The 7 Best Running Shirts for Hot Weather to Stay Cool (2019 Review)

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If you don’t have time to read the entire review and just want to find out what the best running shirt for hot weather is, then we recommend the Under Armour Men’s Tactical HeatGear Compression as the best choice.

Are you looking for the best running shirt for the summer season?

As a runner, you know that preparing for harsh weather conditions is an important thing to consider. Whether it’s the tropical or rainy season, you need to make sure you’re wearing the right clothes.

Now, under the heat of a raging sun, you might wonder what could be the best outfit to wear. You might wonder which shirt and brand will keep you cool.

In this post, we’ve reviewed the seven best running shirts for hot weather to help you stay cool and comfortable. We’ve categorized them based on the clothing materials used and comfort they bring.

But before we introduce these top products, we would like to share with you some information we have gathered about the best fabric material a comfortable shirt should have. Moreover, we will go over other things you need to consider when purchasing your running shirt.

Let’s get to it!

Best Running Shirt Material

Nylon

While you may think of pantyhose when you think of nylon, this synthetic fabric is actually great for making running apparel as well. It is soft as silk and very breathable, making it mildew-resistant. 

It is stretchy, just as pantyhose are, so you won’t feel constricted when wearing a running shirt made with nylon. Nylon is also sweat-resistant and dries quickly, as it wicks sweat from your skin to the surface of the fabric, where it evaporates, ensuring you won’t be running in a wet shirt this summer.

Polypropylene

Made out of plastic, polypropylene is sweat- and water-resistant. No matter how sweaty you get while running, this type of fabric will keep your skin dry, making this a great base layer to wear while running. 

Even if you sweat profusely and the outside of the shirt becomes wet, the material that is touching you will remain completely dry. Polypropylene forces moisture out of its fibers, pulling it to the fabric’s surface where it then evaporates.

Polyester

Polyester is the material that you likely see most often on the labels of exercise gear, as this may be the best running shirt material. Aside from being lightweight and breathable, polyester is non-absorbent. This means that instead of being drawn into the material, the moisture in your skin evaporates.

As a material that is essentially plastic cloth, polyester is durable and wrinkle-resistant in addition to its moisture-wicking abilities. Polyester also keeps you safe from the sun by repelling UV rays.

Bamboo

Bamboo pulp is made into natural fabric. It is breathable, lightweight, and sweat-wicking. It also protects your skin from UV rays with a SPF of 50+. People enjoy this material because it is very soft and it is odor-repellant. 

Because bamboo is able to regulate your temperature, you can wear this fabric straight from your summer run to running errands, and you’ll stay fresh and dry the entire time.

Wool

This type of fabric is ideal for both cold and hot weather, as it helps regulate your body temperature by creating pockets that trap air. This means that it can keep your body warm during cold weather and it can keep your body cool during hot weather. Wool is also breathable, and wicks moisture away from your skin. Also, lightweight wool doesn’t retain odor, keeping you smelling fresh during every run.

Spandex

Spandex is the perfect definition of “stretchable” when it comes to fabric, as it can expand to almost 600% of its normal size. This allows users to have an unrestricted range of motion without the fabric losing its original shape. But aside from that, it is also breathable, moisture-wicking, and dries quickly. Spandex also offers antibacterial properties.

It is important to have the right material for your running clothes so you don’t overheat, but there are some other things you should keep in mind when shopping for clothes to wear in the heat of the summer.

Tips for Comfortable Running in Hot Weather

When looking for the best running shirt that you can use in extremely hot weather, you must consider the following factors.

Lightweight

The best clothing for the tropical season is that which is lightweight and made out of natural materials. The fewer ounces or grams of fabric that are on your skin, the less work you have to do and the easier it is for air to circulate around your body. Clothing made with heavy fabrics tends to trap sweat, which adds heat to your body.

Wool is the only fabric that you can typically get a specific weight for in ounces. You may find some cotton materials that offer a weight, but most often you will need to try on a running shirt to see how heavy it will feel on your body. If you can, try your running shirt on in the store and move around for about 10 minutes. If you are already starting to sweat, it certainly won’t be a good shirt to wear while running in the sun.

Breathable

Having a breathable shirt is just as important as having a lightweight one. You need to be able to have air circulating over your body while you’re running, and any material that doesn’t breathe well will trap sweat and heat near your skin, which can cause you to overheat.

