If you’re a modern man, you’ve got to have a few henley shirts in your closet. Basically collarless polo shirts, henley shirts make for great casual wear thanks to their simple design and a number of other practical reasons.
What is a henley shirt and what’s great about it?
We weren’t kidding when we said a henley shirt is basically a collarless polo shirt. It has the same button placket as a polo, but instead of a collar, a henley shirt is collarless, so there’s no pretending this shirt should be worn for anything too serious. That also means no more squeezing your head through a too-small hole and stretching the head hole.
In terms of materials, henleys are almost always made from comfortable blends of cotton, polyester or wool for pricier styles. They make great stand-alone shirts, but they also layer well under sweaters and sweatshirts.
To that end, a lot of companies make lightweight and heavyweight versions of their henley shirts. And in the interest of further versatility, many companies also produce henley shirts with a waffle knit, which makes the fabric more breathable and more absorbent than traditionally knit henley shirts.
How did henley shirts get their name?
Like most things, henley shirts received their name from a place they were first used. In this case, that would be Henley-on-Thames, where local rowers wore the shirts that now bear the name.
How should I style and wear a henley shirt?
In keeping with its athletic origins, a henley shirt is meant to be worn casually. The collar (or lack thereof in this case) is one factor in how casual or formal a shirt is, and with no collar at all (as well as basic materials like cotton and polyester) this shirt is clearly in the casual camp. That means it’ll work with men’s jeans and sneakers like a charm. A henley shirt also pairs well with khakis, and as we said, you can also use a henley shirt as a layer under a sweater or a light jacket.
The placket also gives you added flexibility in your personal style. You can button henley shirts all the way up for a tight clean look or leave them completely unbuttoned to show off a little chest for an easygoing look, not to mention increased airflow on those hotter days.
Put all this together and you can see why henley shirts have taken their place in men’s closets right alongside polos, crewnecks, V-necks and other collarless shirts as a classic fashion staple. They’re comfortable, versatile, generally come in a multitude of colors and easily pair with other closet staples.
That’s why we’ve picked out some of our favorite henley shirts below. We’ve got plenty of long-sleeve and short-sleeve henley shirts here and many brands make both, in case you find an option you really like and want to stock up on its opposite. With spring and summer around the corner, start with the short-sleeve henleys at the top and find the long-sleeve henley shirts at the bottom.
Best Short Sleeve Henley Shirts
1. Cuts Clothing Henley Curve-Hem T-Shirt
BEST MODERN SHORT-SLEEVE
If you need a modern, minimalist, no-frills henley shirt, Cuts Clothing has got you covered. Established in 2016, Cuts Clothing sought to make the cut of its clothes its raison d’etre and in so doing made shopping for your favorite kind of shirt as seamless as their well-crafted shirts. So if you like crew necks, V-necks, henleys, classic hems, split hems or elongated hems, you can easily shop for whatever category you want.
The cut of this short-sleeve henley is just perfect to reduce any bunching, so you’ll never have that wrinkled-shirt look when you’ve been sitting down all day and get up to go out. Compared to some of our other favorite henley shirts, this henley runs fairly tight on the chest, shoulders and arms. But it’s got just the right amount of breathing room in the body so it’s not clinging too much to your skin. Though the shirt is pretty tight on the arms and upper body, Cut Clothing’s signature PYCA Pro fabric is breathable and super soft. We’ll admit it’s a bit of a turnoff that the brand doesn’t tell you exactly what goes into its signature fabric, but hey, the fabric delivers exactly what it says it does, so we’re not complaining.
Overall, the cut is great and the fabric is soft and breathable. Welcome to your new spring-summer go-to shirt.
2. Fresh Clean Tees Short Sleeve Henley Shirts
GREAT VARIETY PACK
So fresh, so clean, it’s the Fresh Clean Tees Short Sleeve Henley t-shirts. Fresh Clean Tees makes its henley shirts from a soft blend of cotton and polyester and each features a three-button placket. They’re nice and fitted, but not too fitted, for that ever-desirable slim trim look. Unfortunately, these shirts have proven so popular that they’re only available in a handful of sizes, so place your orders while you can!
