Are you tired of ill-fitting undershirts, ones that fall apart after a couple of washes or ones that turn yellow after a little sweat gets on them? Trust me, we feel your pain.
To men, undershirts represent a very important piece of clothing. In the past, they helped make rebellious movie stars like James Dean and Marlon Brando famous. And in return, those movie stars made undershirts and t-shirts globally known. In today’s society, the undershirt has been relegated to nothing more than an item hidden beneath other clothes. However, nobody wants to walk around looking like they just got out of a pool.
Whether you’re headed to a job interview, hot date, or into the office, a quality undershirt is a necessity these days. Seeing as how not all undershirts are created equal, we’ve put together this guide to make your buying decision that much easier.
QUICK VIEW: 10 BEST UNDERSHIRTS FOR MEN
Today, the undershirt needs to satisfy function, and out of that came the form. Made to be tight, but not too much, comfortable, but not too loose, the undershirt can really make or break your day. It can be very annoying when an undershirt is too loose, or if it wrinkles beneath your dress shirt, and it shows.
Or when it is too short and can’t be tucked away properly, constantly pulling out when you are sitting down or moving your hands. So much that you would think twice about lifting your arms to catch a cat falling down from a tree.
Not much has changed in the form or function over the decades, but the thing that has changed are the materials, and production processes.
A new term that is now frequently referred to is – moisture wicking, and you will see that more and more.
For those of you who are not familiar- moisture wicking, it is the ability of a fabric to draw away the moisture, in this case, sweat, away from the body through tiny spaces in the fabric. The fabric with the best moisture wicking capabilities are synthetics, semi-synthetic, and wool.
When it comes to undershirts though, nowadays, there are tons to choose from. With so many to choose from, it can be difficult to decide. The manufacturers are overwhelming us with seemingly endless possibilities and choices. And they got us to a point of where we are afraid to make a decision. Afraid of making the wrong choice.
Well, that’s exactly why this guide is here. We’ve narrowed it down to 10 different choices, neck cuts, shapes, and materials. No matter what your body type is or how much you sweat, one of the undershirts below will suit your needs.
The 10 Best Undershirts For Men 2020
The golden standard, some would say. Probably one of the best in its class. This shirt is 100% cotton, which equals to a soft, good feel, breathable and sweat absorbing. Since it’s 100% cotton, you can expect low possibilities of irritation, and a good barrier to prevent sweat to reach your outer clothes.
These undershirts are tagless, with no label to irritate you, machine wash and drier safe, and a good length so they aren’t constantly coming untucked. Also, they are not a slim fit, so you can easily maneuver around.
The one downside we noticed is that some customers say, especially those who have been using this brand and product for years, that the quality declined when production was allocated away from Egypt. The undershirts now come from Haiti and Bangladesh, and the ones from Haiti are considered to be of inferior quality. But, when asked why they buy them still, the answer is that despite the decline in quality, they are still the best.
- 100% cotton
- Nice feel on the skin
- Shrink after washing
- Decline in quality
Bottom line: It is a good undershirt, on the top of the class for years. Brand name manufacturer, good quality and affordable price are always a recommendation. The complaints from faithful users are somewhat concerning, but based on the overall perspective, the quality is still top notch, won’t irritate your skin, and will keep sweat in.
Never thought the words life changer can be used for an undershirt? Well, that is the way a lot of men have been describing the next item on our list. The secret is in the patented Hydro-Shield underarm pads. They prevent sweat from going through and showing on the outer layers of clothing, simultaneously enabling better ventilation in cooperation with the natural movement of your arms.
No need to flap around like a bird in order to air out your pits. Normal movement when walking, picking up groceries, typing etc. is just fine. These shirts are a pretty tight fit, so that should be kept in mind when ordering. They are made of combed ultrafine cotton, so they feel almost snuggly.
However, that can sometimes cause problems, ones that some users are complaining about. The undershirts sometimes shrink during wash and drying and the pads shrink to, so they don’t fit as good as the first time, so sweat can break through. Most of the times it is along the seam of the pads, above and below. One way to combat this is to air dry the undershirts instead of putting them in the dryer.
