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Keela Trail Short Sleeve top review: a faultless first layer

This soft, breathable technical top keeps you cool and dry under sweaty conditions and acts as an ideal first layer for your mountain adventures

Keela Women's Trail Short Sleeve Top
(Image: © Keela)

Our Verdict

This soft technical tee keeps you cool and dry on your hikes and runs, and makes a faultless first layer for your mountain adventures at a competitive price.

For

  • Moisture wicking and quick drying
  • Reduces odor-causing bacteria
  • Stretchy and comfortable
  • Budget-friendly

Against

  • Not insulated
  • Made from non-natural materials

Keela Trail Short Sleeve top: first impressions 

On the rack, this lightweight, technical tee is made for running and hiking in cool to warm weather. The ultra soft material and active fit provide chafing-free comfort on the trails, bolstered by moisture-wicking and quick drying technology.

Keela manufactures all their clothing at their own factories in Scotland and were the first Scottish clothing manufacturer to sign up to the Sustainable Clothing Action Plan. Even though this tee is made using polyester rather than natural fabric, it’s been treated with an anti-bacterial component that stops the growth of odor-causing bacteria, reducing sweat smells which means you wash the garment less often and keep it out of landfills longer. 

This top also makes a perfect first layer under your mid-layer or shell, and will keep you as comfortable on the trail as it will on a plane or hanging out at home.

Specifications

• RRP: £29.95  
• Sizes available:  XS - XXXL (men’s), UK 8 - 20 (women’s)
• Materials:  Polyester (91%), Spandex (9%)
• Colors:  Blue, Carbon, Covert, Raspberry
• Best use: trail running, hiking, base layer 

Keela Trail Short Sleeve top: on the trails

Keela Men's Trail Short Sleeve Top

The material is very lightweight and soft and the fit is slim and flattering without actually being tight or catching anywhere, which is just what I look for in my hiking and running tops  (Image credit: Keela)

This is my first garment from Keela even though they’re based just up the road from me and I was impressed with the fit and feel of this top. The material is very lightweight and soft and the fit is slim and flattering without actually being tight or catching anywhere, which is just what I look for in my hiking and running tops. It’s a classic-looking no-frills design so as long as you don’t treat the hiking trail like a catwalk, there’s nothing not to like here.

It promises to be moisture-wicking and odor-resistant so I put it to the test on one of my longer trail runs. The weather had just turned from rather a warm summer to a crisp, autumn day but I was still able to get a good feel for how this performs under sweaty conditions. I was probably more impressed with the moisture-wicking and quick-drying capacity of this top than any other I’ve tried. Once I got a sweat going, I remained comfortably cool for my entire run. I brought an extra top to change into once I got back to my car, but found I didn’t really need to as it dried so quickly.

Add to that the extra stretchy fabric which means there’s no annoying rubbing or chafing and I’m more than happy with this for a running top.

As for the odor-resistant claim, I’d say it works as well as many others in that department. I’m still waiting for a true odor-free experience in a top made from manmade materials, but I could definitely wear this again without washing it.

For cooler weather adventures, I’d definitely wear this as a first layer under my fleece or shell.

Here’s how it performed:

Sizing

I wore my usual size 8 and it runs true to size. If you want it skin tight, you could size down but I wouldn’t recommend that. 

Fit

Slim fitting without being skin tight makes it ideal for running as you can move easily with nothing flapping in the breeze. 

Comfort

Very soft material and the stretchiness means you barely notice it on your body. 

Temperature regulation

It definitely kept me cool on my run. It wouldn’t keep you warm on its own on a cold day, but layered with a fleece or softshell it would definitely do the job. 

Breathability

Five stars for breathability. I had the tiniest damp patches under my arms after a long run and was bone dry by the time I got home. 

Odor control

This shirt boasts antimicrobial treatment to help with odor-control and while I can't say it was odor-free after a run, I could definitely wear it again without washing it.

Durability

I wore this with a running vest and there’s no sign of rubbing on the fabric. The seams are really well stitched and the use of odor-reducing technology means less washing, leading me to believe this will last a long time. 

Here’s where we tested the Keela Trail Short Sleeve top: 

This scenic loch in Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park is hands down my favorite place to trail run near Glasgow. Get there early before the breeze arrives and capture mirror image reflections of the trees and hills across the lake.