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10 Best Sun Protective Clothing Reviewed and Compared

last updated Jul 18, 2019
Whether you have a sensitivity to the sun or if you're preparing for a day basking in it, the best sun protective gear can be a saving grace against the burn. With all the talk about how bad sunscreen is for the environment and your skin, it only makes sense to invest in the best sun protection clothes.

The Best Sun Protective clothes are made to keep out the sun while keeping you cool. They should breathe well and offer high levels of UPF in the fabric. Surprisingly enough, even some of the thickest feeling fibers won't keep the sun out and that is why there are clothes made just for this.

We offer in-depth research, making sure you are enjoying the best sun protective clothing for your needs. We offer a wide variety, helping you set up for surfing, running or any other outdoor activity you love.

In a Hurry? The test winner after 17 hrs of research

icon
Outdoor Research Sun Runner
97.2/100 our score
Application
98
Style
98
Comfort
97
Value
96
Use
97
Outdoor Research Sun Runner
Why is it better?

Snap-on sun skirt

Very lightweight

Extremely effective

In a Hurry? Editors choice:
Outdoor Research Sun Runner
Test Winner: Outdoor Research Sun Runner
Amazon Link
Researched Sources
9
Researched Sources
Reviews Considered
1800
Reviews Considered
Hours Researching
17
Hours Researching
Products Evaluated
24
Products Evaluated
Last Updated:
By Gabby Gabbard:

Adding two new great options to the 10 Best Sun Protective Clothes list makes for a great update. The TSLA and Baleaf UPF 50+ designs both offer great sun protection but are completely different in style. TSLA is a half front zip rashguard that repels some water while drying rapid fast. It offers great temperature control and clings close to the skin. The Baleaf is a more classic long-sleeve T-shirt design and perfect for those long fishing trips or casual days you’ll be spending in the sun. Scroll through and check out the FAQs as well if you have any questions, our FAQs and criteria are there to help guide you in making the best-informed decision on which sun protective clothing is best for you.

Sorting Options
Application Style Comfort Value Use By Default
Rank
PictureProduct
Name
Rating
Shops
#1
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
97.2
Application
98 %
Style
98 %
Comfort
97 %
Value
96 %
Use
97 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.08.19)
#2
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
96
Application
97 %
Style
96 %
Comfort
96 %
Value
95 %
Use
96 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.08.19)
Amazon Link
$19.95
#3
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
95.8
Application
96 %
Style
96 %
Comfort
95 %
Value
95 %
Use
97 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.08.19)
Amazon Link
$39.50
#4
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93.8
Application
95 %
Style
93 %
Comfort
93 %
Value
95 %
Use
93 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.08.19)
Amazon Link
$64.56
#5
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93.4
Application
93 %
Style
95 %
Comfort
93 %
Value
93 %
Use
93 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.08.19)
Amazon Link
$40.00
#6
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.4
Application
92 %
Style
92 %
Comfort
93 %
Value
90 %
Use
90 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.08.19)
Amazon Link
$19.98
#7
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
90
Application
90 %
Style
90 %
Comfort
90 %
Value
90 %
Use
90 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.08.19)
#8
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
87.6
Application
88 %
Style
87 %
Comfort
89 %
Value
87 %
Use
87 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.08.19)
Amazon Link
$24.38
#9
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
87.2
Application
89 %
Style
87 %
Comfort
90 %
Value
85 %
Use
85 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.08.19)
Amazon Link
$27.99
#10
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
83
Application
85 %
Style
83 %
Comfort
83 %
Value
82 %
Use
82 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.08.19)
Amazon Link
$24.99

Our Favorite Sun Protective Clothing

1. Outdoor Research Sun Runner

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
97.2
Outdoor Research Sun Runner
Amazon Link
Application
98
Style
98
Comfort
97
Value
96
Use
97
best offer for today
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Pros:

Snap-on sun skirt

Very lightweight

Extremely effective

Cons:

Not stylish

Traps some warm air close to the neck

We had to include at least one hat and this one designed for runners fit the bill. It includes a snap-on skirt for totally blocking out the sun and has mesh side panels for extra breathability. It has a UPF 30+ rating and a sweat absorbing headband.

