This review photo shows the author testing the Showers Pass Apex Merino Tech shirt while riding a gravel bike.

Showers Pass Apex Merino Tech Shirt Review

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The Showers Pass Apex Merino Tech Shirt is a lightweight blended wool-nylon shirt designed for cyclists. You can wear it as a baselayer for added warmth on chilly rides, but it’s nice enough to wear on its own, too.

To get us a closer look, Showers Pass sent Man Makes Fire two review units. I tested out a short-sleeve version while our publisher tried out the long-sleeve version. This is what we learned:

Apex Merino Tech Shirt Review

I tested the Apex Merino Tech Shirt while reviewing a batch of cycling clothing, including the Showers Pass Ultralight Wind Jacket and Gravel Shorts.

I’m 6’1” and weigh 189 pounds. I ride 3-4 days a week, mostly mountain biking, but I also hit the gravel every now and then. I’m generally a size large, which is what I went with here.

This review photo shows the author wearing the men's Apex Merino Tech Shirt while riding a gravel bike on trails.
The Apex Merino Tech Shirt fits like a t-shirt but wicks moisture and never stinks — even after hard hot-weather rides.

The fit was a bit tight across my chest, but frankly I have a fairly large chest. The fit worked well for riding, but if you’re looking for more of a casual wool t-shirt kind of fit, look at the Showers Pass size chart and consider sizing up if you’re in between two sizes.

If you’re aiming for a snugger fit that you get with most base layers, stick with your usual size.

As for the wool blend, 85% merino and 13% nylon, Showers Pass does a nice job here. The company uses merino that’s ring-spun around a nylon thread core. The result is a slightly stretchy but durable fabric that feels good.

Overall, the fabric has a fairly fine weave — it’s definitely a lightweight shirt.

The back of the shirt is slightly longer than the front. I have worn it both gravel grinding and mountain biking. I even went down once and the shirt did not sustain any damage. It has no pockets for storage like a jersey, which makes it a bit more versatile for wearing in non-cycling situations.

When you’re on the bike, it breathes well and wicks moisture, keeping you cool in the sun. When the temperature dips and I’ve thrown on a shell, I’ve been happy with the results.



Why Wool?

This photo shows the men's short sleeve Showers Pass Apex Merino Tech Shirt.
The Apex Merino Tech Shirt delivers excellent on the bike performance — as well as casual good looks.

The best thing about merino wool is that it has some naturally anti-microbial properties that inhibit the growth of bacteria and the smells they produce. This means that you can wear wool base layers — or wool socks — multiple times without the funky smells you’ll get with cotton or most synthetics. This is why so many backpacking thru-hikers wear merino wool socks.

If you’re a casual rider who is rarely more than a day away from a washing machine, this might not be a big deal. On the other hand, if you want to go for a hard ride and then grab a beer with your buddies, wearing a merino wool shirt means you won’t scare everyone away with your post-ride smell.

Seriously, merino wool works, and that’s why outdoor enthusiasts like it so much.

The Long Sleeve Version

This photo shows the men's long sleeve Showers Pass Apex Merino Tech Shirt.
Showers Pass also offers a long-sleeve version.

The Showers Pass Apex Merino Tech Shirt LS has the same construction as the short-sleeve version — it just has long sleeves.

Chris Maxcer reports that the sleeve length is about right. “I’m a fan of the Apex Merino Tech Shirt,” he says. “It’s lighter weight than most wool base layers I wear and it looks more like a shirt than a base layer. I’ve worn it riding, worn it camping in the snow, and I’ve worn it skiing. Even when I’ve pumped out the sweat, it never smells. It’s a versatile technical layer that’s casual enough that you can get away with wearing it alone. I’m a fan.”

The Verdict

All-in-all, the Showers Pass Apex Merino Tech Shirts are solid, lightweight merino wool shirts. If you’re tired of stinky synthetics and want a versatile wool option, it’s hard to go wrong here. Highly recommended.

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