The Morphic shirts from Arc’teryx are technical shirts made especially for climbers. They come to us from the North Vancouver, British Columbia based company in both Crew and Zip Neck variety. These are base layer shirts that are designed and engineered with durability, protection, and performance in mind. The Morphic shirts are long sleeved for full protection in moisture management as well as increased protection from the sun. They are made of the Phasic™ AR-X fabric developed by Arc’teryx which was made to be a more durable mid weight base layer textile. The forearms of the shirt have been reinforced with polyester fabric. Both of the textiles used for the Morphic shirts have an all-day UPF 50+ rating for exposure to sun on rock and snow.
One of the first things I noticed is how well the Morphic shirt conformed to my body; the fabric does a fantastic job of giving you ample flexibility. The fabric Arc’teryx used for this shirt was intended to allow climbers the option to wear it by itself on warmer days. Some climbers prefer flatlock stitches if they are prone to chafing or skin irritations, but the Morphic shirt was designed with serge stitching/cover stitching instead for a more durable stitch that is less likely to snag on things such as Velcro, rock, granite, etc. In my experience it was the right design choice and I haven’t had any concerns about it. While wearing the Morphic shirt I was pleased with its abilities in moisture management. It has actually performed better in that area than any other base layer I have ever worn. Before I knew better, I would wear regular cotton shirts and they would quickly absorb moisture and become uncomfortable to wear. So discovering the ability of a base layer to do what the Morphic shirt does was a wonderful change. It isn’t unlike having bad eye sight and then putting glasses on for the first time and realizing what you’ve been missing! All areas of performance are improved when you try a base layer of this caliber, including temperature regulation, flexibility, comfort, and protection from the elements. All are must-haves for next to skin style gear.
One other important design feature that is definitely worth noting is the forearm on this piece. It has been reinforced with a hard wearing polyester fabric that made a noticeable difference to me. It is a welcome design choice that has improved an area of your body that comes into frequent contact with rock and while working with ropes. I was seriously impressed with Arc’teryx’s work on this piece; every small detail was accounted for. I even noticed on the zipper that the pull tab will snap down into place over the slider. Small things like that add up. I commend Arc’teryx for the truly intuitive design and effective base layer that has accounted for every detail. You can find the Morphic at Arc’teryx.com.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received the Arc’teryx Morphic Shirt for free from Arc’teryx, in consideration for review publication