Reviews You Can Rely On

Best Running Shirts for Women of 2021

We put women's running shirts from Salomon, Patagonia, Oiselle, and more through a battery of tests to help you find your perfect match
We love tearing up mountainous trails in our favorite running tees.
Photo: Ally Arcuri
Tuesday November 9, 2021
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Over the last 11 years, we've tested almost 40 unique women's running shirts, with the top 13 compiled in this 2021 review. This year we tried out new brands, explored different styles, featured a wider range of price points, and really put these shirts through the wringer. From roads to trails to off-trail adventures, we tested these tees to the max and put them in as many different scenarios as we could manage. When it came time to rate them, we looked at comfort, breathability, drying speed, features, and versatility. Read on as we dive into the specifics and share our recommendations for the best women's running shirt for your needs and budget.

Top 13 Product Ratings

Displaying 1 - 5 of 13
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Awards Editors' Choice Award Best Buy Award Top Pick Award Top Pick Award  
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Overall Score Sort Icon
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86
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83
82
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Pros Super comfortable, breathable, quick drying, versatileUltralight, super breathable, packs small, smooth and stretchy fabricVery breathable, quick-drying, flattering fit, raglan sleevesExceptionally breathable, taped seams, lightweight, packs down super smallComfortable, breathable, well-featured
Cons Heavier than some, only one small reflective decalDelicate fabric, not as versatileHigh cut underarms, fabric can snagExpensive, a more open crew neck that requires a bit more sunscreenSlightly less versatile
Bottom Line An all-around lightweight winner with high performance that can withstand endless milesUnbelievably light and breathable, this is the shirt for hot summer daysThis highly breathable and comfortable tee can handle running in any weatherThe most well-designed running shirt we tested, it excels across the boardIf you are looking for a running shirt that can take you from summer to fall, this is a great bet
Rating Categories Salomon XA Tee - Wo... Patagonia Capilene... Oiselle Flyout Shor... ON Performance-T -... Hoka One One Perfor...
Comfort (30%)
9.0
9.0
9.0
8.0
8.0
Breathability (30%)
8.0
9.0
8.0
9.0
8.0
Drying Speed (20%)
9.0
9.0
9.0
9.0
8.0
Features & Versatility (20%)
9.0
7.0
8.0
7.0
9.0
Specs Salomon XA Tee - Wo... Patagonia Capilene... Oiselle Flyout Shor... ON Performance-T -... Hoka One One Perfor...
Weight 2.86 oz (size S) 1.87 oz (size S) 2.86 oz (size 4) 2.22 oz (size S) 3.75 oz (size S)
Material 89% polyester, 11% elastane Polyester double knit 65% polyester/32% TENCEL/3% spandex 100% polyester Polartec Power Dry 58% recycled polyester
Reflective Areas? Yes No No Yes, logos on front and back hems Chest logo
Seam Type Flatlock Flatlock Flatlock Taped Flatlock
UPF? No No Yes, 15 No Yes, 50+
Odor Control? Polygiene Polygiene No No Yes
Zip Neck Option? No No No No No


Best Overall Running Shirt for Women


Salomon XA Tee - Women's


87
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Comfort 9
  • Breathability 8
  • Drying Speed 9
  • Features & Versatility 9
Material: 89% polyester, 11% elastane | Seam Type: Flatlock
Super comfortable
Breathable
Fast-drying
Versatile
Could have more reflective decals
A little heavier than some

Throughout testing, we found ourselves gravitating towards one shirt over and over again. The Salomon XA Tee is, hands down, our favorite all-around, everyday running tee. With a super comfortable and flattering fit, highly breathable and quick-drying fabric, and durability to make it your staple for years to come, this one is our clear winner. It is comprised mostly of polyester, but the elastane adds a certain type of levity to the fabric. The construction of this shirt includes polygiene odor-control, which is incredibly useful when you're breaking a sweat in it day after day.

