I never thought I’d come to speak enthusiastically about sweatshirts this much! I visited Standard & Strange in Oakland, CA, initially interested in purchasing the restocked Red Wing 2966 Black Klondike Engineer Boots. Brandon (who is now with 3sixteen!) was very patient with me and helped me select out a Real McCoy’s Joe McCoy Ball Park Crewneck Sweatshirt in Navy. S&S is a stockist in the USA that carries a great selection of RMCs. The Real McCoy’s sweats along with their other pieces have the reputation of being the best of the best. In this post, I’ll give some of my thoughts about the Ball Park Crewneck and compare it to the few other brand sweatshirts that I own.
The crewneck sweatshirt is a classic piece in American history. Naturally, the design comes from sportswear for the sweatshirt was used as an alternative to itchy football jerseys. The grey sweat has been worn by many American icons such as John F. Kennedy, Elvis Presley, the Beatles, Steve McQueen, and many more. I’d even go as far to say that it’s as famous as the Blue Oxford cloth button down shirt in American history.
- V ribbed placket: Below the front collar Functioned to help absorb excess sweat and to maintain shape of the collar
- Raglan shoulder sleeves (one continuous fabric from collar underarm) vs set inshoulder sleeves: Raglan sleeves provide more arm room, providing a wider range of movement than set-in sleeves
- Set-in sleeves have a clean, tailored look
- Flatlocked stitched seams vs overlock seams: Final stitches which are flat, providing comfort by reducing abrasion against your skin
- Flatlocked seams are strong, flat, locked, thin, and also elastic seams
- Loopwheeled: The sweatshirt body is one solid piece without seams
- This process is done with tubular knitting machines that are in only two locations in the world – Loopwheeler in Japan and Merz Schwanen in Germany
Added information from Standard and Strange: The main difference between a sinker weave and a loopwheel is that the sinker weave has more needles and knits at a higher tension. Sinker weave knitting machines are still slow and expensive, but not as slow and expensive as a loopwheel machine. Loopwheel knits stretch out a lot, then shrink back down with a wash, similar to raw denim. Standard and Strange suggests that if you purchase an item made from a loopwheel machine, that you have it fit more snug as it will stretch out over time.
Uniqlo Crewneck Sweatshirt
- $20 USD
- Body 100% Cotton*, Ribbing 84% Cotton/16% Polyester*
- +Raglan Sleeves
- +V Neck Placket Detail
- +Flatlock Seam
My budget, readily available sweatshirt option. I’d say this is the best you can get at this price range. The body length is notoriously short. *Uniqlo often changes their fabric composition and thickness every season (Sometime the blend can be more polyester than cotton – you just have to be sure to read the material tag label).
It’s quite thin and the terry cotton on the inside is much coarser/rougher than the Reigning Champ’s
Reigning Champ Midweight Terry Crewneck Sweatshirt
- Price: $120 USD
- 100% French Terry Cotton
Reigning Champ is made in Canada, and they’re nicknamed the “king of fleece”. Their Midweight French Terry Cotton is a year-round soft fabric and is woven in a way that one side feels like a soft cotton towel (interior) while the other is smooth (exterior). The purpose of the looped side is so that sweat can be easily absorbed. The midweight is a year round option for mildly cooler places like San Francisco, but likely won’t be warm enough for winter.
While the price from a $20 Uniqlo sweatshirt to a $120 RC is quite large, I think RC is the best bang for the buck. The midweight french terry cotton isn’t too thick/warm, so it’s great here in California.
Reigning Champ also has side gussets beneath the underarm that extend nearly all the way down the body. This extra feature provides comfortable mobility with your arms, while also maintaining a slim fit that is usually not seen with sweatshirts.
Reigning Champ also stocks a heavyweight, tiger terry, and tiger fleece versions of their sweatshirts. The heavyweight comes in at 500gsm (their midweight is 400gsm), has a courser feel against the skin from the start and softens/molds to you after many wears like a pair of raw denim. It fits slimmer than the midweight so you will likely have to size up one from your normal size.
The Real McCoy’s Joe McCoy Ball Park Sweatshirt
- $160 USD
The sinker weave neither stretches nor shrinks (with a cold wash) very much and provides a more stable fabric. The interior fabric is somewhat courser than the Reigning Champ French Terry Cotton, but I still find it to be quite soft and comfortable for a sweatshirt. The Real McCoys states that this their heaviest sweatshirt fabric (at 12oz), but they do also have a ligher weight version at 10oz. The fit is boxier than Reigning Champs’s fit.
The ribbing on the sweatshirt is very thick and doesn’t stretch easily. I also like the V-placket detail on this sweatshirt because it works better to maintain the collar shape than the Uniqlo’s.
This sweatshirt is tubular knitted but not loopwheeled. A common misconception is that a tubular constructed fabric makes it loopwheeled.
3sixteen Heavyweight Crewneck Sweatshirt
- $165 USD
- 95% cotton/5% polyester
3sixteen’s fabric is a heavyweight 500gsm fleece from Canada. It’s very warm and has two hidden hand pockets on the front like a hoodie. The pockets do not connect with each other, however. The interior is fleece. The fabric is a hefty 15oz cotton.
The interior fleece was quite fluffy and soft initially, but after the first cold wash and hang dry, the softness has never quite returned. Some of the fleece shed off after, but eventually stopped. The neck opening is wider than the other sweatshirts and stretches easily.