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The Best Running Shirts and Tanks for Women in 2022

 

Wearing the best running shirts and tanks for women means you’ll always be comfortable during your runs. The best tops combine features that keep you warm or cool (depending on the weather) with slick colors and designs for style.

Most women’s running tops do an excellent job of maintaining the balance between performance and design. You’ll see it clearly in our round-up of the best clothing for running. Combine these tops with a good pair of shorts or tights, and you are all set for a great run!

We considered a wide range of shirts and tanks for warm to cold weather. Many are versatile, so you can use them year-round.

Let’s go over your running shirt options for a variety of temperatures and weather conditions.

Top 3 Best and Favorites

 

Brooks Distance Short Sleeve Running Shirt

 

  • Relaxed fit
  • Lightweight, soft, and quick-drying material
  • Machine washable
Check Price

 

Nike Dri-FIT One Elastika

 

  • Open-backed design
  • Adjustable strap at the back
  • Nike Dri-FIT technology
Check Price

 

Salomon Agile Long Sleeve Tee

 

  • Lightweight and highly breathable
  • AdvancedSkin ActiveDry technology
  • Stretchy material
Check Price

Short Sleeves

This is the most common running shirt style—the classic sleeved t-shirt. We’ve chosen shirts that offer moisture-wicking and quick-drying properties and can be worn in warm weather or as an extra layer in winter.

Best Overall Short Sleeve

1. Brooks Distance Short Sleeve Running Shirt

Brooks makes high-quality running apparel, and this shirt is no different. With a relaxed fit and recycled material, it’s a great choice for ladies to run in.

What We Like

The Brooks Distance running shirt is made of lightweight, soft recycled material that’s the equivalent of eight plastic water bottles!

When you wear this shirt, you’re not only comfortable, but you’re also doing your part to help save the planet.

With a relaxed fit and a rounded neckline, you’ll be able to get your full range of motion. Whether you’re doing a recovery run or sprints, you can move comfortably and freely.

The DriLayer fabric wicks away moisture and dries quickly, keeping you dry and cool for as long as you’re exercising.

This shirt is machine washable and can also be tumble dried without losing its shape or getting damaged.

Why We Like It

This shirt is soft and comfortable, has a cut that allows for a full range of motion, and is made of recycled material.

What to Consider

This shirt has a shorter length than usual, designed to free up your range of motion. However, it may cause the shirt to ride up as you’re running, causing discomfort.

PROS:

  • A relaxed fit and rounded neckline allow you to retain your full range of motion
  • Lightweight, soft, and quick-drying material made mostly of recycled fabric
  • DriLayer fabric wicks away sweat as you exercise intensely
  • Machine washable and able to be tumble-dried to keep the shirt clean and fresh

CONS:

  • The shorter fit may ride up while running
 

Top Value Short Sleeve

2. Baleaf Athletic Short-Sleeved Running Shirt

This shirt has an affordable price tag and enough features to be a great choice for those who are on a budget.

What We Like

If you’d prefer to save your pennies for other apparel, like running shoes or GPS watches, you can get a high-quality, comfortable shirt at a low price here.

The Baleaf Athletic short-Sleeved Running Shirt is made of soft 4-way stretch material. You can get a great range of motion, making for easy running no matter how intensely you’re working out.

The manufacturers go out of their way to make sure there’ll be no chafing when you’re wearing this shirt. A tagless collar is highly appreciated, and flat seams significantly reduce the chance of rubbing.

The cut is flattering and features an extended back hem. You can choose from five different sizes—small, medium, large, extra large, XX-large—to get the right fit for you.

Why We Like It

This shirt is of high quality for its price. Runners who are looking for a budget shirt that still delivers will love it.

What to Consider

Ladies with a large bust may find that the shirt pulls uncomfortably. You should order a size up from your usual in order to get a comfortable fit.

PROS:

  • 4-way stretch fabric allows you to move with ease and is highly breathable
  • Tagless, round collar and flat seams for a high level of chafe-free comfort
  • A longer back hem allows for better coverage and a more flattering fit
  • Available in five sizes to suit all women

CONS:

  • Large-chested ladies may need to order a size up
 

Most Breathable Shirt

3. New Balance Q Speed Fuel Jacquard SS

If ventilation is important to you, we recommend this shirt! Its unique design makes it exceptionally breathable, and it looks stylish as well.

