Thumb Holes: Function or Fashion?

Thumb Holes, Thumb Holsters, or even Hobo Mitts as we’ve seen them referred to… whatever you choose to call them the question remains, are thumbholes meant for function or fashion?

In addition to breaking down function vs fashion, let's dive into the below questions:

  1. What are thumbholes for?
  2. Why do athletic shirts have thumbholes?
  3. How to choose the best men's athletic shirts with thumbholes?
  4. Why are thumbholes functional?
  5. Why are thumbholes fashionable?

Image of Men's Athletic Baselayer Shirt with Thumbholes and UV Blocking Sun Hoodie Image of MuskOx Flannels Charleston Performance Hoodie & Therma Sport Hoodie

What are thumbholes for?

Thumbholes are an incredible way to keep your sleeves in place when you're wearing your favorite athletic shirt. Thumboles are great when wearing a baselayer and you're keen on preventing bunching in the sleeves. They provide a great alternative to gloves if you're looking for hand protection while keeping cool. We also love thumbholes for skiing because your wrists are unexposed from snow and harsh conditions.

Why do athletic shirts have thumbholes?

Athletic shirts have thumbholes to prevent your sleeves from rolling up and bunching especially if you're wearing a baselayer. They also allow provide a bit of palm protection if you are lifting weights or constantly pushing off rough surfaces. When choosing the best athletic shirt with thumbholes make sure the fabric is breathable, dynamic, and stretchy because the thumbholes do add a bit of length to the sleeves.

How to choose the best men's athletic shirts with thumbholes?

Thumbholes add a small amount of length to your sleeves. Sometimes noticeable, and sometimes not. Comfort and a full range of motion is important, so we recommend choosing athletic shirts that uses performance fabrics making the shirt stretchy and breathable. 

Image of MuskOx Outdoor Apparel Quick Dry Quarter Zip with ThumbholesImage of MuskOx Flannels Quick Dry Quarter Zip

Why are thumbholes functional?

For many outdoor enthusiasts it is function. The obvious advantage of "thumb holes" or thumbholes on men's clothing, like performance pullovers, sweatshirts and quarter zips, is keeping your sleeves firmly in place. I think we can all recall days in our youth of having half your sleeve crammed into your armpit as you mom or dad shoved you into your winter coat before rushing out the door.

In addition to convenience many people select a garment with thumbholes for the added protection of potential exposed skin between a cuff edge and glove. It only takes one tumble down the ski slope to realize just how many places snow can end up given the opportunity. Men's clothing with thumbholes isn't just for winter garments either. More and more summer-oriented performance & breathable clothing, especially those created with sun protection in mind, utilize the thumbhole. It is a great feature to keep your skin covered while still keeping your fingers free to drive the boat, walk the dog, or, let’s be honest, use your phone.

Why are thumbholes fashionable?

Like many modern fashion details, the origination is strictly functional but slowly creeps into the visual vocabulary of design. This is most apparent in historical military details. From bomber jackets to epaulets, the timeless and functional features continue to have lasting appeal. 

Looking for more of a professional vibe and thumbholes aren't your thing? Pull your sleeves up to your wrist and let the function feature blend in -- no one will notice.

Our top three favorite shirts with thumbholes from MuskOx Flannels

Image of Ultra Lightweight Charleston Performance Hoodie

Ultra Lightweight Charleston Performance Hoodie

The Ultra Lightweight Charleston Performance Hoodie is our lightest sun shirt that's paper-thin, comfortable, and ready for a day of high heat. Its technical UV-blocking fabric wicks moisture away, dries quickly, and keeps your body temperature cool.It's constructed with thumbholes and chest pocket with a bungee sunglasses loop.

$72 - SHOP NOW


Image of Charleston Performance Sun Hoodie

Charleston Performance Hoodie

This UV blocking and moisture wicking sun hoodie is constructed with technical, lightweight knit fabric blend that keeps you 14% cooler than comparable synthetic fiber. It's constructed with thumbholes and chest pocket with a bungee sunglasses loop.

$72 - SHOP NOW


Image of MuskOx Performance Foundation Crew

Performance Foundation Crew

Get after your workout or cut through the heat in the Performance Foundation Crew, a lightweight performance shirt with two tone performance finishes that allow maximum airflow and sweat wicking. This baselayer is antibacterial, reducing sweat causing odor.

$54 - SHOP NOW