Best Running Shirts
Running can be an enjoyable and invigorating way to get in shape, and as an activity, it greatly benefits both your physical and mental health. However, if you don’t have the right kind of equipment when you hit the road, it can make the activity you love frustrating and difficult. The truth is, many of us forget to consider how important it is to have the correct gear when we start to run. While gear is an easy thing to overlook, it’s something that is important to think about because having equipment that suits you best will not only make you more comfortable, but it can also boost your overall performance and running goals.
While many of us might not think of t-shirts as typical running gear, having a t-shirt that is specifically suited for the sport will provide you with breathability and comfort so that you’re feeling good while you are exerting. It’s certainly no fun to soak in your own sweat while on the go because that can make you feel cold and make your muscles less effective as they cool down. Also, these types of t-shirts are made to be lightweight and give you what you need to feel comfortable while you are making moves.
If you are planning on picking up running as a go-to sport, or you need an updated running t-shirt, then you probably know it can take quite a bit of effort and research to review everything that’s out there. In an effort to save you time, we’ve created a list of the top ten best running shirts in the market including detailed criteria for each product to help you decide which one suits your needs best. After that, we’ll cover some important points you’ll want to consider before you make your purchase.
- Patagonia Capilene
- Fast drying
- Salomon Fast Wing Tee
- Great breathability
- Russell Athletic Basic Cotton
- Super lightweight
10 Best Running Shirts
Light Comfortable Fast drying Under arms can feel small to some Expensive
Patagonia Capilene Lightweight T-Shirt
Versatility: This shirt features a very simple design, and surprisingly, it also offers a lot of versatility. It is very durable, since it isn’t designed with mesh paneling, but it still ventilates very well because of the quality of the material. Also, you can use it to layer during the winter, or as a single layer in the summer.
Features: We love the overall fabric design in this shirt. Although it is very simple by design, the fabric’s structure is very well-designed, and there was a lot of thought put into this. You’ll get a polyester fabric that uses Polygiene odor control, and that will prevent the shirt from smelling as you stay active. Also, it has moisture-wicking capabilities that help it dry out quickly.
Value: This shirt is a bit more expensive than some of the other product choices on our list, but it still has a lot to offer. With its excellent fabric design that helps to make it both durable and versatile, you’ll be able to use this shirt year-round. With its excellent comfort and nice breathability, it is certainly still worth the price.
Under arms can feel small to some
Nice fit Zip neck Nice features Expensive Fabric feels rough
Salomon Fast Wing Tee
Versatility: If you are looking for a lot of great versatility in a shirt, then you’ll certainly get it here. You can easily carry a backpack with it, because it is reinforced at the shoulders, making it very useful. Plus, you can also use it as a layer since it is very durable, and the zipper at the neck lets you get more ventilation if needed. Plus, the side pockets give you plenty of room to bring your important items along with you.
Features: One of the best features in this shirt is the dual side pockets, which are placed near the waist and are very easy to access. You’ll be able to get your items easily whenever you need them, and take along some snacks or whatever you think you need. Also, the pockets won’t interfere or restrict your movements, which is a nice touch.
Value: While this shirt has some amazing features that do make it well worth considering, it is a bit pricey compared to some of our other options. However, you’ll love how much you get with it, and since it is designed to offer a lot of durability, you’ll get plenty of use out of this shirt for the money.
Fabric feels rough
Lightweight Warm Soft material Stylish Odor resistant Not quick-drying
Russell Athletic Basic Cotton Long-Sleeve T-Shirt
Versatility: With this shirt, you’ll get a design that offers a lot of versatility and flexibility. Since the shirt provides you with a relaxed fit, you’ll get plenty of freedom to move while you run. Also, the cuffs in the arms fit well and stay in place when you roll up the shirt. This shirt can be worn as either a single layer or a base layer, meaning you can use it year round.
Features: Designed with a lot of durability, this shirt features double stitching in certain areas of the shirt, meaning it will last a very long time. Also, you can throw this shirt in the machine washer to keep it clean, so you can easily keep it clean. Plus, you’ll get odor resistant fabric and a stylish look overall.
Value: This shirt provides you with a cost-effective option and a lot of excellent features that you’ll love when running. You’ll get a comfortable, soft fabric and a very durable design, so you’ll be able to use the shirt for a long period of time. Also, you can easily keep this shirt clean, and that is a nice bonus.
