Performance. That’s the first thing you need when it comes to the best workout shirts. Just 10 minutes on a treadmill at an incline will show you the difference between a regular ol ‘top and an option expressly built for intense activity. One will leave you drenched and incredibly exhausted, while the other will improve blood circulation and cool your body. This is because the latter is made of advanced tech fibers — blends of polyester, nylon, and cotton, among other things — that are engineered to be moisture-wicking, quick-drying, stretchy, and odor-resistant. Many brands even have their own proprietary fibers that then become the foundation of entire collections.
Critical as all these traits are (and they really are critical), you should never forget about style. It is an essential piece of the formula for the best workout shirts. From tanks with mesh racer-backs and near-seamless long sleeve tees to T-shirts with reflective surfaces, you’ve got options. And while these features, sure, are intended to enhance performance capabilities, they’ll also add a subtle flourish to your workout fit. Also, the silhouettes are usually fitted at the chest and shoulders, while the torso and armholes and roomier. Always choose cuts that fit your body best, but this is the standard that’ll work for most.
Basically, if you see sleek, streamlined, or other terms that communicate the same idea, you’re on the right path to looking great at the gym, track, park, garage, or anywhere you’d go to break sweat. Better yet, just take a look at the list below and choose one or more options, all of which will help you workout for hours without letting others know that you actually have.
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Best Affordable Workout Shirt
Performance Cotton Tank Shirt
Amazon Essentials’s collection of basics is ever evolving. The in-house brand for the behemoth retailer is always accruing data and customer feedback, fine-tuning its products, like this tank shirt made of jersey slub cotton. Not only is the material soft and lightweight, but the design, which features a mesh racerback, is incredibly sleek. What’s more, the label’s prices are hard to beat.
Best Environmentally Friendly Workout Shirt
Aeroready Designed 2 Move Feelready Sport Shirt
Adidas is taking great strides in becoming a sustainable company, producing new and classic styles that use materials that mitigate fashion’s harmful effects on the environment. The Aeroready, for example, is made of Primegreen — a high-performance, sweat-wicking fiber — that’s made entirely of recycled materials. It’s a design that’s environmentally friendly as well as your body.
Best Compression Workout Shirt
HeatGear Compression Long-Sleeve Shirt
Though tight and incredibly revealing, compression shirts are said to improve oxygen and blood circulation, and lessen the body’s recovery time after intense training. And the name to know when it comes to style is Under Armor. The brand’s HeatGear line is especially great, consisting of pieces that are meant to feel like a second skin: they’re incredibly lightweight, stretchy, and feature an ergonomic design that reduces friction on the seams.
Best OG Workout Shirt
Pro Dri-FIT Shirt
Dri-FIT is one of Nike’s most celebrated and long-lasting lines — and that’s saying something from a brand that has an arsenal of icons. For decades, the pieces produced under this banner, from tees and shorts to outerwear and socks, have been lauded by pro athletes and hobbyists alike. The silhouettes fit the body but allow for maximum movement; on shirts, the armholes are usually high and the chest slim. And the fabric is incredibly cooling, quick-drying, and durable — all the qualities needed for intense activity.
Best Yoga Shirt
Strato Tech Shirt
Vuori creates some incredibly comfortable shirts, the kinds of moisture-wicking, anti-odor, and UPF-infused tops that you’d want to wear every damn day, in and out of the gym. But the one that hits our list is the Strato, a style with four-way stretch that, as its name suggests, lets you reach out and extend your body. It’s no wonder why it’s preferred by yogis.
Most Durable Workout Shirt
Most of the best workout shirts are built to be heavy-duty, but Ten Thousand’s Durable is truly a cut above the rest. Made of a refined blend of cotton and polyester, the style features an anti-odor treatment and anti-chafe flatlock seams. It’s good to look at, sure, but what is really noteworthy is the fact that the fabric passed testing for over 20,000 anti-abrasion rubs, and can withstand pressure of over 100 pounds per square inch.
Best Everyday Workout Shirt
All Day Shortsleeve
Outdoor Voices’s All Day workout shirt is almost too soft to believe; it’s so light and breezy that the CloudKnit material, the brand’s polyester and nylon proprietary blend, almost feels like bamboo. Just one is durable enough to get you through intense workouts and less-intense hangouts alike, but it’s just so good and comes in so many great colors that you’ll want more to wear, well, all day, every day.
Best Workout Tank Top
Series Center Court Tank Shirt
Wilson’s sport gear and equipment, particularly its balls, are made of the best of the best, and manufactured in a way that’ll take a beating and still look good. The same could be said of its apparel collection, including the Series Center Court tank. The style is made of pure nylon that’s quick-drying, odor-resistant, and incredibly stretchy. If you have the guns to show, this is the tank to do it in.
Best Fitting Workout Shirt
Stealth Long Sleeve T-Shirt
Mack Weldon makes some great sweats, the ones that’ll take you from the couch to the bar counter. The brand definitely knows how to make pieces that fit the nines, but it takes this sentiment even more seriously with performance tees: body-mapping technology is used to create silhouettes that are seamless — almost literally. All proportions, from the length in the arms to the size of the crewneck, are not taken for granted, resulting in a style that feels like a second skin, but doesn’t fit that way on the body.
Lightest Workout Shirt
If decency asks you to put on a shirt, but you still want the sensation of not wearing one, look no further than tees from Reigning Champ. The brand has a style that’ll fit your arms, chest, and shoulders perfectly, and is as light as a tee is going to get. And if that doesn’t get you, the underarm gussets and anti-odor treatment should.
Most Stylish Workout Shirt
Drysense Training Short Sleeve Shirt
Lululemon started out the gate with supplying elegant stuff for yoga centers, steadily creating pieces that are so spiffy that they’d work at seated dinners. It is the brand that elevated styles worn at gyms and studios, designing silhouettes that warrant showing off. It is the brand that made athleisure cool and covetable. Indeed, its collections are largely designed for intense activity — and has all those breathable, sweat-minimizing characteristics that are requisite — but when it comes to sleek silhouette and subtle details, Lululemon is a class apart.
Best Long-Sleeve Workout Shirt
Reign Long Sleeve
When Rhone designed the Reign, it didn’t set out to offer a great shirt, but the perfect one. And the brand achieved this by making an incredibly streamlined style that allows for maximum movement with raglan sleeves and straddle stitching on the seams that reduces chafing. That, and it’s infused with UPF50 + protection, so you can wear it inside and out. Trust us: You’ll want to.
Best Running Shirt
Performance-T Running T-Shirt
On definitely knows a thing or two about running, offering shoes that can withstand being smacked against asphalt in intense summer sun. The Swiss label’s apparel, of course, is just as durable and just as comfortable. This shirt, for instance, is breathable, lightweight, and features reflective fabric, which will come in handy while chasing that PR on a still-balmy summer night.
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