While some ultralight running tees have a tendency to snag, this one does not. You can feel confident taking it on tight singletrack or even backpacking, climbing, or biking without a worry. We spent many of our testing miles in the Pacific Northwest where blackberry bushes grow wild and seem to reach out and grab your clothing when you least expect it. These spiky blackberry branches have caused snagged on many of our running tees, though not on this one. Although it's not the absolute lightest, and we wouldn't mind another reflective decal for a bit more visibility, thanks to its all-around performance, the XA is still the one we'll be recommending to all of our friends. If you are looking for a versatile, comfortable, and all-around high-performing running shirt, look no further because we are confident that you'll love this Salmon tee as much as we do.

Read review: Salomon XA Tee

Best Bang for Your Buck


Patagonia Capilene Cool Lightweight Tee - Women's


86
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Comfort 9
  • Breathability 9
  • Drying Speed 9
  • Features & Versatility 7
Material: 100% polyester | Seam Type: Flatlock
Ultralight
Super breathable
Light, stretchy fabric
Delicate
Not as versatile

When the hottest days of summer descend upon us, there's one shirt we want to be running in above all the rest — the Patagonia Capilene Cool. Ultralight, ultra-breathable, and ultra-fast drying, this shirt is built to keep you comfortable in the most extreme temps, all at a very fair price. We love the double-knit polyester that creates impressive stretchiness, and the fit is just right. Aptly named, this shirt definitely prioritizes breathability and keeping you cool above all else. Though many of the shirts we tested boast exceptionally fast drying times, the Capilene Cool was one of the standouts in our drying speed metric.

There are a few drawbacks that come with this fabric, though. The first is that, as with a lot of ultralight gear, it's just not quite as durable. The fabric can snag, and the lighter colors are pretty see-through. Despite its susceptibility to snag, this tee is well-made and will serve you well for years when worn on road and track runs. Although it's comfortable to wear with a running vest, it might not be versatile enough to wear once the weather cools off, and we would be careful wearing it for sports such as rock climbing since the body of the shirt can be so easily snagged. Still, this is an amazing piece for a specific season, and if you run in serious summer heat, you're sure to love this one.

Read review: Patagonia Capilene Cool Lightweight Tee

Best for Race Day


ON Performance-T - Women's


83
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Comfort 8
  • Breathability 9
  • Drying Speed 9
  • Features & Versatility 7
Material: 100% polyester | Seam Type: Taped
Ultralight
Exceptionally breathable
Taped seams
Packs down very small
Very expensive
A lower neck that requires more sunscreen

For the runner without any budget constraints looking for a top-of-the-line product, the ON Performance-T is an absolute standout. Ultralight and ultra-breathable, this tee is a breeze to wear. The fabric has just enough stretch to move with you, and the actual cut of the shirt is nearly perfect. Taped seams and raglan sleeves mean that there's very little chance of chafing, no matter what pack you're wearing or how far you're going.

The Performance-T earns versatility points for its reflective decals and style points for its color-blocked back. More than just an aesthetic choice, the back panel is more of a mesh, providing extra breathability. The rest of the shirt is made of a tear-proof fabric that we didn't manage to snag even on a burly overgrown ridgeline. It's durable enough to withstand your daily workouts, but it really shines as a high-output race day shirt that is minimal enough that you'll forget you have it on. It does not have the most flattering fit, but since it performs so well under pressure, the less-pleasing aesthetic appeal did not bother us too much. If you are looking for a techy tee on a budget and don’t care about a semi-boxy fit, you’ll love everything the Performance-T has to offer.

Read review: ON Performance-T

Most Flattering Fit


Oiselle Flyout Short Sleeve - Women's


85
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Comfort 9
  • Breathability 8
  • Drying Speed 9
  • Features & Versatility 8
Material: 65% polyester, 32% TENCEL, 3% spandex | Seam Type: Flatlock
Very breathable
Quick-drying
Flattering fit
High cut underarms
Fabric can snag

The Oiselle Flyout Short Sleeve pulled ahead from the rest with its universally flattering fit and unique fabric. The cut of the shirt is slightly tailored without being tight or restrictive. It hits at the perfect length, nips in at the right spots, and we feel cute and comfy every time we run in it. The HoverFit fabric has lots of stretch and a honeycomb-like pattern that provides ample breathability no matter the weather.

