10 Best Long Sleeve Shirts for Running Tested
For physical activity outside what's really needed are options that can breathe and wick. A proper cool top with long sleeves is actually preferable to a shorter sleeved version in a lot of respects. A short sleeve product cannot provide nearly as much protection from the sun and the elements. Long sleeve shirts can also offer better compression.
Bellow is our selection of the best products for athletes who exercise outdoors. So you know we only have the best of the best on hand here at Runnerclick.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 15 hrs of research
Lots of color options
UV sun protection
PURE-tech moisture wicking technology
- Vapor Apparel Performance
- Under Armour Tech 1/4 Zip
- Under Armour ColdGear
- DRI-EQUIP Moisture Wicking
- Baleaf Cool Gear
- Nike Legend Dri Fit
- Adidas TechFit Base
- Under Armour Threadborne
- Nike Element
- The North Face Ambition 1/4 Zip
- Criteria Used for Evaluation
- Other Factors to Consider
- Frequently Asked Questions
Our Favorite long Sleeve Running Shirts
1. Vapor Apparel Performance
Lots of color options
UV sun protection
PURE-tech moisture wicking technology
Sizes run small
Vapor Apparel is a very lightweight and comfortable product that is also affordable. There are no limitations on personal preference, with 22 different colors to choose from.Read more
One amazing feature is the permanent sun protection (50+ UPF), recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation. Apart from that, PURE-tech moisture-wicking technology is built in to keep you cool and dry, while Anti-microbial technology is incorporated for a fresh, odor-free experience.
It has a unisex cut, so men and women alike can benefit from this product. Sizing may be a bit smaller for some men because of this, so take that into account. If you love outdoor activities like hiking, fishing, kayaking, sailing, or swimming you can do it all with this option.
Cost and Value
This is loose-fitting and stylish. It is also very affordable which is always a plus. Customize to your style with all the color options so you don't have to wear the same color/style any time you enjoy the outdoors.
2. Under Armour Tech 1/4 Zip
1/4 zip front
Not the most durable option
This is one of three products from this company on our list, but we just couldn't help ourselves. This is a great option for running and other activities done in the heat. The fabric is thin and it's extremely breathable so it will definitely help you stay cool. The fit is comfortable and athletic.Read more
Because of the thin fabric be extra careful not to get it snagged on a branch or something that could rip it. Other than that users reported it holding up well over time so long as you take good care of it and follow the washing and drying instructions.
This is an area where this one rated really highly, with the majority of users really feeling good while wearing it. Keep in mind it does have an athletic cut but it's definitely not tight or compressive.
The synthetic material and thinness of the fabric make this ventilation moisture and body heat extremely well.
It is made out of Under Armour's Tech fabric which is 100% polyester for breathability and super quick drying. It also contains anti-microbial technology for odor prevention.
It looks pretty cool, with the 1/4 zipper in front, off-color seams, and athletic fit. It's also available in a ton of different colors.
3. Under Armour ColdGear
Sweat protection keeps you dry
Superior breathability and comfort
Lightweight design with a 4-way stretching system
Wicking interior regulates moisture
Fails to maintain heat while not exercising
A bit expensive
This quarter-zip long sleeve shirt delivered of the Under Armour ColdGear is suitable for almost any challenge. This model is perfect for prolonged exercising as well as maintaining your dry and fresh body throughout the whole workout.Read more
Comfort and Breathability
The 100% polyester build makes it extremely comfortable and breathable; no shoulder or side seams to improve comfort. Included Moisture Transport System technology prevents moisture from accumulating and Smooth Armour® panels provide enough protection and style.
Flexibility for Custom Fit
The elastic cuffs allow an easy stretch with a solid fit that remains in place. Both the internal and external sides are utterly soft, providing warmth and superior comfort.
Cost and Value
This product is definitely on the higher end of the market.
4. DRI-EQUIP Moisture Wicking
3.8-ounce, 100% cationic polyester
Roomy fit and highly breathable material
A wide range of colors
May not last as long as a more expensive shirt
Nothing fancy here but DRI-EQUIP Moisture Wicking is a solid budget option for a long sleeve running shirt. This shirt does everything you need: It breathes, it dries quickly and provides a bit of protection. At this price, it’s a steal!Read more
This top is super light and airy. It is fitted with a comfortable amount of room so it is not going to squeeze the body but it also isn't overly baggy. It is very breathable which will help keep your body temperature and skin dry and balanced.
Variety of Sizes
Anyone who wants a specialized top like this has the ability to find one in a wide range of sizes XS-4XL. There is a wide range of colors as well, to better customize your choice.
Cost and Value
It doesn't get any better than this. For the selection and functionality offered to a wide population of people, no one will break their budget with this product.
