Suppliers of natural soy fabric, derived from the plant stock of soybeans, boast that it resists odor and bacteria naturally, wicks moisture, resists wrinkling, dries quickly and has a very soft feel or what is known as “hand” in technical parlance. In fact, when we first noticed an ExOfficio shirt made with soy in a trade show booth in early 2007, we commented that it was one of the first T-shirts we'd seen that felt luscious—almost like a lightweight cashmere. We had to have one to test.
The Tofutech T-shirt we received in April of 2007 made promises that were remarkable—a T-shirt that would travel well, wash easily, and provide technical performance on par with synthetic materials. In a light blue, it also promised to be classy enough to double up as a shirt that, when paired with nice khaki pants and dress shoes, would serve as casual dress attire suitable for business meetings or a dinner out at a nice, albeit not fancy restaurant.
After three months of heavy wear, stuffing it into and out of a suitcase while traveling in Europe on business, wearing it to meetings, on hikes, to dinner, washing and drying it in both in machines and by hand, we still love the shirt—but aren't quite as enamored with it as when we first slipped it on.
On the plus side, it still feels downright luscious to slip into, and remains our favorite knock-around T-shirt. It does appear to resist odors, even in very sweaty travel conditions, and has held up very well to some hard use. It also dries very quickly, which is a plus because a traveler must often resort to washing a shirt in sinks to keep it somewhat fresh. But all that hand washing, hang drying, stuffing into and out of suitcases, and wearing it while lugging along daypacks and computer bags hung over the shoulder has taken its toll.
The shirt no longer looks crisp and fresh enough for a night out or meetings, and it certainly is not resisting wrinkles anymore. In fact, unless it is taken out of the dryer immediately and laid flat, it starts to appear as if somebody left it rolled into a ball in a corner of a suitcase – crumpled-looking but not in such a way to seem as if it were designed like that. Too, the shirt's neckband is stretched a bit out-of-whack and is a bit pilled, and the body of the shirt is beginning to look pilled as well. In fact, it's taken on a look that has our tester's wife is pointing back to the closet anytime he tries to slip into the shirt and sneak it out of the house for a trip to town. Which is disappointing. The T-shirt held such promise, and it's hard to let go of the memories of the first four to five weeks of amazing performance. Of course, our tester is still allowed to wear it hanging around a hotel, office or home and still loves the feel, but it doesn’t go farther than that. If ExO can solve the pilling and wrinkling problems, this shirt would get a near perfect rating, we're sure.
SNEWS® Rating: 3.5 hands clapping (1 to 5 hands clapping possible, with 5 clapping hands representing functional and design perfection)
Suggested Retail: $34
For more information:www.exofficio.com