Artilect is a company that’s clearly inspired by the outdoors – and so is its M-Sprint Tee.

Artilect is my kind of company. Born from humble origins in Boulder, Colorado, its gear is made from its founders’ desire to create something better –for people who live outdoors, by people who live outdoors. A company that says sustainability is not an option, because they want to protect the world they live and play in. Its no surprise then that its M-Sprint Tee is right up there with the best running tops.

Men’s Fitness verdict

The Artilect M-Sprint Tee can be a base layer, gym top, casual tee or running top. It works effortlessly however it’s worn – with insulation, breathability, comfort and style guaranteed.
  • Flattering slim fit that keeps its shape
  • Light, breathable and comfortable
  • Useful reflective details
  • Good insulation
  • Side seams are noticable (but don’t chafe)
  • Minor bobbling

How we test the best running tops

We tested each of the running tops in this buyers guide for at least a month, in a variety of weather conditions and temperatures, and on varying lengths of runs – from short interval sessions to 10km-plus efforts. We also wore them for other activities such as cycling, gym and mobility work to discern their versatility. We also took durability, design and price into consideration before awarding a final score.

I’d not heard of Artilect before. It’s not a company that’s gained much traction in the UK – yet. But checking out the company’s website, I’m very quickly on board with these guys. It’s a small company of active, creative and technical people who obviously love living and adventuring in the mountains around Boulder, and they want to make clothing to help other people feel the same way.

Artilect M-Sprint Tee design

The Artilect M-Sprint Tee (buy now) is just one in a range of clothing designed for those who enjoy an active lifestyle. Artilect also makes base layers, pants, mid-layers, fleeces and jackets, as well as accessories. Basically anything to increase the comfort of hikers, trekkers, runners and snow-boarders. Its gear is a mix of sustainable design, technical innovation and panache.

This M-Sprint Tee is made from a merino engineered by an equally innovative company, Nuyarn, which makes advanced merino garments from responsibly sourced wool. And unlike other merino apparel, Nuyarn fabrics are reported to keep their shape. The M-Sprint comes in black, as well as four punchy colors. Mine is a vibrant mustard yellow called A/Cid.

The M-Sprint Tee has good coverage and keeps its shape well for merino

Artilect M-Sprint Tee fit

The first time I put it on, I was immediately impressed by its fit and feel. While there are anti-chafe flatlock seams around the shoulders, the side seams are more prominent and noticeable, so I wondered how I’d get on with those. They do have reflective tape embedded in them, though, which is a nice touch.

Coverage is decent, with the bottom hem sitting a good 4in below my waist. So you could definitely wear this for dynamic gym work without feeling too exposed. I wore the tee for more than a month’s worth of running, cycling, fastpacking and camping. My immediate reaction once I started to work up a sweat in it was thinking this just feels too light to be merino. And it does – yet it provides all the insulation, heat and moisture management that you’d associate with a merino wool tee. Even drenched in sweat, it never felt noticeably ‘woolen’.

After six or so weeks it shows no sign of going out of shape, either, and that flattering fit refuses to budge – and that’s another surprise for a merino tee. I did notice a tiny bit of bobbling on the back, but certainly nothing untoward. Those noticeable side seams didn’t progress to any rubbing, chafing or irritability either – they just stayed noticeable. And I can live with that.

At £70, the price may seem a little high, but not overtly so. If you’ve ever found a merino top that just fitted well, performed well, looked good and lasted, you’ve probably paid a similar amount. And I think it’s work every penny. Given that I wear this Artilect M-Sprint Tee even when I’m not working out, I feel like I’ve got two tees for the price of one.

Artilect M-Sprint Tee technical specs

Materials58% merino, 42% nylon
FeaturesSlim fit Nuyarn Speed-Lite fabric; no-chafe, flatlock seams; reflective side seams
SizesXS – 2XL
ColorsA/Cid / Balsam / Black / Blue Steel / Brick

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