Breathable running shirts are made from fine threads, loose weaves, and porous materials. Artificial materials are usually non-breathable, and will make your running shirt more likely to trap sweat and air in. 

Beware that many cheap manufacturers will label anything that is made out of cotton as being “summer wear,” regardless of its ability to keep you cool in hot weather. A tight cotton weave will retain both air and moisture on a hot day, so traditional t-shirt running clothes might not be your best option. You need to find shirts that are made out of a breathable material.

Sun Protection

You certainly know what SPF stands for and how important it is to protect your skin. But have you heard of UPF? This acronym stands for ultraviolet protection factor, which is used to rate the protective nature of fabric from the sun. UPF measures how much UV light a material can block.

While SPF only measures UVB protection, UPF measures your protection from both UVA and UVB rays. A regular cotton t-shirt probably has a UPF of approximately 5, while a running shirt that is specially designed to protect you from the sun usually has a UPF of 15-50 (or more). 

A UPF of 50 means that one out of every 50 units of UV light will pass through the material, which is ideal for sun protection. Aim for running shirts that have a UPF of at least 50, which is the recommended amount in order to get adequate protection. Most people spend less time thinking about sun protection on their skin that is covered by clothing than they should. There are fabrics that naturally combat the ultraviolet rays of the sun, such as polyester and bamboo.

Light Color

Dark colors absorb more light and heat. Light colors reflect the light, so they are better to wear during a hot day. In studies, when strips of dark cloth are attached to thermometers and exposed to sunlight, they have been found to rise to higher temperatures, and to do so at a faster rate than white materials. 

Further, experiments have shown that shades of dark green, dark blue, and dark purple generate thermal energy when they are exposed to sunlight, whereas lighter colors generate less thermal energy when in the same conditions. This experiment can be applied to running shirts in corresponding colors, and their potential reaction in the sun.

For more tips on how to run in the heat and comfortably survive the hot weather, check out this post.

Now that we know a bit more about what we are looking for in a running shirt, let’s take an in-depth look at some of the best running shirts for summer.

The 7 Best Running Shirts to Stay Cool in Hot Weather

While this running shirt claims to be made for men, women can wear it as well. It is the best overall option for anyone to wear while they are running in the heat of the summer, due to its moisture-wicking and stretchable properties. This ultra-tight running shirt is made out of 100% polyester, making it lightweight and comfortable.

The compression feature of this shirt is designed for all-day comfort, with a four-way stretch material. This also means that these shirts help improve your mobility and have an accelerated drying time, all while maintaining their shape. This shirt has mesh underarm ventilation and odor-repellant properties. With its subtle reflective details, you can stay safe if you are running after dark.

Pros:

  • Best overall option for men and women.
  • Has a second skin fit.
  • Has a Moisture Transport System to keep you cool and dry.

Cons:

  • Different color options fit differently.
  • Seams loosen after several washes.
  • Run short in length.

This running shirt is made out of 100% 3.8-ounce polyester, making it soft, lightweight, and breathable. It is the best running shirt for women, and it is available in a wide range of sizes and 15 different colors to fit each user’s preferences.

This running shirt comes pre-shrunk, so it will maintain its original fit once you wash it. This shirt offers Posi Charge Technology, which is a moisture-wicking component that keeps heat and moisture away from your body. It also offers a roomy fit, so both air and water will breeze by your skin.

This running shirt has a feminine V-neck collar and a slimmer fit to give you a sleek silhouette. It comes in sizes XS-4XL, and the company offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee on their product.

Pros:

  • Best option for women.
  • Comes in a variety of colors.
  • Has a gently contoured silhouette.

Cons:

  • Sizes run large.
  • Pilling may occur quickly.
  • Fabric may snag.

This running shirt is made out of 92% polyester and 8% spandex. It has Dri-FIT Technology to make sure that you stay dry for the duration of your run. This is the best running shirt for optimal cooling on hot days, as the back panel of the shirt is mesh and zoned for the most efficient cooling.

This shirt comes in a fitted design that reduces bulk and allows users to have a great range of motion. It has a snug fit in the shoulders and becomes roomier in the midsection. It also has a snug fit around the upper arms, and the sleeves come to about mid-bicep length.