- Underarm pads
- Good fit around the body
- Stays tucked
- Premium combed cotton
- Shrinkage after washing
Bottom line: Excellent undershirt, which can do wonders for some people who have an excessive sweat problem. It is comfortable, made of quality materials, and fits nice and tight. Unfortunately, it cannot help everybody, but it is highly recommended to experiment with different types of clothes over them. 100% or high part cotton loose or comfortable fit is recommended.
These undershirts by Lacoste have a special feature. They are made out of Supima cotton. That is a type of cotton grown in the USA, and it is what all the other kinds of cotton want to be when they grow up. Why? Because it has much longer fibers than regular cotton has, and that translates into comfort and durability.
The fabric made with this Supima cotton is much softer, nicer on the skin, and they say it literally gets better with time. It is also quite durable, so it can stand frequent washing and drying without losing its shape.
However, the shape doesn’t suit everyone. Some find it too long, and that is the most common complaint. This is really the only downside we found, but if you like a tight fitting undershirt, this probably isn’t the one for you.
- Amazing Supima cotton
- Comfort and durability
- Longer length
- Stays tucked
- Slim and long is not for everyone
- Shrinkage after washing
Bottom line: Established brand name manufacturer and superior materials always give excellent results. This model deserves every accolade it has received. What is recommended though is some additional attention when choosing sizes. It is longer than other models, which might be an issue for some guys.
Hanes has provided this model with its Fresh IQ odor protection formula. It is a technology that fights odor-causing bacteria. That will definitely help you feel better, especially on hot summer days. That is not all that Hanes has in store for you though. You’ll not only feel fresh all day long but will also be really comfortable, due to the Premium ComfortSoft fabric. Plus, it is preshrunk, to prevent further shrinkage, which is a huge benefit for many users.
As the name suggests, this undershirt was specifically designed with tall guys in mind. Knowing that taller guys always have to deal with shirts coming untucked, the Tall Man FreshIQ is on the longer side. So, if you’re tired of looking like you’re wearing a crop top, this is the shirt for you.
The one drawback we noticed is that even though it is preshrunk, that doesn’t completely prevent it from shrinking a little bit more with multiple washes. Other than that this one hit the mark.
- Super soft cotton
- Antibacterial protection
- Excessive shrinkage reported
- Somewhat short for a Tall Man model
Bottom line: Great undershirt for tall guys. Recommended for its combination of high tech procedures like Fresh IQ and traditional super soft cotton, this is a quality undershirt that doesn’t disappoint. One thing to keep in mind is that it is recommended that you choose your size carefully and not rely fully on the preshrunk label. Overall though, this is a great choice for all the tall guys out there.
It can be described as a straightforward, solid undershirt that has withstood the test of time. Not much high tech procedures and materials here, just solid fundamentals. Fruit of the Loom is relying on simplicity, well-established brand, good materials, and affordable price.
With this undershirt, they have fixed some of their past issues by reshaping the sleeves for a better fit and making sure there are no “ride up” issues, so you’re not constantly re-tucking in your shirt.
It is preshrunk, has double stitching around the neck, sleeves and bottom hem, and shoulder-to-shoulder tape. All of these help the undershirt keep its form and stay in place after many washes.
The main drawback we noticed is that the material seems a little thin for our liking. While not a huge issue, it could be a problem for heavy sweaters.
- Simple yet effective
- Low price
- Antibacterial protection
- Think fabric
Bottom line: Fruit of the Loom offers a solid undershirt here for the price. With some nice moderations made in order to make it more comfortable, this is a great buy for those on a budget.
Type: Crew neck
Material: 100% cotton
With the Fruit of the Loom stay tucked undershirt, you no longer have to worry about your undershirt constantly popping out and annoying you all day long. They are longer than normal, so they are made to stay tucked in and out of the way. Customer reports say that they do that very well, and with a bonus of not piling up around the waist.
Plus, with this t-shirt, you’re going to get a layflat collar designed to keep its shape, even after multiple washes. Another useful feature is Dual Defense Technology which helps with moisture wicking and stops unpleasant odors. Also, because these undershirts are very long, the shrinkage that occurs during washing will not be that big of a problem.
- Low price
- Long, stays tucked in
- Dual protection system
- Moisture wicking capacity
- Think fabric
Bottom line. Really solid undershirt. Added length really helps it stay tucked in. Dual defense technology fights bacteria and odors. Great value for the money.
