Smartwool’s merino blend tee manages to be soft and comfortable yet long-lasting and hard-wearing…

While many of the best workout clothes use high-performance man-made fabrics like nylon and polyester, nature has its own magic materials that can be just as effective. Merino wool is one of those. It’s soft, comfortable and good at wicking moisture, not to mention hard-wearing, versatile and sustainable – and it’s what you’ll find inside the Smartwool Intraknit Active Short-Sleeve Tee.

Men’s Fitness verdict

Soft and stretchy, this merino wool workout tee offers moisture management, temperature regulation and odour resistance. It’s best to size up if you’re not after a skin-hugging fit.
  • Incredibly comfortable
  • Almost seamless design
  • Tight fit
  • Pricey

How we tested the best workout tops

Our team of reviewers are experienced testers of all manner of fitness kit. While testing out this backpack, MF tester Kieran Alger assessed the top in terms of comfort, fit, and sweat-wicking capabilities. He also paid close attention to any high-tech features on offer, such as the inclusion of infrared technology. The testing process involved wearing the top through a range of varied workouts, from longer runs and gym classes to lifting sessions at the gym, to see how the top performed.

man wearing smartwool intraknit active short-sleeve tee
Designed with minimal seams to prevent any unwanted rubbing, alongside strategic mesh panels to boost ventilation.

Smartwool Intraknit Active Short-Sleeve Tee features

This Smartwool Intraknit Active workout tee offers the best of both worlds, blending the moisture management, temperature regulation and odour resistance of 51% merino wool with the softness and cooling properties of Tencel – an eco-friendly, cellulose-based fabric that’s soft, breathable and moisture-wicking.

The first thing you’ll notice is the thickness of the fabric – it’s much heavier duty than many training tops. It also has a close, supportive fit that feels more like a base layer. You’ll find your usual size will feel pretty snug in the Smartwool Intraknit Active. It’s a little less flattering than some alternatives; you’ll either need to like a skin-hugging fit or consider going a size up. 

Smartwool Intraknit Active Short-Sleeve Tee performance on test

Like the Under Armour Rush Legacy Tee, it’s designed with minimal seams to prevent any unwanted rubbing, with strategic mesh panels that boost ventilation. That works well to keep things dry and comfortable even when you’re going full tilt. Though this is definitely one of the the warmer, heavier tees on test. 

Despite the weight it feels lovely and soft against the skin and the stretchy and flexible fabric moves well with your body. That close fit doesn’t make it feel tight or restrictive either. It’s a useful tee for regular strength work and dynamic drills and can double up as a warmer running tee. It’s a good option for layering under a jacket or mid-layer for boosting warmth on colder sessions.

The Smartwool Intraknit Active Short Sleeve Tee comes in two colours – lead and black – with five sizes from S to XXL.

Materials:51% merino wool, 22% polyester, 21% Lyocell, 6% elastane
Sizes:Small to XXL
Features:Mesh ventilation zones / bacteria and odour resistant
Colours:Lead / Black