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Effectiveness

With over 300 degrees of sun protection, it will definitely keep you from getting scorched. The sun skirt easily comes off via snaps for cooler days, early morning, and evenings. This makes it versatile.

Style

Without the skirt, it looks like a fairly typical runners cap. With the skirt on you'll look like a road warrior.

Comfort

It's very lightweight and well designed to sit on the user's head without distraction. It's also adjustable and one user review liked that it was able to fit his large head.

Value

It's less expensive than the shirts on this list and does a great job keeping the sun off your pretty face. A good buy.

Breathability

The nylon material does an ok job of wicking moisture but it could be better. The TransAction headband, however, is highly effective and mesh side panels help. The design does tend to trap some warmer air closer to the body than a wide-brim hat would be some people prefer this type of style.

2. Vapor Apparel UPF +50

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
96
 Vapor Apparel UPF +50
Amazon Link
Application
97
Style
96
Comfort
96
Value
95
Use
96
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$19.95
Pros:
  • Lightweight and moisture wicking fabric keeps you cool
  • Anti-microbial zinc shield
  • UPF 50+
Cons:
  • Fit does not work for everyone

This long-sleeved shirt provides effective sun coverage. The material has anti-microbial properties and is lightweight and moisture-wicking to keep you protected and comfortable even on hot days.

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Coverage

UPF 50+ fabric that covers the entire upper body from the neck to the wrists.

Construction

This shirt is 100% microfiber. The dense fabric feels lightweight and breathable but still provides effective sun protection. Vapor guarantees 99.92% UVB block after 25 washes.

Fit

This shirt has a trim fit that is more fitted around the shoulders and chest but looser at the waist. It is not a compression shirt but it is a bit more form fitting than the typical men’s long sleeve. It also tends to run a bit long, especially in the larger sizes.

Comfort

The soft and lightweight construction is breathable and comfortable for any temperature. The microfiber fabric is infused with PURE-tech moisture wicking fabric to help keep you cool and dry in the summer heat. It also features a zinc-based anti-microbial shield to help reduce odor and extend the life of this shirt.

Style

This shirt is fairly basic when it comes to design but it is available in 18 colors.

Value

This shirt is mid-range compared to others on the market.

3. Coolibar UPF 50+

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
95.8
 Coolibar UPF 50+
Amazon Link
Application
96
Style
96
Comfort
95
Value
95
Use
97
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$39.50
Pros:
  • Keeps you cool
  • UPF 50 and long sleeves
  • Slightly fitted
  • 10 color options
  • Machine washable
Cons:
  • Pricey
  • Sleeves run a bit long

This shirt has zinc oxide, the same ingredient found in sun block, infused in every strand to provide excellent sun protection. The construction is very soft and lightweight to keep you cool and comfortable on a hot day.

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Coverage

This long sleeve shirt with a slight V-neck has UPF 50+ protection and covers the arms and torso completely. The sleeves tend to run long to protect the backs of hands as well.

Construction

ZnO SUNTECT fabric is made of a blend of cotton, viscose from bamboo and spandex with particles of zinc oxide in every fiber. Because the zinc oxide is part of the fabric, it will not wear or wash out. This shirt is machine washable.

Fit

This long sleeve shirt is slightly fitted so it has a nice shape while still remaining loose and breathable. The sleeves do tend to be a bit long but the extra length provides some additional coverage for the hands. The slight V-neck is very conservative. It gives a flattering shape while still providing plenty of sun coverage for your chest.

Comfort

This lightweight fabric is very soft and keeps you cool despite the long sleeves. The design is perfect for a hot summer day or as a winter base layer.

Style

This simple shirt has a flattering fit without being too tight. It also comes in 10 solid colors.

