The Best Henley Shirts for Men that Work All Year, Tested by Style Editors

The Best Henley Shirts for Men that Work All Year, Tested by Style Editors

Best Overall Henley Shirt

Ralph Lauren Slub Jersey Henley Shirt

Slub Jersey Henley Shirt

Pros
  • T-shirt style cuffs and waist
  • Subtle logo
  • Ideal weight fabric
Cons
  • Only comes in two colors
  • Cuffs can stretch out after being rolled up

When you think of a henley, this is probably the image that comes to mind, at least it is for us. That’s why, after months of testing, our editors put this at the top of the list. It’s one of those classic pieces of American fashion that Ralph Lauren seems to nail every time. From the curved off collar band and three button placket, to the open cuff and matching waist, our editors found it’s a simple design that’s executed perfectly. White and blue are the only options available, but those colors will give you a ton of wear.

Beyond the look, this henley topped our list because of the fabric. It’s a 100% cotton jersey knit that hits the sweet spot for weight, breathability, and flexibility. You can wear it all year long, and plenty of stretch is naturally baked in. One of our editors has owned this particular henley for years and can attest that it ages gracefully. The fabric gets softer with time and the fit never warps.

Read more: Best White T-Shirts for Men

Fabric 100% Cotton
Fit Slim
Buttons 3

Most Comfortable Henley Shirt

Reiging Champ Slub Long Sleeve Henley in Black

Slub Long Sleeve Henley in Black

Pros
  • Flatlock seams minimize friction points
  • Semi-raglan shoulder
  • Very breathable fabric

Reigning Champ uses a unique semi-raglan shoulder design that can be found throughout the brand, including this mid-weight henley. The back of the sleeve attaches to the collar like a raglan, allowing for a smoother range of motion, while the front of the sleeve attaches at the shoulder, giving a more traditional look from the front. Flatlock seams are used throughout to minimize friction points. All this adds up to a shirt with a sharp look and athletic-ready performance.

This was the most comfortable henley we tested, mostly thanks to the fabric. Reigning Champ engineers and manufactures fabrics in-house, which gives the brand an edge in picking the right material for a shirt. A 1×1 slub cotton, with plenty of natural give and breathability, was chosen for this one. It is super soft, which is why we preferred to wear it solo or as a base layer. One area where we found it really shined was travel. Whether on flights or long drives, it kept us feeling good and looking respectable.

Fabric 100% Cotton
Fit Slim
Buttons 3

Best Long Underwear Henley Shirt

Rhone Waffle Henley

Waffle Henley

Pros
  • Deep opening on neck
  • Great a locking in heat
  • Stylish enough to be a shirt
Cons
  • Only for cold weather

Rhone really leaned into the classic long underwear look with this waffle knit henley. The fit is on the slimmer side, and the knit really accentuates the waffle texture. Our favorite feature is the snaps on the collar, rather than buttons. It’s a fun design that you don’t see much anymore. Some other useful features Rhone included are a metallic based anti-odor treatment and a soft cotton, which held up in our tests. As well as a soft cotton and polyester blend fabric that felt really cozy to wear. Waffle knit is naturally stretchy, and the poly-blend fabric provides even more give.

We wore this henley just about everywhere because it is super comfortable. It works great as a base layer, and we really liked it for lounging around at home. The stretchy fabric even performed well at the gym, though it does lock in body heat, so we don’t recommend it for cardio. Overall, this is the best option on the list for a cold weather base layer.

Fabric Cotton and polyester blend
Fit Slim
Buttons 4 snaps

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Best Affordable Henley Shirt

Hanes Long-Sleeve Henley Shirt

Long-Sleeve Henley Shirt

Pros
  • Twelve color options
  • Comfortable slouchy fit
  • Faux horn buttons
Cons
  • Not ideal for a stand alone shirt

Henleys were originally designed as undershirts, which is still a common use. Hanes is well known for great affordable underwear and t-shirts, but this henley should be on your radar as well. Available for under $20 and coming in a hearty 100% cotton fabric, it punches well above its price point. The classic fit design is roomy and comfortable, which we found to workS well under light jackets and heavy button down shirts.

