It would seem that just about any manufacturer could deliver a well-performing long-sleeve shirt for a variety of conditions. But in practice, there are enough variances that leave room for both good and bad products. At the end of summer and into fall, I’ve been testing The North Face Wander 1/4 Zip and while it’s mostly forgettable (in a good way), there are some highlights to mention.
The North Face Wander 1/4 Zip Features:
- Breathable jersey knit fabric made with recycled content
- Infused with FlashDry for optimum moisture management
- 1/4 zip front with medium hight collar
- Thumb loops for added coverage
- Raglan sleeves for comfort and mobility
- Shaped hem for added coverage
- MSRP: $60
A multi-season staple
It’s great to have a variety of long-sleeve shirts for all-season use. The North Face Wander 1/4 Zip Shirt has some great features that make it endearing year-round. Tops on that list is the ultimate comfort of the jersey knit fabric. The heather grey color tested is made from both recycled and new polyester, then infused with elastane for stretch and structure. This fabric mixture crushes the comfort level as I can put this shirt on and leave it on without even thinking a thing about it.
It can be said that if a piece of gear disappears, it’s built correctly. And, if that’s the case, the Wander 1/4 Zip is one of those shirts. I pull it on, enjoy the comfort and then proceed to get outside and enjoy this well-made shirt.
As morning temperatures have dropped, the Wander 1/4 Zip has shown its versatility for trail running. Hovering in the low-50’s, I have really appreciated this shirt on the trails. The fabric isn’t ultralight, but I wouldn’t call it midweight either. I can comfortably wear it alone into those temperatures on the trails at a high tempo. For slower activities, like hiking, I have put on a lightweight vest for added warmth and wind protection. Underneath a light jacket, the Wander 1/4 Zip continues to breathe well and confidently goes from outer to base layer.
I appreciate that The North Face designers added an inch or two of extra sleeve length to go along with the thumb loops. It’s aggravating when manufacturers include thumb loops, but don’t extend the sleeve length. The Wander 1/4 zip comfortably accommodates the usage of the thumb ports for added warmth, without feeling constricted. Thanks for doing it right. Raglan sleeves allow added comfort when worn under a pack and also facilitate more natural arm motion.
The collar is excellent height and diameter for comfort and warmth. I appreciate that it’s not too tall, but just right for cool mornings. It’s easy to unzip, once you can finally grab the dangly zipper pull (which I don’t see too often) and adds a touch more breathability when you need increased temperature control or airflow. That being said, moisture management is really good and the Wander 1/4 Zip dries in a jiffy, thanks to FlashDry. I usually try to wear my jerseys or shirts a few times between washings, but this one lasts only a run or two before it needs laundering. As a bonus, it doesn’t require special handling when washing.
Fit: I’m 5’11” and 173 lbs, wearing the size medium.
- Buttery-soft next-to-skin
- Extra sleeve length allows proper use of thumb loops
- Efficient fit for efficiency, but not so tight it can’t be used casually
- Breathes well and dries in a jiffy
- Easy to unzip/zip with a single hand
- Lightweight for summer or shoulder season — or as a cold-weather base
- Hang loop comes in handy
- That tiny, loose zipper is really hard to find in a pinch
- Not much odor control
- Limited availability
The Bottom Line: The North Face Wander 1/4 Zip Shirt
When I’ve worn The North Face Wander 1/4 Zip Shirt, it tends to just disappear. With amazing comfort and optimized moisture management, cool morning trail runs are sublime. I can’t seem to overwhelm it and it dries off in a hurry after I’m finished. I’ll repeat the kudos on the extra sleeve length that allows actual, comfortable use of the thumb ports because that’s not always the case.
Buy Now: Available from Moosejaw.com