3. Duluth Trading Men’s TradeTek Wicking Short Sleeve Henley
BEST FOR GETTING WORK DONE
If you need a serious work shirt, Duluth Trading is the place to go. The Duluth Trading Men’s TradeTek Wicking Short Sleeve Henley delivers everything you’d want in a work shirt. The cotton-polyester fabric feels soft thanks to the bit of cotton while wicking sweating like a champion thanks to the Dri-Release polyester. Instead of side seams, you get side panels for added mobility and less chafing. And then there’s the sheer thoughtfulness of a drop tail to prevent plumber butt when you’re on your hands and knees working. Throw in a relaxed fit and you can see how everything adds up to a henley shirt you won’t hate sweating and working in.
4. Untuckit Ultrasoft Short-Sleeve Henley Shirt
For a super-soft short-sleeve henley, it makes sense to go for the appropriately named Ultrasoft Short-Sleeve Henley Shirt from Untuckit.
The fabric is 50-50 cotton-polyester for durability and softness that lives up to the shirt’s promise. Plus, the fit is damn-near perfect. It’s slim enough to flatter but not super clingy so your body can breathe a bit.
Sure, it’s on the pricier side for a single shirt, but the Untuckit short-sleeve henley is definitely one the best henley shirts and you won’t regret having it in your closet.
5. Theory Strato Arlee Short Sleeve Henley Shirt
BEST LIGHTWEIGHT SHORT-SLEEVE
T-shirts aren’t that heavy to begin with, but a more lightweight shirt like the Theory Strato Arlee Short Sleeve Henley Shirt will feel a lot better on your body on those hotter days. The shirt’s made from 100% cotton for comfort and isn’t cut too slim, allowing air to circulate a lot more easily. It’s pretty stylish overall too, which never hurts.
6. Vince Stripe Linen Henley
BEST STRIPED OPTION
Nothing handles the heat like linen clothing. It’s lightweight, loosely woven and breathable and doesn’t clump and cling like other materials. That’s why we love the Vince Stripe Linen Henley. The horizontal yarn-dyed pinstripes offer a nice change of pace from your solid staples, and the linen is sure to keep you comfortable even when you get a little sweat going.
7. Olivers Apparel Convoy Merino Short-Sleeve Henley
Fancy branding and eccentric design do not guarantee the best henley shirt. But premium materials certainly help and that’s what you’ll get with the Olivers Apparel Convoy Merino Short-Sleeve Henley.
Made from 100% Merino wool, this henley shirt is soft, lighter and more durable than your standard cotton-polyester henleys. Just be careful to wash it properly or you might end up with a pricey baby-sized henley.
8. Lululemon The Fundamental Short Sleeve Henley
BEST ATHLEISURE HENLEY
Don’t knock Lululemon until you’ve worn it. Sure, it may be the uniform for so-called basic people everywhere, but there’s a reason people stuck with the brand after the fad wore off: Lululemon makes great athletic-inspired clothing.
The Lululemon The Fundamental Short Sleeve Henley doesn’t fall short on that account. It’s soft and solid, thanks to 40% Pima cotton, but a bit of Lycra elastane adds some stretch and the shirt dries quickly in keeping with Lululemon’s athletic roots. The shirt was also treated with Lululemon’s No-Stink Zinc tech, which helps keep stanky bacteria at bay, another win for the man headed from casual Friday at the office to the basketball court for a pick-up game.
9. Carhartt Short Sleeved Workwear Pocket Henley Shirt
No matter how big, small, short or tall you are, this Carhartt pocket henley will fit. By giving us sizes from small to 4XL and a range of height options, just about any dude will have the ability to wear this comfortably. It’s made from 100% cotton with a durable chest pocket to keep items nearby for when you need them. This shirt is great for dudes that primarily work outside in cold weather because it’s created to keep the body warm and work well under pressure. There are a ton of colors to choose from, but there really is something special about this forest green color. It’s almost piercing, so we’re sure you’re going to turn some heads in this bad boy.
