Those who work outside often consider a good long sleeve work shirt an essential piece of work gear. It protects them from harmful rays from the sun and scratches that could occur from sharp objects outside, like tree branches. It also helps to keep their arms warm during the winter. However, during the summer, these long sleeves can get in the way. They protect you from sunburns, but they can also cause you to overheat by trapping heat inside the shirt. It’s important to have a long sleeve work shirt that will both protect you and keep you cool. Fortunately, you have a few options on the market right now. Let’s explore the features you should look for in a long sleeve work shirt and the four best work shirts to consider.
What to Look For in a Long Sleeve Work Shirt to Stay Cool
The first thing to look for is the sleeves. Are they actually the right length? Not everyone is built the same. Some people have shorter arms, while others have longer arms. You need to know the length of the sleeve and how that will fit you. Also consider your build – if you have very broad shoulders, this will likely affect how a shirt fits you by pulling the sleeves up. Make sure any work shirt you look at can accommodate your specific build. If the sleeves are too short, you can end up with scratches and other injuries on your wrist or forearm, as well as sunburns and skin damage.
Look at the material that the shirt is made from. Is it very thin material? This will likely be helpful during the summer, but you will freeze during the winter. If it’s too thin, you also may still experience injuries as branches and other objects poke right through the fabric. Make sure the shirt is thick enough for your needs.
Next is cooling technology. This is what is going to keep you cool during the summer, more than simply having a thinner shirt. The shirt’s ability to keep you cool could vary from simple moisture absorption to more advanced technology. Maybe the ability to dry quickly is all you need, or maybe you need more than that. Match the shirt’s capabilities to your needs.
Though moisture absorption can help keep you cool, you don’t want to walk around wet all day. This can cause you to catch colds or irritate any cuts or scratches you may have. A quick-drying feature could be beneficial.
Some shirts also offer sun protection. This helps to protect you from sunburns and sun damage that could affect you through the shirt. The level of protection will depend on the SPF/UPF number of the shirt. Determine whether the shirt’s level of protection will be enough for you. This will depend upon how long you typically work in direct sun.
Any good work shirt will also be durable. It could be the best shirt in the world, but if you’re going to have to replace it in a month or two, it is probably not worth your money. Check for sturdy materials and features like double- or triple-stitching.
The final feature to consider is flexibility. You need to be able to move in a work shirt without feeling restricted. This is especially true of long sleeve shirts, since their sleeves can ride up or become twisted.
The 4 Best Long Sleeve Work Shirts That Keep You Cool
The Hanes Long Sleeve Cool Dri T-Shirt is durable and features sun protection. It is made of 100 percent polyester, a sturdy and durable material. Double-needle stitching in the neck, sleeves, and bottom hem add extra durability. The sun protection comes in the form of a UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) of 50. The shirt wicks away moisture, so you can stay dry and cool throughout the day. On most people, the sleeve ends about an inch past the wrist, giving your wrist and forearm full coverage.
- Polyester construction and double-needle stitching in key areas provide durability.
- UPF 50 gives protection from dangerous UV rays.
- Moisture-wicking features keep you dry and cool.
- The sleeve gives you full coverage and protects your wrist as well as your arm.
- The shirt has a loose fit, allowing for freedom of movement without any restriction.
- The shirt is lightweight.
- The length of the shirt is long, but this works to your advantage: it will cover you when sitting or bending and will not ride up if you wear other shirts or jackets on top of it.
- The shirt will keep you cool in any hot condition, including mildly humid weather.
- It is comfortable enough to wear all day.
- The sleeve goes slightly past the wrist, which could get in the way for some people. The cuffs are loose and do not have elastic or any other way to tighten them to keep them at the wrist.
- Sometimes, the sleeves lose their stitching and thread, even after only light wear. This makes the shirt nearly useless from the outset.
- The shirt can be very hot until the moisture-wicking kicks in.
- The material can be very thin, to the point of being see-through. It would be best to wear another shirt either underneath or over this shirt.
- The neckline can sag and droop, causing it to lose its shape and look sloppy.
- Areas with high humidity will find that the shirt does not wick moisture adequately to keep you cool.
The A4 Cooling Performance Crew Long Sleeve Tee is durable, breathable, and resistant to moisture, stains, odors, and snags. It is made of 100 percent polyester and features ultra tight-knit stitching, making it very durable. This allows it to resist snags and rips. The fabric is breathable and moves with you without restricting you. The moisture-wicking feature moves moisture from your body to the outside of the shirt, where it can evaporate. The fabric can release stains, such as dirt and sweat, easily during washing. The fabric also actively fights and resists odors.
- Durability is provided by the shirt’s polyester material and tight-knit stitching.
- The stitching also allows the shirt to resist snags, rips, and wear from multiple washes.
- The shirt wicks moisture, which allows for breathability and keeps you both dry and cool as the moisture escapes.
- The shirt does not restrict movement.
- The material is stain-resistant and lifts deep stains easily during washing.
