After 12 hours of research evaluating 75 products, we picked Under Armour Men's Tech Short Sleeve T-Shirt as our top choice.
A comfortable shirt can make or break your workout! The right shirt will keep you cool or warm (depending on climate), prevent odors, and move comfortably with your body. The wrong shirt will just feel wrong when you move, run, lift, or train.
So what's "right" look like?
The best running shirts for men are lightweight, comfortable, and loose enough to prevent chafing while tight enough so as not to flop around. It's also adapted to the weather—warm enough as a base layer for cold days, but cool and breathable enough for the hotter days. Most importantly, it wicks away sweat and dries quickly.
You need a good running shirt!
Below, we've got a list of the top running shirts on the market—from long-sleeved to short-sleeved to tank tops/singlets. We've scoured hundreds of products, read thousands of reviews, and road-tested more than a few shirts ourselves (with the sweat stains and sore feet to prove it). The shirts below are the best for your needs.
Sleek, light, super comfortable, reflective piping for after-dark running, antimicrobial properties, moisture-wicking, durable material, solid seams, athletic fit, and racerback pattern.
Doesn't dry quickly and prone to pilling.
Style: This singlet/tank top is different from most of its kind. Instead of the classic A-shirt design, it features a racerback design on the back. This unique design and the 1-Inch rolled forward shoulders prevent fabric bunching up at your neck and shoulders, keeping it slim and sleek. It's not only stylish, but also more comfortable for using as a base layer beneath shirts and sweaters.
The fit is a bit slim, intended for lean runners rather than bulky weightlifters. Expect a bit of tightness around the midsection, so consider buying a size up if you consider yourself on the bulkier side.
Material: The shirt is 100% polyester, with excellent moisture-wicking properties to pull sweat away from your body. The material is lightweight and durable, and the shirt will last for months of regular use. It's safe to wash in the machine, though it is prone to pilling.
One downside is that the shirt can get quite heavy when you sweat. It wicks moisture away from your body but isn't able to dry as effectively as other shirts. You can expect to soak through your top layers if you sweat excessively.
Price: At $20, this is definitely one of the pricier shirts on our list. It's a good quality tank top for running and will offer good comfort, but it's fair to say that you're paying a slightly higher price than the shirt warrants.
Very well-built, solid fabric, heavy-duty stitching, good design, great color choices, colors don't bleed or fade, super light, quick-drying, moisture-wicking, and great fit for athletic bodies.
Slim fit, and the sizes are a bit snug.
Style: This shirt is cut in the classic short-sleeved Tee style, with solid stitching around the crew neck to keep it from sagging or fading. The similar stitching around the arms and bottom hem makes this shirt a long-lasting choice. With its reliable fabric and durable unions, you'll find it suits you well for years of regular use.
The shirt is intended for those with a sleeker athletic build, so you may find that it's a bit slim around the midsection. The sizes also run small. If you want a looser fit, you'll want to try one size up from normal.
Material: Older versions used to be an 85% polyester and 15% cotton blend, but the newest versions are 100% polyester. Though this sacrifices a bit in the softness of the fabric, it enhances the Climalite moisture-wicking and quick-drying technology that makes this such a great shirt for runners. You'll find it keeps you cool and dry even through a marathon!
The material is beautifully breathable, and you'll love how cool you feel when running down the road, around the track, or through those mountain trails.
Price: At $17 per shirt, this is slightly on the pricier side, but well worth the investment if you're looking for a shirt that will keep up with your runs for many years to come.
Very quick-drying, good fit for active use, comfortable, sweat controls, good selection of color and style choices, moisture-wicking, durable, and comes at a decent price.
Unusual cut—a bit too loose and boxy.
Style: This shirt is designed for running, but also for all other athletic activities—from weightlifting to CrossFit to HIIT to team sports. The loose fit makes it perfect for all types of workouts and sports. You'll find it lightweight, breathable, and a beautifully versatile shirt.
The shirt comes in a broad assortment of colors, making it perfect for guys who like options—dark, bright, bold, and muted. Be warned: the sizes tend to run a bit large, and the torso of the shirt can be a bit too loose and boxy for guys who like more form-fitting shirts.
Material: The shirt is made of 100% polyester, which makes it lightweight and soft enough for any type of sport or running. The shirt has quick-drying and moisture-wicking properties to keep you cool in even the hottest weather. The Dri-Equip technology will ensure that your body stays at just the right temperature no matter how much you sweat.