Value

This shirt is a bit pricier than the budget options but it will provide reliable sun protection through many washes.

4. ExOfficio Sol Cool

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93.8
 ExOfficio Sol Cool
Amazon Link
Application
95
Style
93
Comfort
93
Value
95
Use
93
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$64.56
Pros:
  • UPF 50+
  • Xylitol-infused fibers have a cooling effect
  • Full coverage including hands and neck
  • 3 security pockets
  • High quality
Cons:
  • Expensive
  • Limited color options

This jacket provides maximum UPF protection with a hood and thumb holes to cover the neck and hands. Despite being a jacket, this treated fabric will cool skin up to 5 degrees upon contact with moisture. Three security zip pockets can fit a passport making this jacket perfect for travel.

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Coverage

This jacket offers great protection from harmful UV rays with a UPF of 50+, thumb holes to cover hands and a hood for optional neck coverage.

Construction

The 91% Polyester and 9% Spandex knit provide the perfect combination for a quick-drying but elastic jacket.

Fit

This semi-fitted jacket runs a bit large and has some nice stretch from the spandex material. Most women love the extra room and slightly longer length so they don’t have to keep pulling the jacket down as they run.

Comfort

Many buyers report feeling cooler wearing this jacket than having bare arms. This is due to the signature Icefil® treated fabric that features Xylitol, a compound also found in the birch tree, that is woven into the fibers. This, along with the polyester works to wick moisture away and cools skin up to five degrees.

Style

Strategically placed seams give this jacket a flattering, contoured look while still maintaining a looser fit. Unfortunately, only limited color options are available.

Value

This quality jacket is a bit on the expensive side.

5. Columbia Terminal Tackle

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93.4
 Columbia Terminal Tackle
Amazon Link
Application
93
Style
95
Comfort
93
Value
93
Use
93
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$40.00
Pros:
  • UPF 50
  • Streamlined hood for neck coverage
  • Moisture wicking
  • Stylish
Cons:
  • More expensive
  • No hand coverage

This high quality fishing sweatshirt is great for exercise as well as casual wear. With a UPF of 50, long sleeves and a hood, it provides effective and lightweight sun coverage that will not cause you to overheat.

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Coverage

This UPF 50 shirt minimizes UV exposure with long sleeve and a high neck to provide some neck protection even when the hood is down. The streamlined hood is also small enough to fit under a hat for additional coverage of the face and neck.

Construction

100% polyester fabric is lightweight but durable.

Fit

This light sweatshirt runs quite a bit large. Follow buyer advice by ordering a size down and you will still have a loose-fitting hoodie.

Comfort

Many users report feeling cooler in this lightweight hoodie than when wearing no shirt at all. The polyester fibers work to wick moisture away from skin and provide a cooling effect as they evaporate.

Style

This hooded sweatshirt has a slightly loose, but flattering fit. It comes in 12 solid color options with a large contrasting “Columbia” brand name written down the left sleeve.

Value

The price is mid-range but does runs quite a bit higher than many of the budget options. The high quality look and stylish design make this top worth the investment.

6. TSLA UPF 50+

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.4
TSLA UPF 50+
Amazon Link
Application
92
Style
92
Comfort
93
Value
90
Use
90
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$19.98
Pros:

Half and Full-Zip Options

Super fresh

Durable

Great SPF and Rash Protection

Cons:

Runs Small

TSLA UPF 50+ is a half zip-up rashguard that offers tons of protection and comfort. It dries rapid fast and the polyurethane mixed in the polyester material makes this one of the most durable options on our 10 Best Sun Protective Clothes Line Up. The zip-up style is a great addition and makes it easy to put on and take off.

Read more

APPLICATION

Designed for simplicity and protection, TSLA Rashguard zip-up UPF 50+ is ideal for any surfer or beach style sun protection application. As all the other items on the 10 best list, it helps keep away the mess of sunblock.

Due to its zip style, on and off is easy. Unlike some rashguard designs, you won’t have to struggle sliding on and off the clingy material over the head and getting caught up in the tighter fabric.

