Update July 2018: U.S. Postal Service mail carriers are still wearing uniforms from the 1950s that do not have the heat-mitigating properties of modern materials.
With an epic heatwave sweeping parts of the country and melting mailboxes in Arizona, it’s time to discuss moisture-wicking shirts for U.S. Postal Service Letter Carriers and Rural Carriers.
During the last several years, many athletes and others who sweat outdoors have switched from cotton shirts to moisture-wicking shirts for their performance attire. Moisture-wicking shirts are made with materials that pull moisture away from the skin to the exterior of the clothing where it more easily evaporates. The shirts are made from polyester blends that are almost always lighter, cooler and more breathable than regular shirts. Though some postal uniform shirts are made with polyester blends that dry quicker than the cotton shirts, there does not appear to be a true moisture-wicking shirt alternative for letter and rural carriers.
It appears that Amazon.com delivery drivers have such a moisture-wicking shirt, as pictured above. It would be great to see the Postal Service approve a similar shirt, perhaps in navy blue with reflective strips. When the heat strikes, letter and rural carriers always get the same safety talk about drinking water to stay hydrated. But it would be nice to see the Postal Service approve a moisture-wicking shirt (and perhaps moisture-wicking shorts) that would help letter and rural carriers mitigate the heat and perhaps reduce heat-related injuries.