Price: Starting at $13, this shirt is a well-priced option for those who want a good quality shirt for running and all sport activities. Just remember that you may have to exchange the shirt a few times to get the size just right.
Super lightweight, good warmth, soft to the touch, durable crew neck stitching, stylish, great for active and casual wear, machine washable, and odor-resistant.
Not the best at moisture-wicking; doesn't dry as quickly as other shirts.
Style: This long-sleeved shirt is made with comfort and versatility in mind, so it has a relaxed fit that gives you great freedom of movement. The ribbed collar is resistant to sagging and damage, and the seamed cuffs grip your arms tightly when you roll up the shirt. The double-needle hemmed bottom is the final addition of durability that makes this a long-lasting shirt.
The shirt can be worn as a base or top layer, though it's better worn over a shirt that offers the quick-drying, moisture-wicking properties you need. Thankfully, it's easy to wash in the machine and won't shrink with regular washing.
Material: This shirt is made of 50% cotton, which makes it lightweight and beautifully soft to the touch. However, the addition of 50% polyester also ensures that it can be used for athletic activity. Though it doesn't have the moisture-wicking, quick-drying properties of other shirts on our list, it's light and breathable enough to be comfortable for most activities.
The shirt even comes with UPF 40 protection, keeping your skin safe from solar radiation as you run.
Price: Starting at $14, this is one of the best-priced shirts on our list. While it's not built for maximum competition like some of the other options, it's one of the most comfortable choices on our list.
Super warm, lightweight fabric, good elasticity, versatile, lightweight, two-way air circulation, good quick-drying and moisture-wicking properties, broad range of patterns and colors, and very stylish.
Sizes run small and attracts lint in the wash.
Style: If you want a good-looking running shirt for the winter, this is your top pick. Not only is it a stylish shirt—made by UnderArmour, with the classic slim fit to emphasize your toned physique—but it comes in a broad range of colors and patterns (from textured to dark colors to camo to bright orange and red). This is the shirt professional athletes wear when running in winter months.
The manufacturer makes it clear that these shirts are sized to be tight, so you'll need to buy at least one or two sizes above normal to be comfortable. However, the slim fit ensures that your body heat is trapped near your skin, keeping you warm in winter. The tighter fit also makes it the perfect base layer under heavier sweaters and shirts.
Material: The lightweight shirt is made out of 87% polyester and 13% spandex, meaning it has the perfect mix of elasticity and comfort. The moisture-sensing fabric will pull sweat away from your body as you run, and it will dry quickly to prevent the winter cold from making you sick. The shirt also offers enough two-way air circulation to keep you from overheating without sacrificing warmth.
On the downside, this shirt is prone to odors. It's made with formaldehyde, so it's recommended you wash it once or twice before using. Be warned: the fabric attracts lint in the dryer. You're better off washing it in the machine and letting it dry in the sun.
Price: At $17, this is a great choice for a super-warm base layer. You'll find it keeps you warm on even long-distance runs when the temperature is below zero.
Stylish, warm, comfortable, soft material, UPF protection, anti-microbial, odor resistant fabric, unisex cut, durable, broad range of colors, designed for outdoor use and top layer, and versatile design.
Sizes tend to run small and it stains easily.
Style: This long-sleeved shirt is made for your comfort, with a loose fit that makes it ideal for any workout. The long sleeves will keep you warm in the winter, but the relaxed torso gives you plenty of mobility not just for your runs, but for any type of training. It's not so loose it will feel baggy, yet ensures maximum comfort for your workouts and runs.
The shirt comes in a broad range of colors, appropriate for both men and women. The unisex fit means this shirt can be worn by both genders. Be warned, though: the sizes run a bit on the smaller side for men.
Material: The shirt is made of 100% polyester microfiber, and it has a layer of UPF 50+ sun protection that makes it perfect for running under the bright sun. The PURE Tech moisture wicking technology will pull sweat away from your body, and the polyester fibers will dry quickly when exposed to heat and wind.
The shirt is lightweight and comfortable, and it has an odor-resistant, anti-microbial protection to keep the shirt from wearing out. Sadly, once it's stained—either by sweat, dirt, or food—it's nearly impossible to get the stains out in the wash. It's also prone to absorbing body odors, making it a bit smellier than your average running shirt.
