What are the best Tee Shirts made of? | A Brief Defense for Cotton

Our 100% Cotton Tee Shirts are the Best in the West.

What makes a tee shirt a tee shirt? The Fabric. Plain and simple.

What are t-shirts usually made of? Polyester, wool, silk, or cotton to name a few, Usually though a combination of polyester and cotton. Polyester is plastic, often recycled from used water bottles. Our tees are made from 100% cotton, becasue we prefer natural fibers whenever possible, especially next to skin. 

Perhaps one of the most important thing to consider, when considering a tee shirt, is comfort. Comfort is never overrated. And when it comes down to comfort, there are a couple of factors to consider: breathability, hand feel, and fit. 

Breathability. Cotton breathes, so the heat our beautiful bodies produce has somewhere to go. Wearing cotton is like the joy of opening the window in a stuffy room or breathing the freshness of a rainstorm. Its poetic really.

Our tees fit. They fit not too snug or loose. Just right. They are designed to fit comfortably without looking frumpy or shabby. Looks don’t always matter, but when they do, we have you covered. 

And when it comes down to hand feel, our 100% Pima Cotton Tees are otherworldly. Like you are transported to an alternate universe where t-shirts are made by multi-colored unicorns of supreme intelligence. Seriously though, touch one and you will be changed forever. Maybe not your personality disorder, but you might find yourself forgetting you are wearing anything at all, which may or may not be advantageous to your sense of self confidence.

Ok we like cotton; you should know that by now. But what kind of cotton do we use in our t-shirts? The answer, two of the best cottons in the world: Pima Cotton and Tanguis Cotton. 

Commercially speaking, worldwide there are only two different species of cotton being grown and produced worldwide. Upland cotton, which makes up 90% of the market. The remaining 10% comprised of extra-long staple premium cottons like Egyptian and Pima Cotton.

Our world-famous Rogue + Pima and SR Pima Tees are made of 100% Pima Cotton (as the name suggests). Pima cotton is grown in specific regions of South America (and in a few placed in the USA) and is dependent on elevation and climate. Compared to the run of the mill Upland Cotton, Pima is, can you believe it, both softer and stronger and lasts longer.

Our Graphic Tees are made of a different but similar type of cotton that is not well known by the masses. It is called Tanguis Cotton (named after its developer Fermin Tanguis). Tanguis Cotton is a hearty, drought tolerant species of cotton that can be harvested up to 6 times annually. It is truly an environmentally friendly cotton. Not to mention it is considered a long staple cotton.

Cotton is in our minds a performance fabric suitable for most of the day-to-day applications. We wear cotton to the gym, because it breathes well, absorbs sweat, and keeps us cool. It also washes up well, just don’t leave your sweaty shirts in your gym bag for to long or you’ll have a smelly science experiment on your hands. No worries though. That is one of the benefits of cotton. Cotton releases oils and bacteria with ease in a normal wash cycle. So, when you put it back on and start crushing those dumbbells you won’t have people wondering what died.  

Cotton is good for work, whatever kind of work: desk job, motivational speaker, construction, working the line, babysitting, etc. It is also good for play: climbing, skating, bike riding, spring skiing, hiking, etc. You get the point. Cotton is good for almost any kind of adventure. Cotton kills? Well, it hasn’t killed us yet. Cotton kills should read cotton is killer. 

Another thing to consider. Is cotton a good perfomance fabric? Can you wear it to the gym, for instance? 

Consider for a moment, the “active wear” category. Most fabrics are made of nylon and polyester. These fabrics have some advantages. They wick moisture more easily than natural fibers like cotton. And they dry faster, due to the fact they do not absorb as much of their weight in water. Cotton can absorb up to 25 times its weight in water (hydrophilic), polyester only about 10 (hydrophobic).  

In our minds polyester has a major drawback, odor retention. Polyester is hydrophobic but it is also oleophilic (oil loving). This means that the oils in our sweat cling on the fibers of the fabric like that friend who after dinner overstays their welcome. And where there is oil there is bacteria. And where bacteria thrive there is foul odor.

Side note, BO is a byproduct of bacteria, not of the sweat itself.

Long story short, polyester gets stinky. It is a stubborn mule. Even after a good wash. And the minute you start sweating, like at the gym or on a hot date, it comes right back. Special detergents can help, but again it is just one more thing to think about. And you probably have enough to think about as it is.

Cotton on the other hand, if you can’t tell already, is one of our favorites. When washed it easily gives up the oils in our sweat, and any growing bacteria. It saves the embarrassment of wafting foulness in public places.