- The material is odor-resistant and fights strong odors, such as sweat.
- While the shirt doesn’t seem to offer sun protection, it is thick enough to protect you from sunburns.
- The shirt dries quickly.
- The material is thick enough to provide some warmth in chilly weather.
- There is no UPF rating offered with this shirt. It will protect your skin from burning, but it may not prevent damage from UV rays.
- The shirt will be very hot at first, until it begins to wick moisture.
- The shirt feels too hot in very humid weather.
- The sleeves are baggy.
- The shirt is very loose-fitting.
The Denali Performance Teaser ProtectUV Mega Solar Long Sleeve T-Shirt is comfortable and offers both sun protection and cooling properties. It is made of a proprietary ProtectUV Mega Solar Fabric, which is created from 100 percent soft microfiber and carries a UPF rating of 50, making the shirt both protective and comfortable. It has been approved by the Melanoma International Foundation as being highly protective against UV rays, an honor that is rarely bestowed and requires extensive independent testing. Its sun protection is intended to last the life of the shirt. The Wikz Lifetime Moisture Management feature also lasts the lifetime of the shirt and allows moisture to evaporate quickly. This keeps you dry and comfortable all day long. It also lends breathability to the shirt, which further helps to keep you cool. The Zyptron Stain Release System allows the shirt to release many kinds of stains, even after multiple washes. Antimicrobial properties keep microorganisms from taking hold and causing odors and stains.
- The ProtectUV Mega Solar Fabric is very soft and comfortable.
- The fabric carries a UPF rating of 50 and a Seal of Approval from the Melanoma International Foundation.
- The Wikz Lifetime Moisture Management wicks moisture away from your body and helps it to evaporate quickly, cooling you off faster and keeping you dry.
- The fabric resists stains well.
- The Zyptron Stain Release System lifts heavy and deep stains that do occur with ease, wash after wash.
- The sun protection, moisture-wicking, and stain release features are all intended to last the lifetime of the shirt.
- The shirt includes antimicrobial properties that prevent microorganisms from causing odors and stains.
- Even after several washes, the fabric appears new, with no fading or pilling.
- The shirt continues to keep you cool in very hot weather, including desert humidity.
- The shirt is not meant for anyone over six feet tall. Taller individuals will find the shirt too short.
- It is a bit wide, so very thin individuals may find it fits a bit loose.
- It is a very thin shirt, which is great for summer wear, but you will need something else once the weather starts to cool off.
- The material can feel a little rough sometimes.
- The shirt holds some stains, like dirt and grass.
- The material has a very shiny look to it, which may be too much for a work shirt.
- The shirt fits a little tight.
- The sleeves are tight and can become twisted during activity.
The Arctic Cool Solid Crew Neck Instant Cooling Long Sleeve Shirt is durable, flexible, and keeps you cool. It is made of a blend of 94 percent polyester and six percent spandex. The polyester makes it sturdy and durable, while the spandex creates stretch and allows the shirt to move with you. Flexibility is also provided by the shirt’s trim athletic cut. The shirt is lightweight, which also assists ease of movement. Sun protection is granted with a UPF rating of 50. Cooling is provided by the HydroFreeze X Technology, which wicks moisture away from your skin to keep you dry, disperses it throughout the material for a cooling effect, then allows it to evaporate when it reaches the outside surface. Antimicrobial properties help to prevent odors and stains, which makes the shirt easy to clean as well.
- Polyester makes the shirt durable.
- Spandex and the shirt’s athletic cut make it flexible, breathable, and lightweight, making it easy to move around in this shirt without restrictions.
- There is a UPF rating of 50, protecting you from harmful rays.
- The HydroFreeze X Technology consists of a system that wicks moisture away from skin and allows it to evaporate. This keeps you dry and cool at all times.
- The shirt is odor-resistant, stain-resistant, and easy to clean.
- It does well in hot, dry, and humid weather.
- Some experiences found that there wasn’t much of a cooling effect, though the shirt itself was effective at keeping the sun off of skin.
- The sleeves are very loose at the wrist.
Which Long Sleeve Work Shirt is Best for You?
Of these four options, the Denali Performance Teaser ProtectUV Mega Solar Long Sleeve T-Shirt and Arctic Cool Solid Crew Neck Instant Cooling Long Sleeve Shirt are the best at cooling. Their moisture management systems are robust and keep you both dry and cool. All these long sleeve shirts, except for the A4 Cooling Performance Crew Long Sleeve Tee, offer UPF ratings of 50, though only the Denali Performance Teaser ProtectUV Mega Solar Long Sleeve T-Shirt carries a Seal of Approval from the Melanoma International Foundation. The A4 Cooling Performance Crew Long Sleeve Tee is the most durable, with its polyester construction, ultra tight-knit stitching, and resistance to snags. The Arctic Cool Solid Crew Neck Instant Cooling Long Sleeve Shirt is the best at providing flexibility and stretch. All of these long sleeve work shirts have their own strengths and weaknesses. You are sure to find the right one for your needs on this list!