Comfortable Quick-drying Durable Colorful choices Affordable Might feel too loose to some
Joe's USA Athletic All Sport Training Tee Shirts
Versatility: One thing that this shirt certainly offers is versatility. You get a shirt that is made with running in mind, but it is well-designed enough to be used for other training activities like weightlifting. Also, it fits loosely and gives you plenty of flexibility and a wide range of motion so that your movements don’t feel restricted.
Features: This shirt comes in plenty of color options, so you’ll be able to find the color choice you want and need. Also, this shirt does tend to fit loosely and runs large, so if you like form-fitting shirts, this might not be the design for you. However, if you want something that is comfortable and breathable, then this is a great option.
Value: This shirt is priced very affordably for all of the features it offers. It has a cost-effective price tag, and with all of its comfort and breathability, you’re getting a high-quality product. This shirt is durable and long lasting so you should get plenty of use out of it, and you’ll also be use it for other athletic activities if you choose.
Might feel too loose to some
Affordable Warm Lightweight Comfortable Breathable Lots of color and style options Can run small
Tesla Men's Thermal Wintergear Compression Baselayer Long Sleeve Top
Versatility: The combination of polyester and spandex gives you a pretty versatile shirt. Since the spandex helps to make this shirt flexible, you won’t feel like your movements are restricted, and you’ll be able to move however you wante. Also, with plenty of durability coming from the polyester material, you’ll be able to use this shirt in a wide variety of athletic events.
Features: This shirt offers you a fashionable, yet still functional option to help you with your running needs. You’ll get a lot of color and style choices, so you can select what you want, as well as a shirt that offers a nice, stylish appearance. Since it is also warm and comfortable, you’ll love how great it feels when you run.
Value: This shirt offers you a low-cost option in comfortable running apparel, and will feel good to the skin. This shirt works great in colder weather and offers a nice fleece lining. It comes with a two-way ventilation system, so you stay warm, but you don’t overheat. Also, made with a lot of durability, you’ll get plenty of use out of this shirt.
Lots of color and style options
Can run small
Lightweight Comfortable Breathable Affordable Mesh shoulder area could be more durable
New Balance Ice Short Sleeve
Versatility: This shirt is designed primarily as a warm weather shirt, and it is designed to be one layer only. While this shirt works very well for what it has been made for, and in fact it excels in that department, it’s not the type of shirt you’d want to wear when the weather is cold. You won’t get the protection and warmth you need when the temperature drops.
Features: New Balance’s Ice Short Sleeve offers a lot of great features for its affordable price. You’ll get an excellent amount of breathability, which is where this shirt really excels. Also, you’ll also get some high-quality UPF protection with its UPF 30 plus rating. We also like that it is antimicrobial, so that you don’t have to worry about embarrassing odors. We also like the reflective paneling on the shirt which is made to keep you visible when you run in low light conditions.
Value: This shirt is priced to be a great value overall, especially if you are looking for a warm weather t-shirt. First, it is very affordable, and made to be both breathable and comfortable. It also comes with sun protection, and really excels for running outdoors when the weather is hot.
Mesh shoulder area could be more durable
Comfortable Versatile Lots of color choices Durable Versatile Affordable Sizes run small
Vapor Apparel Sun Protection Long Sleeve T-Shirt
Versatility: This shirt is designed to have a loose fit, so it feels very comfortable and works well not only for running, but several different types of workouts. Since it feels relaxed when you put it on, you’ll get plenty of flexibility, and you can use it for every type of training possible. You’ll get a lot of use out of this very durable shirt.
Features: With UPF 50 plus sun protection designed into this shirt, you won’t need to worry about exposing your skin to the sun’s harmful rays as you run. Plus, this shirt is also odor-resistant, so you won’t need to worry about any embarrassing smells as you run. You also get anti-microbial protection to prevent bacteria from building up, which also adds durability to the shirt. We also like that this shirt offers a wide variety of color choices and is also very stylish.
Value: Priced affordably, you’ll get a great value product here that offers a lot of fashion and functionality. With a stylish look and lots of color choices, this shirt provides you with a lot of comfort, durability, and versatility. You’ll be able to use this shirt for a long time as well, making it a nice product choice.
Lots of color choices
Sizes run small
Durable Lots of color choices Lightweight Great ventilation Affordable Fit may feel small to some
Adidas Ultimate Short-Sleeve T-Shirt
Versatility: Since this shirt is so durable, you can use it all year round as either a single layer during the warmer weather, or a base layer when the weather gets colder. Also, the shirt is durable enough to be worn when you carry a backpack, and will bring you plenty of breathability and comfort. Also, you’ll get a flexible shirt that is designed to move with you while you are on the go.
