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10 Best Nike Running Shirts Rated

last updated Jan 17, 2019
Nike is not just a brand name. For many dedicated runners it's a way of life. Around since the late 1960s, they have consistently delighted the sporting world with their ever-increasing in quality sporting products. One example of this are the top quality running shirts that runners can enjoy during any season and any type of weather. For example, if the temperature is fairly low outside but you still want to go for a run, Nike offers the perfect shirt that was designed to protect you from the cold and keep you comfortable. Read on to discover our interesting selection of choices for you in 2018, and take a look at the stylish and comfortable running shirts that each have their own various specifications and uses.

In a Hurry? The test winner after 15 hrs of research

icon
Men's Legend Short Sleeve
95/100 our score
Comfort
95
Durability
94
Breathability
96
Materials
95
Value
95
Men's Legend Short Sleeve
Why is it better?

Flexible and comfortable

Moisture-wicking

Temperature control

Durable

Reasonable price

Variety of colors

In a Hurry? Editors choice:
Men's Legend Short Sleeve
Test Winner: Men's Legend Short Sleeve
Researched Sources
15
Researched Sources
Reviews Considered
1689
Reviews Considered
Hours Researching
15
Hours Researching
Products Evaluated
18
Products Evaluated
Last Updated:
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By EJ Callanan:

The Nike Training Scoop Neck Tee, DRI-FIT Countour, and DRI-FIT Cotton Tee are all new to this list. They replace other products that were either no longer meeting our high expectations or that have been discontinued. We also added some information to our criteria section about just exactly why and how some shirts are more breathable than others.

Sorting Options
Comfort Durability Breathability Materials Value By Default
Rank
PictureProduct
Name
Rating
Shops
1
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
95
Comfort
95%
Durability
94%
Breathability
96%
Materials
95%
Value
95%
Price Comparison Last Updated (23.01.19)
$24.99
See Deal
$27.99
2
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.8
Comfort
93%
Durability
90%
Breathability
89%
Materials
92%
Value
95%
Price Comparison Last Updated (23.01.19)
$18.75
3
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
90.6
Comfort
91%
Durability
90%
Breathability
95%
Materials
88%
Value
89%
Price Comparison Last Updated (23.01.19)
$32.50
4
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88.8
Comfort
90%
Durability
90%
Breathability
90%
Materials
85%
Value
89%
Price Comparison Last Updated (23.01.19)
$20.00
5
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
86.4
Comfort
95%
Durability
75%
Breathability
97%
Materials
85%
Value
80%
Price Comparison Last Updated (23.01.19)
$34.99
See Deal
$35.97
6
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
85
Comfort
86%
Durability
80%
Breathability
90%
Materials
85%
Value
84%
Price Comparison Last Updated (23.01.19)
$50.00
7
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
84
Comfort
85%
Durability
87%
Breathability
85%
Materials
83%
Value
80%
Price Comparison Last Updated (23.01.19)
$40.92
8
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
82.4
Comfort
85%
Durability
82%
Breathability
85%
Materials
75%
Value
85%
Price Comparison Last Updated (23.01.19)
$23.74
9
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
81.2
Comfort
84%
Durability
80%
Breathability
85%
Materials
82%
Value
75%
Price Comparison Last Updated (23.01.19)
$31.83
See Deal
$33.71
See Deal
$61.88
10
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
80
Comfort
82%
Durability
75%
Breathability
89%
Materials
80%
Value
74%
Price Comparison Last Updated (23.01.19)
$65.90
In Depth Review Top 10
  • Men's Legend Short Sleeve
  • DRI-FIT Cotton Tee
  • Men's Legend Long Sleeve
  • Dry Training Scoop Neck
  • Women's Dri-FIT Cool Breeze
  • DRI-FIT Countour Long Sleeve
  • Men's Pro Cool
  • Legend Short Sleeve
  • Women's Dry Element
  • Men's Dri-FIT Element
Table of contents
  • Criteria Used for Evaluation
  • Other Factors to Consider
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Sources