What We Like

This shirt incorporates unique design elements to offer the best of both style and breathability.

A unique jacquard mesh design with multiple contemporary-styled mesh patches on it catches the eye and lets air flow easily through the shirt.

There’s also a cutout on the upper back, which means air can circulate easily through the shirt, cooling you down.

NB ICEx technology also helps the shirt to dry quickly if it does get damp. This wicks moisture and helps it to evaporate rapidly, cooling you effectively.

Its features work well together to help you stay cool, dry, and comfortable while wearing a sporty shirt that looks interesting!

Why We Like It

This shirt is the perfect mix of breathable, comfortable, and good-looking. It’s a must-have for ladies who run in hot summer weather!

What to Consider

This shirt is quite tailored and also a little short. Some people may find this to be a little uncomfortable. You may not like this one if you prefer a looser shirt or more coverage.

PROS:

  • NB ICEx fast-drying technology helps to maintain your body temperature
  • A unique mesh design with a back cutout increases airflow throughout the shirt
  • An athletic cut allows you to move easily and gets more air into the skin
  • Comes in six sizes and multiple colors to suit every woman’s taste

CONS:

  • The tailored cut may be uncomfortable for some
 

Tank Tops

Tank tops are sleeveless and offer the best breathability out of all shirt types. They’re sporty in style and allow a great range of motion, and they’re versatile enough to wear to the gym or on a run.

Best Overall Tank Top

4. Nike Dri-FIT One Elastika

If you thought tank tops couldn’t get more breathable, think again. This sleek and minimalist running shirt created by Nike is our pick as the best tank top you can find.

What We Like

If you’re looking for a tank top to stay cool, this is an excellent choice. It has a unique open design that shows off most of your shoulders, allowing the air to flow directly against your skin and keep you cool.

Nike Dri-FIT technology is also built into the recycled fabric, which wicks moisture away from your skin and keeps you dry further down as well.

A thin, adjustable strap running down the upper back allows you to loosen or tighten the fit based on your comfort levels.

It’s not skin-tight, which allows air to circulate freely and improves the shirt’s comfort. The back hem is slightly lowered to offer more coverage.

Why We Like It

This tank top is minimalist, but it allows for superb airflow. If you want to stay cool but covered, this is definitely a shirt to consider.

What to Consider

Some buyers have reported that the shirt fits too loosely around their chest, while others have said that the fit is too tight around the bust. Although the back strap is adjustable, it seems that some people find it uncomfortable.

PROS:

  • Open-backed design and Nike Dri-FIT technology keep you cool and dry throughout your run
  • An adjustable strap at the back allows you to get a comfortable fit that suits you
  • A looser fit around the midsection gets air flowing and isn’t restrictive
  • 100% recycled polyester fibers are soft and don’t chafe as you move

CONS:

  • The fit isn’t consistent and may be uncomfortable depending on your preference
 

Top Value Tank Top

5. ASICS Race Tank

Sleek and light, this tank top is perfect for those looking for an affordable shirt to help them run comfortably.

What We Like

There’s nothing fancy about the way this tank top looks. It’s a classic, featuring a feminine cut without being too fitted.

It does have ASICS’ ACTIBREEZE technology built into it, which helps to wick moisture away from the skin so you can stay cool.

The arm holes are spacious, and so is the collar. This allows you to move comfortably and freely and also lets some air circulate through the shirt more easily. Flat seams also do a good job of keeping chafing to a minimum.

You can find this tank in multiple colors, and it’s versatile enough to use for running, cross-training, and even just as a summer top.

Why We Like It

This shirt is lightweight and simple, but it does the job perfectly. Runners looking for an affordable option should definitely consider this one.

What to Consider

The lighter-colored shirts may show sweat stains as you’re exercising. Although the shirt’s cooling technology and natural breathability will help sweat evaporate, it may leave marks before it does.

PROS:

  • ACTIBREEZE Cooling Technology and strategically-placed mesh panels keep you cool no matter the intensity of your workout
  • Flat seams keep you safe from chafing and discomfort
  • Wide armholes and rounded neck provide more than enough space for you to move freely without rubbing
  • Comes in a range of colors so you can wear the same comfortable shirt every day of the week

CONS:

  • The shirt may show sweat stains
 

Best Simple Tank Top

6. Brooks Distance Tank

This is the tank top version of our best overall sleeved shirt. It’s simple, easy to wear, and looks good at the same time.