Features: One thing we like about this t-shirt is that you’ll get plenty of color options with it. You’ll be able to find a color that you love, so you’ll feel fashionable while you get the benefits of a functional t-shirt as well. Also, since this t-shirt ventilates so well, you’ll stay dry no matter how far you decide to run.
Value: Considering all of the durability that comes with this shirt, you also get a cost-effective product here that will work great even if you are shopping on a budget. Since this shirt is so affordable and will last you a long time, you’ll be able to use it easily for many years. That means you are getting a good value purchase.
Lots of color choices
Fit may feel small to some
Comfortable Breathable Fast-drying Can run large Expensive
ASICS PR Lyte Short Sleeve
Versatility: This shirt is made for running mostly when the weather is warmer, since it is very thin and features a ventilation system that has tiny holes throughout the fabric of the shirt. Designed to be lightweight, the material here is quite thin. This means it probably would not work well as a base layer. However, it does work well as a breathable shirt for warm weather.
Features: While this shirt has a ventilation system that works well during the summer, it’s not the greatest shirt for layering or cold weather. You will get reflective logos on the front and back sides of this shirt, which will help to keep you safe and make you visible to oncoming traffic if you run in low light conditions. Also, you get colored panels on the shoulder areas of the t-shirt.
Value: While the PR Lyte is a bit more expensive than some of the other products on our list, it still does offer a lot of nice options if you want a breathable, comfortable shirt that works well in warm weather.
Can run large
Taped seams Durable Lots of versatility Expensive
The North Face Kilowatt Short Sleeve
Versatility: This shirt offers you a lot of excellent versatility. You’ll get a quick-drying fabric material that ventilates well so that you won’t feel like you are overheating or soaking in your own sweat. Also, you won’t need to worry about tears since you get a lot of abrasion resistance from The North Face’s FlashDry-XD knit body. You can use it as a layer, or on its own, so it can be used year round. Also, it is made to allow you to carry a pack easily.
Features: One thing that is nice about this shirt is that you’ll get plenty of durability, as the the polyester fabric used here is thicker than some of the other more lightweight polyesters made by other manufacturers. The taped seams are very nice, and help prevent chafing on the skin. You’ll also get some reflective details to make you more visible to traffic if you run in low light conditions.
Value: Compared to some of the other products on our list, this shirt does cost a bit more, but it still has a lot to offer. It is very versatile, and you can use it year-round. Also, since it is made to be very durable, you’ll get a lot of use out of it before you’ll need to worry about replacing it.
Lots of versatility
The Criteria We Used To Evaluate The Best Running Shirts
Many people forget how important the right type of gear is in achieving fitness goals. Without the right gear, you will likely wind up feeling irritated or uncomfortable while you run, and of course, this can weaken your performance and productivity. Some people assume that a regular old shirt will work well for hitting the trails, which isn’t necessarily true since regular cotton shirts don’t ventilate or breathe, and you’ll wind up sopping in your own sweat.
Also, selecting a high-quality shirt for running can be a difficult process mostly because there are a bevy of options on the market today. However, it is an essential piece of gear to help with your comfort and overall performance, and a high-quality shirt that suits your needs will help keep you on track with your fitness goals. To help you find the right shirt for your running needs, we evaluated our products based on comfort, versatility, features, and value. We’ll discuss each one of those points in more detail below.
Comfort is probably the most important factor to consider when you are trying to find a great shirt for running. If the shirt isn’t comfortable, then most likely, you probably won’t get much use out of it. So, finding something that feels good will not only make you feel great when you run, it’ll probably improve your overall performance because you won’t be distracted.
Most shirts that are made for running are designed with some combination of materials that feature polyester. Some shirts are 100% polyester, and others combine a large amount of polyester with a smaller percentage of spandex. A less frequent combination of material you’ll see is a blend of polyester and cotton.
Polyester is frequently used in these types of shirts, because the material is durable, and typically, also very soft to the touch. Also, polyester is a material that manufacturers can easily combine breathability and ventilation, which you certainly want when you are running often. Some brands also combine other features into polyester, like sun protection, for example.
How versatile a shirt is usually depends on the design and how good the range of motion and comfort levels are. Many shirts that are made for running are still versatile enough to be used for other sports, or even for training. Typically, running shirts are either made to be slightly over-sized, so they are comfortable and easy to move in, or they are made to provide a more form-fitting style. The more form-fitting shirts usually also feature spandex in the shirt, so you get that stretchy, flexible feeling.