This is a particularly fast-drying shirt, which we love for staying comfortable throughout both summer and winter. It gains versatility points in our eyes for its year-round wearability and comfort underneath running vests, insulating layers, and shells. It's possible to snag the fabric, and there aren't any reflective decals, but those are minor drawbacks to an otherwise fantastic top. Ready to move with you on both your easy runs and max effort races, this super cute shirt is definitely one to consider.

Read review: Oiselle Flyout Short Sleeve

Best for Variable Weather


Smartwool Merino 150 Short Sleeve - Women's


79
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Comfort 8
  • Breathability 7
  • Drying Speed 8
  • Features & Versatility 9
Material: 87% merino wool, 13% nylon core | Seam Type: Flatlock
Versatile across sports and seasons
Comfortable
Naturally odor-resistant
Expensive
Not the best for heat

If you're looking for a shirt with outstanding versatility, the Smartwool Merino 150 Baselayer is calling your name. Made from a merino and nylon blend, you get the natural odor-control and body temperature regulating effects of wool paired with increased durability and comfort. Thanks to the structure of the merino fibers, you'll stay cool in the heat and warm in the cold, even if you're caught in a rainstorm. It's slim-fitting but not too tight and is comfortable enough that you'll easily find yourself wearing it in your day-to-day life, not just on your daily miles.

While this wouldn't be what we'd wear in super hot weather, it can't be beaten for variable temperatures. It layers well with shells and worked with every vest and pack we tried it with. We also love that it functions well for a lot of different activities, including rock climbing, backpacking, winter sports, and traveling. If we're going to be living out of a backpack for a few weeks, we're without a doubt bringing this shirt along. If you've never experienced the wonders of merino wool, give this one a try.

Read review: Smartwool Merino 150 Baselayer

Trying not to fall on a steep descent in the Wasatch! These shirts...
Trying not to fall on a steep descent in the Wasatch! These shirts were taken all over the local trails.
Photo: Paige Klugherz

Compare Products

select up to 5 products to compare
Score Product Price Our Take
87
$50
Editors' Choice Award
This shirt combines lightweight and high performance with exceptional durability
86
$45
Best Buy Award
This shirt is the hands down winner for your hottest running days
85
$58
Top Pick Award
Breathable, comfortable, and super cute, this is a great addition to your running wardrobe
83
$80
Top Pick Award
This breathable, flowy tee is perfect for your longest running endeavors
82
$58
We loved running in this well-featured and breathable 3/4-sleeved running shirt
82
$42
An ultralight tee for your hottest runs
79
$75
Top Pick Award
With impressive versatility, this shirt performs across the seasons
75
$45
Super comfy and breathable, this tee is easy to throw on for any run
71
$42
We love the durability and breathability of this low-profile running tank
68
$48
Not your traditional tech tee, it works with both running shorts and jeans
65
$34
Although not our pick for the longest or hottest days, this tee is perfect for running a few miles and then running errands after
61
$25
Straightforward and stylish, this tee is an easy pick
56
$25
For the price, you get a comfortable running t-shirt with a forgiving fit

Why You Should Trust Us


Paige Klugherz and Ally Arcuri tackle women's running shirts testing season after season. A recent transplant to Salt Lake City from the Eastern Sierra, Paige has been exploring new-to-her trails in the Wasatch and the deserts of Southern Utah. As a trail runner, fast packer, and climber, she puts her gear through the wringer and needs it to withstand backcountry travel.

Ally is a South Lake Tahoe local who splits her time between the mountains and the beaches of California. She can often be found chasing sunny days and sunsets by which to enjoy long runs and yoga sessions. Because she has been living the mobile life, Ally has been able to test gear in different climates, elevations, and extreme weather patterns. Durability, versatility, and, of course, comfort, are some of Ally and Paige’s favorite attributes to analyze when testing gear. With access to diverse weather and environments thanks to the mountains and the high desert, they have definitely learned what to look for when testing outstanding running apparel.

