The rash guard is worn as a base layer under other garments and as a stand alone item. It's an item of performance clothing and for people just starting an activity or hobby it can be a bit confusing knowing what to look for. Here's Fierce Edge's guide to choosing and wearing a rash guard.
Rash guards will have one of two cuts, Raglan sleeves or Set-In Sleeves.
The Raglan sleeve is stitched from the collar and goes diagonally under the arm. This provides extra space under the arm which then allows more freedom of movement. It's shape gives the wearer a better profile too, placing emphasis on the chest and shoulders.
The Set-In sleeve is a more formal and traditional cut. The sleeve starts at the top of the shoulder and goes under the armpit. Because the seam goes under the armpit it can cause friction and therefore irritation on a very close fitting garment.
The stitching is so important for combat and also for sports which penalises every distractions. Quality apparel will be constructed from at least 4 threads and the more threads there are, the stronger their hold. Obviously there's a limit to how many you can have but 4 - 5 is an indicator of quality construction.
Flatlock seams means that the fabirc is stitched on top of each other and the seams will lie parallel or flat against the wearer.
This is as opposed to an overlock seam where the fabrics are pinched together and sewn. An overlock seam restricts movement and because it will stand proud, may lead to chafing which is exactly what a rashguard is trying to prevent!
Short Sleeves or Long Sleeves?
This depends on your goal. If you're wearing a rash guard to help guard against things like staph infections then a long sleeve will provide full coverage. Long sleeves are great in the winter for extra insulation and in the summer they help to wick away sweat when worn as a base layer. But, if you've been working out a lot and someone ordered a gunshow then short sleeves are your friend! 💪💪💪
In sports where you have to wear leather gloves (boxing, mma etc) long sleeves are great because they allow you to wipe sweat away from your face with your forearm.
Stay clear from unisex sizing as often as possible. The female and male body has different bumps and curves in different places. Having a form fitting item in unisex sizing is optimistic at best and indicates a lack of investment in quality or thought from the manufacturer.
It's the first time you've tried on a rash guard, how should it feel? Obviously, long sleeves should cover over your wrists and there should be enough material to overlap whatever you're wearing on your lower body. Rash guards, should feel tight on you and definitely not loose. If it flaps about, it's not not going to protect you against chafing and might actually contribute to irritation in activities such as running and in grappling can get caught up in your opponent s limbs / appendages.
But how tight is tight? It should be form fitting and you should feel a small degree of compression. The garment will gently squeeze you and slightly increase the blood flow initially so it feels like you're getting a nice all over hug. If at any point that it's irritating or restricting movement then it's too tight, it's not supposed to be a support or brace.
A lot of poor quality rash guards overlook the collar and manufacture them too tight. The garment is supposed to work with you not against you! Make sure that yours isn't strangling you or making head movement difficult. If the collar is too tight, it can become irritating with sweat.
You can check out our collections:
Remember to join Team:Awesome to make sure you never miss an issue of Fierce Edge magazine and receive a coupon for 10% off everything at checkout.
Join us next Monday at 1230 and we'll look at the evidence which shows no benefits from compression wear.
You might be interested in our Health and Fitness magazine which cuts through the marketing and snake oil in the fitness industry to deliver the truth about nutrition and training.