Even if a shirt was meant to be designed only for running, it can still provide you with other useful options. And if you wind up with a very durable shirt, you’ll be able to use it for a long period of time and in all sorts of physical activities.
Versatility also factors in whether or not you can wear a shirt all year round, or just for one season. Some shirts are made to be used only for warm weather and are too thin to use as a base layer. Typically, these shirts are used just as a single layer. However, some warm weather shirts are thick enough to be used as a base layer, so they can be used in a wide variety of ways. Also, you typically have shirts made for cold weather that are designed to provide warmth during the chillier seasons.
Some of the features you’ll find in these shirts include things like UPF or sun protection, as well as abrasion resistance. Some of these shirts have built-in sun protection to help keep your skin healthy, which is a great bonus. Others are made to be abrasion resistant, giving you plenty of durability. Also, depending on the manufacturer and style of shirt that you select, there are several fashionable shirts that come in a wide range of colors but are also very functional.
While you don’t necessarily need all of these different types of features to have an effective shirt, take the time to prioritize what you need and want in a shirt to feel your best while running.
The concept of value with these products can vary from person to person, but on our list, we looked at price, what the shirt offered, and how long the shirt would last. Some shirts will cost more because they’ll have more to offer you, while others have fewer features but are still very functional and come with a more affordable price. Also, durability is very important when we look at value because if you purchase a long lasting shirt, you won’t need to replace it as quickly and you’ll get a lot of use out of it.
Other Important Factors To Consider
Finding the best type of shirt for your runs requires you to think about a couple of other things. First, you need to think about the climate, which, of course, includes weather and temperature. Next, consider if you want a shirt that you can layer or if you want an all-year-round shirt.
Weather And Layering
Depending on what type of weather you plan to run in and what the seasons will be, you’ll need to plan ahead when you select your shirt. If you know the weather is colder where you live, then you’ll want to consider a long-sleeved shirt designed to keep you warm. Shirts made like this often feature fleece lining and two-way ventilation systems. Those ventilation systems allow for moisture to escape so that you don’t overheat, but still help you stay warm in cold temperatures.
Short-sleeved shirts are sometimes made to be either very thin, or thicker. Thin, lightweight shirts typically don’t function well as base layers and should only be used as a single layer in the warmer weather. On the other hand, thicker short-sleeved shirts that have some level of durability can be used as a base layer when it is cold, but also as a single layer when it is warm.
Q: What should I look for if I want a flexible shirt?
If you want plenty of flexibility in your shirt, then you should consider purchasing one that has spandex in it. Usually, the percentage of spandex will be low, but it should still offer you enough of the material to make it flexible.
Q: How do I know if my shirt is durable?
With these shirts, durability can usually be judged by the thickness of the material and the stitching. Thicker types of material tend to be more durable than thinner materials. Also, seam-sealed or tape-sealed shirts will be more durable than ones without these features.
Q: Does durability depend on cost?
Not necessarily. Again, price won’t always dictate how durable the shirt is, the design probably will. Durability is determined by the thickness of the material and the type of stitching in the shirt.
Q: Can having a shirt that is designed for running really improve my performance?
Yes, it can. T-shirts, for example, are generally made out of 100% cotton, and cotton doesn’t ventilate well. So you won’t get a lot of breathability, and you’ll wind up covered in your own sweat, which isn’t comfortable at the best of times, let alone when you need to feel fully functioning. Comfort is really key here, and that’s what specifically designed shirts will give you.
Q: Is a good idea to purchase a shirt with UPF protection in it?
Of course, it is. That will give you plenty of protection from the sun when you run so that your skin stays healthy, and you feel better. However, some of this will depend on when you run, and whether or not you need sunscreen protection in your shirt.
Q: Is it a good idea to purchase a short-sleeved shirt that can be used as both a single layer and base layer?
It can be if you want something for year-round use. However, if you want something lightweight for warm weather only, then make sure to purchase what you really need.
Now that you have read our top ten best running shirts list you have a better idea for which one suits your needs best. While looking through each product keep in mind that some shirts use a small percentage of spandex combined with the polyester to help make the shirt more flexible, which means the shirt won’t be restrictive. Other shirts will use a blend of cotton and polyester materials, which does feel very comfortable to wear, but doesn’t offer as much breathability as 100% polyester shirts, or a combination of polyester and spandex.