10. Aimeilgot Cotton Linen Long Sleeve Henley Shirt
PRETTIEST IN PINK
Add a pop of color to your wardrobe with this pink henley long-sleeve shirt from Aimeilgot. This baby is a wardrobe staple and will look awesome pair with jeans or khakis. It has a stylishly modern fit so you won’t feel too frumpy or squeezed inside and lightweight material so you won’t sweat if it gets a little toasty.
Best Long Sleeve Henley Shirts
11. Everlane Premium Weight Henley
BEST OVERALL LONG-SLEEVE HENLEY
Everlane got into the clothing business to make exceptional basics and the company delivered on that promise with its Premium Weight Henley. With this moderately priced shirt, you’re getting 6.2 ounces of high-quality cotton cut for the modern man in a trim, slim fit. The cotton is dense and the shirt is form-fitting without being too stiff, so it feels like it’s on the dressier side of henley shirts if you want to tuck it in and don a pair of nice shoes and blazer. But it also works as a great casual shirt for the weekend too with jeans, sneakers and rolled-up sleeves. Add a solid three-button placket and the fact that the shirt comes in five go-to colors, and it’s hard to deny that this henley shirt just works for whatever you need, exactly what we’ve come to expect from Everlane.
12. Goodthreads Long-Sleeve Henley
For better or worse, Amazon is putting its money where its mouth is as it tries to enter the fashion marketplace. The company knows it can’t compete with pure fashion retailers, so instead, it focuses on producing bargain-priced staples with in-house brands. So it shouldn’t be a surprise that Amazon’s Goodthreads Long-Sleeve Henley was one of the cheapest henley shirts we could find. But just because Amazon can afford to offer a low price doesn’t mean it’s skimping on quality. This henley shirt, which comes in 12 colors at varying prices under $20, is made from surprisingly soft cotton with a three-button placket and a form-fitting but not tight regular cut. We generally prefer non-raglan sleeves (sleeves that do not run all the way to the collar and therefore don’t have separate shoulder seams) because we think the shoulder fit is generally better, but if done well, raglan sleeves more than get the job done. This is one shirt where raglan sleeves get the job done.
The only downsides here are somewhat cheap, loose cuffs and some shrinkage from washing. But as long as you’re OK with the former and factor in the latter, perhaps by sizing up and machine washing only on cold, you’re getting a solid henley shirt at a reasonable price with Goodthreads.
13. PEGENO Fashion Casual Henley Shirt
Show off those muscles by keeping them covered with PEGENO’s front placket henley. It’s made from 95% cotton and 5% spandex, giving wearers a soft, moveable shirt with the right amount of stretch. It drapes on the body quite nicely and accentuates the male figure tremendously. This shirt is more or less the effortless throw-on type, making it a quick and easy way to look good in your day-to-day. The henley comes in a number of colors, but as it gets colder, this grey tone will have you fitting right in with the mundane weather ahead. Nobody wants to stand out too much when it’s cold outside.
14. Mack Weldon Tech Cashmere Henley
If you’re looking for a truly engineered, high-quality henley shirt, look no further than the Mack Weldon Tech Cashmere Henley shirt. Great on its own or as a base layer, this henley feels cut from the future with a modern trim fit that’s form-fitting without being clingy and a four-button placket, which is a bit less common. Besides the modern design, with excellent-fitting raglan sleeves, the real future twist is the fabric. The shirt is made of what Mack Weldon calls Tech Cashmere. The fabric consists of 47 percent modal, 38 percent Merino wool, 10 percent Cashmere wool and five percent spandex for 100 percent awesomeness.
Jokes aside, this fabric blend is no joke and offers a lot of benefits you simply can’t get from 100 percent cotton or wool. Modal is a kind of rayon fabric, but it’s stronger and softer than conventional rayon with the same resistance to shrinkage and ability to absorb more moisture. The use of Merino wool also helps wick moisture, keeping you dry and regulating your temperature, while also being odor resistant. Adding in Cashmere wool adds strength, lightness, softness and insulation. Then there’s the spandex, which gives the shirt increased flexibility and elasticity, meaning when you stretch the shirt, the fabric stretches with you and retains its shape much better over the long term.
15. Taylor Stitch Heavy Bag Henley
If you don’t know Taylor Stitch, you’ve been missing out. The company makes staple men’s clothing built to last and designed with a distinct Americana flair. From leather jackets to boots and everything in between, these pieces will grow and age with you and most importantly never go out of style.
