Surprisingly, the best moisture wicking base layer shirt to keep you cool, dry and odour free this Summer is not made by an athletic company
By Suresh Madhavan 221B Tactical
If you're reading this it means that you, like so many, have come to the realisation that moisture wicking compression shirts designed by popular athletic companies DO NOT WORK for those wearing them beneath body armour or athletic pads. But wait, how come these shirts cost so much money? And if they are made by athletic companies, how come they don't work when worn beneath football, hockey or lacrosse pads? Well the answer is simple and straightforward.
Before we continue, let's see if I can guess what you've experienced. You purchased this fancy, moisture wicking shirt that has a compression fit so you look like a Marvel Avengers superhero in it. It had a fancy name on the tag like "Heat Gear" or "Dri-Fit" so you were doubly sure it was the answer to your prayers. Upon putting it on, you even felt a bit superhero-ish. Then, you put your body armour or sports pads and uniform on and get out there in the heat. And that's when it happens...
As you're on duty or on the field, you realise that you are sweating and that you can actually feel the moist shirt sticking to your skin. On occasion, if possible, you actually reach in and touch your shirt to confirm the dampness that you are experiencing. But how can this be? This shirt is supposed to be keeping you cool and dry. Instead you're hot, wet and stinky.
Finally the time comes for you to take your gear off. You can't wait. You get to the locker room, take your uniform off, rip your body armour or shoulder pads off and look down at your shirt. It's SOAKED. Not only is it soaked, it smells and is stuck to your body. Now, you literally have to peel this sweat soaked shirt off your body. But that's not the worst of it. After peeling your shirt off you reach down and touch your skin. It's clammy and itchy. What the....?? How could this be? You paid top dollar for this "moisture wicking" shirt with all the fancy names and graphics on the label. But wait...it gets worse.
You reach over and pick up your body armour or athletic pads and realise they're soaked in sweat. Soaked! And you know what this is going to lead to, right? ODOUR. Why? Because you can't exactly just throw body armour or shoulder pads in the washing machine. Body armour must be separated and removed from its carrier. Most football, hockey and lacrosse shoulder pads don't even give you this option so you're left with having to spray them down with febreeze or lysol.
Unfortunately drenching your body armour or sports pads with these chemicals is like putting a band aid on a bullet wound. You're not helping the problem...you're just masking it with the hopes that it will go away. The dangerous, odour causing bacteria is STILL THERE waiting to seep into your skin and cause a skin infection. Not to mention the fact that your skin and body will be absorbing all the chemicals from those sprays the next time you put your body armour or pads on.
But back to the question at hand; how did this happen? How do you end up like this after having paid good money for a shirt that is supposed to "wick moisture" and keep you cool and dry? I'll tell you how...they didn't tell you the whole story!
You see, these shirts can and do "wick moisture" away from your skin when you sweat. That part is true. Moisture is wicked away from your skin, through the material of the shirt and released into the atmosphere through evaporation. This, in theory, is how you stay cooler and drier. However, the part they don't tell you is that you cannot wear ANYTHING AT ALL on top of these shirts (e.g. body armour and sports shoulder pads). Doing so COMPLETELY negates the shirts ability to wick the moisture (your perspiration) into the atmosphere. Instead, your sweat is wicked directly INTO your body armour or pads making them soaked and stink to high heaven.
When I tell this to people they are, at first, a bit perplexed. But then when they take a minute to think about it, it makes perfect sense. In essence, when you see NFL football players running around on the field during pre-game warm ups with shorts and their moisture wicking compression shirts on, THAT is how these shirts are meant to be worn. Open and exposed to the atmosphere. The second they go into the locker room and put their shoulder pads and uniform on, it's game over...for the moisture wicking shirt that is.
So, now that you understand how these shirts REALLY work and why they don't work for millions of Police Officers, soldiers and athletes around the world, you might be asking yourself one question, "so what DOES work?" And THAT is the question I asked which lead to the development of the Maxx-Dri Vest and Maxx-Dri Silver Elite T-Shirt. You see, figuring out what needed to be done was simple. Actually making it happen was the challenging part. But in the end, what I was able to develop with my partners and our design team changed the lives of First Responders and athletes around the world. Funny to think that the best moisture wicking base layer to keep you cool, dry and odour free was designed by a cop and not some geek in a lab somewhere.
If you've ever suffered with smelly, itchy, sweat-soaked t-shirts that could lead to foul odour and dangerous skin infections, take a minute to click the links below to see how these new innovations could change your life.