There’s something to be said about investing in quality fitness apparel. Sure, that t-shirt in your closet can suffice when in-between laundry cycles, but to truly give your training a boost, there’s nothing better than throwing on a top that’s built for the gym, road, trail or studio.
A quality workout shirt can be that spark and then some. With sweat-wicking properties, comfortable stretch and more workout-ready features, these training essentials can be the perfect match for those RPE 10 sets and sessions.
BEST OVERALL WORKOUT SHIRTTen Thousand Versatile Shirt Read More
BEST UPGRADE WORKOUT SHIRTRhone Reign Short Sleeve Read More
BEST BUDGET WORKOUT SHIRTReebok Training Tech T-Shirt Read More
BEST WORKOUT SHIRT FOR STRENGTH TRAININGUnder Armour Project Rock Brahma Bull Short Sleeve Read More
BEST WORKOUT SHIRT FOR RUNNINGBlack Diamond Rhythm Tee Read More
How We Tested
We’re constantly in training mode across a bevy of disciplines and intensities, so when it comes to our apparel, we not only need gear that performs well within the confines of a workout, but gear that’s able to take a punch or two and come back for more. Across our tests and training routines, we looked at a number of the below silhouettes, noting how each top fit in the arms and across the chest, as well as how efficient each was when it came to wicking moisture, managing mobility, defending against odor and more. Additionally, if you look good, you train good, so style and aesthetics were also taken into consideration. Lastly, we’ve been hitting the weights and roadways aplenty while donning these garments, so a few laundry days were in order throughout our trials. This gave us a good chance to investigate each garb’s durability, and whether that first wash will leave your once trusty top a pilled mess of ill-fitting fabric.
Now, let’s get dressed for training success with the best workout shirts on the market today.
Our Top Picks
Ten Thousand Versatile Shirt
- Materials: 84% Polyester, 16% Spandex
Need a top that can literally tackle any training endeavor? Stock up on this impressive silhouette from Ten Thousand. In testing, we thoroughly admired the sweat-wicking, quick-drying nature of the Versatile Shirt, keeping conditions aesthetically pleasing and productively cool no matter the intensity. Plus, the anti-chafe flatlock seams sat comfortably across the skin, eliminating the chances of chafing when sessions ran longer.
We did notice, though, that the Versatile Shirt features a more tailored fit than other gym shirts we donned across our trials. While this didn’t hinder performance, we understand that this closer-to-skin feel may not be ideal for some tastes. If you want a boxier fit, consider sizing up in this absolute workhorse of a t-shirt.
Rhone Reign Short Sleeve
- Materials: Nylon, Polyester, Elastane
Every now and again, it can be enticing to take your training sessions outdoors. Well, the Reign Short Sleeve can be the perfect shirt for these scenarios thanks to its UPF50+ sun protection. Regardless of where they got their reps in, our tester also commended the comfort felt across this profile, which they attributed to the Nylon and Polyester jersey blend as well as the mobile raglan sleeves.
The Rhone Reign Short Sleeve also boasts GOLDFUSION anti-odor technology, keeping this top ready for multiple circuits before it comes time for a routine wash cycle. It’s important, however, to read the care instructions prior to refreshing this garb. The t-shirt cannot be tumble dried, ironed or dry cleaned, so if you want your gear to be as performance-ready as possible, make sure to take care of it properly between training sessions.
Reebok Training Tech T-Shirt
- Materials: 100% Recycled Polyester Interlock
Not every gym shirt needs to boast luxurious fabric technologies or posh details. Sometimes, simple silhouettes are just what the strength coach ordered, like this Training Tech T-Shirt from Reebok. We enjoyed every rep while donning this basic top thanks to the lightweight construction that didn’t hinder our movements or frame. Plus, the Speedwick fabric performed as expected in the gym, keeping our physique cool and sweat-free from warm-up to cool-downs.
Naturally, though, there are some limitations that come with gym shirts at such a cost-efficient price point. For one, one of our larger testers did note that the sleeves were somewhat tight across the bicep, which could lead to discomfort and rubbing over extended wear. For athletes of similar structure, it may be wise to pay close attention to Reebok’s size chart upon initial purchase.