When deciding which shirts to include in this review, we looked to what was most popular across a number of different sources. We set out to dig deep, test product claims for ourselves, and delve into new clothing lines from pillars in the running world community. Our testing took us around Utah on roads, trails, and even a few ridges. We ran through the dense forests of Washington state, through the fog of San Luis Obispo, and the heat of summer in the Sierra Nevada. Thanks to some impressively diverse summer and fall weather, the shirts in this review got put to the test in the most extreme of ways.

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Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

Analysis and Test Results


For our metrics, we identified what we believe to be the four most important characteristics of a running shirt: comfort, breathability, drying speed, and features/versatility. We took copious amounts of notes while out in the field, and at the end of our testing period, we awarded each shirt a score of 1-10 in each of the four categories. These scores are relative to the other shirts in the review. Since we did our research ahead of time and picked the best and most popular shirts out there, we had to get nitpicky and really break down the differences. Hopefully, the hours we spent wearing these shirts and the conclusions we drew prove useful to you in your decision-making process. We're confident in our recommendations and excited for you to check out this impressive lineup so that you can find the perfect garment for all of your running needs.

A run outside of Bishop that started hot and ended cool - the XA Tee...
A run outside of Bishop that started hot and ended cool - the XA Tee kept us comfortable throughout.
Photo: Paige Klugherz

Below, we describe each testing metric in more detail. We gave weighted percentages to our chosen metrics to help us determine each product's final score. Comfort and breathability were each designated 30% of a shirt's final score while drying speed and features & versatility were each given 20%. If you're in need of a reliable daily running shirt, comfort might be the main metric you want to look at. If you're on the hunt for something a bit more well-rounded or technical, focus on the features & versatility section. If heat is a big issue, pay the closest attention to the breathability ratings as that is going to be a gamechanger for you when your runs heat up. If you're going to be using your shirt in the winter, pay attention to drying speed and weight, as both of those elements are directly tied to winter running comfort.

We made sure to test each and every running shirt in a variety of...
We made sure to test each and every running shirt in a variety of climates to determine where they shine.
Photo: Ally Arcuri

Value


For such a seemingly simple piece of gear, running shirts can get shockingly pricey, so we made sure that the shirts we tested covered a wide range of price points. When it comes to value, we want to make sure that you're getting your money's worth in terms of quality, durability, and performance. Sometimes we discover that the expensive shirts are absolutely worth their cost if their features fit in with your running conditions and goals, and sometimes we find less expensive options that perform far better than expected. In general though, we have found that the less expensive options offer less versatility. It is up to you, with a bit of guidance from us, to determine the variety of environments you'll be running in. This will help you determine how important overall versatility is to you. While the price of a shirt isn't one of our rating metrics, we do assess their value at the end of every review.


Value is impacted by many factors, one being the quality of the fabric and construction. A good way to determine this is to look at seams. Low profile flatlock seams, such as the ones on the Salomon XA Tee, are more expensive to produce but are more durable and more comfortable over long miles than the plain seams on many cheaper options. The taped seams of the ON Performance-T are top of the line for comfort and come with a relatively high price tag. If you're looking for a perfect race day shirt, even a higher price tag could spell a great value for you.

Taped seams and moody skies make for great fall running.
Taped seams and moody skies make for great fall running.
Photo: Ally Arcuri

Better durability means you won't need to replace your shirt as often, increasing the value. We found that both the Rabbit EZ Tee and Outdoor Research Echo provide long-lasting durablility for just a few more bucks. We also love the marriage of durability and comfort on the HOKA Performance 3/4 Sleeve shirt. Additionally, the value of getting better breathability for a tiny jump up in price, as with the Patagonia Capilene Cool, might be worth it to you. We feel the Capilene offers one of the best balances of price and performance, especially if you live in a hot climate.

