Iron Heart’s 6.5oz Loopwheel Tees are a core basic from Iron Heart’s lineup. Available in a variety of colors – Black, Grey, Navy, Olive, and White – these crew neck loopwheel tees are super soft and have a bouncy and stretchy feel to them. The weight makes these a nice year-round t-shirt, and depending on how you size, it can work better as a base layer underneath a button-up shirt, or as a standalone tee with a more casual or relaxed fit. Of course, questions abound on Iron Heart Loopwheel Tees sizing and shrinkage, so we’re here to help answer those questions.
Iron Heart’s IHT-1610L tee is their 6.5oz loopwheel knitted cotton jersey tee, which they describe as a “supremely soft yet durable” tee that will “hold their shape regardless of what you throw at them.” Using the famed loopwheeler machines in Japan, these have that flowy, bouncy, stretchy feel that many wearers of loopwheel tees are familiar with. Iron Heart started producing these “long” versions of the IHT-1610 t-shirt in 2020 to accommodate those with longer torsos or those who just want that longer look.
There are a variety of loopwheel tees on the market, to include ones that we carry from Merz b. Schwanen (plus shrinkage and sizing review on Merz b. Schwanen loopwheel henleys and tees), and also loopwheel sweatshirts from orSlow and UES, and each brand brings some unique aspects or fits to the equation. We’ll delve into some of that below, as well as the fit and sizing.
What’s there to know about styling a t-shirt? Perhaps not much. Maybe a little bit of color coordination or preferences with color, but otherwise a tee is a tee. Well we’re here to add a tiny bit of nuance to the fit and sizing in the context of this specific tee.
With these Iron Heart loopwheel tees, they do run a little more boxy than some of our other tees we carry. Accordingly, you won’t get that super slim fitted tee with your muscles bulging at the sleeves. Instead, what we’d like to offer is two distinct types of fit depending on how you size with these. Go with the smaller size (sizing info below) for a slim/snug fit that hugs your chest and offers a tailored look when you’re looking for that elevated casual t-shirt. Alternatively, you can opt for the larger size for a more relaxed tee, something comfortable to throw on for errands, low-key hangs, and lounging around the house. While some might balk at the need or idea of having two different fits in one’s wardrobe, we think it’s perfectly normal and in fact probably desired.
Especially over the last two years where the remote work lifestyle has become much more common, we’ve noticed the trend towards comfortable fits that place importance on feeling good, rather than looking good. We’d argue you can still do both in a smart way, but you get the point. Accordingly, having t-shirts that fill that need for a night out on the town, but also having separate tees for casual leisure and lounging around the home is essential for today’s world.
You can see below how we’ve sized the same tee in two different sizes (L and XL) for a slimmer fit that works well underneath layers, and a relaxed fit that’s great on its own.
Lastly, one thing to note is that for the bicep bros who want that tight fit around the arms, these probably won’t meet that need for you. The arm openings are generous, especially if you size up two, but even with just sizing up one, you’ll find that it isn’t tight on the arms.
FITS^3 – FIT, SIZING, SHRINKAGE, AND STRETCH
Let’s get into picking a size for you to wear. In general, our recommendation is to take at least one size up from your typical American brand tops size for a slim/snug fit, or take two sizes up from the relaxed/lounge fit. Of course, we always say to double check the measurements as there’s certainly some edge cases where this recommendation doesn’t hold perfectly.
We think these Iron Heart tees are generally more of a classic cut rather than a slim cut. What this means is that even if it’s snug around the chest for you, it might look more boxy given the shorter length, broader shoulder measurements, and larger sleeve openings.
These do come from Iron Heart pre-rinsed, which should eliminate most shrinkage. However, as you’ll see below, if you do use a machine wash and machine dry (versus hang-dry), you’ll get additional shrinkage primarily in the length of the body and the sleeves.
All measurements below are in inches. Given how the fabric is stretchy, the measurements should be considered with some degree of error (maybe +/- 0.15”). The exact measurement will depend on how tightly (or not) you pull the fabric to measure.
|1st Wash (machine warm wash + hang-dry)||21.2||22||19.2||8.2||27|
|2nd Wash (machine warm wash + machine warm dry)||21||21.75||18.75||7.75||26.5|
|Several Wears (post wash)||22.75||23||19.6||8||27.2|
|3rd Wash (machine warm wash + hang-dry)||21.25||21.75||19.25||8||26.75|
As expected, immediately post-wash and dry, these do come in a little in both cases whether you are hang-drying or machine-drying. But as you wear it back in the fabric does stretch back out close to the original chest size, if not greater. After several wears, the tee does stretch out quite a bit due to the nature of the loopwheel fabric in having that stretchy/loose knit. However, a wash (3rd wash noted above) does shrink it right back down, close to the original brand new measurements, except for the length that has a more permanent shrinkage.