STYLE

This is long-sleeve rashguard style zip-up that gives dense protection to the sun as well as other elements such as board wax and sand irritation. TSLA made this to keep you dry and protected. Moreover, it has a 3-D twisted fabric that gives a unique style to the already stellar UV protection.

COMFORT

TSLA UPF 50+ zip-up rashguard dries fast, offering a two-way circulation design. It also sheds water and is super stretchy, making it less absorbent than other materials. Adding flat lock stitching only makes this design even more comfortable, preventing chaffing and irritation.

Made with a trendy 3-D twisted patterning, the high-density fabric is meant to hold up to anything with style. And as we mentioned before, the front half-zip up feature makes it an easy one to take on and off as needed.

7. Columbia Silver Ridge Convertible Pants

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
90
 Columbia Silver Ridge Convertible Pants
Amazon Link
Application
90
Style
90
Comfort
90
Value
90
Use
90
best offer for today
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Pros:

Versatile

Variety of pockets with secure closures and mesh

Very effective at sun protection

Lightweight

Dry quickly

Cons:

Some users don't like the slim, tapered cut

We wanted to have a pair of pants on our list and chose these for their effectiveness and versatility. They feature OmniShade UPF 50+ fabric, zip-off legs, and are lightweight, breathable, and quick drying. Users with slim to normal builds will find they run true to size but people with thicker and/or more muscular legs and backsides will want to order a size up since they have a more tapered and athletic cut than you might expect.

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Effectiveness

These do a great job of protecting you from the sun because of the tightly woven UPF 50+ fabric. They also dry very quickly if they get wet.

Style

They have an athletic, tapered cut that is great and flattering for those with slimmer builds. People with larger, more muscular lower bodies may not be pleased with them for this reason, however. As far as looks go, think Indiana Jones with 2019 clothes and you're there.

Comfort

The OmniShade fabric is soft and lightweight, feeling good against your skin. Some users felt that they rode a bit low on the hips for their taste but this was definitely the minority of users.

Value

They aren't cheap but they won't break your wallet either, and for a quality pair of pants that can also be worn as shorts because of the zip-off legs, they're a good deal.

Breathability

The polyester and nylon mesh fabric is moisture-wicking, but not as much as you might expect from such a lightweight fabric. The reason for this is that fabrics that protect against the sun do so because they have a tight weave. Synthetic fabrics such as polyester allow moisture to escape because the fibers literally cannot absorb water so it has to pass around the fiber to the outside air where it can dry naturally. But when you have a tightly woven fabric such as that in sun protective clothing the tight weave makes it more difficult for moisture to pass around the fibers so as a result, sun protective clothing is less breathable than other similar products that don't have a UPF rating. There's not much to be done about this, it's just something we want you to be aware of.

8. Hanes Long Sleeve

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
87.6
 Hanes Long Sleeve
Amazon Link
Application
88
Style
87
Comfort
89
Value
87
Use
87
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$24.38
Pros:
  • UPF 50+
  • Light, breathable fabric
  • Inexpensive
  • Long sleeve coverage
Cons:
  • No neck or hand coverage
  • Material may be too thin

Effective sun protection at a very affordable price so you can stay covered for every outdoor workout. Lightweight, moisture-wicking material is very breathable while still providing the torso and arms with UPF 50+ sun protection.

Read more

Coverage

This long sleeve shirt provides UPF 50+ protection for the torso and arms.

Construction

Tight jersery knit 100% polyester offers an ultralightweight barrier to protect from the sun. There is double needle stitching at the hems but there is still some fraying threads that need to be cut off after repeated use.

Fit

These shirts have a snug fit but are not compression. If you want a bit more room in your workout shirt, most buyers recommend sizing up.

Comfort

Users note this shirt feels silky smooth and has a very thin, breathable material.

Style

This basic shirt is available in a variety of solid colors. It may be a bit too thin for casual wear.