10 Best Nike Running Shirts

1. Men's Legend Short Sleeve

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
95
Men's Legend Short Sleeve
Comfort
95
Durability
94
Breathability
96
Materials
95
Value
95
best offer for today
more shops
$27.99
$24.99
See Deal
Pros:

Flexible and comfortable

Moisture-wicking

Temperature control

Durable

Reasonable price

Variety of colors

Cons:

Sizing runs a bit large

If you like the Nike Men's Legend long sleeve running shirt for cooler days, the short sleeve is the ideal choice for warmer days. Just like the long sleeve, the short sleeve Legend is made of polyester with Dri-Fit technology. It is available in a variety of colors. The flexible fabric will allow you to move around as needed while running. The breathable fabric will keep you dry, cool, and regulated in body temperature.

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Comfort

The 100% polyester material stretches and moves with you as you run. The fabric is also equipped with Nike's Dri-Fit technology for moisture-wicking, breathable abilities to keep you dry and comfortable. Additionally, the seams are stitched flat so as not to rub and irritate the skin.

Moisture Wicking

As with most Nike shirts, the short-sleeved Legend is equipped with Dri-Fit technology so moisture will wick away from the skin. The breathability of the shirt will keep you dry. The shirt will not stick to you as you sweat. The maximum airflow will regulate your body temperature throughout your running time.

Cost and Value

At a very reasonable price, the Legend will pay for itself over time. You'll wear it time and again. And maybe even purchase more of them!

2. DRI-FIT Cotton Tee

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.8
DRI-FIT Cotton Tee
Comfort
93
Durability
90
Breathability
89
Materials
92
Value
95
best offer for today
$18.75
Pros:

Comfortable

Simple style

Value for quality

Cons:

May continue to shrink in dryer, air drying is recommended or it may lose its moisture wicking abilities

This product combines the comfort of cotton with the moisture wicking properties of polyester so that you get the best of both worlds. This is a really simple item and won't turn heads, but just because it doesn't look like a specialized piece of running gear doesn't mean it doesn't perform like one.

Read more

Comfort and Durability

Because this one uses cotton in its blend it's more comfortable than most other options on the market. There were some reports of it shrinking in the dryer and having that affect its moisture wicking properties so you may want to only air dry it. Otherwise we didn't find many complaints about its durability.

Breathability and Materials

As mentioned above, as long as it doesn't shrink in the dryer this shirt is breathable, though not as much so as other products on our list. That's the tradeoff for the comfort of cotton however, and it's one that many people didn't mind making. The material is 58% cotton and 42% polyester made with DRI-FIT technology which enhances the already moisture-wicking polyester.

Value

Some people felt this was a little more than they'd like to pay for what seems to be a simple t-shirt but most understood that they were getting good value for their money.

3. Men's Legend Long Sleeve

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
90.6
Men's Legend Long Sleeve
Comfort
91
Durability
90
Breathability
95
Materials
88
Value
89
best offer for today
$32.50
Pros:

Loose fit

Breathable polyester material

Variety of colors

Moisture-wicking

Warm on cool days

Regulates body temperature

Full range of motion

Cons:

Shirt is very loose and/or too long

Nike's Legend long-sleeved running top is another go-to choice for guys who like to run in cooler weather. While this shirt is similar to the Pro Cool, the Legend is not a compression top. For those who like a loose fit in a shirt, this is a good choice.

Read more

Comfort

The Legend offers all the good features that Nike users love. Dri-Fit technology to keep you comfortably dry and temperate while running. Long sleeves for cooler days. 100% polyester for a stretchy, moveable feeling and range of motion. Plus flat seams for lack of irritation.

Moisture Wicking

Nike's reliable Dri-Fit technology will keep you dry after you've warmed up and begin to sweat. The breathable fabric lets air flow freely from your skin. You will stay dry and your body temperature will regulate easily.

