McNair Mountain Shirt Midlayer Review
An in-depth review of the McNair Mountain Shirt midlayer
"Of nature, not against it" is the tagline of McNair Mountain Shirts. These beautifully detailed merino outer shirts are made meticulously by hand using material spun, woven, milled and finished within ten miles of their atelier in Slaithwaite, Yorkshire, an area in the UK known for its wool heritage.
The McNair Mountain Shirt is designed for the mountains, originally for snowboarding – Neil McNair who gives his name to the company is an ex professional snowboarder and mountain guide based in Tignes, France.
He said: “We designed the McNair shirt after a snowboarding trip in the Alps and were extolling the virtues, as very many have done, of the Dachstein Mitts, a felted wool glove that retains warmth and fends off winds even when masked in snow. We thought it would be cool to make a shirt out of boiled wool.
“Expensive waterproof jackets with taped seams are an attempt to seal us off from the elements inside a plastic bubble. We start with the finest merino and then we boost its performance to make it the warmest, softest and most protective merino out there."
“Having worn one of these for a couple of winters, we’re not only converts, but have become evangelists"
After three years of development the team were then ready to sell the McNair Mountain Shirt, and it became an instant hit: As practical on the slopes of Morzine as it is on the streets of London thanks to its amazing detailing, genuine protection and warmth, not to mention the ecological story and the tailored sleek looks. It is, quite simply, like nothing else in the world.
The fabric of the McNair Mountain Shirt, developed especially by the McNair team, starts with virgin lambswool and is then spun, weaved and finished around Slaithwaite. There’s a choice of three merino fabrics, virgin merino is the softest, recycled merino is the toughest. It also comes in two weights: heavyweight being the warmest, which will easily keep you warm on the slopes without any more outer layers.
There are also two lengths: the standard is a bit longer than the shirts you have in your wardrobe, while the long is three inches longer in the body and two inches longer in the arm, making it better for snowsports. All the materials are available in both men’s and women’s cuts.
Features on all shirts include plaid merino trim piping along the base of the shirt to help keep the shape, thermally-fused thread that permanently prevents button thread unwinding, a sunglasses loop, two secure button pockets, reinforced seams, twin needling stitched with super tough thread and full length weather baffle. Oh, and you can use their made-to-measure service to ensure a perfect fit.
On the slopes and mountain passes, we’ve found it very warm and it regulates temperature amazingly well. The fabric is also naturally water resistant, meaning that it can be worn in fine in snow and a bit of drizzle. It also resists odours and regulates temperature naturally and gently.
This is an outer shirt that is so well made it will last years. Plus its good looks mean that you’ll be wearing around town as well as on the slopes, so you’ll get loads of use out of it.
McNair are trying to change the way we dress on the mountain, and it’s working. Having worn one of these for a couple of winters, we’re not only converts, but have become evangelists. Can you tell?
McNair Mountain Shirt Midlayer Stats:
- Price: £375
- Weight: Varies
Shot on location in Chamonix
- Thanks to our accommodation partner Adventure Base