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A running shirt may not seem like a high-priority investment, especially if you’ve got a drawer full of undershirts and free race tees. But the wrong top can trap moisture, chafe sensitive skin, and cling to your skin or flap around your body—all of which can be distracting and uncomfortable enough to slow you down. A quality running shirt, on the other hand, is one you barely notice you’re wearing; it’s designed to move with you and protect you.
Luckily, we’ve come a long way since we had to settle for cotton tees. Today’s best running shirts use breathable, lightweight materials and smooth flatlock seams that won’t rub; some even offer sun protection coverage like performance sun shirts and reflective elements to help you remain visible from sunup to sundown. They're stretchy, have plenty of durability, and come in non-cotton materials like merino wool and tencel. Upgrade your collection with any of these picks.
Field Mag's Top Picks for the Best Women's Running Shirts
- Bakline Far Rockaway Crop
- Tracksmith Twilight Tee
- Lululemon Swiftly Tech Racerback Tank Top 2.0
- ASICS Ventilate ActiBreeze Jacquard Singlet
- Black Diamond Long Sleeve Rhythm T-Shirt
Field Mag's Top Picks for the Best Men's Running Shirts
- Rabbit EZ Tee
- Tracksmith Van Cortlandt Singlet
- Saysky Flow Singlet
- Lululemon Metal Vent Tech Shirt
- Janji Run All Day Tank
- Ciele Athletics FSTTShirt
That's all for the cheat sheet. Scroll on for the full rundown on our top product picks.
The 6 Best Women's Running Shirts
This barely there crop top from Bakline is as breezy as it gets without ditching your shirt entirely. The sweat-wicking mesh, constructed with a contoured fit, floats around the body. If you’re not comfortably going full crop, the hem hits right above your waist (only showing a sliver of stomach) to offer more coverage without much weight.
The standard tech tee (picture any freebie you’ve gotten from a race in the past decade) gets a redesign with this crewneck top from Tracksmith. Instead of using harder, thicker polyester yarns that don’t feel great against the skin, the brand used a lightweight and soft micro-polyester and elastane blend that features tiny holes to allow for more airflow and faster drying. Even better: Antimicrobial properties ensure you won’t stink post-workout or after all-day trail running. Also available in men's sizing.
Lululemon’s Swiftly tops have been a long-time closet staple alongside its leggings and tights. The Swiftly fabric is a quick-drying breathable mesh made with minimal seams to avoid chafing, and the slim fit cut skims your body without any kind of compression. If this silhouette isn’t working for you, Lulu makes lots of running gear and it’s also available in a shorter length and t-shirt, long sleeve, cropped long sleeve, and high-necked tank options.
This ASICS racing singlet was specifically engineered for hard efforts in hot temps, with body-mapped fabric that provides ventilation where you need it most (see: strategically placed side slits that allow air to flow through). The material is also moisture-repelling on the inside and quick-drying on the outside, which means it draws sweat away from your skin to where it can evaporate quicker. Also available in men's sizing.
Adidas brought back the baby tee with an athletic spin. This airy crop top running t-shirt is nice and roomy with a relaxed fit, and it’s made with the brand’s AEROREADY technology, which allows the fabric to absorb moisture without getting weighed down. Plus, reflective details keep you visible when you’re out before (or after) the sun in order to beat the heat.
Made of a nylon and merino wool blend, this running top gives you the best of both materials: durability, stretch, moisture management, odor control. It's also not just a running shirt; the Rhythm's is a worthy contender for any outdoor activity and you wouldn't be wrong to wear it as a base layer on a backpacking trip through Colorado. The long sleeve version is ideal for cold weather, but Black Diamond makes it as a t-shirt too.
The 6 Best Men's Running Shirts
If you love the idea of running in a worn-in cotton t-shirt, swap yours for Rabbit’s super soft EZ Tee. Made from a polyester and Spandex blend, it’s quick-drying and doesn’t get smelly, no matter how many miles you rack up. And the lightweight fabric feels way more luxurious than a cheap tech shirt. (It’s also available as a long sleeve shirt and quarter zip).
Named for Van Cortlandt Park in New York City's Morningside Heights neighborhood, Tracksmith’s signature singlet is a throwback to racing in the late 1800s (yes, seriously). But this iteration uses wholly modern materials, like a lightweight performance mesh treated with an anti-microbial finish so you’ll feel as fresh as you look. Whether you’re racing or training, that instantly recognizable sash shows you mean business. If you love the look but don't want to be sleeveless, Tracksmith also makes the Van Cortlandt as a short sleeve tee.
The printed "Sub-What-Ever" statement is giving IDGAF vibes, but the high-end construction of this running tank begs to differ. It’s made from a lightweight recycled polyester blend (79 percent recycled, to be exact) that has sweat-wicking and quick-drying properties, and the athletic fit provides a ventilated, next-to-skin feel that won’t flap around you as you pick up the pace.
This is the kind of tee that can transition straight from the run to…whatever else you need to do. Lululemon redesigned this long standing active top with a more relaxed fit so there’s more room in the chest, which prevents sweaty fabric from sticking to you, and added more stretch to help the shirt retain its tailored shape. Plus, the breathable mesh construction is woven with silver threads to cut down on odor-causing bacteria, making it an ideal option for running in hot weather.
Janji’s tank was designed for the sunniest, sweatiest conditions. The fabric has built-in UPF 25 sun protection and is treated with odor control technology so you won’t be leaving a trail of B.O. in your wake. And while it is moisture-wicking and super fast-drying, it’s designed so that it won’t cling to your skin even when it is soaked in sweat. Janji's running apparel often comes in lots of colors and prints, and this tank is no exception.
After convincing road and trail runners alike that they deserve a hat as thoughtfully considered as their running shoes and running shorts, Montreal-based Ciele has been quietly making quality running clothes to match. This running shirt is made of fully recycled COOLmatic micro mesh to keep you going through hot weather along with unique side vents you won't find on any other running top.