Price: At $22, this is a bit on the pricier side, but a great long-sleeved shirt for runners who want to stay warm in winter and cool in the summer.
Comfortable, soft material, moisture-wicking, quick-drying, natural feel, durable UA Tech Fabric, well-priced, broad color selection, good fit, breathable, good quality product, and perfect for both warm and cool weather.
May shrink in the wash and features somewhat of a "boxy" fit.
Style: This shirt offers a loose fit, so it will be ideal for your long distance runs. You won't have to worry about chafing or rubbing, thanks to both its comfortable fit and super soft material. The shirt may look a bit boxy (especially the larger sizes) and the sizes run small, but it's a shirt that will keep up with any run.
One of the great things about this shirt is the color selection. Instead of solid colors, the shirt combines two colors (graphite and white, black and steel, etc.) to give it a bit of flair. With dozens of colors to choose from, it's one of the most stylish options for a running shirt.
Material: The material is 100% polyester, so you may end up with a little bit of smell after heavy sweating. However, the shirt is super soft to the touch, and it will do wonders to prevent chafing and rubbing on your skin. The UA Tech Fabric is highly effective at wicking sweat away from your body, drying quickly to keep you cool on hot days.
The shirt also serves as a great base layer, offering warmth under a running sweater in the winter. The fabric is durable, and you'll find this is one of the longest-lasting running shirts on the market!
Price: Starting at $19, this shirt is a well-priced option. They're not the cheapest shirts on our list or the market, but they offer excellent quality and style at a price you can love.
Remember the old days when ordinary folks simply slipped on an old tee before exercising? No one really bothered to curate a special wardrobe for working out—with the exception of actual athletes.
These days, activewear has gotten so advanced that running with a plain cotton tee feels almost unbearable. Wearing a proper running shirt (and running shorts) simply makes performing better and lasting longer so much easier.
With the sheer number of available options out there—from thermal tops to tech shirts to singlets—it can be tricky to figure out where to start. But worry not. Whether you’re new to the world of running or are simply looking to optimize your current running wardrobe, this shopping guide is for you.
Below, you’ll learn all the key features you need to look for in a running shirt, as well as some background information on the technologies, fabrics, and cuts that are used by the best running shirts of today.
So, sit back, relax, and read on. By the time you finish reading this guide, you’ll be closer than ever to finding the absolute best running shirt for your needs.
Polyester is undoubtedly one of the most popular performance fabrics. It wicks away moisture and sweat from your skin, keeping you cool and dry throughout your running session. It’s super lightweight, comfortable, and breathable, as well. If you’ve seen running shirts that have mesh panels, these are probably made of polyester or a blend thereof.
The downside? Polyester has a tendency to absorb and trap oil. Because of this, it is quite prone to harboring odor-causing bacteria. This is why polyester is known to have a “stink factor” if you don’t wash your garments thoroughly.
Polypropylene is closely related to polyester. The main difference? Polypropylene dries faster and doesn’t absorb water, which makes it a great material for waterproof running gear. Also, polypropylene is a good insulator.
Nylon, which is also referred to as polyamide, is a silk-like fabric that is used in all sorts of garments. It is sweat-wicking, stretchy, and breathable. Nylon is also highly durable.
On the flip side, nylon is typically acid-dyed. This means that the fabric is more likely to have issues with fading and bleaching. It’s also sensitive to hot water.
Although natural fabrics are often frowned upon in the world of activewear, bamboo is considered an exception. This natural, organic fiber is very soft and comfortable to the touch, making it a great pick for those who have sensitive skin.
Bamboo also boasts natural moisture-wicking and anti-bacterial properties that keep you feeling dry, confident, and stink-free. This breathable fabric first climbed to popularity after being recognized as a highly-sustainable alternative to other fibers, although this claim is being contested lately.
As for drawbacks, bamboo running shirts are typically on the pricier side of the spectrum. Some people also report that white bamboo shirts are more prone to yellowing over time. Make-wise, though, bamboo is generally considered durable and resilient. So in the long run, your investment will likely pay off.
Spandex is known for its strength and stretch. An oldie but a goodie, it was one of the most popular performance fabrics back when athletic wear first became a thing.
Spandex sportswear can snap back to its original size and shape even after extreme stretching. These days, pure spandex garments are less common. But you’ll frequently find this fabric blended into other types of fiber in modern activewear.
