The Alignmed Posture Shirt is a a top of the range product in the world of posture shirts (compression shirts). Alignmed is one of the reputable companies involved in creating postural correction devices. They are a company that has been around for quite a while ( formed in 2004 ) and are involved in research and development as well as the actual product manufacture. In fact, they claim that their products are “evidence based” and are designed from data generated by medical research and knowledge.
When the good folks at Alignmed reached out to us and suggested we review their posture shirts, we were keen to take up the challenge as some of their product claims have intrigued us in the past.
Our Test Alignmed Posture Shirt 2.0
This review is based on Alignmed’s most popular product – the Alignmed Posture Shirt. Our tester is a fairly petite build and we chose the size of the shirt (XS) by using Alignmed’s sizing chart (link to chart). This step appears crucial in ensuring the product you receive is snug enough to do its job. The shirt simply would not work if too loose and conversely, would be impossible to put on if too tight. The good news is that the sizing chart is precise and we received a shirt that fit perfectly. Step one down!
The first thing that we noticed was that our trial Posture Shirt 2.0 gives a strong impression of quality. There is a high degree of attention to detail in its construction – a good illustration of this is the way the zip is cushioned so that it doesn’t irritate the wearer. A small touch, but just one of several details that show the level of thought that has gone into the construction. When a customer lays down the $95usd asking price for this posture corrector, they will rightly expect a quality product – no disappointments so far.
Getting into an Alignmed Posture Shirt
We opted for the front zipped version of the Posture Shirt (there is also a one piece version without a zip) and were pleased we did. Alignmed warns users that the shirt must be snug fitting to work and following their fitting guide, ours was! Our tester was grateful that she could easily get into the garment and suggested that the one piece version would probably be a challenge for older, or less flexible, users.
A feature that we particularly liked was the hook and eye system at the bottom of the shirt. A user simply clips the hooks together which holds the starting end of the zip in a relaxed position ready to go. Without this feature, the tension of the fabric would have made it very difficult to start the zip.
Once the hooks are attached, it is a simple matter to zip the shirt up. A nice touch is that the zip puller tab rests in a small “pouch” which avoids any chance of irritating the wearer and also looks neat and tidy.
What it Felt Like to Wear (after the first day)
Our tester wore the shirt for 2 hours on the first day. After about 30 minutes they noted that they felt “warm”. They also commented that they couldn’t really feel the postural shirt pulling them into a more upright posture. However, the next day they noted that they could definitely feel a tension in their upper back (this was without the shirt on). This experience is consistent with the advice given by Alignmed who suggest that a wearer will experience both a warm feeling (due to muscle activation) and some muscle fatigue initially.
1 Week In
At the end of the first week of wear, we reviewed the experience with our tester and they had several comments to share. Firstly, the average time they wore the shirt for was 4 hours daily. The Alignmed advice is to “listen to your body and wear at your comfort level”. This is solid advice and we gave our tester the option of taking the shirt off when it started to feel uncomfortable. Some days they wore it a little longer, some days a little less. (Of course, wearing an undergarment like this does mean it needs the usual amount of washing – our tester coped easily as the shirt dries quickly (no electric dryers though, the heat will damage the construction). In “real life”, a user would either not wear the shirt everyday or would need to consider purchasing more than one to avoid any hassle.
Comments from the tester:
- The shirt makes you feel surprisingly warm.
- I feel a definite “pull” that makes me want to sit straighter.
- You can wear the shirt for all normal daily activities – around home, work, shopping.
- I think it would be too “hot” to wear while exercising hard.
- The shirt is easy to wash and dries quickly.
After One Month
We asked our test dummy (sorry Jo!) to wear the Alignmed shirt as much as was realistically possible for one month. She did this while keeping daily notes on her experience – we find this is the only way to build a realistic picture of a product over time.
So what was her experience like?
In a word, great. Our tester was generally very positive. Points she liked included:
- The shirt did not restrict normal daily activities at all.
- It could be worn discreetly under a range of clothing including work clothes.
- The shirt did not show any wear over the month of wear – it looks like it will last well.
- And . . . there was a definite training effect over the weeks – it became easier for them to maintain a healthier posture for longer periods. Job done.
- To finish with, a weak point – the shirt can sometimes tend to “ride up” which means the wearer has to pull it back down. Our tester felt this was a minor point, but worth mentioning.
The Science Behind Alignmed Posture Correctors
Alignmed have a lot of research behind their products. They base their system around “neurobands” which they say are scientifically designed to, provide biofeedback and activate muscles necessary for a healthy posture. This type of statement interests us, because we always start from the viewpoint that long term postural improvements come from flexibility and strategic muscle development. A device, or product, that restricts or supports muscles is usually no more than a ‘band aid’ which masks, not resolves the issues.
However, our tester did show some definite gains over the month that she used the posture shirt. It appears that the claims are not just “advertising speak”. Alignmed claim three main ways that their shirts work –
- Muscle activation – the tension in the neurobands makes muscles work.
- Muscle retraining – because of the placement of the neurobands, necessary postural muscles are forced to start doing their jobs.
- Biofeedback – this is what Alignmed says is the main reason their products work. The feedback given by the neurobands helps the wearer become more aware of their posture which can help improve or maintain body alignment. This feedback leads to a subconscious understanding which has the scientific name “proprioception”.
Research – The makers list several studies linked to their products. Not all are directly looking at postural improvement, but there is enough there to give some empirical support to the claims being made.
Other Products in the Alignmed Range
A quick word on other Alignmed products – the Posture Shirt 2.0 that we reviewed is part of their “everyday” range. It is designed to be worn by both men and women as they go about their daily lives. They also have a “customizable” range which are constructed in a way that allows customization based on the wearers’ individual needs. They also have a “prescription” range which represents the current market best products of this type that can be prescribed by a registered health professional to aid with the specific medical needs of individuals. These top end products are actually covered by many health insurance policies (at least in the USA) which gives support to the claims about how effective they are.
About Alignmed as a Company
Founded in 2004 by Bill Schultz, Alignmed are a company dedicated to what they call “functional apparel”. What sets them apart from the majority of competitors is that they have put considerable resources into research and development over the last 10 years. They have several patents on aspects of their technology and appear committed to continual improvement of their products. The focus on “evidence based” product design sets them apart as the current market leader in this specialist field.