We’ve photographed below, the same IHT-1610L-GRY tee in Size L and Size XL, as well as Size XL post-wash in both a frontal shot as well as a side-angle shot.
How to describe the fabric? Soft, very soft, and with a substantial feel in the hands. Stretchy with that bouncy feel. This is different from some other tees we stock. If you’ve experience with some of our other tees such as the 3sixteen Heavyweight Pocket Tees or Merz b. Schwanen 1950s / 215 tees, we can offer some comparisons.
In comparison to 3sixteen’s Heavyweight pocket tees, I’d say the Iron Heart 6.5oz Loopwheel tee is similarly soft out of the bag (exception is the 3sixtee Indigo heavyweight tee that is not as soft), but post-wash the Iron Heart tee maintains the softness a little better. The 3sixteen heavyweight pocket tees tend to have a slightly harder or colder feel in the hand post-wash, that softens back up upon wear. But with these Iron Heart tees, they are soft immediately post-wash and dry, as well as even more so after wear. The 3sixteen tees tend to be pretty dense in the sense that they don’t stretch too much. The Iron Heart tees do have a looser feel in the knit, such that if you hold the fabric in both hands and pull, you’ll get a notable amount of movement that will also snap back after you let go. Not so with the 3sixteen tee. The 3sixteen tee is a heavier tee though, so one could certainly say there’s a tradeoff with going with the heavier weight 3sixteen tee.
Aesthetic-wise, the Iron Heart has a much more textured appearance with the marled grey look. The 3sixteen has more of a classic straight-grey look with minimal marling or speckling.
In comparison to the Merz 1950s tees that are also loopwheel knitted, there’s definitely more similarities. The fabric is just as soft as the Merz 1950s tee, although certainly the Iron Heart has a more substantial feel given the thicker fabric. They both have similar stretch and bounce-back characteristics, which makes the Merz tee a good comparison tee if you’re curious how similar they are in feel. The Iron Heart tee once again has a more textured appearance compared to the Merz 1950s tee, due to the marled grey fabric.
If you are familiar with the Merz. b. Schwanen 215 tee (not photographed here), we’ll note that the 215 tee does have a denser feel, and a bit more structure and sturdiness to the fabric. As such, the Iron Heart has a bit more give and bounciness compared to the two-thread 215 tee, and the Iron Heart is also a tad thinner than the 215 tee (6.5oz vs 7.8oz, respectively).
TWO MONTHS OF WEAR
I’ve worn the IHT-1610L-GRY 6.5oz Loopwheel Crew Neck Tee in Grey for a couple months now, and I am finding equal opportunities at home and outside to wear the tee. Having gone with an XL (two sizes up from my typical American tops size), I do like this tee as more of a standalone relaxed tee and not layering additional pieces over it. I wear it often at home with just some shorts on (during the summer) while I’m working at home (such as typing up this blog post) or doing chores. Even for a quick meet-up with a friend, I’ll wear it out with a pair of jeans for a quick and casual outfit as I just did earlier this week in going to High Side (our favorite local craft beer bar). If I wanted to entertain keeping it a little more sharp (while still wearing a tee), I probably would opt for a more fitted tee in my wardrobe than this (or possibly size down to the Large instead).
Given my height at 6’0’’, I tend to be more wary of the length on shirts and t-shirts. With the Iron Heart loopwheel tee, I can wear size L for that slim/fitted tee look, but I would certainly want to hang-dry only and avoid the machine dry in order to keep the length as long as possible. Additionally, I would want to go with a size L if I wanted to wear a jacket, flannel, or overshirt, over the t-shirt as the weather cools off. This will prevent too much excess fabric from bunching underneath.
After washing and wearing for a few days, it does stretch out, and so it doesn’t quite maintain the sizing between washes. But once I throw it in the wash it’ll tighten back up to how it was before. This is something to consider for sizing if you prefer the tee to generally always be fitted, even with some wear. If so, then you’ll want to consider taking the lower size.
During the hot days, when you sweat it can get sticky underneath given that these aren’t necessarily a lightweight t-shirt. I think with the looser and stretchy feel of these tees, it seems like it sticks to your body a little more than say a 3sixteen tee that is denser and has a sturdier feel to. I’d hazard a guess that these tees will feel great during the transitional seasons as a standalone, with the slightly heavier weight while maintaining some breathability with its looser knit.
Whether you’re in the market for a well fitted tee or something more relaxed, we’re sure that as long as you’re not looking for a muscle tee that’s slim to the core, you’ll be well pleased with the fit and fabric of the Iron Heart 6.5oz Loopwheel Tee (IHT-1610L). If you have more questions, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Iron Heart 6.5oz Loopwheel Crew Neck Tees are available on our website in Black, (Marled) Grey, Navy, Olive, and White. All Iron Heart IHT-1610L tees come in an Iron Heart non-vacuum sealed bag for protection. Shop our full Iron Heart collection here.