This past winter I gear tested and reviewed the Woolx X-Tremes Ultimate Hoodie, a garment that taught me there is a such thing as love at first wear. The good folks at Woolx have since asked me to run their X-Lite Merino Wool Tee and Boxer Briefs through the ringer. What can I say? I’m a sucker for merino wool…
Merino wool is considered amongst the finest and softest wool of all sheep breeds. It’s a top choice in performance athletic wear over synthetic materials because the wool helps regulate body heat by wicking away moisture and retaining heat when wet. There are also natural antibacterial properties that repel odor (ahem, thru hikers).
Both garments are truly soft. You can forget everything you ever knew about wool being itchy, because with Woolx such expectations are like believing the world is flat. At first wear I was also surprised by how thin the garments are, again dispelling my pre-conceived notion of wool. The tee fits so effortlessly that it almost feels like I’m wearing nothing at all. The boxers are tighter than I was expecting; they have a spandex fit with similar elasticity.
I received the garments in early April, and over the course of the last four months have worn them on countless runs and several hikes, including a day hike of Moosilauke in May and the 31.5-mile Pemi Loop in late June (tee only). Conditions have included cold, hot, wet—everything, really.
To test the anti-odor claims I’ve worn the tee running every day in a full week without washing, and at one point ran six miles in 80+ degree heat, stowed the tee in a plastic shopping bag with a wet towel and socks for two days, and then went running again. All of which was done, as far as my wife needs be concerned, in the name of science. Eat that Bill Nye.
- No itching, whatsoever
- Also no pilling after numerous washes
- The moisture wicking and heat regulation are legitimate; I’ve been equally as comfortable exercising in 40 degree temps as I have hot and muggy days
- I can’t get these garments to stink; after the shopping bag test there was a slight mildewy odor (obviously), but I can’t get them to stank of body odor, which is a night and day comparison to my synthetic dry-wick shirts
- The garments dry quickly when hung (not so much when stuffed in a plastic shopping bag)
- Good elasticity; the shirt is so thin I expect it to rip every time I pull it off after a hike or run, but it stretches
- Lightweight; the large tee is listed by Woolx as being 6.1 ounces (I haven’t actually weighed it)
- Machine wash and dry
- No tag on the tee
- Price; merino wool isn’t cheap and these garments are no exception; check the Woolx site for the latest pricing on the tee and boxer briefs
- The boxers ride up when hiking uphill; it’s not as bad when running flat terrain
- Limited color selection; the tee is available in black and denim; black only on the boxers
The Woolx tee is the perfect three-season hiking shirt, the price tag being the only thing that could keep it from being a no-brainer purchase. It’s light weight, heat regulation, dry wicking, and body-odor kryptonite make it ideal for backpacking. If I were planning a full Appalachian Trail trek I’d probably buy two and find some other way to balance the budget. This shirt is worth eating Ramen for a month.
I don’t feel the boxers are ideal for hiking, the ride-up factor being the deal breaker for me. I’ll continue wearing them running on occasion, and I can see them being a good base layer option for winter sports such as cross-country skiing, skating or snowmobiling, but I’ll continue to prefer running shorts with a liner for all-around hiking comfort.
Disclosure: Northeast Hikes was provided an X-Lite Merino Wool Tee and Boxer Briefs for the purpose of this review.