American Giant Hoodie Review: Really the World’s Greatest?

American Giant’s Classic Full Zip Hoodie is one of those low-key purchases that keep bringing joy. If you want quality and longevity, something made in the United States, all-natural materials, and simply something that brings both comfort and a great fit, you get this hoodie. 

It’s pricier than several polyester hoodies from Old Navy, sure. But I’ve owned and worn mine for almost two years and it’s been a fantastic purchase from day 1. To be honest, it was hard to decide which factors make a hoodie not just good but great, but below I’m dissecting the material, the fit, the construction, and the price.

Here’s why my burly, hard-wearing, but soft and simple American Giant hoodie is my favorite hoodie.

World's Best Hoodie?
American Giant's Classic Full Zip Hoodie

The world famous hoodie that sold out for over a year when it was first launched — that's how much the public adores this heavyweight, all-cotton, all-American-made classic.

Check Best Price
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American Giant Hoodie Back and Front

American Giant Hoodie Overview

I’ll start off with what I want to avoid in most of my clothes: thin fabrics that cut cost and durability, synthetic materials, poor construction that rips at stress points, and overly baggy fits.

OK, the last point is debatable — the baggy hoodie has its own hallowed place in menswear, but American Giant now sells this in a relaxed fit if that’s more your vibe. 

Who should buy American Giant’s Hoodie?

  • Guys who like 100% cotton, which will keep its strength and shape after washing and drying repeatedly.
  • Anyone with an athletic build or a narrow waist will appreciate the modern fit. (Though again, they have a more classic relaxed fit as well.)
  • Folks who find some hoodies too short in the torso; American Giant is long without looking like a dress.
  • Anyone who wants a durable hoodie that’s thick and well constructed.
  • People who prioritize American made. Even the cotton’s from the United States, mostly from North Carolina where the product’s made.

Who shouldn’t buy American Giant’s Classic Full Zip Hoodie?

  • Guys on a budget; at over $100 this might not be your speed.
  • People who prefer polyester in their hoodies; besides the cheaper price, polyester makes a hoodie a little cozier.

American Giant Hoodie Fit

  • Two fits: “Classic” (modern/athletic/slim) and “Relaxed”

If you want a modern athletic fit the American Giant Classic Zip is for you.

The Classic Fit

  • Long in the body, tapers at the waist

The cut has broad shoulders and finishes with gentle elastic at the waist, creating a taper on athletic guys and a sleek look in slim ones. The “Classic” fit is a V-shaped one, which I love because a lot of hoodies are baggier, looser, and squarer — I’d even say they look a bit sloppy, which are great for hanging around in on the couch, but sometimes you may want to wear a hoodie outdoors and look like you haven’t just pulled yourself off the couch.

American Giiant Hoodie Chest

You may not have thought too deeply about the cut of your loungewear, but trust me, it makes a difference. I’m a Large size in this hoodie, which measures some 43 inches wide at the chest and 34 inches wide at the waist. That may not sound like a lot, but it has a noticeable effect on the fit.

That’s because a lot of hoodies you buy will be the same measurement at the chest as at the waist. It creates a very boxy shape, that works well for a lot of body types but as a slimmer guy, I lose a lot of definition in my form when I wear clothes cut like that. I like the way I look in hoodies like American Giant’s more than the square, boxy fit you get with other hoodies.

American Giant Hoodie Cuff Close Up of Fabric

The Relaxed Fit

  • Wider at the waist, less tapered overall

They also have a relaxed fit. The relaxed fit hoodie maintains all of the hardware specifications of the classic fit but is overall more forgiving for guys who have a stockier frame. It is also ideal for those who just prefer the traditional loose fit of athleticwear; more room means more mobility, after all, and workout clothing never used to be tight!

Compared to the classic fit, the relaxed fit has more room in the shoulders, is roomier throughout the body, shorter in the hem and sleeve cuffs.

In terms of measurements, the ‘medium’ classic fit is simply smaller than the ‘medium’ relaxed fit. The relaxed fit is about 5 inches larger in the chest. But there are other differences between the sizing as well. For example, if you get a ‘medium’ in the relaxed fit, which has the same chest as an ‘XL’ classic fit, you would find the sweep or bottom opening of the sweater to be 6in wider. 