What We Like

Available in a number of different colors, the Brooks Distance tank is a simple, traditional tank top design.

The soft, blended fabric wicks away sweat and dries before you start to feel uncomfortable or chafe.

It’s semi-fitted with a higher-than-usual neck but still has more than enough space in the arms to move comfortably.

The shirt has been designed with a slightly shorter length than average. This allows you to lift your legs higher during running drills without your shirt getting in the way.

You can choose from a variety of interesting colors. After your run, throw it in the washing machine, and if you need to dry and wear it quickly, it’s also suitable for the tumble drier.

Why We Like It

The Brooks Distance Tank is a simple but effective running shirt that does the job it’s meant to and looks good at the same time.

What to Consider

The high neck may feel annoying to some ladies. It can be a chafing hazard if you aren’t used to where the collar falls on your chest.

PROS:

  • Soft, blended fabric is sweat-wicking and quick-drying for optimal performance in hot weather
  • Semi-fitted cut is casual and versatile enough for use in multiple sports
  • The shorter length allows you to lift your legs easily, and roomy armholes allow the same freedom to move your arms
  • Recycled material is able to be machine-washed and tumble-dried

CONS:

  • The high neck may chafe
 

Long Sleeve

Long-sleeved shirts are excellent on their own in slightly chilly weather to protect you against the wind, cold air, and light rain. You can also use them to layer underneath shirts in weather that’s really cold.

Best Overall Long Sleeve

7. Salomon Agile Long Sleeve Tee

Perfect for use year-round, the Salomon Agile Long Sleeve Tee makes a great base layer or the ideal standalone shirt.

What We Like

Lightweight and highly breathable, this shirt won’t hold you back. Long sleeve shirts can sometimes be thick and heavy, but not this one.

Its breathability is impressive, so you can even wear this shirt on hot days to protect you from the sun while staying cool and dry. It also features AdvancedSkin ActiveDry technology to keep you dry.

An Active fit design and stretchy, comfortable material make this shirt a breeze to wear almost anywhere, whether in a sporting context or a casual one!

There’s also a small reflective logo on the chest, giving you a little more peace of mind as you run in low light.

Why We Like It

This shirt may be long-sleeved, but it’s suitable for wearing year-round. Whether you’re looking for a layer to protect you from the elements or use it as a base, this shirt is perfect.

What to Consider

This shirt seems to only come in charcoal gray, off-white, and peachy pink. It would be nice to see some brighter colors in the range.

PROS:

  • Lightweight and highly breathable to keep you running faster and staying cooler
  • AdvancedSkin ActiveDry technology removes moisture from the skin and helps it to evaporate quickly
  • Stretchy material in Active fit design keeps you agile and flexible
  • Reflective details help others to see you and adjust before you get to them

CONS:

  • Not much color variation
 

Top Moisture-Wicking Long Sleeve

8. Brooks Distance Long Sleeve

Like the short-sleeved shirt and tank top, Brooks’ Distance Long sleeve is high-quality and a great choice as a base layer.

What We Like

Like its other style, there’s nothing fancy about this long sleeve shirt. It’s made of recycled blended fabric that’s soft to the touch and uses soft seams to ensure that there’s no chance of chafing.

It does do a great job of wicking away moisture, though. The fabric brings the sweat to the surface of the shirt, where it can evaporate, and quickly dry.

The fit is close to the body but not overly fitted, so there’s some space between the fabric and your body that allows for good airflow.

We like the thumb holes that not only stop the sleeves from riding up but also help provide better coverage for your hands in cold weather.

When you wear this shirt, you’ll also be helping to save the ocean. It’s made of recycled material that takes up to 8 plastic bottles out of the sea.

Why We Like It

This is the long-sleeved version of the classic Brooks short-sleeve and tank we’ve already mentioned above. It’s basic but exactly what you need to run in.

What to Consider

The cut is quite short, so if you’re using this as a base layer or in the cold, it may ride up a little too much and either let the cold in or be uncomfortable underneath longer items.

