Reviewing Lulu Lemon’s Metal Vent Tech anti-stink shirt

I hate owning a bunch of stuff especially clothes. With very few exceptions I purchase cloths that are stylish for every day wear and functional for outdoor use in the backcountry or for Crossfit.

I currently own about 5 Lulu Lemon Metal Vent Tech shirts. You can see one of them above which went from my daily wear shirt to a hike with the family back to heading out for coffee on the day pictured above. Two of them are the version 1 variety and the rest are version 2 and today I’m going to talk about how they’ve performed over the last number of months.

Silver

I’ll actually start with a word on the silver in the shirts. Silver is a natural disinfectant which means they don’t stink.

My typical routine is to wear the shirt one day then workout in it the next. Even damp with sweat for part of the day and stuffed in my bag on their second day of wear they never smell funky.

I’ve also taken them on a number of multi-day canoe or hiking trips and they’ve never got funky.

So the silver works, but it’s a metal…in my shirt so what about the environmental impact. Namely how well does the silver stay in the clothes during washing since we already know that silver isn’t great for aquatic life[1]

Currently there is at least one study out[2] showing that the nano silver particles in these garments does get in to the water. Sometimes up to 35% of the silver gets washed from the garments in the first wash.

Lulu Lemon uses what they call Silverscent by X-STATIC which says that the silver is woven directly in to the fabric. That means this is not a coating of silver, but a part of the fabric. If we go back to the study that means that the Lulu Lemon fabric was of the type that lost the least amount of silver.

Now there are other reports[3] that say newer silver nano-particles really don’t produce any more risk than we’ve had with previous versions of silver fabrics.

Performance

These shirts fit great (though see custom note on fit) and that really doesn’t change much when you’re sweating in them.

I do find that the single large shirt I have gets just a bit longer, enough that the shirt feels odd when working out like it’s always catching on my butt and I continually have to hike it up.

None of the medium sized shirts I have do this at all though so really I probably should have just never bought the blue large shirt when the medium didn’t fit. (again wait for the note on fit below)

These shirts breath well and when I’m out on a hike they wick well and dry quickly. A number of times I dunked the shirt in a creek and put it on and it was always dry enough to just keep wearing later in the day at camp.

Metal Vent Tech on Lady Peak after a few hours hiking

Metal Vent Tech on Lady Peak after a few hours hiking

I’ve been as happy with the performance of this material as I have ever been with my Patagonia Capilene layers.

Fit

I’d love to say that the fit is great without any reservations but I can’t. While I generally fit a medium shirt I sometimes simple don’t fit a medium shirt depending on the colour.

I recently order a black and a blue version of the Metal Vent Tech v2 t-shirt and while the blue one fit great the black one was obviously skin tight.

I’ve had the same experience with every Metal Vent Tech shirt. Some colours fit great in a medium and some don’t. Unfortunately I also find that when the medium doesn’t fit the large is way to long though it fits fine through the shoulders.

If you’re going to purchase a this shirt in a few colours then just expect to send some back because they’ll fit totally different.

I really wish Lulu Lemon would get the sizing figured out.

Verdict?

While I love these shirts on so many levels the issues with fit annoy me to no end and I really don’t know how I feel about the studies on silver. I certainly don’t want to help put a bunch of metal in our waterways but the shirts function so well.

If the silver doesn’t bother you and you fit the shirts then by all means go for it. I’m very happy with the ones that fit properly.

If you’re not okay with the bit about silver washing out then take a look at Tasc (Amazon.ca). I’ve been trying out two of them for the last few weeks working out around town and running in the mountains and so far I’m very happy with them and they don’t have any issue with silver.


  1. http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/ehs/news/nanosilver  ↩
  2. http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/ehs/newscience/silver-migrates-from-nanoparticle-treated-fabrics/  ↩
  3. http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/silver-nanoparticles-in-clothing-pose-no-new-risk/  ↩
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