Best Running T-shirts Reviewed & Tested
All of the gear you pick makes a difference in your run, especially your clothing. Check out this guide on the best running t-shirts around.
At first thought a t-shirt may not seem like it makes much difference. A t-shirt is just a t-shirt right? Well in some senses yes, and in others no. When it comes to running, particularly if you’re competitive about it, every piece of gear and clothing matters. So overlooking a garment that covers your torso, and overall a good percentage of your body, seems a poor choice.
But above all else our goal is provide a useful resource that highlights some of the best running t-shirts out there. We’ve done the legwork so you can sit back a peruse as you like. For a detailed breakdown of the top ten best running t-shirts read on!
Mountain Hardwear Wicked
Polyester, comes in a decent range of color choices
Patented Wick.Q technology offers moisture-wicking that’s well above the average grade
Fast drying fabric, performs amazingly quickly
A antimicrobial finish minimizes odor, and helps you maintain hygiene
Flatlock seam construction goes above any beyond to make sure there is no uncomfortable rubbing.
Reflective trim for added visibility.
- Flatlock seams ensure less chance of irritation
- Wick.Q moisture-wicking material
- Antimicrobial finish fights odor
- Reflective accents don't last super long
Lightweight stretch blend material leaves the run free and flexible
DriLayer Burst, odor-resistant fabric
Material actually consists of 83% polyester 11% Tencel 6% spandex
Subtle logo on the left shoulder
Crew neck. Short sleeves. Overall cut designed for comfort
- Lightweight, stretchable material
- DriLayer Burst, odor-resistant fabric
- Good choices of different colors and prints
- No obvious reflective properties
Made from 100% polyester
Specially contoured raglan sleeves provide optimised freedom of motion
World’s lightest run top whatever conditions you are training in
Has very minimal seams, anti-chafe
Only weighs 86gsm (X LITE PRO fabric)
Reflective detailing along the trim for safety
- Made for all types of training conditions
- Chafe resistant construction
- Their X LITE PRO fabric is incredibly light
- Reflective details
- The lightweight material may not be an ideal choice when layering for colder temperatures
Joe's USA - All Sport Neon Color High Visibility Athletic
Sport cut for maximum comfort.
The lightweight material breathes well and controls sweat with ease
PosiChargeTM technology built into the fabric
Weighs 3.8-ounces, 100% cationic polyester interlocking material
Available Colors: Neon Yellow, Neon Orange, Neon Pink
Adult Sizes available : XS-4XL
- Lightweight and breathable
- High visibility colors
- Wide range of sizes
- The fit isn't exactly the athletic style that some customers were hoping for
100% Polyester knitted training top
Made in the USA
Specially textured mesh is extremely comfortable and has sweat reducing technology
Set-in sleeves for a nice fit
Comes in a wide range of colors
- Sweat reducing textured mesh
- Set-in sleeves
- Many colors to choose from
- There aren't really any high visibility color options
Arcteryx Accelerator SS Zip Neck
Midweight fabric construction with luxurious mechanical stretch, protective and mobile
Collar height and front zipper provide coverage and assists in temperature regulation
Merrow stitch seam construction reduces seam size, and ensures no irritation or chafing
Reflective blades located on lower back
Ample sun protection (UPF 50+) material
Comes in four primary colors
Anatomical fit, features no-lift gusseted armpits
- Stretchable midweight material
- Zippered neck makes this a great choice for layering
- Reflective portions on lower back
- Anatomical design
- The higher neck may not be for everyone, especially in hotter climates
Nike Dri-Fit Contour
Made from 100% polyester
Patented Nike Dry fabric with Dri-FIT technology helps to fight moisture buildup and keep you comfortable
Knit from loose to tight for a form fit
Zoned breathability, overall a very smart design
Comes in a wide range of color options
Have reflective details for low visibility running
- Many color choices
- Extremely breathable
- Nike's Dri-FIT moisture wicking technology
- Not available in long sizes
Made from Drilayer® Steady infused material
Brand logo at tactfully placed on left shoulder
Straight hem, along with a nicely fitted construction
83% polyester, 11% lyocell, 6% spandex
Machine wash cold okay, tumble dry low or air dry
Comes in two color choices river and desert
- Drilayer® Steady infused material
- Comfortably fitted construction
- Only two color choices
Made from 120gm jersey 90% merino 10% nylon
Comes in a wide range of color options, (5-8 choices)
Flatlock seams create a smooth rid and prevent chafing
Drop tail hem for added coverage, this shirt won’t ride up like some do
Fabric dries fast, ensuring you stay dry
Regular fit, if sized right won’t constrict or be too baggy
Set-in sleeves, contour nicely with the body
- Fast drying Merino regulates temperature well
- Good amount of color choices
- Drop-tail hem prevents shirt from riding up
- Some may find the material itchy
Mountain Hardwear Way2Cool
The Body fabric consists of: 92% polyester, 8% elastane
Active fit, tactile, flexible, contours nicely with body
Patented Cool.QTM ZERO provides an instantaneous and noticeable cooling sensation
Rigorously user tested for optimum quality
Patented MicroClimate ZoningTM: engineered mesh knit construction helps with ventilation
Moisture wicking, fast-drying fabric that sits light on the skin
True fit, no need to size up or down
- Flexible for active movement
- Patented Cool.QTM ZERO provides a noticeable difference in temperature control
- Fast drying material
Criteria for choosing Best Running T-shirts
Running t-shirts are as good as running shoes or any other important running gear that is why one should be very careful when choosing a pair of running t-shirt from the many variety offered in the market today. You can buy t-shirts with no sleeves, short sleeves, 3/4 sleeves and long sleeves. Rather than being a very simple cut, they are now cut to the needs of the different shapes of men and women. You can even get some t-shirts which contain fibres which will help maintain body heat, fight static electricity and reduce body odour!
