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Icebreaker Skin 200 Crew

rated 5.0 of 5 stars

The Skin 200 Crew has been discontinued. If you're looking for something new, check out the best short sleeve performance tops for 2024.

photo: Icebreaker Skin 200 Crew short sleeve performance top

This is a well-built shirt of 100% New Zealand merino and the next to skin feel is superb.

I bought this in a large for a slightly looser athletic fit, and found that the length is nice and long, but the cut is a bit off for me. I don't have big guns, but this shirt would need AWNAWLD-sized arms to fill out the sleeves. I find the sleeves a little short and too angled up and away from pit to outer arm.

Because of the large cuff openings, the drape is "off" as my wife put it. It also is cut for someone with body builder-sized deltoids, as the fit is saggy under my arms but not my shoulders. Incentive for me to get bigger, stronger arms and delts (okay - and trim the gut a little). But I don't have big shoulders, and if they grow the shirt may have some problems.

The other gripe I have is that this is not a machine dry piece like many other merino items I own.

Aside from these issues, which don't apply to everyone (ie big upper body but not overly broad in shoulders), this shirt is everything else you want from top-quality merino — It would make a great base layer for active-winter pursuits under a shell. I wear it mostly for trail-running and daypacking, and for that it performs very well wicking away moisture and keeping down the stink.

The looser fit does serve me well in the aforementioned pursuits. The shirt does not stretch out of form after heavy use (between washes) as much as some of my other merino pieces. Flatlock seams are impeccably executed and undetectable next-to-skin. Construction and material quality save this shirt from a lower rating, and the discount purchase price.

Bottom line, I probably should have purchased the medium, but they were unavailable from the store. But Larges typically fit me better than this shirt. If you're buff, then you'll like the fit, love the craftsmanship, and love the performance of the most premium of merino wools.

Update: December 19, 2011

Well, after multiple uses and washings, this garment has held up exceptionally well. Better yet, the cuffs of the sleeves and the upper torso area tighten up a bit after washings and drying, the two isuues I cited in the initial review that kept me from a perfect rating.

I can confirm that I have not done enough weight training to bulk up in those areas, the shirt happened to shrink in all of the right places. The considerable length did not diminish — a good thing.

The 200 gm weight is a great for keeping my core warm when I am trail-running or Nordic skiing, yet still keeping my extremities cool enough to cut down on sweat. A great piece.

Price Paid: $21

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