- Price $110 (or 3 for $295) on outlier.nyc
- Material 17.5 micron top capped Mackenzie Blend merino
- Fabric Weight 195 gsm
For those who have been living in a cave and have never heard of Outlier, Outlier is one of the leaders in this category of apparel, a category for those who demand so much more from their technical outfits. They were my gateway drug to the world of techwear with the only short you'll ever need, the New Way Shorts.
I have so many tees from Outlier that I start having a hard time telling them apart (I've found out how to do so, by the way. More later.). They are all plain, black t-shirts after all. And what technical apparel review blog would this be if I didn't have a review on the Outlier staple, the Ultrafine Merino t-shirt, sometimes abbreviated as the UFT.
As with all of Outlier's tees, I went for a size XL. For a 6ft (182cm), 187lbs (85kg) frame, that size is perfect. I've actually order the large before but had to send it back because it was just too small, specifically it was too short for my liking.
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The t-shirt is slim and modern, with an attention to the details. The cut and fit is usually pretty consistent across all their t-shirts, so I didn't have to deliberate much during purchase.
There aren't any visible tag that could help you tell t-shirts apart. This isn't really a problem if the t-shirt has a completely different material like the Ramielust, but when it comes to telling the difference between t-shirts like the UFT, Runweight and Goswick Single Origin, you'll find yourself in more of a pickle when trying to pick out your outfits, more so if you only wear black like I do.
Runweight is the lighter version of the Ultrafine Merino, so simply feeling the material will help you tell those apart. The Goswick Single Origin has a slightly thicker collar, which might be the only distinction since the material of each feel pretty similar.
Being of 100% merino wool, the t-shirt has a very distinct premium look to it. It isn't enough to draw unwanted attention, but enough to impress someone that notices.
Along with the minimal design, down to black on black threading, it's certainly not just another plain, black t-shirt. I often use this t-shirt as a reference for what a perfect t-shirt should be when reviewing others.
While design and a killer sleek branding is what usually catches your eye about Outlier, their obsession for the perfect materials is what sets them apart from the rest for me.
And merino is the material that Outlier is most well known for and naturally, best at.
In this signature piece of theirs, they use the Mackenzie Merino Jersey who’s name stems from the Mackenzie Basin on New Zealand's South Island where most of the merino is sourced from.
It uses an ultra fine 17.5 micron merino, instead of the 18.9 micron most brands use. In fact, the 17.5 micron is a tight spectrum, low variance, top capped fiber blend.
When other brands claim that 17.5 micron merino is what they are offering, they are usually referring it the average micron, so half of those fabric may actually be more than 17.5 micron. So, what top capped means is that the merino Outlier use is capped at 17.5, which means there are no larger fibers making it a softer and smoother fabric.
The finer fibers are clearly softer and just plain beautiful to touch. The 195gsm, which is thicker than most t-shirts, is meant to give it better drape, hand feel and durability.
On top of that, you guys must be already familiar with the natural wonders of merino if you are reading the blog. Merino works wonders with moisture by pulling it away from your skin, into the very core of the fiber. This means that it stays breathable even when it gets wet or when you work out.
Merino also takes in color well which is why the t-shirt is able to achieve a true black color and even after a year of owning my first UFT, there is barely any fading where some cotton t-shirts would already be turning grey.
Last but not least, my favorite part about merino is its natural anti-bacterial properties which makes it highly odor resistant. I try to wash my clothes as little as I have to, since doing so while traveling takes some work and doing so will wear down the durability bit by bit.
As if this isn't enough about merino, I wrote an entire article just on merino wool if you really want to go there.
I only wash it when there is a smell or a visible stain and so far I am able to go up to two weeks without washes, less if I encounter an unfortunate stain or sweat more.
This t-shirt is perfect for me in terms of fit. It's moderately slim but not to the point it becomes activewear like the Seagale Action Merino tee. The crazy low micron count makes it smooth and you don't get any of the itchiness that you get with higher micron 100% merino wool like the Särmä Merino Wool T-shirt.
The low micron count really makes a difference in comfort. The t-shirt is a little thicker than most t-shirts, so I very much prefer the Runweight t-shirt for humid Tokyo summers, although they have been sadly discontinued.
But if you want a t-shirt that can keep you cool in the heat and warm in the cold, this t-shirt might be able to achieve the balance well although not perfect for either.
I hand wash mine whenever I can, but often just end up dumping it into the washing machine in a laundry net. So far, there doesn't seem to be any problems, like piling, with that.
At $110 per t-shirt, this is on the steep side of things. In fact, you can buy approximately 11 Supima t-shirts from UNIQLO with that money. So, is it really worth it?
Damn right it is.
If you want the absolute best of the best for your travels, then the $110 is should be easy to fork out. Outlier has a lot of good stuff, but this one has been around since the beginning and is one of their core products. So, you can be sure you won't be disappointed. I wasn't.
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