Of course, in cold weather, you may be looking for a thermal type of t-shirt. Again this have advanced in recent years, as with warmth you still want to be able to wick away moisture from your skin to avoid chaffing.
Best running tees should be moisture wicking and breathable. If you’ve never tried a technical running tee, trust us it will revolutionize your running, you’ll never look back! Most should be slim or loose cut with a few form-fitting and stretchy. They wash and dry easily and will keep your running happily in warmer weather. They also work well layered under a windproof jacketin mild but wet weather.
Probably the best innovation has been in the material used. Many running t-shirts are now made from wicking material – this means that the moisture from you skin (yes some of us do sweat!) is drawn away from your body and evaporates rather than just weighing down the t-shirt and causing chaffing.
A lightweight, breathable, wicking material is useful. It should fit well and might have any of the extras mentioned above. In addition, if you run at night, some reflective strips on the t-shirt might be useful.
It is also possible to get t-shirts made out of compression material, which are designed to help reduce the onset of fatigue, by enhancing the transportation of lactic acid away from muscles.
If you are going to be running early in the morning or late at night a t-shirt or t-shirt with some reflective properties is a good idea – these are easily available.
The right running t-shirt will keep you dry and free from chaffing while you train. Luckily there are so many innovative brands offering high-tech running t-shirts, it’s hard to make a bad decision. Still, the perfect option is out there waiting for you. This guide will help you learn how to choose the best running t-shirt for your needs.
Factors to consider when choosing the Best Running T-shirt
So when looking for a running t-shirt think about the following;
There are three basic styles of running t-shirts, differentiated by arm length: short sleeve and long sleeve
SHORT SLEEVE: The most popular style of running t-shirts for men, technical short sleeve t-shirts provide flexibility and comfort when made from the right materials. Running-specific short sleeves are typically made from fabrics that will keep things nice and dry to prevent chaffing and discomfort, while still offering a high range of movement in the arms.
LONG SLEEVE: When the weather gets cooler, long sleeves keep the runner warm, whether in the form of a long sleeve base layer, pullover (some come in half-zip style), or zip-up jacket. Layering long sleeves over shorter sleeved t-shirts or tanks can be a great way to maintain comfort during a long run, especially if the weather might change. Long sleeves are typically worn during regular exercise runs or training runs. Most runners prefer to keep clothing minimal during races to maximize speed.
Running t-shirts are typically composed of synthetic fibers, synthetic-cotton blends or cotton fibers. Fabric type generally dictates how well the t-shirt fits, how breathable it will be and how long it will hold up in the long run.
SYNTHETIC FIBERS: Running t-shirts made of 100 percent polyester, like tech t-shirts, provide the highest amount of moisture-management for breath ability, but styles with sleeves sacrifice best fit for women. While short and long sleeve tech t-shirts tend to fit men better than women, tanks made completely from synthetic fibers do fit the female torso well. However, synthetic blends (think polyester-elastic) can also provide great fit for women in sleeved styles without sacrificing sweat wicking capabilities, especially in pullovers or zip-up jackets.
SYNTHETIC-COTTON BLENDS: Synthetic-cotton blends (like a polyester-cotton or nylon-cotton blend) tend to provide fantastic fit, while still having a good amount of sweat-wicking moisture management. These fabrics tend to be a little less breathable than completely synthetic blends and are more likely to show sweat.
COTTON FIBERS: running T-shirts made of 100% cotton, although breathable; provide the least amount of moisture management. Though breathable, they are also highly absorbent and will soak up sweat, which can lead to chaffing and overall discomfort since the t-shirt will feel heavier. That said, cotton is soft to the touch and provides a comfortable fit for shorter-distance runs.
When running in colder or unpredictable weather, it’s best to layer running t-shirts to maintain comfort through the entire run. Long sleeve base layers under a short sleeve t-t-shirt and jacket can keep the runner dry and warm in the winter. In the heat of summer, it’s best to wear as little as is comfortable on t-shirt to avoid overheating.
Most running jackets and some t-t-shirts and tanks have reflective strips on either the back or arms to help keep visibility as high as possible for running in the dark and around areas with high vehicle and bicycle traffic. Some materials like 3M’s Scotch lite can reflect light up to 160 Meters (a car can see a person wearing dark colors at 30 meters, giving over five times the distance for a car to recognize you on the road).
