8 Best Workout Shirts for Men

8 Best Workout Shirts for Men

While cotton T-shirts are certainly the most comfortable for everyday use, don't make the mistake of wearing them for your workout. They retain moisture, which makes them heavy and increases the risk of chafing and irritation.

What you should be wearing:

Synthetic fabrics like polyester, nylon, and spandex are designed to wick moisture away from your body, and they tend to dry out more quickly than cotton. For athletic apparel, you definitely want a synthetic shirt.

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You also need a shirt that fits well (while still showing off your awesome muscles), gives you enough room to move around, and survives heavy sweating/regular washing. Plus, you want moisture-wicking, which will reduce the risk of your getting sick when you step outside the gym - at the very least. (Plus, the ladies love a good workout shirt!)

We've done the research to bring you only the best workout shirts for men, from tank tops to long-sleeved shirts to shapewear to compression shirts—everything you need to be comfortable while hitting the weights, treadmill, or running trail!

Best Workout Shirts for Men

  • 8. Under Armour HeatGear Short-Sleeved Compression Shirt
  • 7. Tesla Cool Dry Compression Baselayer Short Sleeve T
  • 6. Nike Legend Short Sleeve Tee
  • 5. Esteem Apparel Compression Workout Shirt
  • 4. Tesla Men's HyperDri Short Sleeve T-Shirt
  • 3. Under Armour Tech 1/4 Zip Long-Sleeved Shirt
  • 2. Under Armour Charged Cotton Sportstyle T-Shirt
  • 1. Under Armour Tech Short Sleeve T-Shirt

Best Compression Workout Shirt


Under Armour HeatGear Short-Sleeved Compression Shirt

Best Compression Workout Shirt: Under Armour HeatGear Short-Sleeved Compression Shirt
579 Bought
76 % Editor Score
80 % User Score

Why People Love it

  • Good versatility and elasticity while still providing solid compression
  • Soft, smooth, and comfortable all day long
  • Well-ventilated, moisture-wicking, and quick-drying

All-day comfort, keeps you cool and dry, excellent breathability, durable, stylish, bright and bold color choices, good mobility, no odors, and decent price.

Sizes run small and the compression is a bit too tight for Yoga or very active use.

Comfort: If you want comfort, you'll love this shirt. It offers good compression without being TOO tight, so you can wear it all workout long (or all day long) for your run, workout, or training session. The fabric is beautifully breathable, not to mention resistant to odors and bacteria. Thanks to the moisture-wicking, quick-drying blend of 84% polyester and 16% elastane, you'll stay cool and dry no matter how heavily you sweat.

Fit: This is a shirt designed with weightlifters in mind. The compression integrated into the upper body (arms, shoulders, chest, and back) will help to improve blood flow, speeding up post-workout recovery. Though the size tends to run small (buy at least one size larger than normal), the shirt is comfortable enough for use at the gym.

However, if you're a HIITer, CrossFitter, or Yoga practitioner, this may not be the right shirt for you. The shirt is very tight around the sleeves and shoulders, and may restrict blood flow for certain overhead movements.

Price: Starting at $15, this is one of the pricier shirts on our list. However, if you NEED a compression garment for your active sports use, it's worth paying a bit more for this quality tee.

Best Base Layer Shirt


Tesla Cool Dry Compression Baselayer Short Sleeve T

Best Base Layer Shirt: Tesla Cool Dry Compression Baselayer Short Sleeve T
443 Bought
79 % Editor Score
82 % User Score

Why People Love it

  • Stay warm in winter and cool in summer
  • Offers compression and shaping for a sculpted upper body look
  • Durable, comfortable, and reliable; a great workout shirt!

Designed for all-season use, breathable, good elasticity, compression not too tight, good price, odor-resistant, UPF 50+ protection, flat-lock seams, and smooth on your skin.

Sizes run small and the sleeves tend to roll up.

Comfort: This is a shirt you wear when you want to stay warm in winter and cool in the summer, but you also want to add a bit of sculpting to your upper body. The shirt offers decent compression without being so form-fitting you can't move around in it. The material isn't as soft as some of the other shirts on this list, but you'll love how smooth and sleek it feels.