PROS:

  • Stylish and versatile enough for wearing out, on the road, or around the house
  • Thumb holes in the sleeves allow you to keep your hands covered in the cold
  • Classic fit is close to the body without being clingy, and soft seams reduce chafing
  • The recycled fabric helps keep the oceans cleaner

CONS:

  • A short cut may not be comfortable for some
 

Best Nike Long Sleeve

9. Nike Sportswear Long-Sleeve T-Shirt

If Nike is your brand, then we recommend choosing this long-sleeved shirt. It’s best for cold weather, though—don’t try taking this out in the heat!

What We Like

This shirt is more like a light jersey, made of soft cotton and just thick enough to provide a warm layer in cool weather.

It has a fitted design that sits close to the skin, holding heat in and stopping the cold from penetrating.

It’s stylish and practical, suitable for both running and for casual wear. The large Nike logo on the chest lets you show your love for the brand to the world!

We like that this shirt comes in regular sizes and sizes suitable for larger women.

Why We Like It

This soft, comfortable Nike shirt is perfect as a top layer in cold weather. It’s best for shorter, less intense runs in winter.

What to Consider

This shirt is made of cotton, which doesn’t wick moisture very well. It would be best for shorter runs and as a top layer rather than a base layer.

PROS:

  • Cotton construction is warm and comfortable against the skin in cold weather
  • The fitted design holds heat inside the shirt, making it ideal as a top layer
  • The large Nike logo on the chest allows you to show your appreciation for the brand
  • Available in sizes for small and large women

CONS:

  • The cotton material doesn’t wick moisture very much
 

Best Overall Half-Zip

10. Nike Element Women’s 1/2-Zip Running Top

A zippered design allows you to regulate your body temperature by controlling the air flowing in and out of the shirt.

What We Like

This shirt is made of recycled materials and has an eye-catching patterned design on it. Available in more than 10 colors, there’s something for everyone here.

The ½-zippered design not only adds a design flair to the shirt but also allows you to unzip it when you get warm to let air flow in or zip it up when you need to stay warm. The high collar keeps your neck warm and safe from the wind.

There’s also a small stash pocket on the left-hand side that can hold a card, key or even some race nutrition.

360-degree reflective elements—one on the back, one on the front, and one on the side—keep you visible from all angles in low light situations.

Why We Like It

This shirt is good-looking enough to wear out casually and light and comfortable enough to wear while running or doing other sports.

What to Consider

Although the collar is unique and stylish, the higher-than-usual design may be intrusive and annoying for some. You can zip it down, but it defeats the point if you’re trying to stay warm!

PROS:

  • Sleeves have thumb holes and a watch window for convenience
  • ½-zippered design allows you to regulate the airflow depending on the weather
  • A small stash pocket allows you to carry valuables with you while you run
  • 360-degree reflectivity for the best safety while on the road

CONS:

  • The high collar may be uncomfortable for some
 

Top Value Half-Zip

11. New Balance Accelerate Half Zip Pullover

This ½-zippered shirt is more affordable than you may think for such a high-quality piece of apparel.

What We Like

This pullover-style shirt has a sporty design with a high collar to keep out wind and cold. The poly knit fabric is lightweight and comfortable to wear without compromising on speed when you’re running.

It’s lightweight enough to wear as a top layer or a base layer, although you won’t be able to unzip it if it’s your base layer.

The zipper is high quality and comes down to mid-chest to allow for a large gap that can increase the breathability of the shirt quite a lot.

It has a sporty design that can be worn on many occasions, not just when running! If you decide to take it out in the early morning or evenings, there are also reflective details to help others see you more easily.

Why We Like It

This shirt is affordable and does everything you need in a running shirt. The zipper works with NB Dry technology to keep you cool and dry whenever and wherever you are.

What to Consider

This shirt runs large. If you want to use it as a top layer, you can order your usual size, but if you want it as a base layer, then you may want to size down.

PROS:

  • Poly knit material with NB Dry technology to keep you comfortable
  • A high collar keeps the wind and cold out, and the zipper helps you to control the amount of air flowing in and out
  • Reflective details keep you safe no matter where you run
  • The sporty design is versatile enough for many uses

CONS:

  • This shirt runs large
 

Best Merino Wool 1/4 Zip

12. Smartwool Classic Thermal Merino Base Layer 1/4 Zip

Merino wool is an excellent material for many reasons. It’s more pricey than most other shirts, but if you aren’t on a budget, this is a great shirt to buy.

