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Speciality gear and apparel made for specific outdoor activities will always have our attention but it’s not always guaranteed these items will wear well in civilian settings. Rugby shirts do. The long sleeve rugby jersey first earned its place within the world of mountain sports when Yvon Chouinard imported them into the Chouinard Equipment catalog in the early 1970s, an era in which the specialty apparel of today’s Patagonia was just coming into existence.
Take a good look at the average rugby shirt, and it’s easy to see why Yvon thought they deserved a place in the pages of his catalog. They're affordable, stylish, and above all else, tough enough to stand up to regular scrapes against rock and ice, which isn't so different from the brutality of a British rugby scrum!
The popularity of these shirts have ebbed and flowed in the decades since, but we’ve certainly noticed a rise of great options from outdoor brands and streetwear labels with both traditional and inventive new design approaches. Here, we highlight the most notable hard-wearing rugby shirts for men and women.
Field Mag’s Top Picks
- Patagonia Cotton in Conversion Midweight Rugby Shirt
- Polo Ralph Lauren The Iconic Rugby Shirt
- Battenwear Pocket Rugby Shirt
- Columbiaknit Hoop Stripe Rugby
- Withernot Stonemaster Rugby Shirt
- J. Crew Rugby Shirt
- Adsum Rugby Shirt
- Noah Mixed Rugby
- Carhartt WIP Tork Rugby Shirt
- Kavu Field Throwshirt
- Stoic Long-Sleeve Rugby Shirt
- KOTN Rugby Shirt
12 Best Long Sleeve Rugby Shirts for Scrums and Scrambles
It only feels right to kick things off with a pick from Patagonia, given Yvon’s credit to popularizing the garment within our beloved world of outdoor recreation. The brand’s current offering uses midweight cotton sourced from their Cotton in Conversion program, enabling farmers growing organic cotton and undertaking the organic certification process to sell their harvests.
Price: $109 SHOP NOW
Put some horsepower into your look with this trademark piece from one of the biggest names in American casual wear. Ralph didn’t simply put out a long sleeve polo and call it a rugby shirt; far from it. The brand’s self-proclaimed iconic rugby shirt uses a durable cotton jersey dressed in hoop stripes with authentic detailing like rubber buttons under a concealed placket and ribbed cuffs to live up to its title. Presently available in five colorways, but the “Cruise Navy/Classic Wine” with contrasting white collar is our pick.
Price: $138 SHOP NOW
This excellent classic rugby shirt comes from the heritage vibe sportswear brand Battenwear, created by Shinya Hasegawa. In years past, Shinya worked alongside Engineered Garments designer Daiki Suzuki, but his own label churns out inventive pieces like the one before you. We dig the inclusion of a chest pocket as well as the armpit reinforcement—a feature you’ll find on other brand staples like their pullover Reach-Up Hoodie. If you prefer a short sleeve, but are wary of polo shirts, have a look at Battenwear’s collar-free crewneck pocket t-shirts, which are treated with the same classic rugby stripes.
Price: $185 SHOP NOW
Out of Portland, Oregon comes a name with over 100 years in the game producing a wide range of knitwear with a major emphasis on high-quality, understated cotton basics like t-shirts and crewnecks. Here, Columbiaknit offers up a tough 10-ounce cotton jersey stripe rugby shirt finished with a cotton twill collar and sized generously. Made in the USA.
Price: $97 SHOP NOW
Named for the pioneering crew of Yosemite rock climbers, Withernot chooses a sharp three-color palette for their heavyweight 14-ounce cotton rugby shirt, complete with traditional details like rubber buttons hidden under the placket and ribbed cuffs. The brand constantly offers new striped and color blocked colorways, so keep an eye on them!
Price: $115 SHOP NOW
Pulled from the pages of '90s catalogs into the modern era, the casual preppy outfitter revives their beloved best seller pullover for the fit-chasers of today. Offered in solids, stripes, and color blocked varieties in a sturdy 11-ounce cotton jersey with a lengthened back hem line to keep your Calvin’s out of view.
Price: $98 SHOP NOW
Brooklyn menswear label Adsum keeps largely to the playbook for their riff on the classic rugby shirt but opts for a YKK zipper to replace the usual rubber buttons and a less traditional color treatment. It's made in Canada by a manufacturing partner with over four decades in producing high-quality rugby shirts.
New York men’s fashion brand Noah offers a standout luxe style of rugby shirt in this funky color blocked variation that boldly places a small but very central branding hit just below the button placket. Outfit the look with a hand shaped Rugby Stripe Surfboard created for the brand by shaper Allan Gibbons.
Price: $188 SHOP NOW
If you’re unfamiliar with Carhartt's Europe-based streetwear sister brand, you might find it unusual to see the name associated with such a bright and playful top. Stripe palette aside, it’s a pretty straight-forward option differentiated only by the C logo on the chest.
Price: $148 SHOP NOW
Seattle outdoor lifestyle brand Kavu gets a little creative in both the design of their rugby shirt and its naming, referencing England’s ball game in the title Throwshirt. Multiple panels make up sleeves and the shirt’s back to provide a substantial range of motion, whether you shovel pass a rugby ball or paddle a kayak. We especially dig the zipped chest pocket, a typical feature usually reserved for pieces like fleece pullovers.
Price: $105 SHOP NOW
Backcountry’s in-house line Stoic does not shy away from flash in this rugby shirt, offering two patterns that break the mold of colors more typically found on a traditional rugby shirt made for the field. Be mindful of this garment’s regular fit, where other options trend towards looser cuts for freedom of movement.
New-to-us casualwear brand Kotn specializes in easy-wearing, on-trend apparel for men and women. Here, the brand tapped esteemed Canadian rugby shirt producers Barbarian to produce their unisex long sleeve rugby shirt from heavyweight jersey cotton sourced from North Carolina. Sizes range from XXS to XL to allow this single style to serve both men’s and women’s size needs.
Price: $148 SHOP NOW