Cost and value

The Legend sells for a fair price, which will pay for itself over time. Once you feel the comfort and quality of the shirt, you will wear it again and again. And maybe even buy another.

4. Dry Training Scoop Neck

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88.8
Dry Training Scoop Neck
Comfort
90
Durability
90
Breathability
90
Materials
85
Value
89
best offer for today
$20.00

Made of a blend of cotton and polyester, this product makes our list for its combination of sweat-wicking ability, comfort, and flattering design. Nike aficionados will love the large logo on the front as well.

Read more

Comfort and Durability

Because of the use of cotton in its blend, this shirt is very comfortable. Users also noted how the cut of the shirt fit well and added to the overall comfort. The cotton and polyester blend also makes this one very durable, with several reviewers remarking on how well it holds up over time.

Breathability and Materials

Although it's breathable, it's not the most breathable one on our list. It being made with cotton aids in the comfort, but cuts down on its moisture wicking ability because organic fibers such as cotton absorb moisture whereas synthetic one's cannot absorb moisture so it moves around them to the outer layer of the material where it can dry naturally in the air. But reviewers were happy with the balance of breathability that the 58% cotton and 42% polyester material gave them.

Value

This product is affordably priced, especially for Nike gear.

5. Women's Dri-FIT Cool Breeze

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
86.4
Women's Dri-FIT Cool Breeze
Comfort
95
Durability
75
Breathability
97
Materials
85
Value
80
best offer for today
more shops
$35.97
$34.99
See Deal
Pros:

Lightweight and breezy

Very stylish

Ultra comfortable

Reasonable price

Cons:

Too transparent for some runners

Just by looking at this ladies' running top we see a major cooling factor for running. Not only is the fit designed to be unquestionably cool due to ventilation and the tailored style but in a stylish fashion.

Read more

Comfort

When we think about quality we can be sure that Nike will have factored this into the design of this ladies running top. If you want a top that performs to your expectations, this is the shirt. If you want satisfaction and comfort, this is the running top for you.

Moisture Wicking

Dri-Fit fabric from Nike stays dry and comfortable while you run. 'Nuff said!

Cost and Value

The cost of this shirt is a real genuine bargain: a low purchase price for a high-quality product and a nice addition to the wardrobe.

6. DRI-FIT Countour Long Sleeve

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
85
DRI-FIT Countour Long Sleeve
Comfort
86
Durability
80
Breathability
90
Materials
85
Value
84
best offer for today
$50.00
Pros:

Highly breathable

Thumbholes in sleeves are a thoughtful and useful feature

Durable

Cons:

May continue to shrink even after several dryings

This Nike product is great for running on cooler days and it has thumb holes to help hold the sleeves in place while you run and keep your hands warm. Users love the fit and comfort but pay attention to the sizing chart before you buy to make sure you get the right fit.

Read more

Comfort and Durability

This product reviewers felt that this one is really comfortable especially on cooler days when you want more warmth than short sleeves can offer but it's still not cold enough to wear a sweatshirt. The durability is good, but some users products had a fair amount of shrinkage after they took it out of the dryer, even after the third or fourth wash so you may want to think about air drying this one.

Breathability and Materials

Because it's made of 100% polyester with DRI-FIT technology, this shirt is extremely breathable. Since synthetic materials such as polyester can't absorb moisture sweat passes around them to the outside of the fabric where it can dry naturally. The weave of the fabric on this shirt is light enough to allow for this and it works great and users said the shirt ranked highly in this category.

Value

This product is a little more expensive than others on our list but users felt that was typical of long sleeve shirts vs. short sleeved ones, and that the breathability and thoughtful features made it worth it.