Value

These Hanes tees are sold in affordable multi-packs, making it easy to stock up on easy sun protection for every workout.

9. Baleaf UPF 50+

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
87.2
Baleaf UPF 50+
Amazon Link
Application
89
Style
87
Comfort
90
Value
85
Use
85
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$27.99
Pros:

Durable

Soft

Comfortable

Classic T-shirt design

Wicks sweat well

Dries Fast

Cons:

No the best for Swimming

Known for their high-quality wicking and breathability Baleaf is a leader in great activewear without looking like, well, activewear. Whether you are looking to catch some fish or some waves, Baleaf UPF 50+ shirt is a great option for keeping you protected from the sun while keeping you cool from the heat.

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APPLICATION

Baleaf UPF 50+ is worn as a normal long-sleeve T-shirt and doesn't restrict or cling to the body like some other styles of sun-protective clothing. However, it offers solid sun protection and style. The application is you putting on your favorite shirt which protects you better than having to reapply messy and sometimes toxic sunscreens.

STYLE

As we mentioned, Baleaf UPF50+ is a long sleeve style shirt. It has a classic simple look to it with a lot of protection. This is the best option for those that want a relaxed fit that rashguards and other materials may not offer.

Some of the best sun protective clothes offer clingy material that drys uber fast and protects from other elements. The Baleaf is a favorite among wearers because it is soft, reliable and keeps you cool while still offering all that sun protection. This is a sun-protective shirt you can use as daily wear that looks great with shorts or your favorite jeans.

COMFORT

Soft, loose and protective, Baleaf made a classic long sleeve design that is super light and that you won’t want to take off. The material offers the wicking and fast drying wicking technology that most of the best sun protective clothes offer. This shirt is just softer and flowier than most.

The material is designed in such a way that it offers the comfort of a traditional long-sleeve T-shirt. It is the best option for those that want the protection but don’t want to look like they just came off the boat. Furthermore, the flatlock seams prevent chafing.

The looser fit to this Baleaf favorite offers great mbility as well. So when your fighting with pulling in the “big one” you won't have to worry about getting caught up in your shirt. And jsut as an add, you can throw it in the wash machine without worrying about it loosing effectiveness, it polyester and super easy to care for.

10. Under Armour HeatGear Sleeveless

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
83
 Under Armour HeatGear Sleeveless
Amazon Link
Application
85
Style
83
Comfort
83
Value
82
Use
82
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$24.99
Pros:
  • Sleeveless shirt allows for full range of motion
  • Moisture-wicking material
  • Underarm stretch-mesh panels for ventilation
  • Comfortable compression fit
Cons:
  • UPF 30
  • No shoulder or arm coverage

For those who can’t stand to cover their arms during a workout, this sleeveless compression shirt provides some extra protection for the back and chest.

Read more

Coverage

Due to the tight fit of this compression shirt it has a UPF of 30 and provides coverage for your torso while leaving the neck, shoulders and arms exposed.

Construction

Fabric is 84% polyester and 16% spandex with a compressive feel and moisture wicking abilities.

Fit
This compression shirt should fit like a second skin and will hug the body just a bit.

Comfort

The snug fit is comfortable enough to wear all day. Many men love to have these trimming tees as undershirts as well as activewear. The 16% spandex material and 4-way stretch is designed to move with you in any direction. Unlike many compression shirts, this sleeveless top does not roll up as you move. The moisture wicking material and stretch-mesh underarm panels work together to increase ventilation and keep you cool as you sweat.

Style

The tight fit of this top holds in the stomach to create a flattering silhouette. Available in a variety of neutral and vibrant colors it is perfect for layering as an undershirt or wearing on its own.

Value

Price is standard for quality activewear.

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Effectiveness

When choosing sun protective clothing, there are many factors to take into account.

Not only do you want to make sure you are protected from the sun, but you also need a reliable workout shirt that will stretch with you as you move and keep you cool as you sweat. To make the choice a little easier, we compared clothing based on the following criteria.

The Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) is the rating system used to measure sun protection in clothing, similar to SPF for sunscreen. While SPF focuses on protecting skin from UVA (long-wave) rays, UPF protects from both UVA and UVB (shortwave) rays. UPF is measured by the fraction of light it lets through. For example, anything with a rating of UPF 50+ (the highest rating) lets in less than 1/50th (2%) of the sun’s rays. Anything less than 15 (letting in 6.6% of UV rays) is not considered to be UV protective. A cotton T-shirt, for example, would typically have a UPF around 5, reducing UV exposure to 20%.

This sun protection is great but, UPF rating will not have any effect on skin left uncovered. All T-shirts will provide coverage for the back, chest, and shoulders but it is best to find shirts that will provide coverage for the arms, backs of hands and neck as well.

Style

You should also consider the style for the shirt you are thinking about getting.

Quality construction is essential to the durability of any shirt, but tight seams and dense construction are very important for a good UPF rating. These factors are ideal for sun protection but not great for the hot conditions in which you will likely be exposed to the sun. So, we looked for shirts that have breathable, moisture-wicking fabric to keep you cool even when fully covered.

The comfortable and flattering fit is always important for workout attire. However, the fit of your shirt may also impact the efficacy of your sun protection. Typically, tighter shirts are less protective as the material will be stretched a bit thinner. When choosing a size, opt for the one that will give a little bit of room.

Comfort

Like all activewear, you want a shirt that will not weigh you down or restrict movement.

For a sun protective shirt, you will also need something that will wick away moisture and keep you cool. Many of these shirts have features that will actually keep you cooler in the sun than wearing nothing at all. UV rays are damaging to everyone but there are certain individuals who are at higher risk when exposed. Fair skinned individuals tend to be more sensitive to the sun due to the lower levels of melanin in their skin. This means these individuals burn easily and are at increased risk of developing skin cancer. Additionally, those with a family history of skin cancer, regardless of how much you burn, are at increased risk of developing skin cancer. Children also should take care to cover up as their skin is thinner than adults and damage at an early age is more likely to cause issues in adulthood. Temporary risk factors such as medications also play a role in your vulnerability. Double-check your medications and herbal supplements, especially acne treatments, antihistamines, and antibiotics, as these may increase sun sensitivity.

Value

Value should not be your primary concern but will come into play as you choose your sun protective apparel.

Sun protection is the number one consideration but it doesn’t hurt to look good either. We looked for shirts that had a flattering fit and attractive color options. Price ranges for sun protective clothing depending on the brand, style, and UV levels. If you are spending a bit more you want to make sure it is on a garment that will hold up well and provide reliable sun protection through many washes. Darker colors tend to absorb more light, including UV rays, that makes them less effective and they have a tendency to be warmer than lighter colors. Bright colors also tend to reflect light more effectively than their paler counterparts.

Breathability

Most sites won't tell you this...

So here's the deal with sun protection clothing and breathability. Almost as a rule, these types of products are lightweight, quick drying, and yes, they're breathable and will wick moisture away from your skin. But the UPF rating actually makes them less breathable than you'd think and that the companies who make them will let on, and here's why. Sun protection clothes with a UPF rating are made out of synthetic fibers. Synthetic fibers, let's use polyester as an example, literally cannot absorb moisture. They just can't do it. As a result, water, sweat, etc. starts on your skin and then goes around the synthetic fibers to the outside air where it can dry naturally. This is why apparel that is marketed as breathable is always made out of synthetic fibers, usually polyester. However, if the weave of the fabric is too tight moisture cannot pass around the synthetic fibers as easily and is more likely to stay trapped against your skin. Now, this isn't to say that you're going to turn into a sweat-soaked monster while wearing sun protection clothing, far from it. It is still breathable and manufacturers are getting better and better at improving their products. Just know that it may not be as breathable as you were expecting or as marketing materials would like you to believe.

