If you're spending money on special workout shirts that wick moisture, this recent scientific study only proves what you already know: Your shirt smells terrible.
From research published ahead of the latest Applied and Environmental Microbiology, scientists took 26 shirts fresh from intense workouts, then "incubated" them for the next 28 hours, likely in the trunk of a car on a hot day. They then took samples and a good, strong whiff.
Like you'd expect, the culprit for the pervasive stink coming from that 5K tech-t is bacteria. According to the study's first author Chris Callewaert of Ghent University in Belgium, fresh sweat is odorless until bacteria begins to break down the long-chain fatty acids, along with hormones and sulfur compounds. These bacteria, called micrococci, for whatever reason love making a home in your fancy workout gear. Callewaert suspects it has something to do with the surface of the fibers. Cotton, he says, doesn't have the same issue, and therefore doesn't stink as bad.
But cotton holds sweat like a washcloth, making it a poor option for working out. And polyester creates a personal miasma, injuring your social life. There's wool, but it can itch. That only leaves one option: DO NOT WORK OUT AND NEVER LEAVE YOUR SHOWER UGH.