5. Baleaf Cool Gear
It may not fit well on users with large forearms and/or long arms
If you haven't heard of this company yet you should check out their gear. They make high-quality athletic apparel that's as good, and sometimes better than the stuff from the more well-known brands. This shirt gets high marks for its breathability, comfort, and performance. It does run a bit small so keep that in mind when ordering.Read more
This option is well-constructed and holds up well to regular use. The material is fairly thin so be careful not to snag it on branches and other obstacles while running.
It gets high marks from reviewers for the way it feels. The material is comfortable and the fit works well for most users. A couple of people noted that the shirt is slightly tapered from the wrist through the elbow and that the sleeves are a touch short for some users so if you have very large forearms or long arms it might not be a good choice.
This is where this one really shines. If you're regularly running or working out in high temperatures this is one of the best choices on our list for helping to keep you dry and cool.
It is made from 92% polyester and 8% spandex. Because of the high percentage of polyester we definitely recommend air drying the shirt or the breathability may be lessened if it shrinks in the dryer.
It has a fairly athletic, tapered fit, although a few users noted it was large in the chest area.
6. Nike Legend Dri Fit
Lightweight synthetic material
Classic Nike design w/ swoosh, many color options
Extra long sleeves, offer some hand protection
The sweat-wicking breathable material stays cool
Some sizes fit a little baggy
Hard to go wrong with one of Nike’s classic DriFit offerings. This tee excels in controlling body temperature and does it in style. It also has a Rib crew neck so the collar won’t sag after a bit of use.Read more
The design uses Raglan sleeves so there is natural movement in the arms. No restriction of range of motion here, this is a super comfortable and ergonomic option.
This product fits like a dream and was constructed to feel like one too. It utilizes flat seams which are essential for warding off irritation on the skin.
Cost and Value
Constructed for protection and comfort, this top also comes in a wide variety of color options. It comes at an eye-catching price point, so it is worth the time taking a look.
7. Adidas TechFit Base
Climate® Sweat Protection Technology
TechFit™ technology gets the most out of your energy
Soft flatlock seams to prevent irritations
Adidas delivers quality and effectiveness with the TechFit Base. This top is ideal for both extensive exercise and intense anaerobic exercise. Suitable for trail running, exercising, HIIT training, and multiple other activities.Read more
The TechFit Base keeps you well protected, as it counts with UPF 50+ UV Protection, Climalite® fabric that sweeps sweat away from your skin, and compression technology to reduce muscular vibration.
With assistance for muscle alignment, this top will enhance both performance and endurance. It's highly breathable and comfortable; materials include mesh technology that fights both moisture and heat.
Cost and Value
Given the high quality of materials and the reputable brand name of Adidas, this product comes with a fair price tag.
8. Under Armour Threadborne
Moisture transport system
Comes in lots of color options
Keeps you cool and dry
Runs a little large in size
The Under Armour Threadborne is the best long-sleeved option to choose from. Under Armour is known for their excellent athletic attire, and they definitely don't disappoint with this product!Read more
This product utilizes Under Armor's Moisture Transport System, which allows it to quick dry as well as keeps you cool and dry during your workouts. It's stretchy and comfortable and allows for full mobility and range of motion as well.
There are several color options (you could have a different one for each day of the week)! With all this product has to offer, we definitely believe it is a top pick and a perfect option for everyone!
Cost and Value
Modestly priced when considering that you can really spend a pretty penny on specialized athletic gear. Not to mention the stellar reputation Under Armour has, all the versatility in style, this option is tops.
9. Nike Element
Odor-resistant and manages temperature efficiently
Thumb holes for hand warmth/fit
Neck is uncomfortable for some users
The Nike Element delivers a superior design for athletes. The Element features a half-zipper design. Incorporated DriFit technology protects from moisture and provides warmth.Read more
The Element includes reflective designs effective in low light. This is the product you want if you like to exercise in the wee morning hours or later in the evening when its dark outside.
Thumbholes allow the cuffs to stay in place and provide warmth. Loops in the shirt will prevent cords from bouncing around while running.
Cost and Value
Moderately priced, this product is not going to break the bank but you will be needing a couple extra bucks in your budget to buy it.
10. The North Face Ambition 1/4 Zip
With winter upon us, we wanted to include a few warmer options on our list. This one comes from one of the most well-known and respected brands in athletic and outdoor gear and apparel and while it's more expensive than other options on our list it's worth it for the high-quality construction and materials and the fact that every product from this brand comes with a lifetime warranty. It's breathable, warm, and has several thoughtful features that runners will love.Read more
With The North Face's legendary quality and lifetime warranty you don't need to worry about this giving out before you do.
The fabric is really soft and the cut and fit are just right for most users. People really liked the inclusion of thumb holes to help the sleeves stay in place and it's versatile and is great not just for running but also for skiing and other activities where you want to layer.
