Product Review – SMTT Sun Shirt Showdown

Product Review – SMTT Sun Shirt Showdown

Even though the skies are stormy here this week (thanks tropical storm Bill!), I’m still a big fan of sun shirts. Being blonde with green eyes, I basically am Norweigan and don’t tan well. Plus I’m a bit of a hunter/jumper princess and I like trends 🙂

When Britt of Our House on a Hill wrote a fabulous sun shirt review showcasing 3 different types, I knew I wanted to jump on the band wagon and write about the three brands I have tried.

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Columbia Omni-Freeze Sun Shirt

This was the first sun shirt I tried, and it is not an “Equestrian” brand. I picked it up after a recommendation thread on Chronicle, and found it on sale at Sports Authority. I’ve actually reviewed it in detail on the blog before, but I will re-compare now that I’ve purchased a few more sun shirts. Fabric wise, this is the most “cooling” of the bunch. When I get wet after riding from hosing Simon, I’m actually physically cold in the car… as in I’ll turn the air conditioning down. Riding wise, the fabric is a little thicker than I would like. It’s also pretty form fitting.

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For the price I paid, $40 + shipping… I like the shirt well enough. I wish it had vents and was a little bit looser. For me, it gets a solid B+ at the sale price but a C at full price ($75).

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Ariat Sunstopper Zip-up Sun Shirt

Like Britt, I also have the Ariat Sunstopper sun shirt. I picked it up on sale last winter for $30, and if we did a cost to appreciate algorithm… this would be my favorite sun shirt. The fit is a bit boxier than the other two sun shirts I have, but I like that it doesn’t look like it’s clinging to every part of my pudge. This shirt also has a vent in the back, which is different than the other ones I own and a nice feature.

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The downsides are that the shirt just isn’t very well made compared to its more expensive counterparts. Mine is holding up okay, but nice stitching details and color-coordinating vent fabric are non existent… at least with the 2014 models of these shirts. Still, if you pick one up on sale I think it’s a really good value. B+ from me!

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Equi-in-Style (EIS) Sun Shirt

These are my favorite, which is probably at least a little bit because they are super trendy in hunterland and one of the first sun shirts to come at the market. At $100 full retail, I am a bargain shopper for EIS shirts. I won’t buy one full price, and usually wait until they drop into the $40-$50 range in their clearance section.

What sets these shirts apart in my opinion are color options and details. Each color is matching throughout – the zipper, stitching and vent fabric are all a perfect blend. For me, they are a bit more fitted than I’d like but I also have the option to size up. They’re available from XS – 2XL in a wide variety of colors and styles. Sure, you have to be a bit pickier if you shop the sale section but the selection is still pretty decent. The fabric is super wicking and more light weight than either of my other sun shirts. For me, these shirts get an A. They’d get an A+ if they were cut a little bit less form fitting (on me) and if the full purchase price weren’t so steep. However, you get what you pay for!

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Have you tried any of these three sun shirts I mention, or do you have a personal favorite I should check out?

38 thoughts on “Product Review – SMTT Sun Shirt Showdown

  1. I like when the vents are the same color. I do not like that price though! $100?! Yikes. I’ll wait for them to go on clearance before I try them.

  2. I have the Ariat one in 3 colors, and I really do like them! Try the Kerrits, I have those in coral & white, very similar to the EIS, but wayyy more reasonable. I think I paid $40 which was full retail.

  3. I recently picked up a Kastel sun shirt. I like that it has the cooling material and it’s very light weight, I’m just not 100% sure I’m on the sun shirt bandwagon just yet. I feel so claustrophobic once I start to sweat and my long sleeves start sticking to me. I picked up the Kastel at the one ting tack shop we have in town for about $60 on sale. I’m going to try showing in it this weekend and see how I like it.

    1. I forgot to add, I also have an Ovation sun shirt and the fabric is just to thick for me when it’s hot out. It does have vents in the sleeves and it was a steal at $35, but I’d rather pay a little more for something thinner.

  4. I love sun shirts – as mostly Irish I tend to burn, not tan!

    BTW: thought I would mention….the video ads on your page severely inhibit my ability to read your posts. They constantly keep popping my screen back up top and keep me from scrolling down. The other day I couldn’t even read one of your posts. Nothing I do seems to help either 🙁

  5. I live in sun shirts! I’ve recently started wearing the Ariat Sun Stopper show shirt to school. It’s white but cleans up easily. I also love the fabric feel of EIS and agree- you get what you pay for there!

  6. I’d love to try one – I’ve had my eye on the Smartpak brand for a year or two now. Honestly I don’t ride outside in blazing hot sun quite enough to justify it – I’m usually riding in the evening when it’s cooler, or inside!

