Name: Columbia Women's Coolest Cool Short Sleeve Top (available in men's)
What it is: a performance short-sleeve shirt featuring Columbia's new Omni-Freeze ZERO technology that uses your perspiration to lower the temperature of your clothing in the same way it cools your body, only better. As the base fabric wicks moisture, thousands of tiny Omni-Freeze ZERO polymer rings embedded in the fabric absorb sweat and swell into three-dimensional circles to lower the temperature of the fabric and make your skin feel cooler. The fabric is antimicrobial and features UPF 50 sun protection.
The good: This is a perfect shirt for summer or the tropics. It's the first shirt I've ever had that made me shrug off the heat. The shirt kept me noticeably cooler on summer trips to Germany and Palau. The more I perspired, the more comfortable I felt. In Palau, I learned that the shirt isn't ideal for a dive boat. I got cold on the boat ride back when I wore the shirt over my wet swimsuit. For my final test, I wore the top in the steam room at my gym. After wearing my cotton T-shirt to confirm it had no cooling power, I swapped it for Columbia's top. Within a minute, my chest seemed noticeably cooler than the rest of me. An added bonus is that the shirt dries quickly, which makes it easy to hand-wash and wear multiple days on a trip. I hope Columbia introduces some Omni-Freeze ZERO underwear.
The bad: The shirt runs a bit small, so order one size up.
Available from: columbia.com, amazon.com and dickssportinggoods.com