Despite being warm and toasty it also ventilates well. The synthetic fabric and mesh side panels help make sure of this.
It's 100% polyester for breathability while the mesh side panels are The North Face's FlashDry-XD with 76% nylon, 12% polyester and 12% elastane.
This one looks really cool on the road, trails, or mountain, and the chest pocket is handy for keeping small items close and secure.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
Durability is always an important aspect of any piece of gear you buy. You want to be able to say that your money was well spent and that you got something that lasts for your investment. The way we look at durability takes this concept slightly further. We want to know that the durability of the shirt can provide its wearer with protection as well. If your product can’t endure the elements, then it won’t stop them from affecting you.
We looked into those designs that didn’t loosen, rip or stretch during use. We also looked into those that washed well. Washing can add additional wear to any piece of clothing, but especially to specialized athletic wear. We want to include only shirts that do well with washing and last just as long no matter what.
Comfort is something we take seriously in regards to our considerations for a number of reasons.
Firstly, its a standard of quality. If a brand can’t effectively design and produce something comfortable, the most basic of tenants in clothing design, then their ability to manufacture shirts with a wide range of attributes needed by athletes is questionable.
Comfort is also more than just an individual finding wearing the clothes enjoyable. Comfort is also about the functionality of the gear. Comfortable wear means that the design took into accounts fabric and seam placement that can cause chaffing. Chaffing and irritation can not only noticeably affect your performance but also can lead to serious skin infections.
These are the reason we take runner comfort seriously. We only want gear on our list that will keep you healthy and have you performing at your best.
Breathability is a delicate subject when it comes to performance gear, especially when engaging in cardio. All aerobic equipment should feature enough breathability to allow the user to stray refreshed.
We consider this factor to be of extreme importance. The lack of breathability will result in the concentration of heat in certain spots of the body. For instance, heat concentrations might happen in the armpit areas. Additionally, the lack of breathability will have a negative impact on your performance.
While compiling our list, we looked for high standards of breathability. The shirts should include light and breathable materials such as mesh and linen.
Materials play an important role since they tie heavily into every other considered criterion on this list. They determine the construction and durability within their quality. They certainly play a heavy hand in comfort as well, and not just in how they feel. The materials also factor into how products breathe and deal with moisture which also strongly influences comfort. All these things are what we take into consideration when we look at the construction and chosen materials in any design.
The design of a product is a straightforward attribute that covers a lot of territory when it comes to long sleeve shirts. We need to look at exactly what the product is capable of. It's breathability and ventilation in relation to its performance. Does it have any liners and are they placed well? How are this brand's standards and sizes and they are accessible to all runners?
Appearance is another aspect of design that we need to take into account. Now we obviously can’t judge for preferences in appearance but we can judge color choice for other reasons. Those with bright colors or complex color placement, along with the placement of reflective materials and logos, are safer and more appropriate for night workouts.
These are the aspects we consider very seriously in the shirt’s design before potentially placing it on this list.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
Be sure to select your proper size. If your shirt is too loose or stretched too tight it may lead to chaffing and will not perform up to standards. This will be easy if you're buying in a store but if you order online read the sizing chart carefully, look for some reviews from people with a similar body type, and try to order from a reputable seller with a good return and/or exchange policy.
Other Factors to Consider
Running is an activity that can be performed in a very wide variety of surroundings. Long sleeve shirts are not an exception. Knowing this, we looked for gear that can provide enough protection in almost any situation or surrounding. There are many factors that contribute to the general protection offered by this gear. For instance, material's resistance to sweat and unwanted odors help to maintain hygiene.
Another important factor to consider is protection against the sun. This not only covers normal sunny day; it also offers and the additional layer of protection to your body with UV protection. The sun can be harmful under certain circumstances, such as frequent exercisers that workout during sunny hours.
Frequently Asked Questions
While they certainly cover more skin, they are properly equipped to maintain a fresh flow of air to avoid heat accumulations.
As we previously explained, you can’t get pro equipment for cheap. Pro equipment comes with a large variety of advanced features; so expect the price to be proportional to the quality.
The products in this guide are meant for aerobic and anaerobic activities. Basically, it can handle both soft motions and intense training.
The slim-fit approach along with stretchable technology allow them to expand and contract accordingly within their size range. As long as it’s within your size, it should adapt just fine.
The products this list feature warming technology that keeps decent body temperature. Isolating features prevent moisture, humidity, and heat from accumulating; keeping the user fresh and dry.
- Ask the Gear Guy, Running enthusiast publication, Jul 29, 2015 ,
- Comparison of Fabric for Exercise Clothing, ,
- This Is The Best Material To Wear When You’re On A Run, Apr 03, 2017 ,