This is a flattering fit for a running shirt that users tend to like. It also has a low-rise collar for additional comfort and breathability. The fitted nature of this running shirt and its flat seams prevent chaffing, and users note that they do not develop hot spots when wearing this shirt on runs.

Pros:

  • Best for optimal cooling.
  • Functional running shirt at a reasonable price.
  • Reinforced seams make this shirt durable.

Cons:

  • Becomes stained under the armpits.
  • Some find the material to be too thin.
  • Runs small.

This running shirt is made out of 100% polyester and has a four-way stretch construction, allowing users to easily move around in it while doing any activity. 

This is the best running shirt for women who prefer to have a slimmer-fitting shirt, and it comes in an extensive range of colors, allowing consumers to find the best options to suit their style. It also offers a deep V-neck collar to give a sleek and feminine silhouette to anyone who is wearing it. This shirt also includes a metallic silver logo on the front chest.

The material is a unique, twisted pattern, which makes it different than your everyday, solid-colored shirt. Because these shirts tend to have a looser fit, if you are looking for a “second skin” shirt, it is best to purchase one size smaller than you normally would.

Pros:

  • Great for women who prefer a slimmer fit.
  • Does not become see-through when wet.
  • Offered in a large range of colors.

Cons:

  • Inconsistent sizing.
  • Some find the V neck is not straight.
  • Seams unravel easily.

This is the best running shirt for men who prefer a slimmer fit. It is made out of 90% polyester and 10% elastane, making it both soft and breathable. The compression element of this shirt allows users to reach a higher level in their running, as it absorbs muscle vibrations, helping protect your muscles and joints from injury.

This compression shirt also increases blood flow, delivering oxygen to your hard-working muscles, and helps your body recover after workouts by reducing the buildup of lactic acid in your body, as well as muscle fatigue.

The tight fit of this shirt, along with its strong elasticity, compresses your muscle tissues, which prevents chaffing and wicks sweat away to keep you cool and dry. This shirt keeps its shape, even after many months of use. Users appreciate its durability and high-quality stitching.

Pros:

  • Best compression shirt for men.
  • Has an ergonomic cut and flatlock sewing to eliminate chaffing.
  • Comes in several colors.

Cons:

  • Some find this shirt to be too thick.
  • Logo label on the front of the shirt comes off quickly.
  • Inner tag is itchy.

This is the best running shirt without sleeves for women. It is made out of 95% polyester and 5% spandex. It is lightweight, stretchy, and moisture-wicking, offering women a cool run during the hot summer months. It is fashionable and functional, and helps women achieve their best performance level. It is great for running, any other activity, or everyday use.

This versatile tank has a slim racerback that remains in place when you’re on the move. It also has a reflective logo on the back to help other people see you when you’re out running. The flatlock collar and armholes are used to minimize any rubbing on your skin or chaffing, which is ideal when you’re running.

Pros:

  • Best sleeveless running shirt for women.
  • Rapid-drying fabric along with moisture management technology help keep your body cool and dry.
  • Has bonded seams to prevent chaffing.

Cons:

  • Some find the material is stiff.
  • Runs small.
  • Some find it to be itchy.

This is the best running shirt without sleeves for men. It is made out of 84% polyester and 16% elastane, giving it a soft and stretchy feel. The stretch-mesh material has a UPF of 30+ for skin protection, which helps you enjoy your run without worrying about the sun. This shirt offers all the benefits of compression, and is comfortable enough to wear all day.

The stretch-mesh underarm panels offer superior ventilation. The material also has a four-way stretch construction, allowing it to move better in every direction. This running shirt wicks sweat and dries quickly. It also has an anti-odor technology to prevent the growth of odor-causing microbes, allowing it to smell clean after months of use.

Pros:

  • Best sleeveless running shirt for men.
  • Has a UPF of 30+.
  • Extremely comfortable.

Cons:

  • Runs short.
  • Quality varies.
  • Some believe this shirt is unflattering due to its fit.

Conclusion

The list we provided above includes our top picks when it comes to the best running shirts for hot weather. We compared and contrasted the customer reviews and ratings of each to arrive at this final list. 

But our winner for today is the Under Armour Men’s Tactical HeatGear Compression for its ultra-tight, breathable, and lightweight qualities. This shirt can provide you comfort despite running under the heat of the sun.

best running shirts | running apparel | t shirt running
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