possibly be qualified to make such a sweeping statement? I am obsessed with T-shirts. I have hundreds. They make up the overwhelming bulk of what I wear. Vintage shirts, technical fabric shirts, designer shirts, you name it.

I stole my first T-shirt at age 10. That's right, I stole it. I stole it from my sister's friend when she was over at our house for a sleepover. It was an already-worn-out Harvard shirt, and it beckoned to me like foil calls a crow. I had to have it. That article of clothing instilled in me a driving desire to attend Harvard -- the secret singular academic focus of my high school career. I did not get into Harvard. Yes, Karma is a nasty, nasty vindictive bitch.

The shirt had a pair of moth-bite holes in it right over my left nipple. Eventually, they became one hole. I didn't care. The shirt was so comfortable that I wore it for more than a decade before someone mistook it for a rag, cut it up, and used it to clean the shower. I was heartbroken, but I moved on. Filling its place required two shirts: a vintage yellow Sun Records tee (the collar separated from the rest of that shirt last year) and a birthday party-favor Hanes job with a 13-ball over the left breast: almost an homage to Harvard shirt's nipple holes. You can read a newspaper through that thing now. I rarely wear it anymore because of this new hotness.

It's called the Tech T, and it's by Icebreaker, a New Zealand company that makes sporty clothing out of Merino wool. Merino is a kind of sheep that lives in Southern New Zealand. To deal with the hot summers and cold winters, the animal's coat changes with the seasons, the wool becoming lighter in the hot summers and thicker in the winter. The Tech T is made out of the thin stuff, but it's still awesome across a range of temperatures. I've worn it over the world -- from sticky triple-digit Bangkok days to brisk New Hampshire evenings to downright cold British nights. It is always comfortable. I think it is magic.

OK, it's not magic. It's that badass sheep again. The fibres of the merino's fleece have a couple layers to them: a hydrophilic layer on the outside that can hold up to 35 per cent of its weight in water, and a hydrophobic core that keeps the wool from getting waterlogged. The result is a material that soaks up just enough moisture to keep you dry, but never becomes sodden itself. These same physical characteristics make the Tech T dry super fast -- quicker even than many synthetic technical fabric shirts. Another bonus: The fabric is remarkably resistant to stink. How much better can it get?

Now comes the bummer: this thing retails for around $90. Sigh. I'm compensating for that by wearing it every day.


    The description of the mighty Merino as "a kind of sheep that lives in New Zealand" is hilarious in its remarkably inaccuracy.

      I was reading that too and thinking. Isnt this an Australian Version of the site. Wouldnt they correct articles for Aust. Merinos where the first Sheep in Australia.

        They were from Spain before they were from Australia.

          He said the first sheep in Australia, not that they came from Australia =/

          probably. but it doesn't change the fact that they were "the first sheep IN Australia."

          They sure were. Which still isn't Southern New Zealand.

      But the Merino is a kind of sheep that lives in southern New Zealand.

    I get Merino shirts for cycle riding from another nz company. Yes they certainly are awesome for exactl the reason you mentioned. I cannot recommend them highly enough.

    um you've been able to buy Merino wool t-shirts for a while now and right here in Australia from most outdoor adventure stores. Not sure if they use the same tech to make them or not but yeah there not cheap.

    what i find disturbing is you stole a tshirt from a girl

      Way to perpetuate sexist stereotypes, wishywashy. Why is it disturbing that he stole it from a girl? Because boys wanting to wear girls clothing is wrong? Why? Why is it that girls can wear boys clothing, and it's not frowned upon, but a boy wearing girls clothing is seen as degrading? Men shouldn't be ashamed to dress like a woman, because being a woman isn't shameful, in the same way that women aren't ashamed to dress like men, because being a man isn't shameful.

      Boys should be able to walk down the street wearing a dress or skirt or whatever they want, in the same way that girls can wear trousers and shorts. Saying that it's is weird is just perpetuating gender bias and sexism.

      But on the t-shirt note, I have a few of these, and they're awesome. I wore them exclusively during a 7-month trip around the world (I only had 4 t-shirts the whole time), and they're still going strong 3 years later. And they never smelled, even after I wore them for weeks at a time on the road!

        It is disturbing to a lot of men of a man wanting to wear women's clothes, in the same way that it was (and sometimes still is to some people) the idea of same sex attraction. It is just a concept that men don't understand. Why wear females clothing, when the appropriate, similar, MALE clothing already exists. Bear in mind, this article is not about wearing dresses, but stealing a t-shirt designed for a girl, whom (i'm sure you've noticed) have a different body shape, and it is not necessary for a guy to wear. Before you make scathing remarks, take into context the remark you are claiming to be sexist: It has nothing to do with dresses and skirts, its not sexist. It's merely noting that its weird to steal a girls t-shirt, when he could simply have stolen or purchased the male version of the same shirt.

    They are great shirts. Howvever when you do sweat in the the sweat really stands out.

    I used to be a T-shirt fanatic. Then I got fat. Fat men in Ts is not a good look.

    My missus has bought me some great T's at my old size with the hope that I'll get back there. Maybe I will one day.

    ...and IceBreaker merino wool boxers - Yep merino underwear - best ever!!!!

    I've been wearing these Ice Breaker t-shirts for a couple of years now and they're great. My only complaint is that they've consistently worn out quite quickly, developing holes (not moth eaten) above the bottom hem. I was speaking with the staff at my local Mountain Design store and they said the issue was not uncommon.

    Besides the fragility, marino wool makes for great textiles.

    The big benefit is also no, or little smell. I have been on camping trips for a week, no showers, and the tshirts smells fine. I mean, relatively speaking, fine..the usual under arm BO doesnt get absorbed into the wool fiber.

    On the down side, they are fragile, and tend to get holes for no real reason...

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