I believe the sun shirts began to regularly show up in the equestrian world a few years ago. It seems especially over the past year, they have steadily gained popularity and now everyone is wearing them. With several different types of sun shirts available including Tailored Sportsman, EIS, Kastel and more, it can be hard to choose which to
start collecting try out.
Ultimately, I first bought a Kastel shirt because I had wanted to try them for a while, and I found two on sale at my local tack store’s annual sale last February. I live in Texas and it can get extremely hot, and the very first thing I noticed when wearing one of these shirts for the first time was that I felt considerably cooler in this long sleeved sun shirt than my short sleeved polo. The fabric of the Kastel shirts is very lightweight with mesh along the underarms. At first feel you might be worried that the material will snag easily, but I have had not one single snag on any of my shirts that I wear very regularly. I have not actually owned any so I can’t say for certain, but at least when feeling the Tailored Sportsman and Kerrits sun shirts at the tack store, the material feels much thicker (which would probably be fine if it’s in the 70s-80s).
One thing to consider when venturing into the world of sun shirts is that they really work best to protect and cool your body from the sun rather than the humidity, at least in my experience. Texas is always really hot in the summer and can also be quite humid, especially in the morning. However, if it’s overcast and humid I usually just opt for a short sleeved polo because I feel most comfortable in the Kastel shirts when it’s actually sunny. They do a fantastic job of protecting from harsh sun rays, and they actually do keep your body cooler even when you sweat.
One of my Kastel shirts in action on my friend Olivia’s super adorable horse, Riley
Sun shirts come in a range of prices with I believe the EIS shirts being the most expensive at $100, with Kastel at $75. However, recently they have been selling some of their colors for a lot cheaper on Zulily and eBay, where I snagged the brown on brown and grey with lavender polo for a steal. If you are unsure about the price but want to try the Kastel shirts, keep your eye out for the sales. The red with white and royal blue with white were the first two I got at my tack store’s annual sale, so the only ones I actually paid full price for were the navy and the white with black trim. This may seem excessive, but I literally wear them all summer long as well as some in the spring and the fall, so I could actually use more. 😉
I haven’t really done any reviews before and I’m sure this post had a lot of rambling…so, long story short: I think the Kastel shirts are fabulous and well worth the investment.
If anyone owns/has tried other brands of sun shirts, I would love to hear your thoughts on them!