When it starts to get dark, a little bit of reflectivity can go a...
When it starts to get dark, a little bit of reflectivity can go a long way in terms of safety.
Photo: Ally Arcuri

Finally, if you find yourself running in low-light environments, the value of purchasing a running shirt that has reflectivity might end up keeping you safe. If you run in the early morning or at dusk, we believe it to be very worth shelling out a few more dollars for a shirt with multiple reflective logos or patches.

This feather-light running shirt is flattering, breathable, and our...
This feather-light running shirt is flattering, breathable, and our clear favorite.
Photo: Ally Arcuri

Comfort


Before all else, comfort is the first metric you should look at when buying a running shirt. Running is a sport of repetitive movement, so when you have fabric and seams rubbing over the same spots on your body thousands of times, you want to be sure that they are as minimally irritating as possible. Lucky for you, we are incredible particular about how our running gear touches us. This gives us a keen eye for detail when assessing the comfort of each shirt. While all of these shirts seemed comfortable enough at first, we started to notice features that we really liked and others that we disliked after hours and miles of moving in them. The shirts that score the highest in this category are the ones we practically forgot we had on by the end of our long runs.


One component of comfort is the fabric itself. Some of the shirts in this review are 100% polyester, others are a polyester blend, and one is a merino wool blend. They all have very different feels against the skin, with some feeling more like traditional athletic wear such as the Outdoor Research Echo, and others being so soft they feel like shirts meant for lounging on the couch, such as the Brooks Distance. Additionally, the shirts utilize different weave patterns in order to increase breathability, like the gridded polyester knit of the Patagonia Capilene Cool which has a lot of stretch but ends up being pretty see-through.

The only non-polyester shirt in this season&#039;s review, the Smartwool...
The only non-polyester shirt in this season's review, the Smartwool Merino 150 Baselayer has unique inherent qualities to its fabric, and we'd happily wear it working hard outdoors or recovering on our couch.
Photo: Paige Klugherz

Next, we look at fit and how it relates to our range of motion. While some of this will come down to personal preference and how each shirt fits your specific body, we noted things like stretchiness, gussets around the sleeves, and the length of the sleeves and body. The Under Armour UA Tech V-Neck has the longest overall body with a relaxed fit, whereas the Smartwool Merino 150 is a bit shorter and has a more skin-skimming fit. Our favorite fit is the not too tight, not too loose silhouette of the Salomon XA Tee, with its slight scoop neck and sleeves that hit at just the right length and lay flat against the arm.

Well-designed shirts, such as the Outdoor Research Echo on the...
Well-designed shirts, such as the Outdoor Research Echo on the right, tend to incorporate a gusset underneath the arm for improved fit and movement.
Photo: Paige Klugherz

Not only did we evaluate the seams used, but we also look at how many seams each shirt had and where they were located. Our lineup of shirts features flatlock, overlock, taped, and plain seams, with flatlock and taped being both the most expensive to produce and the most preferable to wear, naturally. Found on numerous shirts, including the Capilene Cool and the Oiselle Flyout, the low profile of flatlock seams is comfortable and the least likely to cause any chafing. We were sure to evaluate this independently, but also beneath lightweight running jackets and hydration vests. The rare shirt utilizes taped seams. In this roundup of running shirts, the only one to do so was the ON Performance-T, and the indistinguishable seams make this the pinnacle of comfort. More points were also awarded to shirts whose seaming avoided the tops of the shoulders since that is a prime location for potential rubbing underneath running vests or packs. Tops that include gussets underneath the arms, such as the Ultimate Direction Ultralight, also gain additional points here for increased range of motion.

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

Style is the last component of this metric. Although it's obviously not as important as how a shirt feels after twenty miles, it's still nice to like how you look when sweaty and breathing hard. The Oiselle Flyout has our favorite, slightly tailored fit. The ON Performance-T is also nicely styled with a breezy back panel in a contrasting color, though the overall frame is a bit boxier. The more slender profile of the Rabbit Bunny Hop Tank was extremely comfortable and well-fitted, though the slimmer shape might not suit all runners' bodies. The Capeliene Cool felt virtually weightless and made us feel like we looked great, and that has to count for something.

