Consider the superfine wool of the Merino, a mountain sheep from the Southern Alps of New Zealand: its wool fibers are thin but very dense, expanding to keep the sheep dry and insulated in harsh conditions, and providing breathability to stay cool during the warmer seasons.  Sounds like a great fabric for performance apparel, huh?

Icebreaker GT 200 Sprint Crew Features:

  • GT performance merino wool
  • 3% lycra for shape retention
  • 200g per square meter fabric density
  • Trim fit
  • Crew neck top
  • Raglan sleeves
  • Extended sleeves with thumb notch
  • Sleeve gusset for ease of movement
  • Flatlock stitching for comfort
  • MSRP $90

Icebreaker GT200 Sprint Crew Review

Icebreaker garments are made from pure merino wool, in various thicknesses designated by number (higher numbers are more dense).  The 200 thickness is a midweight baselayer that’s ideal for trail running or mountain biking.

Most Icebreaker garments are form-fitting, making them ideal for layering under a slim outer layer.  The GT200 fabric blended with 3% lycra for optimal shape retention.  The cut isn’t quite as tight as compression garments, and the GT fabric feels more comfortable against the skin than traditional form-fitting shirts.  I found the fit to be slightly looser between the shoulders and the base of the neck than through the arms and trunk.  The rear hem of the Sprint is low enough to use for MTB riding, but would be too short for road cycling.  Its fabric moves moisture away from the skin quite rapidly, and also dries quickly once your workout’s over.

Extended sleeves with thumb notches

Sleeves on the Sprint Crew have a thumb notch and extend to the mid-palm, which helps everything stay in place underneath a jacket or gloves.  However, I’m not a big fan of this design – it’s just a personal preference – and I found the fit of the notches slightly awkward, with a bit of pressure along the base of my thumb.  I generally wear the Sprint with the thumb unhitched, and there’s no bunching or discomfort in doing so.

Merino wool is a little bit pricey, but has several unique qualities that make it attractive for apparel companies.  It’s eco-friendly and 100% sustainable (all you need is a small flock of sheep), completely biodegradable, and the end product is a comfortable and versatile performance material.  Perhaps its best quality is dynamic thermo regulation, especially its ability to maintain insulation even when the material is wet, unlike most synthetic performance fabrics.

The wool is also famous for its ability to resist odors, and I can attest that my Icebreaker gear works wonders in this regard.  I’ve thrown them in the car after a morning 12-miler, then removed them after work 10 hours later, and they don’t stink even a little bit.  That factor alone might be enough to justify the ticket price.

Good Sprint Crew

  • Outstanding moisture transfer
  • Quick drying
  • Comfortable fabric against skin
  • Maintains insulation when wet
  • Incredible odor protection

Bad Sprint Crew

  • Form-fit might be uncomfortable as single layer
  • Thumb notch pulls slightly tight

Bottom Line: Icebreaker GT 200 Sprint Crew

With good versatility for MTB or trail running use, the GT200 Sprint Crew is a comfortable form-fitting base layer with outstanding performance attributes thanks to its merino wool construction.  Icebreaker gear isn’t cheap, but in this case you get the quality you pay for.

Buy Now: Icebreaker Shirts at REI

About Author

Donald is a physical therapist, ultrarunner, barefoot aficionado, and father of three with more than 20 years of experience in endurance sports. When he's not training for ultramarathons, he enjoys hiking or slacklining with his family in Monterey County, CA.

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