Thin, comfortable, and good-looking undershirt, this Emporio Armani crew neck is ideal for light sweaters. It feels light because this is not a tight fitting model. It doesn’t hug the body and gives you a little room to move when doing activities.
It is somewhat shorter than the other undershirts and it has a slightly larger neck, making it a good fit for stalky type guys.
The main drawback with this undershirt is that it tends to shrink a lot after washing. So, you might want to buy one size largerThe badge is of little value when problems like declining quality and shrinkage appear. Those are the most common complaints.
- Light and breathable
- Armani brand
- Declining quality compared to a couple years ago
- Famous brand, many knockoffs
Bottom line. Good undershirt, and a solid choice for men who want something a little bit thinner. A little bit on the expensive side, but that’s to be expected when buying Armani.
Decent undershirts. On the market, it tries to stand out with really affordable prices, the cotton USA mark, and environmentally conscious company image. The undershirt itself has a loose fit, slightly larger neck opening and is a little bit shorter than the rival undershirts.
It is marketed as great at moisture wicking. The manufacturer applied process by which he made 100% cotton better at moisture removal. It has taped neck and shoulders and tubular rib collar for extra durability during frequent washes.
The customer claim that the fit might be a little bit too lose, and that the neck opening is larger than it should be. Again, the problem with the shrinkage is present.
- Good value for the money
- Environmentally conscious company
- USA cotton
- May be worn as a regular t-shirt
- Might be too loose for some guys
- Some shrinkage during washing
Bottom line. They are inexpensive, good undershirts with good moisture wicking capabilities. Made by an eco-friendly company from USA is an added bonus. A saying “you get what you paid for” in this case is not true – you will definitely get more.
Hanes is always a safe choice when it comes to undershirts. Plenty of models to choose from. This particular model is interesting because you can easily wear it like a normal T-shirt. It is made out of thick fabric, it falls down naturally and has a loose cut. It’s not too long, and that helps also.
So you might say that this is a regular T-shirt with all the super-powers of a great undershirt. It has comfort and softness of an undershirt, it is preshrunk, and it has shoulder-to-shoulder taping. Great combination.
Some customer may disagree about that because that thick fabric can sometimes make you very hot. Especially if worn beneath a dress shirt and a jacket. Not to mention a tie. But you will be glad you chose it during the winter. Other complaints are that it is a little bit short and that it can shrink a lot.
- Comfortable and soft
- May be worn as a regular t-shirt
- Not very long
- Loose fit
- Some shrinkage during washing
Bottom line. Extremely versatile undershirt. You can wear it under other clothes, but you can also pop out to the store with nothing over it. Unfortunately, due to that versatility, it cannot do both jobs as good as dedicated pieces of clothing. Compared to other undershirts it may be too thick, warm, loose and short. Compared to regular T-shirts, it may be too simple and unappealing.
This interesting combination of exotically named materials may make you proceed with caution before buying, or avoid buying altogether because they don’t really sound too normal, but fear not if you’ve never heard of fields of Rayon or a Micro Modal harvest.
Those are the names of the materials that are actually derived from wood pulp and cellulose. Through a chemical process, and a little bit of magic, Rayon emerges. So, it can be called semi-natural fiber. Modal is a type of Rayon, and Micro Modal is a silkier, smoother version of the Modal.
After getting over the initial confusion, you have to decide what materials you want in your undershirt. This manufacturer offers three possible combinations:
Micro Modal. This is a combination of Micro Modal and spandex. This combination produces a great feel on the skin and a slightly tight fit. Also has some unique sewing techniques and high-density spandex fibers. Spandex has two functions. It gives the tight fit, but also helps the Modal retain his shape after washing. This combination gives great feeling in cold and in warm weather. It is very breathable and moisture-wicking fabric. Some say that once you go Micro Modal, you will never settle for less.
Bamboo Rayon. This is similar to the previous model, except instead of Micro Modal, there is Bamboo Rayon instead. The result is almost the same, so it is only a matter of personal preferences.
Supima Cotton. This type of cotton is very special. It is specific to the USA, and it has much longer fibers than regular cotton. This makes the fabric much softer and at the same time stronger and more durable. Some spandex is added to make a tighter fit. The two materials combined give a smooth feeling similar to Micro Modal or Bamboo Rayon, but for the ones that want a more natural combination.