The shirt makes the perfect base layer, and the 87% polyester and 13% elastane fabric blend gives it just the right amount of elasticity to be versatile. It's breathable, well-ventilated, and comes with special odor/bacteria-resistant technology. Definitely a great shirt for all seasons!

Fit: The fit on this shirt is TIGHT, as it's intended to add compression to your upper body in order to enhance blood flow and speed up post-workout recovery. The website even says, "We strongly recommend ordering ONE size up what you normally wear." However, some users complain that the sizes still run small when wearing two sizes larger than normal—this is likely to do with the fact that they're expecting a workout shirt, not a compression shirt.

ONLY buy this shirt if you want to add compression to your base layer!

Price: Starting at $10, this is a very well-priced shirt. It regulates your temperature in any weather and makes the perfect item to wear beneath a snowboarding suit or lightweight gym shirt, or even on its own.

Most Durable Men's Workout Shirt


Nike Legend Short Sleeve Tee

Most Durable Men's Workout Shirt: Nike Legend Short Sleeve Tee
2,526 Bought
82 % Editor Score
85 % User Score

Why People Love it

  • Dri-Fit fabric wicks moisture away from the body and dries quickly
  • Stay cool and comfy while you move
  • Lightweight, durable, and reliable—a must-have for your gym wardrobe

Bright colors, durable fabric, Dri-Fit material, flat seams to reduce chafing, performance design, lightweight, comfortable, ribbed neck, not too pricey, and colors don't fade.

Sizes run very large and long.

Comfort: If you want a lightweight workout shirt for any and all activities, give this bad boy a try. Thanks to Nike's patented Dri-Fit fabric, the shirt will wick moisture away from your body and dry quickly, keeping you cool all day long. Add in excellent ventilation and an odor/bacteria-resistant polyester, and you've got a great shirt.

The 100% polyester shirt will be durable, and you'll love how the bright colors don't fade with heavy sweating and regular washing. The ribbed neck keeps the collar from sagging no matter how much you use the shirt.

Fit: This is a "performance" shirt, meaning it's intended to hang loosely on your frame and give you total freedom of movement. However, a lot of users complain that the sizes tend to run large, meaning the shirt is both wider and longer than other brands. You may want to consider buying a size smaller than normal thanks to its extra-large design.

However, the shirt is super comfortable, beautifully breathable, and will never constrict or hamper your movement.

Price: Starting at $12, these are fairly affordable shirts. Given their high quality, durability, and versatility, they're an option definitely worth owning.

Best Athletic Shapewear for Men


Esteem Apparel Compression Workout Shirt

Best Athletic Shapewear for Men: Esteem Apparel Compression Workout Shirt
357 Bought
85 % Editor Score
87 % User Score

Why People Love it

• Improves appearance of "man boobs"; perks up chest muscles

• A practical solution to looking better in any shirt

• Lightweight and form-fitting without being too tight or slimming

Reduces chest sagging, slimming for chest and stomach, fits under any T-shirt or collared shirt, soft, breathable, lightweight, perfect mixture of nylon and spandex, extra firm, encourages better posture, provides back support, and features great elasticity.

Sizes run large and the thick seams are visible through the shirt.

Comfort: The tightness of the shirt can help to encourage better posture and offer some back support. You'll find it's nicely elastic and easy to pull on and off without struggling (a problem with some compression garments). The sizes do run a bit larger than expected, so shop accordingly.

You'll love the lightweight, breathable material. It can help to keep you cool at the gym and wick away moisture, and it won't shrink in the wash. The nylon and spandex mixture makes it a long-lasting shirt that will keep up with your daily activities.

Fit: If you're self-conscious about your appearance, this is the undershirt for you. It's designed to compress and lift your chest, hiding any "man boobs" (extra chest fat). However, it also pulls tight around your stomach, streamlining any additional fat around your belly or love handles. It's not the most comfortable shirt (it's always tight against your body), but it ensures that you look your best in your T-shirts, dress shirts, or gym clothes.