Let’s face it: wool isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when we’re talking about fabrics for running. However, it’s actually a great performance fabric if you’re looking for something to keep you warm during fall and winter runs. It’s also moisture-wicking and breathable. Plus, it helps keep UV rays at bay.
As you may have learned so far, all the different types of performance fabrics have their own pros and cons. To help address the individual shortcomings of these fabrics, synthetic-cotton blends have sprung into existence.
Synthetic-cotton fabrics offer runners a good in-betweener. Typically, these fabrics provide a good fit and feel while still having a decent amount of wicking ability.
Now that you know all about the different performance fabrics that are typically used in running shirts, it’s time to delve deeper. Here are the factors that you should take into consideration when shopping for the best running shirts for men.
When it comes to clothes, comfort is king—and running shirts are no exception. There’s no use buying a shirt that boasts the best performance fabric, cut, and technology if you feel uncomfortable wearing it.
When trying on a running shirt for the first time, notice how it feels against your skin. Watch out for abrasive seams and itchy fabric. Also, does it fit your shoulders, chest, arms, and stomach nicely? Does it hang comfortably on your frame? Are you comfortable with the neckline?
It’s best to try and mimic running movements as you evaluate a running shirt’s fit and comfort level. This allows you to get a feel of the range of movement allowed by the shirt, as well as to check for signs of possible chafing.
Wicking is the mechanism in which a fabric absorbs moisture away from the body and expels it as vapor into the atmosphere. Having a moisture-wicking running shirt is important because it keeps you feeling dry and fresh for longer.
Without wicking, your sweat will remain close to your skin. Eventually, as you perspire more and more and you feel moisture accumulating underneath your running shirt, you’ll start to feel clammy, hot, and downright uncomfortable. And you don’t want that, do you?
High-quality running shirts should be well-made and last you a long time. Aside from evaluating the quality of the fabric, you should also take time to check the seam stitching to make sure that everything is nice and secure.
Another way to learn more about a running shirt’s durability is to read user reviews. Look for relevant feedback about how well the shirt retains its shape and how it reacts to the typical laundry cycle.
Some fabrics are more prone to harboring odor-causing bacteria than others (see polyester’s description above). But beyond fabrics’ default vulnerability to odor and bacterial growth, there exists engineered versions that are specifically designed to have antimicrobial properties.
For instance, one of the most popular odor-fighting technologies these days is the incorporation of silver threads in clothing. Silver threads can control bacterial growth, which makes them great at protecting you from odors.
Running comes with certain risks. If you enjoy going for an early morning or evening jog, you should take lighting conditions into consideration when choosing what running shirt to wear. In low light, it might be difficult for drivers to see you. This poses a safety issue if you like running along or near busy roads.
Wearing running shirts that have reflective strips is a great way to keep visibility as high as possible. It’s also best to avoid dark-colored running shirts and stick to bright, easily-visible colors when going for a run at night. We recommend neon colors in this regard. Among the most popular are neon green, yellow, pink, and orange.
We know that almost everyone loves their sleek black running shirts—but they are best saved for the treadmill or when running on a well-lit day.
If you live in a place where the weather varies significantly throughout the year, you might want to invest in running shirts that are versatile.
For instance, a long sleeve running shirt can provide decent insulation during slightly-chilly days. Come wintertime, the same shirt can serve as a base layer under a short sleeve top for added warmth.
UPF or Ultraviolet Protection Factor is a term that you’ll likely encounter when shopping for a running shirt. In a nutshell, UPF is a measure of how well a piece of clothing protects you from the sun’s harmful UV rays.
Ultraviolet protection is important because UV rays can deal serious damage to your body. Some of the harmful effects of UV exposure include premature skin aging, sunburn, and skin cancer. You’re at a higher risk of being affected if you frequently run under the blazing heat of the sun. However, it’s also worth noting that you’re still accumulating UV damage even in cloudy weather.
To give you an idea about how UPF works, picture this: typical pieces of clothing will have an average UPF of around 6. This means that you’ll be exposed to 1 unit of UV out of 6—or roughly 17 percent. A running shirt that has a UPF rating of 35, meanwhile, will only allow 1 out of 35 units of UV—or less than 3 percent—to pass through.
Considering the harmful effects of regular sun exposure, we highly recommend that you go for UPF-rated clothes if you can. Nothing beats the sun protection provided by sunscreens, though. So if you’re already applying sunscreen all over your face and body diligently, then donning a protective running shirt will just be an added bonus.