We found this to be one of the more casual looking henleys that we tested out. The loose fit and contrast placket give it an old school athleticwear feel. It works really well as a base layer under a flannel shirt or vest, or as long underwear on colder days. However, given its casual vibe, this is not the type henley that we would wear as a stand alone shirt in any social or professional setting.

Fabric 100% Cotton
Fit Classic
Buttons 3

Best Premium Henley Shirt

Sunspel Long Sleeve Waffle Henley

Long Sleeve Waffle Henley

Pros
  • Works as a solo shirt
  • Very soft feel
  • Flattering fit
Cons
  • Should be washed with delicates to preserve fabric

In keeping with the long underwear tradition, many henleys still come in waffle knit fabric. Sunspel uses a delicate Supima cotton, which we find extremely cozy. Even though this shirt has an old fashioned look to it, which is part of the stylistic appeal, it is ridiculously comfortable to wear. We recommend it as a solo shirt or with a light layer over top.

The fine waffle knit of this shirt is a texture that makes it work well as a stand alone top. We wore it through the transitional weather of the spring and it never let us down. If the weather warms up, just un-do a few buttons. Style this shirt with a pair of chino shorts or jeans and a pair of loafers for a laid back look that will get you through any cool summer night.

Fabric 100% Cotton
Fit Slim
Buttons 3

Best Henley Shirt for Extended Wear

Proof 72-Hour Merino LS Henley

72-Hour Merino LS Henley

Pros
  • Great thermal regulation
  • Fights off BO
  • Machine washable wool
Cons
  • Works better as a base layer than a shirt

A merino wool henley may sound like a shoulder season sweater, but this one from Proof is absolutely a shirt that can be worn comfortably in hotter weather. In fact, the 72-Hour Henley is named for the ability to wear it for three days without getting stinky and sticky. We freely admit that we did not put this claim to the test, but it held up really well to long days at the office followed by a night out. Merino wool has natural antimicrobial properties that fight off stink, as well as being really good at regulating body temperature.

The other obvious question we had was how itchy will a wool henley be? The answer is not at all! Proof blended in just enough nylon to give a soft feel and provide some form fitting stretch. That blend also helps keep the price down because merino wool is not cheap.

Fabric 87% Merino wool, 17% nylon
Fit Slim
Buttons 3 snaps

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Best Heavyweight Henley Shirt

Freenote Cloth American 13 oz. Knit Henley in White

American 13 oz. Knit Henley in White

Pros
  • Great for layering
  • American made
  • Mother of pearl fisheye buttons
Cons
  • Only good for colder weather

For a truly old school look, the American Made Knit Henley from Freenote Cloth is the way to go. The Los Angeles based brand has a talent for replicating clothing from the mid-twentieth century. Henley shirts made from a beefy 17 oz. cotton are few and far between these days, Which is why this one received top marks from our testers. A generous fit with a boxy shoulder leaves plenty of room to move without looking baggy or sloppy. We found that the roomy fit allows your to pair it with an undershirt of colder days

This heavy weight cotton henley works best as a three season shirt, with the summer being too warm. We found that it layers well and feels soft, thanks to a special washing and dying process, but its tight knit fabric doesn’t breathe well. Be forewarned that the color is designed to fade with time and develop a patina-like texture.

Fabric 100% Cotton
Fit Classic
Buttons 3

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How do you style a henley shirt?

The answer depends on the particular henley. All henleys can be undershirts, or long underwear if they are thermal, but many are not refined enough to stand alone as a shirt. Fit and fabric are the two main factors that decide if it should be worn solo. For fit, you don’t want the shirt to be too tight or too loose. If it is form fitting, like a compression shirt, that is not a good look for a shirt. On the other hand, henleys are not the type of shirt that can look good with a baggy fit – like a hoodie or jacket.

Henleys are an acceptable stand in for a collared shirt, as long as the fit is right and the fabric is crisp. For example, you can wear a white henley under a blazer with jeans and loafers. This is a comfortable elevated look for social occasions and most offices. Just make sure that the henley is a nice crisp white and, if it comes out of the wash wrinkled, give it a once over with an iron.

As for the fabric, you want a solid color that is either smooth or has a very fine waffle texture. Most cotton options work but you should also check to make sure the fabric isn’t fine enough to be transparent, especially with white.

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