7. Men's Pro Cool

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
84
Men's Pro Cool
Comfort
85
Durability
87
Breathability
85
Materials
83
Value
80
best offer for today
$40.92
Pros:

Dri-Fit technology keeps you dry

Low rise collar

Moisture-wicking technology

Flexible

Cons:

Some consumers have said that it runs small

The Nike Men's Pro Cool is one of the best-rated long-sleeved compression running shirts available through Nike. But remember, it is a compression shirt. If you order your usual size, it will feel snug. Some reviews complained of the shirt being too small. The compression aspect explains this sizing issue.

Otherwise, the Pro Cool sports the classic Dri-Fit technology, ergonomic seams, and vented panels for optimal cooling and comfort.

Read more

Comfort

Comfort starts with the Dri-Fit fabric system which adjusts to your sweat ratio and wicks away moisture, so you can run at your own ideal body temperature. You will not feel discomfort or irritation from sweat sodden fabric on your skin while you run.

Moisture Wicking

Nike's classic Dri-Fit technology continues its effective work of keeping you dry while running. The fabric also helps regulate body temperature without making you overheat.

Cost and value

The shirt is attractively priced and will be a great addition to your running kit. It also comes in a wide variety of colors to choose from so, you can choose what color fits you the best. Or, if you end up loving them (like we do), you can have a different color for each day of the week.

8. Legend Short Sleeve

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
82.4
Legend Short Sleeve
Comfort
85
Durability
82
Breathability
85
Materials
75
Value
85
best offer for today
more shops
$23.74
Pros:

Nike's Dri-Fit technology

Comfortable and breathable

Mesh back and shoulders to keep you cool

100% Polyester

Comes in wide variety of colors

Cons:

Some consumers have said that it runs small

This one's for the ladies on those warm summer days. A short-sleeved Legend is a go-to option for the modest woman who wants to stay cool and comfortable. Unlike the Cool Breeze, this shirt is not made from mesh and see-through. (You'll read more about the Cool Breeze later in this article) It's available in a variety of beautiful colors to match almost any running outfit.

Read more

Comfort

This is a great clothing item for lady runners to add to their wardrobe. With this running shirt, Nike was extensively attentive towards design, materials, functionally, and comfort all blended into a stylish piece of clothing specifically suitable for lady runners.

Moisture Wicking

The Dri-Fit tech fabric works superbly at wicking away moisture so that you feel comfortable and free from skin irritation.

Cost and value

The price is right on this one. This is an investment so that you can enjoy your running when the weather warms up, especially with regards to style, functionality, and comfort.

9. Women's Dry Element

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
81.2
Women's Dry Element
Comfort
84
Durability
80
Breathability
85
Materials
82
Value
75
best offer for today
more shops
$61.88
$31.83
See Deal
$33.71
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Pros:

Useful for both running and going into the public

Extremely comfortable

Reflective qualities

Great wicking capability

Fair price

Cons:

Color is different than described on Amazon

Ladies, you won't need to search far and wide to find a running top that feels so comfortable. The Nike Women's Dry Element keeps you warm on chilly days and cool when you get warmer. This top is suitable for going out as well. If you need to run a few errands before your run, this top is fashionable for being out in public.

Read more

Comfort

The half zip feature acts as both ease of access and a warming/cooling tool. At the beginning of your run, keeping the top zippered up will let you warm up faster. After you've reached your desired body temperature, you can unzip the top to maintain that temp. And when it's extra chilly out, you can keep the top zipped up the entire way to encase your neck and keep cold air out.

Moisture Wicking

The Ultra Soft Dri Fit materials wick away sweat so rapidly that you will barely notice you are sweating. Run a marathon or go for a short local ride and either way you’re going to stay comfortably dry. Plus, by using the half zip tech to regulate your body heat, you will enhance the wick factor to an even higher level.

Cost and value

The price is fair for the quality of product you are purchasing. Plus, after getting so many uses out of this top, it will pay for itself with time.