Under Armour Project Rock Brahma Bull Short Sleeve
- Materials: 60% Cotton, 40% Polyester
For athletes that favor the “clanging and banging” style of training, this is the top for you. Under Armour uses a super-soft cotton blend across this Project Rock Brahma Bull Short Sleeve profile, perfect for adding a sense of coziness to every PR-besting set. Plus, our tester also enjoyed the colorful, motivating design across the front that kept spirits plenty high as they made sure every weight total had a smooth check-in at the smackdown hotel.
We like this strength training top so much that it’s become a normal cog in our non-training rotation, too. With that said, however, the cotton blend has been shown to mop up more sweat than wanted on occasion, leading to a heavier, less comfortable fit in warmer training conditions. If you frequently work out in sweat-inducing gyms or take your squat sessions under the hot sun, you may be better off with a different, more lightweight silhouette featured in this roundup.
Black Diamond Rhythm Tee
- Materials: 57% Nylon, 43% NuYarn Merino Wool
If your fitness is heavily based on logging miles over logging weight totals, we highly recommend this Rhythm Tee. Our tester couldn’t get enough of this impressive running shirt thanks to its near-weightless profile and quick-drying NuYarn Merino Wool makeup. Plus, the Black Diamond Rhythm Tee proved to be plenty stretchy and didn’t hinder or hold back our strides and arm swing during movement. While the profile can lead to some unnecessary heat under hotter forecasts, we’re still inclined to reach for this garment on cardio-based training days.
As with other performance-based t-shirts, however, this Black Diamond silhouette does require heightened attention during care. We noticed some unwanted pilling after a few wash cycles, so it’s best to clean this top separate from your other linens. Otherwise, all those perks can be overshadowed by an itchy, ill-fitting profile.
Inov-8 F-Lite Tee
- Materials: 50% Cotton, 50% Modal
CrossFit can be a unique training modality, and as such, can put a variety of stressors across your gear. Not only do you need apparel that’s durable enough for max-weight lifts and rope climbs, but garb that’s also flexible enough to accentuate your mobility through rough and agile WODs. We like the F Lite Tee from Inov-8 for this training discipline thanks to its lightweight, breathable cotton blend that keeps your frame cool while still being able to tackle the tough demands of the modality. The moisture-wicking nature of the profile is great, too, but admittedly can become overwhelmed if you really start to sweat.
The F Lite Tee also boasts a subtle yet stylish design across the front, giving your fit an added zest of personality. Unfortunately, though, that spice is limited to just three available colorways, so those looking for a more vibrant ensemble may be better off with a different silhouette included in this guide.
Patagonia Capilene Cool Trail Shirt
- Materials: 100% Polyester
This technical top from Patagonia can be the perfect accent piece for those more adventurous training sessions. The Capilene Cool Trail Shirt weighs in at just 4.4 ounces, and we found this lightweight makeup to make all the difference across a wide range of trail intensities. Our tester also appreciated the HeIQ Pure odor control treatment that kept developing stench at bay, as well as the locker loop that allowed for easier drying post-workout. After all, the odor tech and moisture-wicking features of this shirt facilitate multiple wears between washes, so it’s nice to see Patagonia making that post-training drying task much easier.
As much as we admire this sleek, stylish shirt for trail running, we did find its limits on a few brisk morning jaunts. The lightweight polyester makeup can be great for keeping things comfortable through our paces, but it does little to combat colder conditions. We recommend saving this for those sun-filled training days, or at least pairing it with a well-to-do running jacket if you can’t side with sidelining this garment (don’t worry, we understand).
Saxx All Day Aerator
- Materials: 100% Polyester
Sweat-riddled athletes, rejoice! Thanks to a micro-mesh construction and lightweight design, the All Day Aerator from Saxx can be the perfect tarp for keeping those unappealing sweat pools at bay. We wore this profile through plenty of hot and heavy sessions and were constantly left pleased by the garb’s ability to manage our moisture output. Plus, this Saxx silhouette was more than comfortable in agility training and other endeavors, most notably in the armpit that features a diamond-shaped gusset for better mobility and comfort.
