10 Best Running Shirts – 2021 Buying Guide
We've prioritized things like material, weight, fit, and safety in our testing and review process, all to find the best running shirt available on the market.
Peruse our top picks below before ordering your next running shirt.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
All the other factors we looked at, from breathability to comfort, value, and style, are all determined by what the shirt is made of.
Obviously what something is made of matters. You can't have a good running shirt made from inferior fabrics just like you can't have a delicious, nutritious meal made of subpar ingredients. Because of this, we looked closely at not just the quality, but also the type of fabrics that each shirt on our list is made from. In general, most athletic apparel today is made of either 100% synthetic fibers or a blend containing mostly synthetics. This is because synthetic fibers are highly breathable and dry much more quickly than natural fibers such as cotton for example. We go more into detail on the breathability of synthetic vs. natural fibers below in the breathability section.
To determine a score for each product we analyzed the fabric that each shirt is constructed of. We also considered over 1700 real-world reviews from users who had commented on how soft, durable, and breathable each option was and even how it held up over time to several rounds of washings.
A good running t-shirt needs to help keep you cool and dry no matter how much you sweat.
As mentioned above, most modern athletic garments are made from synthetic fibers. This is because synthetic fibers literally cannot absorb moisture and this makes them highly breathable and moisture-wicking. Since they are unable to absorb moisture, your sweat passes around them to the outside air where it can dry naturally. Natural fibers such as cotton on the other hand love to absorb moisture and are really good at it. They soak up all of your sweat that they can and hold onto it, drying slowly and leading to chafing and hot spots. This is why all of the products on our list are either made of 100% synthetic fibers or a blend of mostly synthetic. There's nothing wrong with having a little bit of cotton thrown into a fabric blend, this will add to the softness and comfort of the fabric. But it's wise to avoid shirts for running and/or working out that contain more than 10 or 15% of natural fibers.
Running can be hard enough as it is, so don't punish yourself by wearing something that causes you additional discomfort.
Everyone wants to be comfortable. You don't want to run in a t-shirt that is itchy, or scratchy, or if it makes you chafe. We went through and made sure the shirts on this list won't cause discomfort. Comfort is a highly important criterion to consider. The most comfortable running t-shirts are those that are flexible, prevent chafing from occurring and are durable–because we all want them to last. For it to be comfortable it also needs to be lightweight, breathable, and moisture wicking so you can stay cool and dry during all of your runs.
Read also about black running trainers.
You want to wear a shirt that is not only comfortable but also wicks away sweat while you're running. Running t-shirts are made from three basic comfortable materials: Pure polyester, pure cotton, and synthetic fibers. Each of these is comfortable and provide different features that are beneficial to the runner. The materials differ in weight and are used during different seasons and weather conditions. Running t-shirts with the highest rate of moisture management are made from synthetic fibers or 100% polyester.
At the end of the day you probably just want a running t-shirt that does its job without calling a lot of attention to itself by being high-maintenance.
We get it, it's just a t-shirt. You're not buying a complicated piece of equipment here, and unless you're total running gear nerds like us you probably don't want to spend a lot of time and energy analyzing what's good and what isn't. You just want a t-shirt or two that will be comfortable, help you to stay dry, and that's enjoyable to wear. We totally understand which is why we summed it all up here by looking at the overall quality and performance of each product on our list.
To do this, we looked at the materials, breathability, comfort, and a host of other factors in addition to considering over 1700 reviews from a wide variety of users to give each product an overall score. If you want to save time and get down to brass tacks you can check each of these scores in the individual product reviews. We hope this helps you to get your shopping over with so you can get to running and enjoying your life.
10 Best Running T-shirts
1. Joe's USA
This is a pretty standard shirt when it comes to fabrics and construction. The one thing that sets it apart, however, is its visibility.Read more
This Tee has a roomy, athletic cut, made from 100% cationic polyester at a budget price. Each of the color choices here are neon, making you hard to miss on the road or sidewalk. Top drawer quality these shirts are not, but they absolutely have their utility. They’re great to throw on for an evening run and can be worn over a base layer easily as well. You should expect to receive, more or less, the quality that you are paying for.
2. Under Armour Tech
This shirt is cute and stylish and available in lots of color options. It fits loosely, but won't drown you, and is comfortable and breathable enough for all distance running.Read more
This tank is made of 100% Polyester which makes it comfortable, breathable, and moisture-wicking. It has a relaxed fit, meaning it is isn't form fitting or so big it drowns you--it lies in a happy medium in between the two. It is lightweight and moisture wicking thanks to its signature moisture transport system. It is also odor-resistant and anti-microbial, which makes it more long-lasting in the long run.
3. Asics Ready-Set
Esentially all of the shirts on this list are quite comfortable, but the Ready-Set top gets a special nod in this sense. Asics is a brand we love, and this shirt is no exception.Read more
This shirt has a textured mesh construction that rests easily around the shoulder blades and fits nicely around the torso. It’s made from 100% polyester and has flatlock seams, so the odds of it irritating your skin in any way are minimal. This top also performs well in the heat, with highly breathable, sweat-wicking properties.
