Running is a fantastic activity for both fitness and fun. There's no equipment required and you can do it just about anywhere! Whether you're trying to improve your health or complete a 7k, wearing the right gear is essential for optimum comfort and performance.
In this article, we've got the lowdown on which performance-enhancing features to look for, such as reflective strips and moisture-wicking fabrics to combat sweating. To give you a head start, we've also ranked our 10 best buys, including long sleeves for winter, T shirts, and the perfect summer tank tops, all from leading brands like Adidas, Under Armour and Ronhill.
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Wearing the right top when you run will improve comfort and help enhance your performance. Read on for our advice on the key features to look for when shopping online!
Running tops are a functional garment designed to help you get the most out of your sport. Whether you're taking part in a marathon or just keeping fit, here are some design features to look for.
If you're working out hard, the likelihood is you're going to sweat. While sweat is necessary for our bodies' temperature regulation, a build up of sweat results in bacteria overgrowth which can lead to a host of nasty skin conditions as well as unpleasant body odour.
To combat this, try to look for fabrics with moisture-wicking properties. These help channel away sweat from the body as you run and allow the skin to breathe.
Some good moisture-wicking options are nylon and bamboo, though we recommend polyester as our top choice. It's easy to find, and it's lightweight, breathable and non-absorbent, which means it'll dry quickly if you get caught in the rain, and be ready to wear again soon after you take it out of the wash!
Men's running tops are available in various different styles, and while we'll cover the basics of fit later, the most important thing to consider when choosing a functional running top is the sleeve length.
The weather in the UK is often changeable, and for those of us who prefer running outside, it's important to make sure you're dressed for the elements. When the weather is cooler in the autumn and winter months, long sleeve tops are a great choice. They'll give you a little extra protection and insulation as you warm up, without needing to carry along another layer or jacket.
Once the weather finally heats up a bit in the spring and summer, and for those who prefer running indoors, short sleeves are ideal. You may even want to forego sleeves entirely and opt for a running singlet or vest.
Bright and fluorescent colours like orange, yellow and lime are easy for drivers to see when visibility is poor. Similarly, you could also look for tops with reflective patches on the front, back and sides.
You may also want to consider white or light grey on sunny days to reflect some of the light, but be aware that these colours show mud, dirt and sweat more easily than others.
Unlike other garments you can get away with wearing a few times before hitting the laundry bag, you're going to want to wash your running tops after every wear. So, to prevent cleaning from becoming too much of a chore, seek out tops that are machine washable.
Most sports tops you buy should be safe for your washing machine, but some may be hand wash only, so it's best to double-check. When washing, make sure to follow the care instructions printed on the label to keep it looking better for longer, and to keep technical fabrics at their best.
Compression tops are another popular choice for various athletic pursuits as they're thought to increase blood flow, which in turn delivers more oxygen to your muscles for better recovery and performance results.
Of course we're not all running around with perfect six pack abs or vying to beat Mo Farah's record at the next Olympic Games. So, don't think you need to go skin-tight if you'd feel more comfortable in a looser fit.
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Men's Running Breathable Tank Top
A Good Quality Buy for a Reasonable Price
Momentum Short Sleeve Running Top
A Casual T-Shirt Specifically Designed With Runners in Mind
Men's Fusion Pro QuickDry Long Sleeve Half-Zip Running Top
Top Choice for an Affordable Winter Running Top
Streaker 2.0 Running Vest
The Best Ventilated Running Singlet for Men
25/7 Rise Up N Run Parley Running Top
An Eco-Friendly Running Top Made From Recycled Materials
UA HeatGear Compression Shirt
A Popular Compression Top That Protects Against UV Rays
Icon Long Sleeved Half Zip Running Top
Long Sleeved, Loose, and Ideal for Tall or Broad Guys
Men's UA Streaker Long Sleeve 2.0
A Lightweight Long Sleeve That Feels Like a Second Skin
Accelerate Short Sleeve
A No Frills Running Top for Daily Wear
Men's Gunlap Singlet
A Mesh Racing Singlet for Training
Laboratory and field tested by runners of all abilities, this tank top has been proven to absorb and wick away perspiration, keeping you dry during and after your jog. It fits moderately, so that it allows for the ventilation you need while still looking very stylish! No more gross sweaty tops clinging to you while you run!
Plus, as a nice added design feature, the reflective details on the front and back not only let you rep the signature logo, but help make sure you stay seen when the light is low!