Expert Interviews & Opinions

Most Important Criteria (According to our experts opinion)
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#1
Breathability
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Don't forget your lid

Find a good quality hat to protect your head and face to go along with the rest of your sun protective clothing. We have a cap at number one on our list for a reason; the sun shines from above so sun protection starts up top.

For your best protection....

Using sun protective clothing is a must to protect yourself while out in the sun, but it may not be enough. Use a good quality sunscreen to protect your exposed areas.

Other Factors to Consider

Bottom Line

Covering up with sun protective apparel is a great start but it is also important to take care of areas not covered by your clothing. Be sure to take care of the tops of your ears and bottom lip as these are areas that are often missed and frequently develop skin cancer. Adding sweat-resistant broad-spectrum sunscreen and a hat are good ways to reduce exposure to damaging rays. Sunglasses are also very important as UV rays can harm eyesight as well.

Frequently Asked Questions

q: Are all clothes UV protective?

a:

Yes and no. Regular clothing will decrease the number of UV rays that reach your skin but anything with a UPF of less than 15 is not considered to be UV protective. A regular cotton T-shirt will reduce UV exposure by 80%. This may seem like a good amount of coverage but it is significantly less than the coverage of even a 15 SPF sunscreen, which reduces UV exposure by 93%.

q: Why are UV rays damaging?

a:

Ultraviolet light sits just beyond the color spectrum and is invisible to the naked eye. The longest of these UV rays is UVA which penetrates skin most deeply and is responsible for tanning, photoaging, and wrinkles. UVB rays have a shorter wavelength and penetrate the outermost layer of skin–the epidermis. These UVB rays are largely responsible for reddening of the skin after sun exposure. Both UVA and UVB cause damage at the cellular DNA level. Damage to the DNA causes mutations which can lead to cancer. This is why it is important to always wear sun cream and sun protective clothing, even when you are not exposed to direct sunlight for a long period of time; UV damage is cumulative and you don’t need to be sat outside in the blaring sun in-order to suffer damage.

q: How do I care for my sun protective clothing?

a:

Each piece of clothing will be a bit different so be sure to follow tag instructions. Anything treated with a UPF protectant may lose its efficacy with frequent washing or harsh detergents. Many people choose to hand wash their shirts right after a run. As most of this UPF apparel is designed to dry quickly, their garment is clean, dry and ready to go by the next day. You can also wash your sun protective clothing in the washing machine most of the time, but you should always check the garment’s individual label as some can be damaged by going through the washing machine or tumble dryer. We definitely recommend air drying because any shrinking of the shirt can cause it to lose some of its breathability. For a detailed explanation of this please see our criteria section under the breathability heading.

q: Will these clothes also protect me from mosquitoes?

a:

Some garments may provide some protection. However, the fabric of most of this clothing is thinner with the intention of keeping you cool, so it will not offer the most effective barrier against bugs. For protection against mosquitos which can carry malaria and other diseases in certain developing countries, it is always best to carry specialist mosquito or bug spray. These sprays are specially formulated with chemicals which will keep these mosquitos away from you. If you do get bitten by a mosquito, it is always wise to seek medical attention.

q: Can the sun damage me even when it’s behind the clouds?

a:

Yes! UV rays can quite easily penetrate clouds and if you are in a part of the world where the sun is particularly strong, or you are having a heatwave, the UV rays coming from the sun will be a lot more concentrated. Just because the sun is behind the clouds does not mean you are safe from sun damage, and being in a cold climate doesn’t mean you’re safe either. In Norway and Greenland, for example, the sun bouncing off of the snow is enough to cause sunburn, even though the climates are generally colder.

Sources

  1. Smith, Scott, How to Choose Sun Protection (UPF) Clothing, Web Article
  2. Skin Cancer Foundation, UVA & UVB, Website
  3. Butler, Sarah, Run and Sun: Protect Your Skin, Web Article
  4. Golf4her, Tips on How To Select Sun Protective Clothing, Fashion Publication