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  • Sep

    TOP SPF 50+ RASHGUARDS COMPARED: THE EXPERT REVIEW

    by Loretta Race, Swim Writer & Masters Swimmer

    For much of the country, September was the final month to enjoy some time out in the sun by the pool, on a beach or lakeside to soak up the final weekends of summer until September 21 comes along. 

    So we took advantage of the last weeks of warm weather to have our expert product reviewer check out some of the latest offerings in rashguards that provide sun protection (SPF 50+) from both top swim and surf brands that have grown in popularity the past few years. Here are six top styles she reviewed this month to help you in your purchasing decision.
     

     

    The first thing I noticed about the Body Glove fitted rashguard was the fun and vibrant pink color, perfect for my skin tone and personality. The iconic Body Glove brand logo also dons the front of the rashguard, helping break up the solid color and give some contrast.
     
    This particular rashguard is a polyester/spandex blend and the ratio is just perfect, giving this garment some shape, but rendering the fit still very breathable and body-hugging. The fabric itself feels a little thinner than other rashguards, which I welcome, as it keeps me a tad cooler and carries less water when I swim around while wearing it. UV protection means I can rest easy about not wearing sunscreen on my torso. 
     
    I also like how the Body Glove rash guard is a true crew neck fit, letting my neck breathe and not feel confined. The sleeve length is just right for me and doesn’t hinder movement or add heft when moving in the water.
     
    The length of the garment is sufficient to meet up with a standard bikini or sport short bottom. When done swimming, the rashguard dries quickly.
     
     
    The Sporti rashguard is nice and body-hugging and is fashioned with flattering contouring seams on the sides. That gives the garment a little more style and shape, which is a positive for wearers looking for that type of design. 
     
    The tight fit helps minimize swim drag, but also adds warmth with the fabric close to my body when out of the water. My particular garment was black, which means it captures the sun’s heat a little more than I would like when sitting outside the water or standing up on a paddleboard while dry but this is probably less true of the red and white versions.
     
    The collar is a slight mock-turtleneck-type, which does add more coverage if that’s what you're looking for, but I somehow find it a little confining. Maybe something more for bodysurfers or paddlers then pure swimmers like myself.
     
    The Sporti rashguard comes with a small loop stitched inside the shirt that’s intended to be attached to board shorts. For me, I usually wear this top with a swimsuit, but the loop is still super-convenient to hang up the shirt and aid in drying.
     
    The sleeve length is perfect, but the nylon/spandex blend feels just a tiny bit too thick in the water for my taste. I prefer a thinner feel.
     
     
    I have several other TYR products and I’ve grown to trust the brand’s quality and construction. Although well-made, this particular rashguard is a little bit disappointing to me – mostly around its fit. 
     
    I prefer my rashguards to be form-fitting, with little gap or room for water to flow. For my body, this garment fits more like a swim shirt than a rashguard. The sleeves are too long and carry water when I swim, which just makes them heavier and harder to move. 
     
    The TYR Belize rashguard does have the unique feature of cords on each side, which allows me to adjust the length of the shirt. That’s a terrific customizable feature and definitely gives the shirt some stylish flair.
     
    I love that this piece has UPF 50+ for protection and the neckline feels unrestricted and breathable. My particular shirt is gray, which lacked the pop of some of the other colorful brands I tried when surrounded by water and the sun, but it can serve as a go-with-most-everything universal color.
     
     
    The Basic Skins surf tee from O’Neill is another good-looking rashguard that comes in a variety of eye-catching and lively colors. Love that. My blue shade feeds into my mermaid vibe and has the brand name logo tastefully appearing across the front.
     
    The overall shape of this particular garment is designed more like a long-sleeved t-shirt; there are no extra seams, which can be either good or bad. For me, there was not much body-shaping going on, but the fabric wasn’t too loose either, so the fit is really a pro or con depending on what you’re looking for.
     
    The O’Neill rashguard’s neckline isn’t too tight and resembles a true crewneck. I like the length of the shirt and its sleeve length hits me right at the wrist. 
     
    I like the combination of nylon and spandex, which dries out quickly and isn’t heavy when moving around in the water. The UPF 50+ is also reassuring for my very pale skin out in the sun all day. A good overall choice in this category.
     
     
    Although the Speedo rashguard is another black garment, this model comes with contrasting gray color-blocking down the sides of the torso and on the arms, which is both flattering and give the piece a bit of sporty style. It’s a nice touch overall.
     
    The thinner fabric was a little cooler than some of the other shirts, which keeps me comfortable even in the darker color. I also like how the UPF 50+ allows me to feel confident I won’t burn on the areas this garment covers.
     
    The fit of the Speedo rashguard falls more into the ‘boxy’ category, which means it isn’t too confining, but I would prefer it to cling to my body a little more. I don’t feel that the garment weighs me down when swimming, although the sleeves are a little too loose and did have a little water pooling. But overall, the slightly boxier feel means comfort without being too loose.
     
     
    True to its brand moniker, the Roxy hearted rashguard definitely carries a youthful vibe with its eye-catching heart graphic on the front and big ‘ROXY’ logo down the sleeve. 
     
    I found this garment to run the smallest of the bunch size-wise and, with its mock collar, is very tight getting over my head to even wear it.
     
    My hearted rashguard was white, which is a color I typically stay away from with swimming pieces but find refreshing here. I like how the white matches any number of suit or short bottoms and doesn’t hold as much heat from the sun when playing, walking, etc. outside the water.
     
    The very tight fit keeps the rash guard nice and close to my body when swimming and moving in the water, but I found the piece riding up on my torso when active. Maybe I should have sized up but I wouldn’t want to lose the snugness either.

     

    The Roxy rashguard does carry a hefty UPF 50+ and has the largest polyester percentage at 92%, which means it has more chlorine-resistance. A definite plus. 

     

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