Another very important criterion when choosing the best running t-shirt for your routine is comfort. . Any chafing, rubbing, or pressure points are greatly magnified when running because of the natural bouncing action of the body. Add in long distances and time and you can see why comfort is so critical. The most comfortable packs were the ones that used elastic and stretchy material to hug the body, rather than adjustable straps. While adjustable straps, especially on the sides, allow for greater adjust ability, they also rub and chafe more. Packs that included shoulder adjustment straps tended to be more comfortable than those without because of the fine-tuned fit.
A well comfortable running t-shirt will give the runner an easy time running and not concentrate on the t-shirt but the exercise.
Running t-shirts are typically made to block wind, retain warmth, and repel water. Most running apparel is made from a lightweight polyester blend; although, you’ll see many brands use special fabric technology to put their own spin on the classic blend. Running jackets and t-shirts are ideal for chilly weather and dusk, when temperatures drop and reflectivity is necessary.
Suit Your Needs Before buying a running t-shirt. It is important to assess your running environment and personal preferences. Is it typically cold where you live or would a lightweight mesh jacket be sufficient? Do you get cold easily or do you need more ventilation? Since you know your body better than anyone, be sure to choose a running t-shirt based upon your comfort level. For those who often encounter windy conditions, a running t-shirt would be more suitable than a jacket, provided that the temperature is mild enough where sleeves aren’t necessary. Running t-shirts do an excellent job at blocking the cold wind so you can retain more heat. Running jackets provide greater coverage and warmth, while some still offer excellent breathability. After assessing your environment, start choosing which specific features you want your running apparel to have
Many women enjoy wearing sports t-shirts both inside and outside the gym. Today’s sports t-shirts are well-designed and stylish affairs that can look as good on an errand run as they can in a yoga class. Many sports t-shirts feature reinforced bra support elements, making them very comfortable garments to wear. Razorback sports t-shirts are particularly popular as they give arms a full range of motion and also add more support to the chest.
Other factors to consider are;
Get the Right Size: A good running t-shirt should fit more like a model’s T-shirt than a skater’s hoody. The baggier it is the more drag you’ll create and the less warm it will be.
Know Your Features: If you often run at night, go for a t-shirt that’s big on reflectivity. A zip is useful if you get hot quickly, while thumb loops are a nice touch to keep hands warm and t-shirt cold air going up your sleeves. Get a hood if your ears are prone to icing up and a neck gaiter if you want maximum skin coverage.
Frequently Asked Questions.
Q. What is technical running t-shirt fabric?
Technical fabric is lightweight, high performance fabric designed to move moisture away from the skin. This helps you control your body heat — even in cold temperatures!
Technical fabric typically uses synthetic materials such as nylon, polyester or Lycra.
For attire that will keep you dry and comfortable during your run, st-shirt by our store and let our staff help you find running and walking clothing to fit your needs.
Technical Fabric is Breathable
When running, you want breathable fabric. Breath ability is defined by determining by how much air flows through fabric in one minute, and is measured in cubic feet per minute.
- Synthetic t-t-shirt: breath ability rating of 150 cfm.
- Cotton t-t-shirt: breath ability rating of 30 cfm.
- Garbage bag: breath ability rating of 0 cfm.
It’s easy to see the best option: technical fabric. In this example, technical fabric made from synthetic materials allows your body to breathe, sweat efficiently, and regulate core temperature.
Wearing a technical t-shirt keeps you cooler because moisture is moved away from your skin to a greater surface area. This allows evaporation to occur more rapidly, meaning a synthetic t-shirt can keep you dryer and cooler than not wearing a t-shirt!
Technical Fabric for running t-shirts is Lightweight
In addition to breath ability, weight is an important factor to consider when choosing running apparel.
Because technical fabric is designed to wick moisture away from skin, it stays lighter throughout your workout — versus cotton, which holds moisture.
On its own, a dry standard cotton t-t-shirt weighs about 8.5 ounces, whereas a dry standard synthetic t-shirt weighs about 4.5 ounces. When sweat is added, the cotton t-shirt becomes even heavier.
Q. How do I care for or wash my running t-shirt?
A. it is recommended that you care and wash your t-shirt by;
- Wash on low heat 30 degree, cool wash
- Wash t-shirt turned inside out
- Avoid washing t-shirts with items that have zips
- Avoid drying in long periods of direct sunlight
- Do not add bleach to the wash
- Do not tumble dry after washing
- Hang dry
- Do not iron print
Q. Why can I not have a water based print on ALL T-shirt colours?
A. Some garment colours do not discharge very well. Strong, bright colours such as purple, royal blue and kelly green are difficult to remove colour from. Some black garments can also be problematic depending on the t-shirt dye , and the polyester content. It is best to contact us for our recommendations when discharge printing is required.
We’ve titled this guide “best” running t-shirts, but the thing is “best” can be subjective to a degree. There are very few absolute “bests” when it comes to these type of things. So we’ve gone for a bit of variety. Herein you’ll find t-shirts that get style points, t-shirts that a dream-like comfortable, t-shirts that are high performance, t-shirts that are meant for hot conditions, t-shirts that are reflective and t-shirts that are just downright cool. Did we cover all of it? Phew!