The All Day Aerator does feature a more relaxed fit than others on this list, though. While this cut may be great for ventilation, some may want a more tailored fit across their go-to training top. Additionally, this sweat-battling profile is only available in three colorways, so if you prefer your wardrobe to have a wide rainbow of hues, you may be left wanting more.
Legends Enzo Tee
- Materials: 60% Polyester, 35% Nylon, 5% Lycra
Taller athletes need garb that’s not only comfortable, but lengthy enough for efficient, stylish workouts. This Enzo Tee was a favorite amongst our testers thanks to its scalloped bottom hem. This allowed for a more swooping coverage across the midsection and rear, eliminating any chances for ride-up or peeking midriff during training. We also appreciated the cozy polyester blend that kept things cool and mobile enough for all our training needs.
The Legends Enzo Tee’s athletic cut is also subtle enough to warrant daily wear, and the available hues are sure to fit in a bevy of wardrobes. We did notice, though, that the center seams just below the neck can begin to rub at times, which left us slightly irritated during heavier squat sessions. Plus, some athletes have noted some compromised stitching after just a few washes, so it’s best to pay close attention to the care instructions when it comes time to freshen up this aesthetically-pleasing gm shirt.
Ten Thousand Durable Shirt
- Materials: 65% Polyester, 35% Cotton
Now this is a t-shirt that’s designed for the long haul. Thanks to its durable, tough-as-nails poly-cotton blend, the Durable Shirt from Ten Thousand has been a go-to for us through a number of hard-nosed circuits. The heftier profile easily withstood typical scrapes and scuffs while also keeping things comfortable thanks to flatlock, anti-chafe seams and a permanent silver ion anti-odor treatment.
Unlike other Ten Thousand tops, though, the Durable Shirt doesn’t feature UPF protection, which could leave outdoor-minded athletes a little undergunned to defend against the sun’s harmful rays. Additionally, because of the strong makeup and boosted resiliency, this is one of the thicker shirts on this roundup. While we didn’t mind the heftier makeup, it could be a sticking point for others wanting that featherweight feel across their skin.
Smartwool Merino Short Sleeve
- Materials: 88% Merino Wool, 12% Nylon
Want a workout shirt that’s capable of tackling multiple wears without a drop of stench or sweat? Take a look at garb made from merino wool like this impressive top from Smartwool. We’re big fans of the comfortable, moisture-wicking nature of this wardrobe essential, and the natural anti-odor qualities of the Core Spun merino wool helps us keep our garments in action without the need to nightly washes. Plus, the flatlock seams and lightweight fit help promote a more comfortable aesthetic ideal for year-round wear.
That lightweight note is something worth remembering, however, as some colorways can become near-see-through due to the build. Some athletes have warned that the Natural hue offered through Smartwool can leave little to the imagination, especially when drenched in sweat. If you’re not wanting to show off this much of your physique mid-workout, it may be best to steer clear of these lighter colorways.
Other Good Options
Ibex Indie Hoodie
- Materials: 100% Merino Wool
Across brisk runs and workouts, we love the warmth and coverage provided by this lightweight, hooded top from Ibex. There aren’t any tags or raised seams, which make moving in the Indie Hoodie comfortable and irritant-free. The slim-fit scuba hood easily covers our ears and can be worn underneath a running cap or cycling helmet for added convenience, too.
Like other workout shirts on this list, however, be cautious when sending this through the wash and make sure to pay attention to the care instructions to preserve that impressive performance. Additionally, while listed as a hoodie, don’t expect your typical kangaroo pouch or other storage features. If you’re looking for a top layer with these compartments on display, you may want to consider a more purpose-built workout hoodie.