The Flyout has our favorite fit, hitting at just the right length...
The Flyout has our favorite fit, hitting at just the right length, tailored without being too tight, and a comfortable neckline that keeps us covered without being too high.
Photo: Paige Klugherz

Breathability


Whether it's hot or cold outside, running is pretty much synonymous with sweating, and how breathable your clothing is will play a huge role in how comfortable you will be throughout your miles. Breathability describes how well a shirt allows air to pass through it, and while we don't have as controlled of a test for breathability as we do for drying speed, we tested this metric by running in as many different weather conditions as we could and taking notes on how we felt each time. If we got through a hot, full-sun run in the desert without wanting to strip down to just a sports bra, that was a win.


One of the first things we did was weigh each shirt. This doesn't perfectly correlate to how breathable a shirt is, but it does give a good starting point. It also gave us a bit of insight as to each shirt's potential drying speed. We also looked at any features incorporated into the fabric, such as the pinprick-sized holes in the XA Tee that let air move through more efficiently. Some shirts rely on an overall looser fit to create breathability, like the ON Performance-T with its flowy back panel.

The black back panel of the Performance-T is even more breathable...
The black back panel of the Performance-T is even more breathable than the rest of the shirt, and the way it's attached at the upper seam with a small gather allows it to catch the wind and circulate more air as you run.
Photo: Paige Klugherz

One of most breathable shirts is the Capilene Cool, which utilizes an all-over gridded pattern in double knit polyester, allowing air to flow through the thinner fabric of the grid lines. The Flyout and Echo also have fabric with minuscule holes that help them to breathe easily and readily. The Rabbit Bunny Hop Tank impressed us by utilizing mesh throughout the entire body. In addition to this being a tank top, the rabbit-shaped mesh spanning this shirt makes it an exceptionally cool choice.

The Outdoor Research Echo has a gridded polyester fabric that...
The Outdoor Research Echo has a gridded polyester fabric that stretches well and has great breathability.
Photo: Paige Klugherz

The Merino 150 Baselayer relies on the nature of the wool fibers themselves to achieve this quality. Even though the shirt is slightly heavier than others, it effectively wicks sweat away from the body and keeps you comfortable in a variety of different temperatures. This is one of our favorites to wear as a base on cooler runs.

Even in the desert heat, sweat was wicked away from our skin and air...
Even in the desert heat, sweat was wicked away from our skin and air flowing through the fabric of the Merino 150 kept us comfortable.
Photo: Paige Klugherz

Drying Speed


Drying speed is another important factor in your overall comfort while running. In hotter weather, quicker drying times mean more efficient and effective evaporative cooling effects, and in cooler weather, a faster drying time can be a safety component, making sure you don't get too chilled. This is another metric where you can look at the weight of the shirt to get a general sense of how fast a shirt will dry, even though it's not an exact parallel.


To test this metric, we soaked each shirt in a bucket of water, wrung it out by hand as much as we could, hung it up to dry, and started the stopwatch. The ultralight Capilene Cool was the fastest in this experiment, but the XA Tee and Performance-T were right on their tail, with the Flyout following close behind.

The thin and breezy material of the Capilene Cool allowed it to dry...
The thin and breezy material of the Capilene Cool allowed it to dry out faster than any other shirt in our lineup.
Photo: Paige Klugherz

The HOKA Performance 3/4 Sleeve was not the fastest drying overall, but it was close. We loved how the denser fibers of this shirt began to show signs of drying right away. In a secondary phase of testing, we laid our shirts outside in the middle of a snowstorm. We let each one accumulate snow for 5 minutes and then brought them inside to time their drying speed. The HOKA 3/4 Sleeve shirt was one of the first to achieve a uniform dampness as opposed to just wet sploches like many of the others. Overall, we were impressed with how close the performance was for a lot of the shirts, and only a couple lagged noticeably behind. As long as a shirt was fairly close in drying time to the rest, we didn't nitpick too much since there are bound to be tiny discrepancies in our testing.