10. Men's Dri-FIT Element

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
80
Men's Dri-FIT Element
Comfort
82
Durability
75
Breathability
89
Materials
80
Value
74
best offer for today
more shops
$65.90
Pros:

Nike's Dry-Fit technology

100% polyester

Moisture Wicking

Thumb holes in the sleeve

Reflective features

Cons:

Runs small

For the men, start of your run right on cooler days in a Nike Element half-zip shirt. Look good and feel comfortable. Designed as a running top, this shirt can be used for any activity or even casual wear. This shirt is designed with nice athletic features.

Read more

Comfort

Tailored with an athletic cut, the built-in ergonomic seaming is a highly-functional feature because it enhances your range of motion while keeping you looking good. The Dri-Fit fabric wicks away unwanted moisture while ensuring comfortable breathability. The inclusion of discrete reflective features ensures you will be spotted if you're running on dark and dusky evenings.

The days of cotton running shirts seems to be behind us due to clever technology. Cotton feels nice on the skin but it easily soaks sweat while having minimum wick values.

Moisture Wicking

Manufactured in 100% polyester, the wick factors of this running top are greatly appreciated by runners. Not only will the fabric keep you warm while it is still chilly out, but also keep you cool enough after you've run a solid distance and don't want to overheat.

Cost and Value

Surprisingly, the price is reasonable when you consider the shirt is excellent for running and can be worn for many other purposes. It is comfortable and durable so you get longevity for your purchase.

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Comfort

Nobody wants to run in something that is made out of scratchy or irritating materials. So the first thing we looked for in these shirts is comfort. We wanted to know: does the shirt offer real comfort so that runners can enjoy a run without being distracted by loose flapping material? Does the shirt give a nice sensation on the surface of the skin with no coarse irritating effects? Does the shirt sit naturally on the body to a point where a feeling of comfort is beyond questioning?

Generally a product's comfort comes down to two factors; the material and the design. Most of the products on this list, and most sporting apparel of this time nowadays, is made from synthetic materials such as polyester, elastane, spandex, etc. The advantage these materials offer over natural fibers such as cotton is that they cannot absorb moisture, so it passes around them to the outside of the clothing where it can dry naturally. Natural fibers absorb moisture, holding it against your skin, making it very slow to dry and potentially irritating.

We did include a couple of products that are a blend of natural and synthetic materials because they had been rated as being both moisture-wicking and comfortable thus offering you the best of both worlds.

We looked at all of these factors and considered over 1300 reviews to score each product.

Durability

We want to make sure you're not going to waste your money on something that is going to fall apart. so durability was high on our list. When we invest in a running shirt we look for durability: no early fraying on the seams or stitching coming loose. Does the fabric retain its consistency and how does it react in different weathers? Does it fade under sunlight? Does it feel too heavy in damp running conditions? If a zip or pocket is sewn into the fabric, will they stay true or will they pull on the seams and eventually break away from the fabric?

Breathability

With running apparel breathability is almost always one of the most important questions to ask. You don't want your clothing to absorb that sweat and get heavier and heavier the longer you run, which could also be dangerous if you're running in the cold. Today athletic apparel makers such as Nike has at their disposal modern materials and design which allows them to manufacture clothing that is far more breathable than ever before. They can also combine different materials in different proportions to produce fabrics with the exact qualities they're looking for.

All of the products on our list are made at least partially with synthetic fibers, which allow for the maximum possible moisture-wicking ability because, as we mentioned before, synthetic fibers can't absorb moisture like natural ones can, so water and sweat pass around the fibers to the outside air where they can dry naturally.

Materials

The type of materials that your running clothes are made out of is extremely important. You don't want something that is going to make you too hot. And you need something that is going to be breathable, and comfortable. We looked closely at the use of synthetic materials as we wanted to review how these materials work for a runner, comfort, adding to wick factor, durability, weight and flexibility. For shirts blended with synthetic and natural fibers, we looked at the same criteria as just mentioned. Synthetic materials do have great water resistant abilities but in the wrong combination they can cause the body to sweat and the material might rub and cause skin irritations.

