Just because you can throw on any old t-shirt for your gym session, doesn’t mean you should. For those who want to train in comfort and style, these are the best gym shirts and workout tees.

You can stick on any old scraggy t-shirt to hit the gym but wearing the best workout clothes you can will make a difference to how you perform. Whether you’re swinging heavy metal, plodding pavements or sweating out demons in a hardcore spin session, it’s hard to get in the zone unless you feel comfortable and confident.

Dropping a few extra quid on a good technical workout tee is a smart move. That’s why we suited up and tested eight of the latest fitness tees to bring you our pick of the best training tops for any workout. 

These are the best gym shirts

We think versatility is key to a good gym shirt, so the Under Armour Vanish Elite Seamless Tee gets our nod overall, ahead of some stiff competition. Not only does it have impressive breathability, stretch and fit, its RUSH infrared tech reflects your body’s energy for better recovery gains.

Other gym shirt recommendations

Best for styleWe’re big fans of the old-school track aesthetic of the Tracksmith Strata Tee. Retro colorways and that striking diagonal sash hark back to the halcyon days of track racing, but its performance is very much 21st century.
Best for cardioThe impressive sweat-wicking performance of the Gymshark Apex T-Shirt makes it a great choice for cardio workouts. Anti-odor tech, hem splits and high-stretch material round out a solidly performing package.
Best for outdoor trainingAnti-microbial tech and UP+50 protection mean the Picture Organic Dephi Tech Tee is well suited to multi-day missions outdoors. A relaxed fit and good moisture management underline its all-sports credentials too.
Product shot of an Under Armour gym shirt

1. Under Armour Vanish Elite Seamless Tee

Men’s Fitness verdict

This lightweight, high-tech and chafe-free tee is designed to handle your toughest sessions, whether you’re lifting, pushing watts in a spin class or legging it about town.
  • Great flexible fit
  • Good breathability
  • Infrared benefits aren’t that noticeable
Materials52% nylon, 48% polyester
SizesSmall to XXL
FeaturesCelliant IR technology / 4-way stretch material / mesh ventilation / iridescent logos
ColorsBlack / Pitch Grey / Blue / Venom Red / Lime Yellow / Orange

For the ultimate in functional workout tees, pull on one of Under Armour’s Rush Legacy tops. The company’s Rush line features special minerals embedded in the fabric to reflect your body’s Far Infrared (FIR) heat ‘energy’ back into the muscles to create deeper warmth and aid recovery.

Add to that the Legacy’s seamless, soft-knit, four-way stretch design and mesh ventilation zones, and you have a gym shirt that will keep you cool and comfortable even during your toughest workouts.

Product shot of Tracksmith's cream Strata tee

2. Tracksmith Strata Tee

Men’s Fitness verdict

With a Swiss-engineered coldback fabric, complete with an anti-microbial finish for supreme freshness, this stylish, lightweight, sweat-wicking tee is perfect training miles and gym workouts alike.
  • Smart retro style
  • Good for sessions and socials
  • Expensive
Materials78% nylon, 22% elastane
SizesSmall to XL
Features UVA/UVB protection / bonded seams / bacteria and odour resistant
ColorsIvory / Navy

Tracksmith is fast gaining a reputation for making some of the most stylish running gear around. Its New England-inspired kit in a wealth of gloriously retro colours takes a leaf from Chariots of Fire and from the halcyon heyday of track athletics.

That’s not to say performance is anything other than 21st century. The Strata tee is silky soft, fitted and impressively breathable with an anti-microbial treatment to stay fresher for longer, and it boasts 30+ UV protection.

