I am extremely pale. If I think about sunshine, I start burning. When I saw that some riding companies had come out with shirts with built in SPF, I had to have one.
Ok, more than one.
The great thing about these shirts is that the sun protection is in the way the fabric is constructed, so you can’t wash it out.
I had read a lot of reviews saying the EIS shirts ran small, so I was afraid they would be too tight. Over time, I have tried several kinds. Some of my favorites aren’t made for riding at all, but are made for golf.
For size reference, I wear a size 20 in pants, a 38DDD bra size, and usually am a 1x or 2x in shirts. I am quite short waisted and am considered a pear shape.
Here is what I have tried, and what I think:
1. Swing by Bette & Court
This is a great shirt. I have 3. I have an XL, and 2 XXL sizes. They both work for me.
Fit: boxy and on the short side.
Obviously this was not a deal breaker for me, but I’m rather short waisted. I’m not sure how these would work for someone with a long torso. Because of the length and boxy fit, on me they tend to ride up a little and sit on the top of my hips. I usually wear a cami under mine, so it really isn’t a big deal.
This isn’t the highest I’ve seen, but anything helps. As pale as I am, I wear sunscreen under the shirts anyway. This makes cleaning important, but that’s a topic for another post.
Price point: $76
These are expensive, but they are lightweight and keep you cool.
Other features: They have sheer vents down the underside of both arms, which is helpful for evaporation to keep you cool in the hot summer. I have worn mine during riding lessons in 100 degree heat here in New Mexico. They also come in a ton of fun colors!
Verdict: Worth it. A very good option.
2. Kerrits IceFil Mesh Long Sleeve
I only have one of these, but I wear it often.
Fit: slightly contoured and long enough to tuck in.
I really like the way this shirt fits me. I’ve got an hourglass figure, and this is cut in a way that it doesn’t look overly sloppy on me. It is a nice length and doesn’t ride up too much when I ride.
Price Point: $54
This is a pretty darn good price for a sun shirt.
Other features: Although these shirts do not have vented sleeves like the Bette & Court, SanSoleil, or EIS, I don’t find that it makes a difference. I stay nice and cool in any level of heat or humidity. I find the fabric lightweight, and the shirts have a stock tie loop so you can use them to show. I have a sleeveless version that I have worn under my hunt coat when it was really hot. For hunters and equitation, even if they relax the coats, you will not catch me without mine.
Verdict: Totally worth it.
These shirts are fantastic. They come in several options. I have this polo style, a plain zip mock turtleneck, and a zip mock with a vented back.
Fit: On the long side, which I like, and relatively fitted.
The XL fits me well, and I typically wear a 1x or 2x shirt depending on the brand.
Can’t go wrong with that!
Price Point: $88-$94 depending on style.
These are by far the most expensive, but they are also my favorite. Rather than just a mesh on the underside of the arms, it is a technical mesh that is more opaque and I think they are the coolest. I also prefer them because they are the most protective. They make a Burberry-style plaid that was extremely popular during the summer circuit at the Colorado Horse Park this year.
Verdict: Favorite, especially if you can find them on sale.
4. Irideon Radiance Parasol Long Sleeve Riding Jersey
I only have one of these, and I don’t plan to get more.
Fit: Runs pretty true to size if not slightly large, somewhat fitted.
I ordered a 2x, and I really should have gone with a 1X.
This is a definite benefit.
Price Point: $45
This is the least expensive option I have purchased. It does come in a variety of colors, but the fabric is a heavier knit than its more expensive counterparts. There is no mesh vent in the sleeves, either. The collar is odd. It isn’t a true zip mock, and it is double layered there, which is weird. It does have a stock tie loop, so it could be used for showing. Even in white, I found myself getting quite hot in it after only a few minutes of mild activity in the sun.
Verdict: Cheap, but I’d rather spend more on one of the other options. At only $10 more, the Kerrits is a better choice.
Another item I use for sun protection is an equivisor. These are an external visor that can be strapped onto nearly any helmet for face protection. They are very adjustable, and have a rubberized strip inside to grip the helmet.
I have two. My black one has gotten kind of beat up. A woman working for one of the tack vendors at our most recent horse show suggested I decorate it. I did see people who had bedazzled them. Maybe this is a post for another time.
The EquiVisor in use. (top-Kerrits IceFil, Breeches-Bradley Plus from SmartPak, Boots-Fuller Fillies)
I hope you found this information useful. When holding up an XL in the Kastel or EIS shirts next to the Bette & Court (in an XL), they were cut too small to really be a viable option for me. I know people wear them tight, but I prefer mine not to be skin tight because I’ve got things I’d rather hide!
If I get any other sun shirts, I will add a new review.
Thanks for reading!