Price: At $27 per shirt, this is definitely one of the pricier workout shirts on our list. However, for guys who want to hide their man boobs or a bit of extra gut fat, it's an amazing item to have!

Most Versatile Workout Shirt


Tesla Men's HyperDri Short Sleeve T-Shirt

Most Versatile Workout Shirt: Tesla Men's HyperDri Short Sleeve T-Shirt
1,501 Bought
89 % Editor Score
90 % User Score

Why People Love it

  • Breathable, comfortable, and durable
  • Stay cool and dry whether you run, lift, practice Yoga, or play sports
  • Protects your skin (UPF 50+) from UV rays; great for outdoor activities

Designed for all sports and activities, quick-drying, moisture-wicking, great ventilation, UV radiation protection, lightweight, comfortable, versatile, reduces body odor, sleek, and excellent price.

Sizes run small and the material is slick to the touch.

Comfort: If you want a shirt that will keep up with all your activities—sports, Yoga, lifting, running, dance, etc.—give this shirt a try. It's designed to keep you super cool and dry, with excellent breathability and 100% polyester fabric that wicks moisture away from your skin for faster drying. The material is odor and bacteria-resistant as well.

The fabric contains a special UPF 50+ that protects your skin from UV rays, making it the perfect shirt to use for outdoor running and training sessions. Though it feels slick to the touch, it's a fairly comfortable option that will work well with any type of sport/athletic activity.

Fit: If there's one main complaint about this shirt, it's that all the sizes run small. One user said he bought a 3XL but found it fit like an L/XL, and most of the poor customer reviews echo the same sentiment. Tesla doesn't provide a sizing chart, but you'll want to buy at least one size larger than your normal shirt.

However, once you find the right fit, you'll love the sleek, slim design of the shirt. The contours are flattering without being form-fitting, and the shirt accentuates your arms, shoulders, and chest while concealing any excess around the midsection.

Price: Starting at less than $8 for the shirt, this is one of the best-priced options on our list. You'll find it's absolutely worth the price if you want something to use for any workout!

Best Long-Sleeved Workout Shirt


Under Armour Tech 1/4 Zip Long-Sleeved Shirt

Best Long-Sleeved Workout Shirt: Under Armour Tech 1/4 Zip Long-Sleeved Shirt
494 Bought
92 % Editor Score
92 % User Score

Why People Love it

  • Great for heavier users; loose fit, excellent moisture-wicking and quick-drying fabric
  • Soft, comfortable, and versatile; a great shirt to wear during the cooler months
  • Lightweight and durable material

Excellent winter wear, loose fit, durable, lightweight, all-weather use, stylish, fits well in the shoulders, good length for taller wearers, useful for layering, and breathable material.

Slightly pricey and can look baggy if not sized right.

Comfort: If you want a long-sleeved shirt to stay warm in the winter, this is the workout shirt you need. Thanks to the long sleeves, you can keep your arms warm after an intense workout. The fabric is lightweight enough that you can wear it as a base layer beneath a sweater, but it's thick enough to be warm as your top layer.

The 100% polyester shirt comes with the quick-drying, moisture-wicking fabric that makes UnderArmour one of the best athletic brands, and you'll find the shirt is beautifully breathable in hot weather. The fabric is comfortable on your skin, with no irritating tags or buttons. All in all, an excellent cool-weather workout shirt!

Fit: The shirt is one of UA's "Loose Fit" models, so it's designed to hang comfortably without being too form-fitting. However, some users have complained that it can look baggy and droopy if they don't get the size right, thanks to the extra width. When it comes to length, though, even taller users can be comfortable in this shirt—no need to worry about showing your belly when you raise your arms.

Price: Starting at $30, this is on the pricier side of the scale. However, given that it serves as both a base and top layer, it's a long-sleeved shirt worth owning if you exercise during the colder months of the year.