Pruct shot of a man wearing a green Lululemon Metal Vent Tech tee, roundup for the best gym shirts

3. Lululemon Metal Vent Tech Tee

Men’s Fitness verdict

With a great fit and fantastic sweat-wicking performance, this Lululemon tee is a good option for handling those hotter, tougher sessions. It won’t look out of place outside the gym either.
  • Great sweat wicking and cooling
  • Lots of colour options
  • Good run-gym versatility
  • Fairly expensive
Materials53% nylon, 40% polyester, 4% elastane, 3% X-Static nylon
SizesXS to XXL
FeaturesFlat seams / mesh back panel / reflective laser-cut eyelets and logo
ColorsPink Blossom / Grey Eucalyptus

With a fantastic fit and some of the best sweat-wicking performance around, this Lululemon tee is good option for handling those hotter, tougher sessions. It helps you stay cool and comfortable however hard your workout tempo.

It features a soft, smooth, stretchy fabric with plenty of flex, enabling a full range of motion, and it’s cut longer in the back for better coverage. With 14 colours to choose from, you might even be tempted to match it to the rest of your kit.

4. Salomon Sense Aero Graphic Tee

Men’s Fitness verdict

The Salomon truly shines when the sun comes out, providing impressive levels of comfort and breathability. It sits well under layers on colder days too with confidence-inspiring zero-chafe seams.
  • Lightweight, barely-there feel
  • Great sweat-wicking performance
  • Odor management works well
  • Ham at the neck seems a little fragile
  • Insulation could be better
Materials100% polyester
FeaturesGlued seams; reflective details; 37.5® thermoregulation and moisture management technology; weighs 99g
SizesSmall – 2XL
ColorsPeacock Blue / Grey Violet / Sulphur Spring / Zinnia / White

Weighing just 99g and featuring glued anti-chafe seams, the Salomon Sense Aero Tee (buy now) is the running top you want when the mercury starts to rise. Breathability and sweat-wicking performance are up there with the best, making it a useful gym option too.

Extra details include reflective accents for improved visibility and an anti-microbial treatment, as well as 37.5® thermoregulation, giving it better insulating properties than any top this light should have.

5. Artilect M-Sprint Tee

Men’s Fitness verdict

The Artilect M-Sprint Tee can be a base layer, gym top, casual tee or running top. It works effortlessly however it’s worn – with insulation, breathability, comfort and style guaranteed.
  • Flattering slim fit that keeps its shape
  • Light, breathable and comfortable
  • Useful reflective details
  • Good insulation
  • Side seams are noticable (but don’t chafe)
  • Minor bobbling
Materials58% merino, 42% nylon
FeaturesSlim fit Nuyarn Speed-Lite fabric; no-chafe, flatlock seams; reflective side seams
SizesXS – 2XL
ColorsA/Cid / Balsam / Black / Blue Steel / Brick

If you want your running top to perform functional duties in the gym or the wilderness, and carry casual appeal, you can’t go wrong with the Artilect M-Sprint tee. Its merino blend gives you all you need during run sessions, those natural fibres having great insulation and sweat-wicking properties alike.

The fit is slimline and flattering, the colors nice and punchy too. Flatlock seams ensure they won’t chafe or irritate deep into longer runs and reflective side seams will give you the confidence to keep running after dark too.

Product shot of 66North's Grettir tee

6. 66North Grettir Tee

Men’s Fitness verdict

Thin, minimal and highly breathable, this rapid-drying tee is ideal for sweaty gym workouts. It also comes with a generous repairs-for-life guarantee.
  • Incredibly lightweight
  • Repairs for life
  • Sizing comes up small
  • Limited colour options
Materials51% polyester, 45% Tencel, 4% elastane
SizesXS to XXL
Features Breathable mesh fabric / odour resistant / repairs for life scheme
Colors Wild Thyme / Shore Lichen

Who better to turn to for kitting up for big outdoor sessions than Icelandic adventure clothing king 66North? Its super-light multi-purpose Grettir tee is made for everything from running and hiking to cycling and climbing. It’s versatile enough to be a great option for indoor gym sessions, too. 

With a snug baselayer feel and fast drying fabric with an anti-odour treatment, it’s a tee you can wear in comfort for long periods, even under multiple layers. An added bonus is 66North’s repairs for life scheme, making this even better value.

