I know this isn’t a movie or a restaurant or something else you might expect me to write about on my personal blog and while I might not be a professional (or even amateur) athlete by any stretch of the imagination, I’m probably just as qualified as anyone to give you a real world, actual person review of a shirt like this.
Why? Well, first of all, I’m a born and raised Canadian kid and therefore, I’m built for the cold. I can go outside in the show with a t-shirt and a windbreaker and I’ll be fine but put me anywhere upward of 25 degrees Celsius and you can cue the complaints about the heat within the first ten minutes. I don’t wear anything but these sorts of shirts that are designed to keep you cool at the gym and I’ll seldom wear anything else when I’m traveling. During my Japan trip three years ago, despite being in one of the fashion capitals of the world, I couldn’t wear any of the great clothes I bought since it was damn near 40 degrees out so I needed to wear something appropriate to keep myself from melting in the heat of that rising sun, usually moving quickly on foot carrying 25 pounds of camera equipment on my back. Sure, maybe this particular shirt was designed with someone like Ryan Kesler in mind and while I don’t think I do anything as strenuous as playing 20 minutes in an NHL game, activities like climbing a mountain in Kamakura to see a giant Buddha statue or navigating the streets of Vancouver in the midst of rioters, tear gas, fire and chaos is tough work too.
I’m not exactly sure if they’ve hit the American market yet but Firstar is gaining some ground here in Canada. I can see the appeal…they’re a thoroughly Canadian company and the marketing features the likes of Kesler and James Reimer, who undoubtedly appeal to the target audience of Canadian, hockey-crazed masses. I pass by the Firstar office in Richmond almost every day and hear the commercials on our local radio station often but if I’m honest, I’ve relied on a couple of the other brands for so long that I like to stick to what I know. That being said, I was excited to take their new shirt for a spin when they asked. I buy plenty of similar shirts already. All the better if I know I’m buying from a company that’s located just down the street from my house. They mailed me one of their latest Triple Threat shirts about 6 weeks ago. What do I think of it?
The Triple Threat is made of 92% polyester and 8% spandex, available in a number of different colors. Mine is black with red accents on the sides of the torso. Since it’s probably going to be worn underneath a hockey jersey or something else most of the time, I personally don’t think the styling is all that important but it does look good and functional without getting silly like some others have with weird camouflage and the like. So when you do wear it to work out at the gym, you’ll look like a person rather than a peacock.
This particular shirt is a tighter, compression fit. Even though it’s a large, if this wasn’t made of stretchy synthetic fabric, it would be more of a small and I’d need a shoehorn to get in it. For example, pre-stretch, the shirt is about 2/3s as wide at my shoulders. However, it does fit quite nicely. It’s snug without feeling tight. I’m guessing this is what Firstar calls T3 Technology, which “reduces the muscle fatigue caused by clothing’s restrictions of the body’s movement.” Even though the shirt is snug, I didn’t feel like it was preventing me from a full range of motion.
The fabric is very thin and breathable. As stupid sexy Ned Flanders would say, it feels like you’re wearing nothing at all…nothing at all…nothing at all! While some other athletic shirts have vented sections with tiny holes for extra breath-ability, the Triple Threat is the same throughout but still feels very cool. My only real complaint about the feel of the shirt is that the stitched seams on the inside are quite pronounced and stick out while other sportswear companies have made it a point to keep the seams as minimal as possible to keep in the side of the shirt smooth.
I know this sounds like a nit-pick but these shirts are designed for movement and having those threads rub against your torso repeatedly can get irritating with all the friction. Just ask marathon runners what they have to do to their nipples before a race.
Firstar shirts use something called MST Microfibre Technology, which is their moisture wicking solution. I don’t know if I’m the person to explain the science behind it so if you want to know, click here.
Wearing regular cotton shirts and playing sports means you’ll have a heavy, sweaty shirt afterwards. Wearing something like the Triple Threat basically helps that sweat evaporate more quickly, keeping you drier and cooler, since body heat is lost in the process of boiling your sweat away. So it stands to reason that the quicker this happens, the better you feel during whatever it is you’re doing.
This is quite an arbitrary thing to test but the Triple Threat did a good job at the gym. After a 30 minute run, I still felt relatively cool and dry. After my bike ride and weights, I was getting sweaty but still felt relatively cool and as comfortable as I was going to get after a long workout. That’s not an easy thing to do, really…especially if you’re as sensitive to heat as I am. I’ve had shirts that were nothing more than fancy technology names on plain polyester shirts that do nothing. You know when you’re wearing something designed for activity and the Triple Threat does a good job.
The Triple Threat also features something called BACT-OUT, which apparently kills 99.9% of fungi and bacteria in the fabric.
When you sweat, your body is releasing water, sodium chloride, potassium, fatty acids with the chemical odorants 2-methylphenol (o-cresol) and 4-methylphenol (p-cresol). When these micro particles interact with your body’s outer bacterial skin layer, a strong odour can often be detected. As the particles are solid and are not removed as the water evaporates, Lycra (rubber), used in most performance materials, absorbs and embeds these particles at the microscopic level and, as rubber repels water when washed, a portion of the smell can never be removed. Over time this smell builds up until the garment must be discarded. BACT-OUT ensures your garments maintain their fresh smell longer.
Eeewwww. I’m not a chemistry major anymore so I can’t (and don’t want to…) put this to the test so I’ll just have to take your word for it, Firstar. I try not to smell my gym clothes afterwards but it’s nice to know this is something built into the clothing.
The short sleeve version of the Triple Threat is $49.99 while the long sleeve will set you back another $5 (prices in Canadian Dollars), which is on par with other similar products depending on where you’re buying them and what brand. I’m not a professional athlete so perhaps I won’t notice the finer details but the Triple Threat performs as well as my favorite polyester, moisture wicking shirts. I will say that I do really enjoy the fit as it’s not quite as tight as a compression fit but isn’t a loose fitting shirt either. Like the third bowl of porridge, it’s just right in allowing you to breathe and move but keeping the shirt in contact with as much of your body as possible to get sweat evaporate quickly.
The Triple Threat is a good shirt if you’re looking for a bottom layer under your equipment and jersey or if you’re looking for something to work out in. How comfortable it is for you will probably be unique to you but the fit is great for me. I might try to grab a long sleeve one for a base layer for snowboarding season.