What We Like

If you’re looking for a shirt you can wear year-round, this one comes highly recommended. Merino wool is a miracle fabric that regulates your temperature, keeping you warm in winter weather and cool in the heat.

It’s extremely breathable, resistant to odors, and naturally antimicrobial. It’s also soft to the touch, providing a high level of comfort.

This particular shirt features a front zipper that’s semi-locking and flat seams to ensure that there’s no chafing despite the tighter-than-average fit.

It comes in 5 sizes and a number of soft, pretty nature-based colors.

Why We Like It

We can’t say enough about the wonderful properties of Merino wool. You’ll be protected from odor and temperature regulated in any weather.

What to Consider

The fitted design may not be comfortable for everyone. If you prefer a looser fit, you may have to order a size larger.

PROS:

  • Merino wool is ideal for regulating temperature in both warm and cold weather
  • The center front zipper features a semi-locking slider so nothing can get caught in it
  • Comes in several muted colors that are attractive and stylish
  • Flat seams make sure there’s no rubbing despite the tight fit

CONS:

  • The fitted design is tight and may be uncomfortable
 

Buyer’s Guide – Women’s Running Shirts

Style

Tanks

Tank tops are popular as they offer the best range of movement. There are no sleeves to restrict your arm movement, and there’s also excellent airflow to the underarms, which helps to keep you cool as you run.

Short Sleeve

Short-sleeve shirts are the classic running shirt style. This style is for you if you prefer not to show much of your arms and shoulders. It’s a little less breathable than a tank top, but make sure it has mesh panels for ventilation, and you’ll be good to go.

Long Sleeve

Long-sleeved shirts make a great base layer in cold weather. You can easily remove your layers as you warm up and stay protected from the cold by wearing just a long-sleeve shirt when you’re warm.

¼ and ½ Zips

These shirts have a ½-length or ¼-length zipper on the front of the shirt. If you like to be able to control your ventilation, this is a great option.

If you open the zipper wider, more air flows into the shirt. If you’re feeling a little cool, you can zip it up tighter to prevent body heat from escaping.

Fit

The shirt you choose should be a comfortable fit for you. Some runners prefer a skin-tight shirt as it allows for a great range of motion and prevents chafing. Others prefer a looser fit that allows air in between the shirt and the skin.

Fabric

The best running shirts use soft, comfortable fabric that wicks away moisture and dries quickly. Polyester is excellent for moisture control, and Merino wool is great for temperature regulation.

You should avoid cotton shirts, as they hold onto water and don’t dry quickly.

Temperature

Long-sleeved shirts help you to stay warm in cooler weather. They make excellent base layers as you can easily layer shirts on top of them and strip down to your long-sleeved shirt when you warm up.

Short-sleeved shirts help you to stay cool and comfortable in hot weather. You can add a long-sleeved shirt on top to keep you warm until your muscles are warmed up enough.

UV Protection

Some shirts come with UV protection in their fabric. This can be handy for runners who live in sunny and hot places and want extra protection against the rays.

Reflectivity

If you plan to run in low light conditions—early morning or in the evening—some shirts come with reflective detailing to make you more visible to motorists and other runners.

FAQs

What Shirts Are Good for Running?

The best running shirts have moisture-wicking properties, dry quickly when they do get damp, are soft against the skin, and offer plenty of ventilation.

Polyester, nylon, and Merino wool are excellent materials for running shirts as they typically offer all of these features.

Should Running Shirts Be Tight or Loose?

Your running shirt should be comfortable for you. If you prefer a tight shirt, it fits against the skin and allows for a good range of motion without getting in the way.

If you prefer a loose shirt, it allows for better ventilation as there’s more space for air against the skin. However, it may get in the way if it’s too loose.

Why Do Runners Wear Tank Tops?

Tank tops offer freedom of movement, thanks to their lack of sleeves that could restrict your arm motion. They also allow for better airflow in comparison to regular-sleeved shirts.

Ben Drew

Ben Drew

Ben is an avid road and trail runner, and has completed multiple marathons and ultras. A former running store owner, he now shares his knowledge and experience writing these articles.

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