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Photograph courtesy Eddie Bauer

A Workout Shirt with Sweat-Activated Ventilation—That Works

“The world’s only sweat-activated venting system. Exclusive FreeVent Pro active venting technology uses moisture-activated polymers in strategic sweat zones. The polymers expand to lift open critical airflow channels as the pace climbs, and then close when the body cools and sweat evaporates. Laser-cut patterns aid cooling process and are placed specifically where venting is most needed on a male body.”

Let me put it more simply: The Quantum has a bunch of holes that expand once your body’s thermostat climbs toward the red zone. And here’s the funny thing—funny if you’re used to hearing as much product hype as I do—it actually works. On several trail runs and a mountain bike ride, when temperatures climbed above 90º, I could feel the Quantum vents opening, bringing a measure of cooling to my torso. I was rather shocked, and, no, it wasn’t heat stroke.

There’s more to the Quantum story, however. The shirt did in fact keep me feeling cooler, but on the kind of days when you really need it, when it’s legitimately hot, the polyester can get overwhelmed by sweat, take a long time to dry, and feel clammy. There’s a tremendous amount of stretch in this fabric, and elastics such as Lycra are notoriously slow drying, so maybe that’s the issue. Or maybe I just sweat more than most. Either way, if you’re looking for a cooler alternative, give it a look, especially in these days of endless summers.