In keeping with its stated goal to build responsibly for the long haul, Taylor Stitch produced a three-button henley shirt designed to last with minimal environmental impact. (What can’t you do, Taylor Stitch?) The brand calls this the Heavy Bag Henley because it’s made of an eight-ounce upcycled cotton and recycled polyester, about 50-50 of each. The cotton-polyester combo makes this shirt dense and heavy but unbelievably soft for the weight, so it’s as durable and warming as it is comfortable. We tend to like tighter, slim-fit shirts, so we love this henley shirt, but if you like to roll up your sleeves or if you’re a more muscular gentleman, you might want to size up because the arms are tight and don’t have a lot of stretch in them. But that’s really the only downside we would identify.
16. Wrangler Plaid Woven Shirt
BEST FOR LAYERING
It’s getting chipper outside, to say the least. It’s time to layer up with one of our favorites from Wrangler. This relaxed fit henley is a comfortable staple to your casual selection of clothing and will keep you warm and cozy through fall and winter. It’s great to wear alone on warmer days as well as over your favorite undershirt to help keep the heat in when it gets colder outside. It’s textured with a waffle knit fabric that allows the shirt to be more wearable in colder temps, considering waffle is known for helping contain a bit of heat. Wear this baby to the bar, out shopping or at a bonfire with friends. Don’t love the black color? No worries, there are a ton more color options to choose from.
17. Cuts Clothing Long-Sleeve Henley
MOST MODERN LONG-SLEEVE
If Cuts Clothing makes one of the best henley shirts as a short-sleeve shirt, you can bet it makes one of the best henley shirts in long-sleeve too.
The Cuts Clothing Long-Sleeve Henley has all the same things going for it as its short-sleeve counterpart and you won’t be disappointed.
Pick this shirt up in one of seven cool muted colors. For our pick, we really dig the henley in sage. It’s just the right level of muted green to differentiate yourself without standing out. And if you’re more of a split hem guy as opposed to a curve hem guy, the only difference between the shirts is the hem at the bottom, not to mention a few different color options for the split hem version.
18. Hanes Long-Sleeve Beefy Henley Shirt
Although we already talked about our go-to budget pick from Goodthreads, we couldn’t leave out this henley from Hanes. If you’ve ever owned anything from Hanes, whether it be an undershirt or a pair of boxers, you’ll know that these affordable garments go a long way. For just $9, this henley is a handsome, long-lasting henley that’s stylish enough to wear in public and never break the bank. There is a multitude of colors, too, so pick your poison and dress for less.
19. Ralph Lauren Indigo Jacquard-Knit Henley
The henley shirt originated as a rowing shirt in the city of Henley-on-Thames, England. It didn’t become a T-shirt alternative until designer Ralph Lauren popularized the design. Ralph Lauren still produces henley shirts today, including a snazzy Indigo Jacquard-Knit Henley with a three-button placket. The jacquard knit gives the shirt a cool woven texture, and the shirt is rinsed for a worn-in appearance and added softness. In terms of fit, this henley shirt comes in a standard, loose fit, so it’s not tight except for the ribbed cuffs. Be aware that Ralph Lauren uses actual indigo in the dying process, so color will rub off on to your other clothes, but that’s a small price to pay for the color of actual indigo and one heck of a stylish shirt. The real price you pay is the steep price of the shirt itself, which is definitely the biggest downside.
20. Patagonia Long-Sleeve Work Henley
BEST FOR A HIKE
Henley shirts aren’t just for casual city fun. The right henley makes for great outdoor wear too, and few companies do outdoor better than Patagonia. The Patagonia Long-Sleeve Work Henley is made from a hefty 8.4-ounce blend of organic cotton and industrial hemp with a ribbed collar and cuffs as well as a handy chest pocket. The hemp helps make the shirt abrasion-resistant while the cotton keeps things soft. As is the case with all of Patagonia’s clothing in its Workwear line, the cut is pretty roomy so, between the cut and the three-button placket, breathability and airflow won’t be a problem.