American Giant Material

  • 100% cotton, no synthetic materials like cotton or polyester
  • Their material is made in the USA, mostly North Carolina

For me, durability is a huge factor in my decision-making process, so I spend a lot of time researching the type of material: where it’s sourced, and how it’s made and assembled. Thankfully, American Giant is very transparent in their sourcing and materials.

I like knowing that the fabric is grown in North Carolina and knit in South Carolina. Older, American-made vintage and heritage products like Filson and Alden Shoes have a pedigree that comes from high-quality materials made by experts, and I enjoy that American Giant made the effort to source quality material in a transparent way. That signals trust.

Note that in the Classic Hoodie (as opposed to their lighter weight fare) they use a thick, 13-oz-per-square yard combed ringspun cotton.

[Read More: American Giant vs Flint and Tinder: The World’s Best Hoodie?]

American Giant Hoodie in pink and Green
Image Via American Giant

What is Combed Ringspun Cotton?

If you’re like me, you have no idea what “combed ringspun cotton” is or why it’s notable. So, I’ll save you a bit of time and enlighten you with some ye-old cotton spinning facts.

Combed cotton is a method to remove shorter staple fibers from the raw material. Generally, longer staple cotton fibers are stronger, softer, and more sought after.

Ringspun cotton fabric is made on ring frames, which is about 100-year old technology that vastly improved the efficiency of making cotton clothes compared to something like the older loopwheel method.

Ringspun cotton differs from more common open-end cotton products made today because the yarn is twisted into a strong rope. The longer fibers are twisted tightly together and shorter fibers are left to stick out. The more you twist, the more the short ones stick out, and you get a softer fabric. Because it’s 13 ounces you get a strong, dense product, which is very uncommon in hoodies. Just about everything is else is a cotton-polyester blend that won’t last anywhere near as long.

american giant hoodie cotton

Inside

If there’s no polyester, why is the interior so fuzzy?  If you’ve worn a polyester fleece before you’ll have experienced the different textures you’ll have on the inside vs the outside. It’s a lot harder to do this with cotton, but American Giant has a special machine that pulls the cotton loops out individually, an extra process that increases the cost and comfort of the hoodie.

American Giant Construction

While there’s not a ton to say about the construction of hoodies there are a few small details that are notable. First, it’s constructed in North Carolina, which doesn’t necessarily make it better but it’s nice to know.

[Read more: The 5 Best Hoodies of the Year: Best Value, Most Durable, Best for Working Out, and More]

American Giant metal pull tab cap

Zipper & Hardware

This is a zipped hoodie. The benefits of having a zipper are that it’s easier to get on and off, you don’t have to struggle with pulling it over your head, which is nice if you’re layering and head to a warm restaurant or bar. The downside is that zippers can be a bit drafty if you live in a really cold and windy place and don’t have a windproof shell. Also, some guys may not like the extra effort of zipping up a hoodie or the way a zipper bunches when you sit down.

It also has metal caps on drawstrings, which is a nice touch because I really don’t like the feel of frayed plastic that you often with a cheaper drawstring.

American Giant Elbow

Stitching & Elbow Pads

American Giant also took extra effort to bulk up any high abrasion parts of the hoodie: they added elbow patches and doubled lined the hood. There’s also extra thick and tough stitchingl which holds up against the extra tension you get from moving around.

American Giant Price 

At $138 this isn’t the cheapest hoodie on the market. It’s more than twice as much as the classic Champion Hoodie and the most expensive hoodie I own, but it’s my favorite and the one I wear the most, so I feel the extra cost is justified — the fit, material, and construction are in a higher league than any other hoodie I’ve found.

World's Best Hoodie?
American Giant's Classic Full Zip Hoodie

The world famous hoodie that sold out for over a year when it was first launched — that's how much the public adores this heavyweight, all-cotton, all-American-made classic.

Check Best Price
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

Wrapping Up

There you go, my take on this American-made, tough and soft hoody. I prefer this to any of my other hoodies because I like a more athletic fit, the heavy cotton, is soft and durable, and I like the little touches like the padded sleeves, metal caps on the drawstrings, and the conveniences of a zipper vs a pullover.

With its balance of form and function combined with durability, I agree that this very well could be “The Greatest Hoodie Ever Made.”

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Karl Wasson

Karl is an IT product manager living in South East Asia who gets a kick out of durability and dependability. He believes form and function are not mutually exclusive. When he's not working, he's searching for the best bespoke menswear in South East Asia and beyond.

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