Out of all our activewear pieces, what we put on top of our sports bra always seems to gets less attention. It could be a college tee or a tank, or really anything that’s clean. We sort of get it. After all, you technically don’t need to wear more than a sports bra. But the right running top can make a big impact on your comfort, and ultimately, your workout performance.
Like all clothes, choices come down to your personal preference and comfort level. You might only like to do runs in crop tanks, or maybe you love a fitted tee. Or maybe you have found a top you love but never seem to find that perfect additional layer for when the weather is less-than-ideal.
When it comes to running in particular versus other fitness activities, it is essential your top—no matter the arm length—is lightweight, limits distractions, and won’t slow you down. Look for chafe-free seams and zero tags that won’t irritate. The right length is also crucial. The last thing you want for a crop style to ride up or jacket with a longer hem or pull cord that will bounce against your body. And as with anything when it comes to activewear, fabric is king: Look for all those important wicking qualities you like in your fitness clothes. Brands keep making strides with fabrications and technologies.
As you know, the choices are vast, so we made it easy for you. Here are the best running tops on the market right now.
Tracksmith Twilight Crop | $58
We could have this tank in every color and still need to do laundry more often so we could always be running in it. The slightly cropped fit pairs perfectly with your favorite pair of high-waisted leggings.
Norrøna Singlet | $49
This tank top gets its sleek look from laminated seams, racerback shape, and a slightly longer cut. The design also eliminates bulk and chafing, two of the biggest negatives for running tops.
Under Armour Breeze Run Tank | $55
This halter-cut racerback is tough in all the right ways: a cool print, durable fabric, and a shape that offers a full range of motion. Bonus: Looks great at a post-run brunch.
Craft Pro Hyperent Singlet | $50
For your most intense workouts on the hottest days, this tank will be your uniform. Exceptional ventilation keeps you cool and dry, while taped and flat seams in all the rub points eliminate chafing and irritation.
Asics Sakura Tank | $30
The look and fit of a muscle T drew us in. The relaxed, roomy feel plus all the moisture management qualities you expect from a high-performance top kept us reaching for this top all spring long.
Headsweats Berries Singlet | $20
We are pretty excited that one of our favorite hat companies is expanding into activewear. This tank mirrors the brand’s caps in its lightweight design, recycled bottle fabrication, and fun, bright color and print options.
New Balance Q Speed Fuel Jacquard Short Sleeve | $45
The jacquard texture-like print might attract you to this tee, but turn it around to find two cutouts on the back offering airflow for when you get super sweaty. Fast-drying technology makes this lightweight top even more suitable for super sunny outdoor runs.
Eddie Bauer Resolution V-Neck T-Shirt | $30
This lightweight tee has moisture-wicking properties and odor control, which means this is stink-proof, so sweat away. It’s the definition of high-performance comfort perfect for runs, walks, and even hikes.
Kari Traa Nora Tee | $30
Crafted by a poly blend, this tee has flatlock seams that equal zero irritation and chafing. Quick-drying with mesh panels on either side aiding in airflow and ventilation. Slim cut with four-way stretch, allowing you to look and feel your best during your runs.
Champion Tie-Front Tee | $30
This classic cotton athletic tee gets some femininity with the addition of the front tie. Stylish, yes, but it also takes some of the loose out of the relaxed fit. The drop shoulder design will keep your full range of motion ready on the treadmill or street.
Run Rabbit EZ Long Sleeve Tee | $50
For those days when there is just a slight chill in the air, this super-soft, quick-drying long sleeve has a tailored look with an unrestrictive fit.
Cadenshae Breastfeeding Hoodie | $70
A cozy sweatshirt with subtle, yet easy, access for breastfeeding? Talk about genius. No wonder busy runner moms are such a fan of this brand.
Old Navy Powersoft Mesh-Back Long-Sleeve Performance Top | $30
With a slight crop, this soft long sleeve top is that ideal light layer that won’t add bulk or distraction to your runs. The full mesh backups will keep you cool as the sweat builds and Old Navy’s Go-Dry wicking technology will keep things dry and comfortable.
Black Diamond Rhythm Tee | $99
Natural fibers like merino wool are quite possibly the best material to take with you on your run. Not only will they keep you warm, but it’s lightweight and flexible to give you freedom. The type of merino wool used to make this long sleeve tee, dries five times faster than similar fibers. As a top layer, base, or even mid, this top will surely come in handy.
Arc’teryx Atom SL Hoody | $229
When the rain just won’t quit, you need a water-resistant jacket that keeps you dry without weighing you down. This one also delivers a nice touch of insulation for extra warmth when the temps drop.
Nathan Sports Stealth Jacket | $85
Noisy jackets, peace out. You’ll get minimal swish in this uber-light, packable windbreaker. (Bonus: A ponytail port in the hood!)
Craft PRO Hypervent Jacket | $115
Ripstop fabric and vents in all the right places, sides and back, will allow you to run like the wind. Elastic at back and adjustable collar give a snug and flatting fit. Packs into itself, so great for trail runs or hiking trips.