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Ashmei Merino T-Shirt review

25 Jul 2018
Verdict:

High performance tee for both casual and sportswear

Cyclist Rating: 
Price: 
£75
For 
•Soft • Comfortable • Stink-free T-shirt
Against 
•Bit on the pricy side

British cycling clothing brand Ashmei has long championed the cause of merino wool. ‘As did everyone until some bright spark invented polyester,’ says Ashmei’s founder, Stuart Brooke.

For Brooke, the reason wool fell out of favour as a fabric for sports clothing had everything to with cost and nothing to do with performance.

Merino wool especially is renowned for its thermo-regulating properties, but it costs about ten times more than oil-derived materials, which is why most companies opt for the cheaper alternatives.

Buy the merino t-shirt from Ashmei here

Wool also gets a bad rep owing to memories of heavy, scratchy fabrics and the sense that it should be confined to replica vintage kit, and is rarely seen on the backs of top sportsmen and women.

However, a few days of wearing an Ashmei merino T-shirt should be enough to convince most people that wool ought to be welcomed back as a fabric of the future.

Forget any ideas of saggy, baggy, knitted woollen tops. This tee is light, comfortable and completely itch-free. It’s also beautifully cut for a fitted-but-relaxed shape with neat, flat seams. Even the washing instructions are subtly printed on the inside so there is no label to irritate the skin.

The T-shirt comes in six colour options – all muted, pastel shades – and has a simple Ashmei logo on the front and rear. As such, it works well as an item of casual clothing and would look great paired with jeans.

But to categorise it as a mere T-shirt would be to do it a disservice. The super-fine merino fabric also ensures that it is a serious item of sportswear.

The material uses a blend of merino wool and carbon (no, not the same carbon fibres as used to make your bike), which the company claims helps to improve the drying time of the fabric as well as enhancing the natural odour-reducing properties of the wool.

It works. As a test, I wore the same Ashmei T-shirt every day, all day, for several days, and other than a few odd looks from colleagues, no one had cause to complain about any smell.

Compared to manmade fibres, merino wool simply doesn’t attract the bacteria from sweat that causes stinky armpits, and so it can be worn for days without smelling. That’s no excuse not to wash and change clothes regularly, but it could prove handy when travelling or on expeditions.

Also, the fabric is exceptionally good at wicking away moisture from sweat, so it makes a great top for running, cycling or any other sport. Where cotton T-shirts soon become soaked with sweat during exercise, the merino tee remains comparatively dry, helping to keep you comfortable.

The temperature-regulating properties of merino mean that the T-shirt is cool in hot weather and warm when the weather gets cold (within reason, of course – it’s not magic). If it gets wet, it dries out remarkably quickly, and it doesn’t get easily crushed or creased so doesn’t requires ironing.

Buy the merino t-shirt from Ashmei here

It’s the kind of T-shirt you could wear to ride to work, and then not have to worry about getting changed when you arrive. It’s also perfect for having in a kit bag, when you might not have the chance to wash clothes between training sessions but don’t want to stink like a compost heap.

At £75 it’s a long way from cheap, but Ashmei’s offering is not too far out of the price ballpark for merino t-shirts from similar quality sports brands. And it is almost certain to become an item that you return to again and again, whether for sports, for travel and just for lounging around the house.

Ashmei has recently partnered with the Woolmark Company to launch the Be Cool In Wool film, which demonstartes the proficiency of the material in hot weather. The film debuted on the 1st August and can be viewed at ashmei.com/becoolinwool

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