    1. I have heard bad things about the SmartPak shirts from fellow Texas riders. They may be okay in some climates, but word on the street is they’re not good for anything seriously hot.

    2. yea the smartpak ones aren’t great for strong sun and heat. they do well in a breeze (so like, if you’re actively cantering a course they’re ok) or in the shade… and i like the two i have fit-wise.. but i wouldn’t really recommend them for regular summer riding

  7. Oooh. I want to try the EIS shirt. I’m all about tanning though so I wear tank tops like the rebel I am and let my arms fire burn. I’ve built up a nice tan already though so it isn’t too bad.

  8. I have a Tailored Sportsman sun shirt in addition to an EIS. I would have to say the EIS wins hands down in my book, the Tailored Sportsman is a bit too form fitting though I do love the matching vents that run the length of the arms. As much as I love the EIS shirts, I don’t think I’d ever pay full price… I’m a clearance cart girl too 🙂

  9. Bargain shopper here <>
    I haven’t yet hopped on the bandwagon, but one of my trainers wears nothing but sunshirts and she loves them. Perhaps I’ll have to give them a go one of these days… And it looks like I should just go right to EIS based on your review and all the comments! Thanks for the comparison!

    http://www.amateuratlarge.blogspot.com

  10. I have now accumulated two Kastel shirts which I love. I do wish the mesh matched the solid part on the ones I got but I also got them on sale so I can’t complain!
    I do love when I get in the car sweaty and the a/c plus shirt helps me cool down extra fast!

  11. I have an anti-recommendation: the Ovation Cool Rider Zip-Mock. It retails for about $40, so I bought one about a month ago when the store placed a big Ovation order.

    It sucks! The fit is weird- I have short arms, but the sleeves barely reach my wrists, the length on the body is short, and the fabric is super clingy. The fabric is kind of thick and heavy and the mesh on the arms is only nice if you’re doing your best impression of the iconic “I’m flying!” scene from Titanic.

    You definitely get what you pay for!

  12. My favorrrrrrrrites are the Kastel Denmark ones. I picked up my first two on sale for $20 and $35 respectively and you could not pry them out of my cold dead hands. I have tried the TS IceFill and the Noble Outfitters Mariah, and I have two EIS on their way to me (purchased for $40 at the Rick’s sale). I’m eager to see how they compare, and if they are better than the TS that one is going up for sale. I’m tall with a normal torso but long arms and the TS IceFill’s sleeves are too short for me which is a huge disappointment and although the material content is very similar to the Kastel, it feels much thicker and doesn’t keep the heat out nearly as well as the Kastel.

      1. Message me if you wear an XL, maybe we could work out something where I sent you my TS, Kastel, and EIS for a week for you to try.

  13. I have the kerrits ice fill shirt (which is a sun shirt sort of?) and I like it well enough. The fabric is super light and clingy, which isn’t my favorite on me. I’d love to hope on this bandwagon, but the prices are just too off putting so far.

  14. Completely agree on the EIS shirt, but I like the form fitting part (since I wear 2 vests over it when I jump – don’t want extra fabric getting shmushed against my body). I have the Kerrits ventilators as well, cheaper but not as well made and doesn’t cool as well.

  15. I really want to try one of these shirts. I have a huge problem with length in the body and sleeve though. Is there much extra length?

    1. I have a super short torso, but a large chest so it equals out to be about average… these are an appropriate length to tuck in and stay tucked in for me.

  16. EIS hands down for me, with Kastel close second. I get my EIS mostly from Tack Room Online in SC. They sell them slightly below retail as it is and send out awesome coupon codes to their email subscribers.

  17. I have a Kerritts, Kastel and Ariat. They all rip more than I would like and the Kastel ripped the first time I wore it. But riding for 8+ hours as an endurance rider I need them so I don’t get skin cancer.

  18. I have an EIS, and if it’s the coolest one out there then I won’t be buying another in any brand. I can’t wear it when it’s hotter than 75* without sweating my ass off. Not really impressed with the sun shirt trend as a whole. I’ll slather on my sunblock and take my tan lines.

  19. I really like Kastel and EIS. If you look online for “Bette and Court” they are a golf brand that is essentially the EIS shirts but at a much more reasonable price. I also wanted to check out the new FITS Breeze.

  20. Ditto L. Williams. Please do a PSA when EIS go on sale! I have a Kastel that I love. Too expensive, but it fits nicely. I tried on Ariat when I was shopping and I also thought it was a little bit boxy. I thought Kastel had a more attractive fit.

  21. I’m in the market for something good! My farmers tan is absolutely getting out of control. Thankfully my Greek mother gave me the tanning gene, but I’d rather not be rockin’ the tan lines at my brother’s wedding. Thanks for the info!

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