I am huge fan of Patagonia’s Capilene products. I love that the material is made of recycled materials and is completely recyclable even if I have yet to discard one item. I own probably a dozen pairs of the boxer shorts, four t-shirts, and one pair of tights. Over the years the material has changed, but it has consistently ranked as one of my favorite fabrics for exercise or spending any time in hot weather. However, the last t-shirt that I purchased did not fit like the others. The fit was not bad, just not right for me. Also, the options all included a large logo. I am not a logo guy.
Somewhere along the way I stumbled upon Under Armour—yes, the company with the annoying “Protect this house” ads during sporting events—making clothes out of recycled materials. The UA Green collection includes all varieties of the common Under Armour gear like t-shirts, polos, tights, etc. Apparently the product takes plastic bottles and turns them into polyester fabric.
Granted, this is nothing revolutionary. Patagonia has been making its Synchilla fleece out of recycled material for decades and many other products that are made from recycled material as well. However, a company like Under Armour is massive. One product line may sell as much as the entire Patagonia catalog in a year. If a company of that size decides to make a product out of recycled material it moves from quirky sideshow into mainstream.
Unlike most specialty outdoor oriented brands, I can go into several local sporting goods stores and find Under Armour products. Over lunch before the July 4th weekend I was able to walk in to a store and purchase a white Catalyst loose fit t-shirt for about $32 including local sales tax. The last Capilene t-shirt that I purchased cost $39 before tax or shipping. The fit was more like the common cotton undershirts I wear to work than an athletic or slim fit. Not too tight and not too loose.
The performance on a weekend where the temperatures were in the high-80s to mid-90s with oppressive humidity was excellent. The material’s feel is very similar to Capilene silkweight and the wicking capability was superb.
I still love my Patagonia products, but Under Armour may have earned a permanent place in my wardrobe. Especially considering that I need polo shirts for my business casual workplace…