If you need more convincing, consider the fact that this article of running apparel comes in a variety of fun colors and is made in the USA. With this combination of features and selling points, the cost of admission seems worthwhile for many.
4. Saucony Hydralite
This shirt is really practical, comfortable, and breathable. It comes in several color options and is available for both men and women!Read more
This shirt is made of 100% Polyester and is really lightweight and breathable. It uses Hydralite Reneu fabric, which allows it to be moisture-wicking--so it doesn't get soaked and later weigh you down on your runs. The shirt also has flat seams, so you don't have to worry about any chafing or uncomfortable blisters.
The shirt also eliminates odor thanks to the antimicrobial treatment Saucony uses and the reflective features will help keep you safe during your runs.
This one is also pretty affordable, so you'll find it to be a great option!
5. North Face Better Than Naked
The North Face Better Than Naked shirt is one of the best running t-shirts to choose run. It comes in several color options and will keep you cool and dry on those hot summer runs.Read more
This shirt is made of both Mesh and Polyester and is designed to be lightweight as well as keep you cool and dry. It utilizes FlashDry technology, which will wick away moisture, allow for optimal breathability, and allow the shirt to dry quickly. The shirt's mesh panel on the back also optimizes breathability, to keep you cool and dry at all times.
The shirt features a V-Neckline and comes in several color options to choose from--it also has styles for both men and women. Their added reflective features also increase your visibility so others can see you while your out and about.
It is really durable and machine washable and, while it is just a little above average in price, it is well-worth the cost.
6. New Balance Ice 2.0
This is a great shirt for both men and women and is incredibly lightweight, comfortable, and stylish. It's a great option for runners looking for a cool and breathable shirt that is perfect for your everyday runs.Read more
It's made of Polyester and spandex, which allows it to stay dry as well as ensure you have full range of motion. It's available in several color options and provides an athletic slim fit--so you look and feel great.
The underarm Ice mesh and hem vents allow the shirt to keep you cool, dry, and comfortable and the shirt is moisture-wicking and dries quickly, so it never weighs you down.
As far as price, this one is pretty affordable--although the shirt's price gets steeper depending on the color or design.
7. ASICS Gel Cool
This shirt is a bit pricier but it's a great investment if you are looking for a running shirt you can use almost anywhere at any time. It looks great without sacrificing breathability or comfort.Read more
This shirt looks great and comes in lots of color options. It has a slim fit, so while it isn't too light it also doesn't drown you. It also utilizes Gel Cool Technology to keep you cool and dry and allow the shirt to be breathable and well-ventilated. And, the shirts seamless design prevents chafing and blisters.
While it's pricey, it is definitely worth the price. You will find it to be stylish, durable, and incredibly comfortable, lightweight, and breathable.
8. Brooks Distance
The Distance Tee from Brooks is made from DriLayer® Burst odor-resistant fabric that is comfortable and also offers a high degree of functionality. This shirt is built for the long haul and does extremely well with sweat build up and the aforementioned odor. It is semi-fitted, which means that it would be loose or baggy but also won’t choke you like say Under Armour does on occasion. All in all a great pick!Read more
This Brooks running shirt is made of a lightweight stretch blend material, which leaves the run free and flexible. This fabric is also odor-resistant, which will certainly come in handy for those warm days. This crew neck also has a subtle logo on the left shoulder, which is stylish enough to define it apart from other products without calling a great deal of attention to the wearer. For a runner interested in comfort and breathability, this is a solid choice.
9. Under Armour Hex Delta
The Under Armour Hex Delta running shirt is available for both men and women in both short-sleeve and long-sleeve options. Both are great, and it just depends on what your preference as well as what the whether your running in will be like.Read more
This shirt isn't the most stylish but it's functional and comes available in an array of colors. You can get in either a long-sleeve or short sleeve option, without sacrificing features or color choices.
Under Armour is a well-known brand that consistently puts out high-quality products that are durable and effective. It's made of moisture-wicking and breathable material that will keep you cool and dry--while remaining lightweight. The best part???---this one is pretty affordable when compared to other shirts.
10. Nike Dri-Fit Contour
Nike succeeds with the Dri-Fit contour shirt by delivering an excellent bang for your buck (among many other things). As the name obviously implies, this shirt is going to go a good distance toward making sure you stay dry. Part of its secret is a body-mapped design that is knit with mesh to increases airflow. This helps regulate temperature along with the all-important wicking dynamic. The bottom line is that you know what you’re getting here a well designed running t-shirt that performs well and isn’t going to break the bank.Read more
Much like most other Nike apparel products, this shirt is made from 100% polyester. This cheap and unassuming material is made much more impressive thanks to the implementation of patented Nike Dry fabric, incorporating Dri-FIT technology to fight moisture buildup and keep you comfortable.
In addition to a form-fitting knit pattern, the Dri-Fit Contour features zoned breathability for greater comfort. Overall, it's a very smart design, especially when considering the fact that it offers fashion and function through its visibility enhancing neon color palette and reflective elements.