Value

Finally, we looked at cost vs. how much a product has to offer. For all of us, we know the buying rule: the more you pay, the better the deal and vice versa. However, sporting brands are smart and they know that if they offer quality at often bargain prices that they still win because they increase their customer loyalty and customer base.

Expert Interviews & Opinions

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Beware Of Fabric Allergies

Even if a shirt is highly breathable and offers excellent moisture management, the use of certain materials can still cause skin irritation for some runners. This is because certain chemicals used in the manufacturing and treatment of these textiles can trigger certain allergic reactions. This most commonly occurs with polyester and wool.

Remember To Wear Sunscreen!

Although most of these running shirts from Nike offer protection from the sun, it's still highly recommended that you put on sunscreen if you plan on spending a long time in the great outdoors. Even if the sky is overcast, the threat of skin damage from UV rays is always present, so be sure to put on some decent SPF spray or lotion.

Other Factors to Consider

Features

Moisture wicking is important, we all accept that on warm days we will sweat and it’s important that this sweat is wicked away so that we do not feel uncomfortable and distracted by resulting skin irritations. We reviewed the ability of the fabric to repel water penetration, though this factor cannot be 100% we wanted to see how good the water-resistant factors are in the fabric.

Style

Innovative shirt tech is interesting, for example, a half zip system designed into a long sleeve shirt can be used as a body temperature regulator when the air flow is cold up goes the zip to close it off, when feeling hot, the opposite action will allow a cooling entry of flowing air.

Flexibility

When you are running you need a shirt that you can move freely in, and not be held back with your range of motion. Flexibility is important, the shirt needs to be designed so that its flexibility works with the motions of the body while running, if your arm momentum is forward, you don’t want the shirt restricting you at the shoulders or riding up your back.

Frequently Asked Questions

q: Long sleeve shirts tend to make me sweat, what can I do?
a:

Nike shirts offer a body temperature control tech through the innovative half zip system in their pullover running tops. It’s not just a zip for the convenience of putting on the top. When you’re running and you feel too hot, use the zip to regulate how much frontal air flow gets into the shirt to cool you down.

q: I bought a cheap running shirt and within minutes I am sweating when I run, why?
a:

Cheap low-grade fabric sports shirts overuse types of cheap mass produced synthetic materials, the make of the shirt looks colorful and stylish but the material traps body heat causing you to over sweat and the wicking factor is weak.

q: When I run my long sleeve shirts bother me a lot as it keeps slipping back up my arm, any suggestions?
a:

Nike long sleeve shirts offer a thumb- hole feature, slip your thumb in the thumb-hole while you run and keep control of the sleeve.

q: Armbands have a pouch for holding a key and ID card while we run, but the shirts I see, often don’t offer a pocket, why?
a:

Some Nike shirts do offer a pocket but think about the style of a shirt when you run. The only place ideally for a pocket is on the chest, do you really want the weight of a metal key tapping at you there while you run? The solution is choose running shorts ( or an armband) to have a pocket for carrying items.

q: Which is best for a running shirt, synthetic or cotton/wool?
a:

This really is a choice for runners in terms of personal preference. Synthetic fibers blended with wool or cotton are the middle ground and you still get good wick factor.

q: Who makes the best running shirts?
a:

It depends on what type of running is to be done, certain brands specialize in a quality shirt for road running and some focus on quality shirts for trail running, if you read runner click reviews you will see which brand choice is best for you.

Sources

  1. Editor, Run in any condition with Nike Winter running gear, Brand information,
  2. Andy Wellman, How to Choose the Best Running Shirt, Informational guide,
  3. Florence Griffith Joyner, John Hanc, and Jackie Joyner-Kersee, How to Pick Running Clothes and Other Running Gear, Running article,
  4. Editor, Choosing Running Tops, Running article,