Best Cotton Blend Workout Shirt


Under Armour Charged Cotton Sportstyle T-Shirt

Best Cotton Blend Workout Shirt: Under Armour Charged Cotton Sportstyle T-Shirt
2,191 Bought
95 % Editor Score
96 % User Score

Why People Love it

  • More hygienic than synthetic fabrics, produces less body odor with heavy sweating
  • Super soft, lightweight, and comfortable!
  • Thicker material is more durable than lightweight workout shirts

Super-soft, less odor, quick-drying, moisture-wicking, stylish, sleek fit, affordable, good material quality, durable, good length and width, and great for layering/cold weather use.

Poor customer service and fit isn't quite accurate.

Comfort: This is one of the most comfortable workout shirts on our list, thanks largely to the 57% cotton content. This makes the shirt super-soft to the touch, and it is beautifully lightweight, comfy, and less likely to produce body odor than 100% synthetic shirts.

However, the shirt is made with 38% polyester and 5% elastane, which makes it quick-drying, moisture-wicking, and beautifully stretchy (for active wear). The 4-way stretch is perfect for any activity, and you'll find this is one of the best shirts to wear on hot, sweaty days!

Fit: If there's one thing about this shirt that gets a lot of user complaints, it's the fit. Some users protest that the large looks like an XL, while others insist they usually wear a small but have to buy a medium. The product's page comes with a sizing chart, but if you don't know your measurements, you may not get it right. If you have to return the product, UA is definitely not known for its customer service.

However, once you find the right size, you'll find the shirt fits beautifully—it's a slim-fit, but not so form-fitting as to be uncomfortable. The length and width are good, even for taller wearers. 

Price: Starting at $14, this is another well-priced workout shirt. The fit is great, the fabric reliable, and the comfort top-notch—what more could you ask for at this price point?

Best Workout Shirt Overall


Under Armour Tech Short Sleeve T-Shirt

Best Workout Shirt Overall: Under Armour Tech Short Sleeve T-Shirt
4,821 Bought
99 % Editor Score
97 % User Score

Why People Love it

  • Ultra-soft, sleek material feels wonderful on your skin, even when wet
  • Both moisture-wicking and quick-drying
  • Stay cool and comfy in this workout shirt; ideal for high heat and humidity

Durable, super comfortable, quick-drying, wicks sweat away from your body, loose fit without being oversized, good elasticity, perfect for summer wear, affordable, and darker colors hide sweat.

Tag inside the shirt can irritate your side and the sizes run a bit short.

Comfort: If you want a shirt that delivers quality performance, you'd do well to give this UnderArmour workout tee a try. Not only is it super-soft, but the 100% polyester fabric is effective at wicking moisture away from your body. The UA Tech Fabric contains an open-cell design that allows for excellent breathability and promotes quick-drying.

The shirt is fairly durable, and you'll find that it holds up well even after years of regular use, heavy sweating, and machine washing. The main downside: there's a tag on the ribs of the shirt that can irritate your skin. Other than that, you'll find this is an excellent shirt to use for sports, running, lifting, and all workouts.

Fit: This shirt is the "Loose Fit" model, so it's designed to hang rather than cling to your torso. The fabric has a good elasticity that will keep the shirt from sagging, drooping, or stretching as you train.

When it comes to sizing, you may want to buy at least one size larger than normal. While the width is good (not too snug a fit), users have complained of a short length (rides up when you raise your arm).

Price: Starting at $15, this is a pretty decently priced workout shirt. It's slightly pricier than some of the other products on our list, but given its durability, comfort, and versatility, it's absolutely worth the cost!

Best Workout Shirts Buying Guide

Whether you indulge in a weekly CrossFit class or you are an avid fan of weightlifting, investing in the right exercise clothes will enhance your workout in many ways. We’ve already talked about the best workout underwear for men (because it all starts from the inside, y’all). This time, we’ll explore all the best workout shirts that 2019 has to offer.

From the local gym to your favorite running trail, wearing the right workout shirt will ensure that you’re comfortable, protected, and performing at your very best. So sit back, relax, and read on. It’s time to find clothes that work as hard as you do.

