I hate the cold weather, so anytime I find riding clothes that advertise they will keep me warm using some type of thermo-technology, I am up for trying them. This year I have tried three different shirts that all claim to keep you warmer in the cold winter weather: the SmartPak UnderArmour Coldgear Infrared Crew, the EIS Heated Shirt, and the Asmar Equestrian Active Compression Top.
I am going to rate the shirts on a scale of 1 to 3 stars, with 3 obviously being the best.
EIS Heated Shirt: This is the one I liked best out of the bunch. EIS just released this shirt, and it has heating and moisture wicking properties. It is advertised as keeping your body 5 degrees warmer which is awesome when it comes to winter weather. The shirt itself only comes in black and has a different material on the underside than the other EIS shirts. I wore the shirt on an extremely cold day, and it definitely kept me much warmer than a regular shirt would have. I also wore it during a riding lesson to test out its odor wicking properties, and those did not disappoint either. I didn’t feel like I smelled bad after riding (though I do also wear deodorant), and I also didn’t get that icky feeling when I’ve cooled down from the lesson and realized how sweaty I am, thus making me cold. If you are going to get just one of these shirts, I would definitely purchase this one. Also, this is not a shirt you can wear alone on a 15 degree day. It keeps you warm but not that warm. That being said, this plus a good jacket will keep you warm, cutting down on the bulky layers.
Pros: Definitely keeps body warmer; wicks away sweat and prevents that icky cold feeling after you’ve cooled down.
Cons: Won’t keep you toasty on a bitter cold day, but will decrease the layers needed.
Rating: 3 stars
SmartPak UnderArmour Coldgear Infrared Crew: This shirt uses special technology to reflect your body heat and keep you warm, much like the Back On Track products (except without the ceramic particles). I really love this shirt. It’s very flattering and warm. It is also a great layering piece. In terms of warmth, it takes second to the EIS. I found myself needing more layers with this and not staying as warm in colder weather if I didn’t have those layers. The good thing is this shirt is not bulky and fits very well under or over other clothing so it does not add to any bulk. The shirt also has moisture wicking properties, which I found to work but not as well as the EIS. However, it does have anti-microbial technology that helps keep the shirt fresher, longer, which I have found to be very effective.
Pros: Flattering fit; not bulky; moisture-wicking; don’t need to wash as often.
Cons: Not as warming as other shirts; still need to layer.
Rating: 2.5 stars
Asmar Equestrian Active Compression Top: I love this shirt. It’s very flattering and fits extremely well. However, I found it to be the least warming of the winter shirts I tested. It is a compression shirt so it is supposed to keep muscles warm while exercising, which it did, but the material is thin, and I personally would never wear this without layering. The material is stretchy and soft, but thin and not enough to withstand bitter cold. The thumb hole is great for covering your hands, but I found it actually irritating to ride in with gloves over the hand part. I definitely love the shirt, and it did serve its purpose when I was riding by keeping my muscles warm, but I had to layer a lot, and I could never wear this alone in the bitter cold – unless I had an indoor, maybe. It is flattering, and it does keep you warm, but only while riding. I like shirts that will be effective before, during, and after riding. I spend a lot of time at the barn, riding or not, so if I choose this as my outfit, I better be prepared to layer or bring my heavy winter jacket.
Pros: Very flattering fit; made of great material; does the job when you’re riding; not bulky.
Cons: Doesn’t keep you very warm while not riding; material is very thin; thumb holes to keep hands warm can be irritating.
Rating: 2 stars
Overall, any of these picks are a good fit depending on what it is you’re doing. If you want to be warm before, during, and after riding, then the EIS Heated Shirt is probably for you. Looking for something to keep you warm, but don’t mind layering? SmartPak UnderArmour ColdGear Crew! And, if you’re just riding and that’s it, the Asmar Active Compression Top will definitely do the job.
Have you tried another similar type shirt this winter and loved it? Let me know in the comments below!