One of the problems frequently reported is that the sleeves are not that well designed. Sometimes, initiated by the arm movement they go up and eventually end up all wrinkled up underneath the armpits. Shrinkage is another problem reported, but not that common.
- Lots of material combinations to choose from
- Excellent moisture wicking abilities
- Comfortable in hot and cold weather
- Sleeves can end up wrinkled in armpits
- Some shrinkage during washing
Bottom line. Probably unbeatable in the comfort department. They keep you cool during hot weather, and warm during the cold. You can choose between three material combinations. With so many positive experiences, it is a wonder why isn’t everybody wearing one of these. Could be to the fact that we are all used to buy 100% cotton undergarment.
UNDERSHIRT BUYING GUIDE
Understanding the different types of cuts undershirts come in
Undershirts come in two types of cuts: a Crew neck and V-neck. Each cut has its purpose. The crew neck is with a round collarless neckline. It has been around for a long time, but the modern crew neck T-shirt as we know it was developed as an undergarment for footballers at USC. They needed something to absorb the sweat and protect their shoulders from chafing caused by their shoulder pads. It was doing a great job, so the Navy decided to adopt this new useful piece of clothing as well.
The V- neck is more recent, but not by much. It evolved in the 1960s from the crew neck. The most noticeable and only difference is, as the name says, the V cut neckline. The main advantage is that it can be worn underneath a button up or dress shirt with top button undone, and not be seen. If you would wear a crew neck with the button undone, it would show. That is a big fashion no-no. Some say it should be punishable by law. Those are the functional differences and are easy to explain.
So, which one should you choose? Both sides have their supporters. The V-necks are more popular with the younger crowd because they are more modern. Traditionalists prefer Crew neck. That is basically a matter of personal preference. What is certain is that V-necks make your face longer so they would suit men better that have square or round faces. If you have a long face, a V-neck would make it even longer, so it is not exactly recommended.
How undershirts differ from regular t-shirts
The word undershirt is pretty much self- explanatory. It is meant to be under your clothes. The T-shirt is an item of clothing, a fashion piece that can be worn with nothing over it. It has evolved from a simple, one-colored undershirt. Manufacturers saw the immense popularity that this item got thanks to the army men, marines and movie stars wearing them. Then decided to take it one step further. They started making them in different color combination, added pictures and signs. And it soon became a fashion statement. It has a function of protecting us from the weather and to look nice.
The undershirt does not have to look nice. It only has a function. Protect our outer clothes from our body, and our body from outer clothes. (And sometimes added protection against the cold). The human body produces sweat and oils on the surface of our skin. So rather than allow all that to reach our sometimes expensive clothes, we will put a barrier in the form of an undergarment. And because clothes are mostly designed to look nice, with no comfort or softness in mind, it is nice to have something comfortable right next to the skin.
A difference in appearance is also obvious. T-shirts are colorful, with eye-catching design. They are not too long, 2-4 inches below the belt line and with sleeves one to five inches above the elbow. The material is thicker, and the T-shirt usually falls freely. Material’s appearance is the first criteria in the selection process, comfort comes second.
Undershirts are one colored because they are under the clothes. They are designed to stay tucked in, thus much longer than T-shirts. Materials are selected for their comfort level, not appearance. The thickness may vary. Undershirts follow the contour of the chest & arms more or less, it depends on the model.
The most important thing about undershirts. They are, as a rule, made out of natural materials. Most common is cotton, but sometimes other materials are added In order to improve on some qualities, but it is very rare, and always a small quantity.
Cotton is the ruler amongst the undershirt materials. Natural fiber, a low possibility for irritations, feels nice next to the skin, breathable, sweat absorbing. Moisture wicking is not one of the most prominent features of cotton, but some manufacturers have technology procedures to make it more effective in that area. Those processes are considered a trade secret.
Supima cotton is a superior type of cotton. It has longer fibers and that makes the fabric stronger and, amazingly, softer compared to regular cotton. This type of cotton is grown only in the USA and represents less than 1% of total cotton production. The products made from it wear a distinctive Supima® mark.
