The summer is my absolute favorite time of the year to run. Getting up a good sweat while having to push through the heat makes things that much tougher and that much better. I always plan out my training to peak around August so I’m ready for some serious road races in the fall.
But summer training can be a real drag if you’re not wearing the right gear. Personally, I sweat a whole lot and I can’t go out for any kind of serious run without my headband, some wrist and ankle bands, and a serious technical shirt.
The greatest running shirts out there today will wick away moisture and help keep you cooler for longer while you’re moving. If you’re in the market for a good shirt, you’ve got a lot of great options from online retailers but also a lot of junk. To avoid those, here are the 11 best running shirts this summer season.
Top Running Shirts
This shirt is absolutely a staple in my wardrobe. It’s made of an excellent light material that stretches with me as I run. It does a serviceable job at keeping me dry, but it’s fit is a bit loose so it’s more for casual workouts than for doing anything serious. This shirt is perfect for daily runs or other exercise. I really like that it’s got reflective tape in the logos on the front and back, so I can feel that much more secure if I’m out in low-visibility settings. All the seams are stitched flat, so I’ve never had a problem with chafing or other issues while wearing this shirt.
Nike makes darn good running gear and this shirt is no exception. It’s really light and very comfortable. It comes in a variety of colors and one thing I like is that it doesn’t fit super tight and look goofy like some other running shirts. I’ve worn this t-shirt out to a bar several times and it fits in just fine. But make no mistake, it also does good work when I’m running. The stitching and material are very strong and I’m confident that this shirt is going to last a long time. This is great for cross training or other workouts where you want to be flexible and cool as you progress.
This shirt is awesome. Made of a polyester material it does a surprisingly great job of keeping sweat off my body as I run. It’s very lightweight and very breathable, so I start out feeling super comfortable in it. As I build up some steam, this thing just wicks my sweat right off and it evaporates quickly. It does a great job of staying comfortable even as I get it wet – I tend to not get that issue with other shirts where it just feels like a wet towel around my neck after a while. With the Neleus I stay comfortable and I’m more ready to power through at the end of my run.
Under Armour is the gold standard when it comes to technical shirts and there’s a good reason for it. They kicked off the revolution in athletic gear years ago and they’re still on top of the field. The items I have from them are all made of great material and continue to work well for years and years. I like a lot of their tighter gear for racing but this is more of an everyday workout shirt with a standard t-shirt fit. This shirt does a great job of elevating my running by keeping sweat off my body even as I get into very serious workouts. I’m a big fan of this shirt.
This is the first tank top we’ve looked at on this list so far. Personally I usually don’t go for the sleeveless look when I’m doing training runs, but on certain summer days it’s just the best way to go. If you’re in that kind of a situation, the ASICS singlet is perfect for you. It’s cut in the perfect way to make running comfortable. I never find myself chafing under the arms with this shirt. Instead I just have hours of comfortable running with this excellent shirt on. Take a look at this one if you find that even the best technical shirts still cause you to overheat.
This singlet is in my race day kit for most of my road races. It’s exactly what I want for anything longer than 10 K. It’s a very light blend of polyester and elastane that doesn’t chafe or bunch up even after hours of running. I feel like this shirt is barely there when I first put it on, and over the course of my run it holds up great even as it gets wet. The stitching is all flat and I haven’t had any issues with threads coming loose on me. I plan to keep this top in my rotation for a long time.
This is the only shirt my wife will let me wear if I’m going out in low light. I used to have a bright yellow top, but that always felt insane as I wore it around town. This shirt from ASICS does a great job of looking fairly normal, but packing some serious reflective power in it’s branding and a strip of material running around the top of the shirt. I always wear this in tandem with my other reflective gear – a belt, wristbands, and a hat, but this little bit of added help makes me feel that much more secure. You get all that, and a serious ASICS shirt to boot.
Lavento produces some awesome compression shirts that hold up well even after months of use. I like these shirts – they’re a blend of polyester and spandex that’s lighter than other compression shirts I’ve worn. The worry when looking at a compression shirt like this is that it’ll become really uncomfortable once you’ve got a good layer of sweat going, but I’m happy to say that does not happen here. Their stitching pattern does a good job of absorbing the water and quickly evaporating everything, making me feel quite comfortable as I run. These come in a variety of fun colors and I like to keep one in my car at all times just in case I decide to go for a run on short notice.
I have not had much experience with this compression shirt but it’s quickly becoming one of my favorites for serious training. It has a unique design with several different panels at different points on the shirt. Some of it is the standard polyester-spandex blend, but other areas are much lighter lycra and on the sides it has some fine mesh. It’s definitely not the standard compression shirt experience. The mesh areas do a great job of letting in air and that makes me feel extremely comfortable. I can tell you that this mix of materials and styles doesn’t do the best job of keeping things dry, but I do think it’s worth it considering the tradeoff in comfort that I get. I’m going to keep experimenting with this shirt on warmer days and you should give it a shot as well.
As I mentioned, I’m personally not a huge fan of the all-neon look, but in situations where I need it this is the shirt I reach for. This shirt is very bright and will do a great job of helping motorists see you while you’re out for a run. At the same time, it’s extremely light, coming in at just under four ounces when dry. It’s got a special polyester composition that controls sweat well while remaining comfortable. The fit is pretty loose, which makes this a good choice if you’ve got a variety of exercises on your schedule. I can’t say I’d wear this around if I wasn’t using it for exercise, but it does what it does very well.
Obviously I’ve been focusing on short sleeve shirts and tank tops in this list, but depending on the conditions where you run, you might find yourself wanting long sleeves at some point this season. If you do, I’d recommend this excellent compression top from TSLA. For cooler conditions, it’s critical that you find a top that will keep the sweat off your body as you run, and this this performs great in that department. It’s got excellent compression and is a great addition to your gear collection.
I’m going to look at several different brands which I’ve had the chance to try in the past. When I’m deciding whether or not to add a shirt to my collection, I always look at it’s dry weight, the material it’s made of, it’s fit, and how well it performs once I start running.
I’m also well aware that lots of runners out there need to be conscious of their budget. Some of my favorite shirts can put a deal dent in my wallet, so I try to just keep a few of those around for serious races. My everyday shirts are a lot less expensive, but still get the job done.
Take a look at this list and I’m sure you’ll be able to find an option that’ll fit both your budget and your needs out on the road, treadmill, or track.
Bringing it all together
You have tons of options when it comes to what running shirt you use. I think any one of these would be great options, but the truth is that you’ll want to have several in your closet to take on the conditions you’ll face this summer. Give these a shot and you’ll be able to run fast while keeping yourself nice and comfortable all season long.