Columbia Freeze Degree Short Sleeve Crew Review: This Shirt Sucks In Sweat

Columbia's Freeze Degree T-shirt contains a fabric filled with polymers called Omni-Freeze. They act like goosebumps, cooling the skin with tiny rings that swell when they get wet. Innuendo aside, this kind of works.

What Is It?

A T-shirt that cools you down as you get hotter and sweatier. The fabric moves sweat away from moist areas, like the back and underarms. It has an antimicrobial treatment and UPF 50 sun protection.

Who's it For?

Anyone who's always wishing they were cooler than they currently are (temperature-wise).

Design

Slim but not tight. Covered in tiny blue circles. People said it looks futuristic -- in a good way.

Using It

One of Columbia's beta testers said that wearing this thing felt cooler than running with a shirt off. Not true. But this is certainly better than running in a plain cotton t-shirt.

The Best Part

The fabric is soft, slick and stretchy, like a silk-spandex hybrid. It's comfy.

Tragic Flaw

A seam that chafes your shoulders feels like getting a back rub with dental floss.

This Is Weird...

This shirt actually reduces sweating. But there's no cooling effect when the shirt isn't wet.

Test Notes

  • The cooling effect improves when there's a slight breeze.
  • The medium size was a bit loose on a skinny frame.
  • After four runs and 40km, it started reeking noticeably. That's not as good as the greatest t-shirt in the world.
  • No sunburns in California sunshine over 27C. The Omni-Shade works.
  • The wicking back panel evenly distributed sweat, but it didn't send moisture into the Omni-Freeze material. That would have been nice, considering the Omni-Freeze is where the cooling effect comes from.

Should You Buy It?

The cooling effect works pretty well, but it's not as effective as just going shirtless. A wearable air conditioner, this is not. If you're too modest to go bare-chested -- or need extra protection from sunburn -- the $US60 shirt goes on sale early next year.

Columbia Freeze Degree Short Sleeve Crew

Colour: white with blue circles (grey back panel and underarms) Sun protection:UPF 50 Antimicrobial treatment: Yes Price: $US60 (retail) Availability: early 2013

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