Semi-synthetic fibers. Or semi-natural if It sounds better to you. They are made out of wood pulp cellulose through a chemical process. The result is Viscose, Rayon, Modal, or Micro Modal, depending on the source of the wood pulp (Bamboo, beech tree). Since they are engineered they can imitate many fabrics, including silk. What they have in common is an incredibly soft and pleasant feeling on the skin. Micro Modal is the most pleasant of them all.
They are most commonly mixed with other materials such as spandex to help them keep their form because they have poor elastic recovery. These materials excel on the moisture-wicking challenge making them ideal for use in hot and humid climates, sports, outdoor and indoor activities.
There are some environmental concerns about these materials. They are made from natural material, wood, bamboo etc. The companies that produce it are racing to see which will be the most environmentally friendly.
They all harvest wood pulp from renewable sources, minimizing the impact on the environment. It could be that they try so hard because the process of extracting the semi-synthetics has a bad reputation. It involves some dangerous and highly toxic chemicals, which are mixed with the wood pulp in the process. But their purpose is to separate the fibers, they are not a part of the fabric. In the final product there is not a trace of these chemicals, don’t worry. The composition of the semi-synthetic is all natural. They were given that name because of the process.
Synthetic materials are very rare when it comes to undershirts. They are mostly intended for sports and activities undergarments because of their moisture wicking capabilities. One of the main reasons why it is not so popular, besides the fact that having something plastic next to your skin doesn’t sound so appealing, is that they tend to retain body odors and emphasize them. Not exactly what you want to wear all day long.
But if you are hiking on the mountain when it is cold, and you have several layers of clothing, and you are sweating into you undershirt, you would want to be warm and dry. Cotton will not do. It will retain moisture and keep it next to your skin, making you cold. Synthetics are the best choice in that case.
Merino wool is even rarer, mostly because of the high price and a common opinion that wool is itchy. Merino wool is not itchy thanks to the long and fine fibers. It is an excellent insulator with great moisture wicking capabilities. Very popular with hikers and mountain climbers because it preserves insulating capabilities even when wet. A large number of them say that it was a revelation, and improved on their results.
These are just about all the materials that manufacturers use. Before choosing a suitable one, you have to ask yourself one question:
What are your needs?
If you want to choose your undershirt wisely, you must first know what kind you need. When, where and what for are you going to wear it?
Under a dress shirt. V neck is always the best solution. You may start your day with all buttoned up and with a necktie, but later in the day take it away and unbuttoning your shirt. Then a crew neck would be visible… Not a pretty site. So, just in case- always V-neck.
Under causal clothes. Whichever cut suits you. Just avoid wearing V-necked sweater with crew neck undershirt.
For everyday use and leisure time. Cotton or combination of semi-synthetics. Comfortable, breathable materials.
Sports, outdoor and indoor activities. Semi-synthetic and sometimes fully synthetic materials are best when you need to sweat. They conduct moisture away from the body, keeping it dry, cool in the summer, and hot in the winter time.
Mask excessive sweating. You may try light, breathable fabrics with good moisture wicking capabilities. Treated 100% cotton, undershirts with sweat pads in the armpits. Synthetics are not recommended. Although they remove moisture quite effectively they make sweat have a more distinct odor and is harder to get out by washing.
Choosing the Right Undershirt
Why is it so difficult to choose a simple undershirt? Maybe because it is not simple. Maybe because we have to wear it all day long right next to the skin. It should make us feel comfortable, even when we are in some uncomfortable situations or places. And that makes it very important. In a fierce competition between 10 models reviewed, some distinguished themselves.
For everyday use, leisure time – Calvin Klein Men’s Cotton Classics Short Sleeve V-neck T-Shirt, Lacoste Men’s 3-Pack Essentials Cotton V-Neck T-Shirt, David Archy Men’s 3 Pack Micro Modal & Bamboo Rayon.
For those whit excessive sweating problem – Thompson Tee Men’s Sweat Proof Undershirts with Underarm Sweat Pads.
For sportsmen and active people –David Archy Men’s 3 Pack Micro Modal & Bamboo Rayon
We tried to be objective. Objectivity is so much different than a personal preference. And that is what it all comes down to. Our recommendations are based on facts, and that is not at the top of the list of reasons for liking something. What we suggest is that you try different models, and see which material and model works best for you. That is the most important thing – how do you feel wearing them. That is something that no one else can decide for you.