The Best Workout Shirts For Men Keep You Feeling Cool And Smelling Tolerable
All products featured on GQ are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
The best workout shirts for men must do many things well. They must be sturdy, but also breathable. They should look sharp, but not like a billboard. And they should fit, but not restrict blood flow to the extremities. For those in search of the perfect workout shirt, we found the best one for every type of guy.
The Best All-Around Workout Shirt
Rhone Reign short sleeve workout shirt, $64 at Amazon
The Goldilocks of workout shirts, this one clings in all the right places (around the biceps, for example, so that the sleeves don’t ride up and down) and none of the wrong ones (the shoulders, the armpits, and—[shudder]—the gut). It’s breathable enough to prevent soak-throughs, but not so thin that a brisk day will highlight your n**ples to everyone on the track. The v-neck styling is a subtle way of differentiating itself from the crew-collar competition. The best part, though, is that the fabric is infused with little bits of gold, which the company says delays the onset of that dreaded perpetual funk that most every other workout shirt succumbs to eventually. It sounds dumb, but for me, contemporaneously-acquired shirts from other brands have already acquired a certain musk that the Sentry, mercifully, has not.
The Best Cost Effective Workout Shirt
Nike Dri-FIT Miler short sleeve running top, $35 at Nike
Every brand now makes their own version of sweat-wicking fabric, but after almost three decades on the market, Nike’s Dri-Fit is still a more-than-capable challenger to some of the more expensive counterparts. High armholes and a slim body make the Miler comfortable enough for runs and fitted enough for weightlifting, and the striped pattern politely signals to others that your outside-the-gym outfits, too, are a bit more refined. At half the cost of our other top picks—plus, Nike products frequently go on sale at retailers—this is the most cost-effective solution to the reprehensible cut-off tee collection to which you still cling.
The Best Breezy Workout Shirt
Lululemon Metal Vent Tech short sleeve shirt, $88 at Amazon
A shade looser than the Rhone, this pick from Lululemon makes our best workout shirts for men list because it let in what felt like the most air during our tests, thanks in large part to a series of visible, larger-than-usual holes that somehow don’t show any skin. The heathered colorways and contrast-stitched seams provide a nice reprieve from the bright solid colors available at your local sporting goods store. For those of you who aren’t inclined to shill for an athletic apparel giant without an endorsement deal in place, the logo—already small and unobtrusive—is tucked away on the back, just below the neck.
7 More Workout Shirts We Like
Peak Velocity elite-stretch short sleeve T-shirt, $8 at Amazon
The fit here isn't quite as flattering, and the material will start to pill up a little faster than most, but at a sub-$10 price tag it's hard to argue with a workout shirt that effectively wicks sweat and dries quickly. Overnight one to your hotel room when a business trip goes longer than expected or stock up for those weeks when laundry day keeps getting pushed back.
Under Armour HeatGear short sleeve compression T-shirt, $28 at Amazon
For those whose physiques permit it, and/or whose invitation to an NFL training camp is only one more set of box jumps away, Under Armour still provides the best value in compression gear.
New Balance seasonless reflective short sleeve shirt, $68 at Amazon
Out of all the shirts we tried, this poly-spandex performance blend felt the most like cotton while breathing like you want a workout shirt to breathe. If you’re an early-mornings or late-nights exerciser, the neon colors can help with the all-important task of standing out from the asphalt.
Adidas FreeLift tee, $25 at Amazon
The shirt’s back uses a slightly different fabric pattern that lets in a bit of extra air. It matters. Your fabric car seat will thank you later.
Outdoor Voices CloudKnit T-Shirt, $55 at Outdoor Voices
The thinnest option we tested, the OV CloudKnit is a perfect option for when it gets really hot out (but you're still a few weeks of workouts away from the confidence it takes to go full shirtless McConaughey).
The North Face essential short sleeve, $39 at Amazon
This shirt's material is light and cool to the touch, almost like silk, although it breathes far better than an ill-advised brightly-colored pajama set.
Janji Runpaca Henley, $66 at Huckberry
All performance fabric stretches, sure, but few of the fabrics we tested retained their shape as well as this one, which just sort of springs back to its original position as soon as your movement allows for it.