5 Reasons to Invest in Proper Workout Shirts

1. Wearing the right exercise gear improves performance.

You already know that wearing a pair of Chuck Taylors for a run won’t give you the support and cushion you need. The same applies to workout shirts, too.

Donning a regular cotton shirt to the gym may not seem like a big deal, but it actually prevents you from performing at your best level. A specially-designed workout shirt will wick away perspiration and dissipate body heat, therefore helping you last longer and push harder during your workouts.

2. A well-fitted workout shirt improves freedom of movement.

Buying well-fitted workout shirts will give you the freedom of movement you need to execute any routine safely and effectively. A too-tight cotton shirt simply won’t have the same breathability and flexibility. You might even end up doing your movements wrong if your shirt is too restrictive.

Even if you can comfortably move around in a regular shirt while doing your day-to-day activities, it’s a different matter altogether when we’re talking about the movements associated with bench presses, CrossFit, and other compound exercises.

3. The correct workout apparel boosts confidence.

Our mindset has a massive effect on what we end up achieving in life. If you feel awkward, insecure, and unsure of yourself, you probably won’t reap the same results as if you were more confident.

Wearing a proper workout shirt is going to make a real difference if you believe that it’s going to improve your performance. If you know that you look great and are supported by the right kind of apparel, you’ll likely act it out, too. What’s more, awesome workout shirts make the prospect of going to the gym even more exciting. If you need extra motivation to exercise, cool gym clothing should do the trick.

4. The right athletic clothing protects you from health risks and injuries.

Wearing shoes that are not the right size is a great way to score painful blisters, cramps, and other discomforts. Likewise, wearing a shirt that isn’t designed for working out can lead to unnecessary health risks and injuries.

If you like running outdoors, you’re going to want to invest in a workout shirt that will protect you from the elements. If it’s hot and sunny where you live, a shirt that is both breathable and UV-resistant will protect your body from sunburn and overheating. If it’s cold and windy, a long-sleeved top will help keep the chills at bay.

To add, baggy cotton shirts may be comfortable, but all that extra fabric puts you at risk of being caught in dangerous gym equipment.

5. A compression shirt can aid in post-workout recovery.

Compression clothing has been shown to help recovery after workouts. If you’ve never dabbled in the world of compression workout clothes, you’re missing out!

Factors to Consider When Shopping


Comfort is the most important deciding factor there is. After all, it’s difficult to perform well when you’re not comfortable. Also, the idea of wearing a shirt that feels “off” could discourage you from going to the gym altogether.

Your shirt shouldn’t only feel good while you’re wearing it to be considered comfortable. It should also adapt well as you execute various muscle-building movements at the gym. So go ahead and stretch, jog, squat, and jump in that workout shirt before buying it. That way, you’ll know if your body jives well with the shirt even before you buy it.


Even the priciest, comfiest, most technologically-advanced workout shirt is no good if it doesn’t fit you well. A nice-fitting top won’t only let you feel great, but it will also accentuate your hard-earned gains and losses. Granted, none of us should really care too much about how we look like during exercise, but a flattering workout shirt never hurt anybody!

Besides, nothing feels as motivating as seeing yourself looking fine in the mirror—and that is impossible to do if you’re constantly hiding under layers upon layers of baggy workout clothes.


We’ve already said it before, but cotton shirts aren't beneficial to your workouts—no matter how comfy they may feel. Fabrics that wick perspiration away from your skin are the undisputed top choice. Such fabrics include nylon, lycra, and polyester. Not only do they keep you dry, but they also resist getting weighed down by sweat.


Sure, having awesome workout clothes is a great motivation, but don’t overthink it! Workout clothes should be fun and encouraging, not calculated and boring. Blacks, whites, greys, and blues may seem like staple colors if you want to be safe, but don’t sleep on bright reds and lime greens, too!


This is an obvious one. Whatever your budget is, there’s probably something for you out there. You don’t have to empty your bank account to score nice shirts for the gym. The world is filled with both luxurious and reasonably-priced workout outfits for everyone.