When the weather suddenly turned, we choose to use the snow to our...
When the weather suddenly turned, we choose to use the snow to our advantage to further confirm how quickly these stellar running shirts can dry.
Photo: Ally Arcuri

We also paid attention to drying speed during our real-world testing, especially noting how shirts saturated with sweat felt underneath a running vest, since wet conditions are more likely to cause chafing. We were pleased to see that the results here correlated with our backyard testing, and we assigned ratings accordingly.

All of the shirts hanging up while we keep track of how quickly they...
All of the shirts hanging up while we keep track of how quickly they dry.
Photo: Paige Klugherz

Features & Versatility


Like you, we often use our running shirts for a lot more than just running. We love multi-sport days and changing up our activities according to the seasons, and we often find ourselves traveling while living out of just a backpack. This is where versatility comes into play, and if we found that a shirt was usable all year long for a variety of purposes, it scored higher in this metric.


The Merino 150 does really well in this category because of the natural odor-fighting properties of the fabric and how well it performs across changing temperatures, making it a great travel shirt. The XA Tee is another standout because it works well for so many sports, fights odors, and is more durable than some other lightweight tees. Superb packability, like you get with Performance-T, and durability also factor into how likely we are to stuff a shirt into the crevices of our packs repeatedly. After running so hard over so many miles, often with deoderant for our testing, we would hesitant to buy an running tee that does not have odor-resistant properties in the future. Of course, this addition can cause the price to creep up and that might not work for you. But for us, odor-blocking has started to feel more like a necessity then a fancy add-on.

The Performance-T struck a perfect balance of being loose without...
The Performance-T struck a perfect balance of being loose without being baggy, and we loved how the sleeves fit.
Photo: Paige Klugherz

Running shirts are pretty straightforward, so the features we look for are small but can be very valuable depending on the conditions you run in. These include the level of sun protection, reflective elements, and odor-fighting properties in the fabric. An additional feature that we saw on some of the new shirts this year was an integrated hanging tab, which can be handy in locker rooms and while traveling.

A graphic tag on the back can double as a hanging loop.
A graphic tag on the back can double as a hanging loop.
Photo: Paige Klugherz

If you frequently run at night in an urban environment, you will appreciate the reflective logos found on many of the shirts we tested. If you want more sun protection, look for a higher neckline and sleeves that cover the full upper arm. the HOKA Performance 3/4 Sleeve is a great, full-coverage option that has UPF included.

With a reflective logo on the right sleeve and another long...
With a reflective logo on the right sleeve and another long reflective graphic on the back, you can have confidence that you'll be seen in the Nathan Rise.
Photo: Paige Klugherz

Odor control can be achieved in a few ways, with one being the use of natural fibers like merino wool and another being specific treatments on polyester fabrics such as Polygiene. Both fight the growth of bacteria that cause lasting smells, so if you're going to be in scenarios where opportunities to wash are limited, such as backpacking, this feature will be very appreciated both by you and the people around you!

We think the Salomon XA Tee is versatile enough for every season...
We think the Salomon XA Tee is versatile enough for every season because of it's durability and comfort when worn with packs and jackets.
Photo: Paige Klugherz

Conclusion


Picking out your next running shirt may not be as complicated as finding your next pair of skis, but there is still a surprising amount to consider before investing, especially when you are considering pricier options. The shirts we chose this season were some of the best-reviewed and most popular according to a number of different sources, so each one is already a step above many others, even if it scored lower in our review. We hope our thorough testing and explanations help you narrow down your decision. Remember that the best running shirt for you is the one that fits your specific running needs, be it long miles or short, heat or cold, or something that works for everything. Identify what really matters to you and let our ratings serve as a guide. We'll see you out there — happy trails!

The Rabbit EZ tee can handle just about anything from fast laps at...
The Rabbit EZ tee can handle just about anything from fast laps at the track to long backcountry days.
Photo: David Kamp

Ally Arcuri and Paige Klugherz

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