Ronhill have been specialising in running gear since the 1970s, pioneering many of the performance boosting sportswear textiles we use today. While we could confidently recommend any of the shirts from this brand, we've chosen the Momentum Short Sleeve Running Top for this years' list!
A modestly-priced option for both casual and serious athletes, it's designed to wick away moisture, reduce wind resistance and feel comfortable against the skin during activity.
Just because the weather isn’t ideal, doesn’t mean you have to say goodbye to chasing that runner's high. When it’s colder outside, look no further than this long-sleeved running top from TCA.
This top has some nifty weather-resistant design features for winter warm-up-ready insulation that won't weigh you down. The high collar zips up and down for the perfect level of coverage, with thumb holes to keep the sleeves anchored in place as you run. There's even a pocket for your phone!
If you're looking for a first-rate running singlet, you might want to consider this offering from Under Armour's Streaker 2.0 range. Fitted without feeling like a sausage skin and with mesh panels for improved ventilation, it's the closest you're going to get to running shirtless while still leaving a little to the imagination.
A great all-rounder for running outdoors in the summer, in the gym and for showing off the biceps you've been working on over the winter.
Ideal for the eco-conscious runners out there, Adidas' 25/7 Rise Up N Run Parley t-shirt is made from 100% recycled polyester mesh. A little kinder to the environment than other polyester shirts, the fabric is created using yarn spun from reclaimed plastic from beaches and coastal communities before it reaches the ocean.
Far from feeling like a plastic bag, these running tops are wonderfully soft and breathable. They're also available in a range of other colours including black, white, and burgundy, aptly named collegiate burgundy.
This on-trend t-shirt is our top choice for those who are interested in trying out a compression top for running. While you're almost guaranteed to see one of these at the gym, Under Armour's UA HeatGear compression shirts have a surprising amount to offer runners, too!
Despite being ultra-tight, the 4-way stretch construction allows for a full range of motion as you move. There's also the added benefit for outdoor runners of UPF 30 protection against harmful UV rays.
Long-sleeved running tops tend to be closely fitted to improve insulation while remaining aerodynamic. However, for casual runners who would prefer a looser fit, these features aren't essential.
An especially good option if you're tall or have a broader build, the ASICS Icon running top has a lengthier cut at the back, with a more relaxed fit overall. This helps to prevent the top from riding up or clinging to you as you run, without being ill-fitting or baggy.
Under Armour’s Streaker 2.0 range uses UA microthread technology to create high-quality runwear that feels like a second skin. What this means for you is a lightweight, moisture-wicking fabric that won’t cling or chafe for a more comfortable run.
For those times of the year when a chill still lingers in the air, this is an excellent choice. The long sleeves will help to take the edge off colder temperatures, with mesh panels for added breathability once you’ve worked up a sweat! On the downside, the length is quite short so if you're tall or have a bigger belly, it might not give you the complete coverage you desire.
New Balance's Accelerate range is pretty spot on if you're in the market for a no-frills daily running top. While this T-shirt may not offer any especially fancy features, it's made from recycled polyester material that aids with ventilation around the torso and chest.
Being from a high-quality brand, it's a durable option that should survive more than a few spins in the wash. Plus, if you like the design, you can pick a few up in a range of colours suitable for both day and night.
The ASICS Gunlap is a breathable racing singlet that won't weigh you down. Made from cross-panelled polyester mesh, it'll remain dry until the end of the race whilst avoiding chafing and drag, all without being skin tight.
We'd say it's a good choice if you're training for a marathon or track and field events, although for the mid-range price point, we would have liked to have seen more in the way of performance-enhancing features.
In the market for some other running gear upgrades to help you conquer that charity run, smash your treadmill PB, or keep you hydrated on the trails? Look no further than the related buying guides below!
Sports kit that looks and feels great to run in can help keep us motivated to hit our individual fitness goals. With so many options online, perhaps we've convinced you to finally throw out that musty old t-shirt and invest in a proper running top!
Author: Wren Mann
No. 1: Kalenji｜Men's Running Breathable Tank Top
No. 2: Ronhill ｜Momentum Short Sleeve Running Top
No. 3: TCA｜Men's Fusion Pro QuickDry Long Sleeve Half-Zip Running Top
No. 4: Under Armour ｜Streaker 2.0 Running Vest
No. 5: adidas｜25/7 Rise Up N Run Parley Running Top
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