On the flip side, be wary about cheap but low-quality clothing. You are going to torture your workout shirt, after all. You will push your body to its limits and experience a physical transformation with these clothes on, so they better be durable enough to withstand the grind!

Compromising on quality just for the sake of saving a few bucks could backfire in the long run. Before you know it, you already shelled out more money contantly replacing cheap clothes that have worn out incredibly fast. So really, don’t think twice about investing in quality.

More On Compression Shirts: Are They Worth a Shot?

As you can probably tell from our list above, compression shirts are a constant favorite among fitness buffs. But why exactly are they so popular? And more importantly, are they worth the hype?

Compression wearables are characterized by a skin-tight fit and spandex-type fibers. The idea behind them is that they compress your muscles to the point of gentle stimulation. This gives your muscles some support and containment while the slight pressure improves your blood circulation.

Compression also helps clear lactic acid from your muscles. This speeds up your recovery after an intense lifting session. It’s not surprising why many athletes swear by compression clothing during recovery days.

And, of course, we’d be lying if we didn’t mention how sporty AF they look. As we’ve stressed probably five times by now, workout shirts don’t only let you perform at your best level—they also deliver psychological benefits that stem from the confidence boost you get as you put them on.

Caring for Your Workout Shirts

  • Wash your workout clothes right away. Tossing a sweaty shirt in a hamper and leaving it there for several days is an open invitation to all sorts of gross microorganisms. Mildew and bacteria love moist environments, and letting them fester in your clothes puts you at risk of skin irritations and infections.
  • Soak the shirt before you wash it. If washing right away is impossible, fret not! You can still take good care of your workout shirts with some help from good old white vinegar. Soak your clothes in a solution of one part white vinegar and four parts water for about 30 minutes. Rinse with cold water and hang dry before tossing the shirts in the hamper.
  • Don’t reuse dirty workout clothes. Many of us are guilty of pulling yesterday’s workout clothes out of the hamper to reuse them one more time (or multiple times, TBH). Yes, you’ll just sweat right through them again anyway, but reusing dirty clothes is a surefire way to contract infections. Not to mention, this practice probably makes you stink really bad, too.
  • Don’t use hot water. High-performance fabrics will thrive best in cold or warm water. Although cotton socks and towels call for hot water for the best cleaning results, high temperatures are bad for moisture-wicking fabrics. That said, you should definitely skip the heated dryer, too.
  • Use a mild detergent. And use just the right amount of it! If you’re worried about bacteria multiplying among your clothes, it’s tempting to overcompensate by using copious amounts of strong detergent. However, mild detergent in nothing more than the recommended amount actually works best.
  • Turn your shirts inside out. After all, it’s the inside of your clothing that comes in direct contact with your skin. Washing your shirts inside out will make it easier to wash away any built up sweat, germs, and dirt.
  • Avoid fabric softeners at all cost. They’re plenty useful for almost any other piece of clothing, but they’re disastrous for workout clothes. Remember that fabric softeners leave a smooth film on your clothes to make them feel extra soft. In doing so, they tend to trap bacteria, sweat, and oils in your clothes. What’s more, fabric softeners can affect the moisture-wicking abilities of high-performance fabrics.
  • Always hang your shirts to dry. Workout clothes are way too delicate for machine drying, so stick to air-drying instead. Besides, they are made of thin and breathable fabrics, which means they should dry up in no time.

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Article Staff

Fitness has come hard for Andy; he's had to work for it. But, his trials have led him to becoming a martial artist, a NFPT-certified fitness trainer, and a man passionate about exercise and healthy living. That’s why he’s our resident fitness expert.

His favorite food is lettuce-leaf steak tacos – though he’ll admit to a love of hot wings if you leverage the right pressure.

We know him as the guy who understands British humor and wishes everyone was as passionate about life as he is. His previous forays into the worlds of international business and education have left him wildly optimistic. And, if that wasn’t enough, he's also a best-selling, award-winning author of fantasy novels! Can you say renaissance?

Editor Jenna Holtz
Researcher Ronnie Langston
Art Director Cherry Barbacena

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