A Gross Story About the Best Long-Sleeve Running Shirt I’ve Ever Had (And Five Others to Consider)

Fall is the best season for running. Here's what to wear.

A Gross Story About the Best Long-Sleeve Running Shirt I’ve Ever Had (And Five Others to Consider)

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For Christmas of 2015, I received as a gift a long-sleeve Merino 150 Base Layer from Smartwool. It was maroon with tiny black horizontal stripes. It was unfathomably soft out of the box, and over the next three months, it only got softer. It’s the best long-sleeve running shirt.

At the time, I was running at least five days a week, and I realize you will probably think I’m exaggerating when I say this, but I am not, I swear: I wore “my Smartwool” every single time. I wore it on its own on mild days, and then I wore it, as intended, as a base layer when the temperatures plummeted. And then, come spring, I went back to wearing it on its own again before finally retiring it for the summer months.

And do you know how many times I washed it? Zero. To my wife’s undying horror, I washed it exactly zero times.

And do you know how bad it smelled? It didn’t smell bad at all. It smelled fucking delightful, thank you very much.

Each day, I’d return from my run, peel off all my outer layers, and then proceed to lounge around in my apartment. Have some coffee, respond to a few emails, maybe cook some breakfast. When it finally came time to shower and put on real clothes, I would remove the base layer and carefully lay it out on a window sill to air out. And then the next morning, I would do it all over again — but not before giving it a quick smell test, which it somehow always passed with flying colors. After a certain point during its streak, I feel like it’s all I could talk about. I remember intermittently insisting that my wife, who’d taken to just shaking her head and telling me I was disgusting, smell it for herself. Begrudgingly, she would acknowledge that it did, in fact, smell perfectly fine.

In the years since, I’ve been fortunate enough that my job has kept me in a steady supply of new running gear, so I haven’t been able to achieve quite this level of intimacy with another garment. But I can say without any hesitation that if I had to build a collection of clothes appropriate for cold-weather runs on my own dime right now, this is still the first thing I’d buy. It’s not cheap, but you’ll get your money’s worth. To say the least.

And here are a few long-sleeve running shirts to consider as well, all of which will surely be up for whatever terrible things you decide to put them through. Happy running.

Lululemon Fast and Free Long Sleeve

Nike TechKnit Ultra Long Sleeve

Rhone Reign Long-Sleeve T-Shirt

New Balance Seasonless Long Sleeve

The North Face HyperLayer FD Long Sleeve

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