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Not all T-Shirts Are Created Equal, Part 1: The Deal With Cotton

Posted on March 18 2015

When I started ADV Addicts, I spent a lot of late nights doing R&D to make sure we put our brand on the most high-quality tees that we could find and afford. You might be wondering, “Hey it’s just a t-shirt!” and how much research and development could someone actually invest in something so basic?

Well, it turns out not all T-shirts are created equal. Now, to save cost, many clothing companies rely on what used to be the industry standard, which were these 100% cotton tees using carded open end cotton. Carded open end is a cheaper way of turning cotton into yarn, and if you’ve ever worn a heavy, scratchy, cardboard-like tee, you know what carded open end feels like. After many washes, those tees are like stiff plaster. I know this because I’ve left many tees in my drawer because wearing them was almost painful!

So for our cotton and cotton blend shirts, we only use 100% combed ring-spun cotton. You start with the same cotton fiber strands, but with the ring-spun process, the yarn is actually made by continuously twisting and thinning the strands, making a very fine rope of cotton fibers. The twisting makes the short hairs of cotton stand out, resulting in a stronger yarn with a significantly softer feel.

Bottom line is you get a lighter weight tee that is way smoother and finer than standard tees. The combed ring-spun cotton also has an ultra soft, luxurious feel to it. You can see the difference between carded open end and the 100% combed and ring-spun cotton in these close ups at 200x magnification:

Theirs:                                                        Ours:


So you can see the big difference in texture with these shots. That ultimately impacts how the shirt feels when you’re wearing it.

Why do we care so much about this? Because we’re Addicts and we’re as passionate about the material we use for shirts as we are about Adventure Motorcycling. Our goal is to provide a premium product and advance ADV lifestyle wear to new standards, and not just slap a logo on any old shirt and call it a day.

Checkout some of our super soft, 100% combed ring-spun cotton tees:

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