Arc'teryx Cormac Crew Neck Shirt
- Materials: 100% Polyester
This mountain-oriented running top may seem simple at first glance, but give it another look and you'll see it packs quite the punch. This performance long sleeve is made with a gridded, breathable polyester that allows moisture vapor to escape, regulating temps and enhancing comfort. The fabric is treated with DAO, the brand's proprietary durable anti-odor finish, and has a UPF 50+ rating to help block the sun's rays. Our tester also noted how comfortable the non-abrasive stitching felt in training, creating a cozy sensation whether pacing through their weekly miles or going for a new bench press PR.
It is important to look closely at the size chart with the Cormac Crew, however, as some athletes have noted that the silhouette can fit quite large. Additionally, we found that more routine washes were required to keep this top from developing unwanted funk. The DAO treatment worked sufficiently during light workouts, but wasn’t up to defending against stench when the sweat really began to run across our frames.
Nike Pro Dri-FIT ADV TechKnit Ultra Tank Top
- Materials: 100% Recycled Polyester
Show off those arms with this tech-filled tank. Boasting Nike’s Dri-FIT technology, this workout tank helps pull sweat from your skin for easier evaporation, leaving you cool and comfortable through every set. Plus, the buttery smooth fabric has a great feel that’s sure to leave you ready for progress. Our tester also appreciated the racerback cut of this impressive workout top, which helped create a boosted range of motion that wasn’t hindered by unnecessary fabric.
We understand, however, that $80 can be a lot to ask for a tank top, especially when there are other silhouettes in this guide far more affordable with the benefit of added coverage. Still, though, if you can stomach the heavier price tag, and limited colorways, this is one workout top that’s a must-own for anyone looking to show off those guns this season.
Satisfy CloudMerino T-Shirt
- Materials: 100% Merino Optimol Wool
If you want to flex your style as much as your muscles, you can’t go wrong with the CloudMerino T-Shirt from Satisfy. Made from the lightest merino in the world and hand-dyed in Japan, this is a great top that blends fashion and function. Our tester was pleasantly surprised by the raw hems that created no room for chafing throughout movement, and the tie-dyed design across the profile gave the perfect amount of flash for standing out in the training center.
Due to the merino makeup of this posh workout top, though, it is highly recommended that you follow the care instructions to the T. One errant drying cycle can easily shrink this garb to an ill-fitting profile, leaving you unsatisfied and quite queasy after ruining a three-figure apparel item. If you can follow instructions, though, this is one gym shirt that’s sure to upgrade your sweat-ready style in an instant.
Unsanctioned Un-Run Tee
- Materials: Fabrics Knitted from 100% Recycled Plastic Bottles
You’ll find no greenwashing with this brand. Unsanctioned prides itself on making quality apparel options without stretching its carbon footprint, giving athletes that much-appreciated peace of mind when it comes to eco-friendly gear. Plus, we can’t hide our admiration for the deep hues and sleek, subtle patchwork across this silhouette. Our tester also called out the scalloped bottom hem, too, which did a great job of providing extra coverage across the rear and midsection for limited ride-up.
While the available colorways are limited, and a tad expensive when compared to other shirts in this roundup, if your morals include sustainability-minded themes, this is the shirt for you.
What to Look for in Workout Shirts
When adding to your workout ensemble, you definitely want to pay attention to the materials. The most common fabric in workout shirts is polyester, with Nylon, jersey and Tencel following behind. You’ll also see spandex and elastane included for stretch, providing a little more movement and flex without sacrificing comfort. And for those wanting to work out sustainably, some shirts will contain recycled materials. This feature isn’t widespread, however, so purchase based on what matters to you most.
Like any piece of clothing, you want to make sure your workout shirts fit properly so you remain comfortable and covered throughout your training regimen. While most garments follow a typical sizing system, we have found that some training apparel can be shorter in length, leaving those with longer torsos feeling a little less fashionable. Pay attention to each piece’s measurements before purchasing to ensure your workout wear doesn’t have you showing midriff mid-set.
You can also look for added perks like odor and UPF protection to further enhance your training, but these coatings and protectants can come at a higher cost. In the end, you want to ensure you’re capable of comfortable performance no matter your workout environment.