In addition to literally feeling good and comfortable wearing this shirt, you can feel good knowing you’re supporting Fair Trade-Certified sewn clothing, too. As for our pick, we honestly like all four of Patagonia’s basic colors, but if you’re going hiking, blend into nature with the industrial green color. Just don’t get separated from your friends!
21. Buck Mason Pima Curved Hem Henley
BEST LIGHTWEIGHT LONG-SLEEVE
We’ve thrown a few heavyweight henley shirts your way, but you’re going to want something on the lighter side, too. The Buck Mason Pima Curved Hem Henley shirt is just what the doctor ordered. First, this shirt uses Pima cotton, an extra-long-staple cotton. The use of these longer cotton fibers results in a crazy soft fabric that’s stronger and more resistant to tearing, fading, wrinkling and pilling than upland cotton, the mass-produced cotton in most of our clothes. The use of Pima cotton alone makes this shirt a cut above the rest. But because Pima cotton is stronger than upland cotton, you can use less of it in a shirt, meaning you can ultimately have a lighter, equally durable shirt, which is exactly what Buck Mason has done.
A four-button placket, ribbed cuffs and a curved hem complete the package for a reliable, lightweight and comfortable henley shirt, available in two core colors and four seasonal colors.
22. Mack Weldon Warmknit Waffle Henley
Yup, Mack Weldon made the list again for its excellent Warmknit Waffle Henley shirt. As we mentioned at the top, waffle knits are breathable and absorbent (which is why dish towels frequently have waffle knits), but waffle knits also provide extra insulation and warmth. This henley shirt makes good use of the waffle knit and it incorporates Thermolite, a heat-retaining insulating polyester, into the fabric blend for additional warmth. Combine that with modal, wool and spandex, a similar fabric blend to the Mack Weldon Tech Cashmere Henley, and you’ve got a henley shirt ready to greet fall and winter without breaking a sweat. For our color picks, we love the red fern color for fall and the charcoal heather for winter.
23. Arc’teryx Sirrus Henley Shirt
BEST ACTIVE WEAR DESIGN
For a shirt that looks good enough to wear on a date but has the moisture-wicking properties of a shirt that can handle a last-minute hiking session, we recommend the henley shirt from Arc’teryx Sirrus. Made with cotton, polyester and elastane, the Sirrus is a relaxed fit shirt that moves with the wearer. A great option for wearing around the home during cold months or outside during weekend adventures, the shirt features DryTech fabric that pulls moisture away from the body and keeps wearers cool even when they’re on the move. The extended length of the shirt makes it a great option for taller customers or anyone who is looking for more coverage. The Sirrus is finished with a three placket metal button closure.
24. Patagonia Better Sweater Henley Pullover
MADE FROM RECYCLED MATERIALS
Whether you are looking for a henley shirt that can be worn on its own or as a layering piece, has short or long sleeves, is solid or striped, most people would always prefer to opt for a piece of clothing that is gentle on the environment. That’s why we like the Patagonia Better Sweater Henley Pullover, which is made completely from recycled materials. The shirt is made from 100% recycled polyester fleece that has been dyed in an environmentally friendly manner that reduces the energy and water consumption of the conventional dying process. The fuzzy fleece interior of the sweater makes it comfortable to wear on its own or with a thin long sleeve shirt or undershirt. Made with Fair Trade Certified practices, the Patagonia Better Sweater can be worn as a warm single layer or paired with a vest or heavy outer shell. The versatile sweater can go from the office to the hiking trail and has a roomy fit that is still slim enough to make it stylish and appropriate for casual wear.
25. Fjallraven Singi Merino Henley Shirt
BEST FOR COLD WEATHER
Whether you are getting ready to hit the slopes, backpack through icy terrain or spend the day on a frozen pond working on your slapshot, the Fjallraven Singi Merino Henley Shirt is the best first layer of defense against cold weather. Made from traceable merino wool and durable nylon filament yarn, the shirt quickly wicks away sweat and insulates the user even when the fabric has become damp. This is crucial to clothes that are worn in cold weather since wetness can quickly lead to frostbite or hypothermia. Designed with flatlock seams to prevent chafing, the long-sleeved henley style shirt is also odor resistant thanks to its use of Merino wool.