Upper torso of a man wearing a Castore long sleeve training top

7. Castore Anatomic Mesh Mix Panel Training Tee

Men’s Fitness verdict

Soft, stretchy and flattering, this long-sleeve tee is ideal for added coverage during workouts and runs. We love the mesh panel for extra ventilation, but the raised seams did give a fussier feel.
  • Flattering looser fit
  • Long-sleeve coverage
  • Too many seams
MaterialsPolyester, elastane
SizesXS to XXL
FeaturesFlat seams / mesh back panel / reflective laser-cut eyelets and logo

If you’re looking for a technical tee with long-sleeve coverage, Castore’s Anatomic Mesh Mix Panel Training Tee is a top choice for tackling intense workouts. Strategically placed panels make for a flexible, ergonomic fit and allow ease of movement – ideal for dynamic outdoor drills, for example.

It goes for a looser fit rather than baselayer-style snugness, so it’s more flattering on us mere mortals. Mesh back panels improve air flow around your shoulders, with laser-cut eyelets keeping things aerated across the front too. It may not be cheap but Castore’s training tee looks and feels like its made to last.

Gymshark Apex T-Shirt, roundup for the best gym shirts

8. Gymshark Apex T-Shirt

Men’s Fitness verdict

Coupling lightweight material with an impressive level of wicking, this top won’t weigh you down, no matter how sweaty you get. However, it’s not ideal for those who prefer thicker workout tops.
  • Versatile top for a range of activities
  • Impressive sweat-wicking
  • Sleeves have a habit of riding up the arms
  • Some may prefer a thicker fabric
Materials 91% Polyester, 9% IONIC+®
FeaturesESNCE™️ anti-odour technology / side splits at hem for freedom of movement / lightweight, high-stretch material
Colors5 available

The Apex is a lightweight, versatile training top that wicks sweat away and largely goes unnoticed. It’s infused with ESNCE™️ anti-odour technology, the effectiveness is difficult to gauge completely, but MF‘s editor, who tested the top, doesn’t think he smelt after wearing it – maybe that’s praise enough.

The lightweight design means the top might be better suited to aerobic exercise than weight lifting, as the sleeves can ride up during upper-body movements.

Product shot of Smartwool Intraknit Active top roundup for the best gym shirts

9. Smartwool Intraknit Active Short-Sleeve Tee

Men’s Fitness verdict

Soft and stretchy, this merino wool workout tee offers moisture management, temperature regulation and odour resistance. It’s best to size up if you’re not after a skin-hugging fit.
  • Incredibly comfortable
  • Almost seamless design
  • Tight fit
  • Pricey
Materials51% merino wool, 22% polyester, 21% Lyocell, 6% elastane
SizesSmall to XXL
FeaturesMesh ventilation zones / bacteria and odour resistant
ColorsLead / Black

A sustainable alternative to man-made materials like nylon and polyester, merino wool gym shirts can pack just as much of a performance punch as synthetics. The Smartwool Intraknit’s merino-Tencel mix ensures it’s not only soft, comfortable and a good moisture wicker, but also hard-wearing and versatile.

It’s a heavier duty top than most, with a supportive fit and minimal seams. There’s plenty of flex for strength work and dynamic drills and strategic mesh panels to keep air flowing when you crank up the heat.

Product shot of a man wearing a Picture Organic tee, roundup for the best gym shirts

10. Picture Organic Dephi Tech Tee

Men’s Fitness verdict

This durable workout tee provides breathability and comfort while also being friendly to the planet. The odour-fighting fabric is treated with UP50+ UV protection, making it ideal for outdoor workouts
  • Made from sustainable materials
  • Relaxed, airy fit
  • A shade heavy for some workouts
Materials40% recycled polyester, 48% polyester, 12% Tencel
SizesSmall to XXL
FeaturesEthical and sustainable design / antimicrobial treatment / UPF50+ UV protection / reflective details
ColorsFairway / Grapeade / Shrimp

Another versatile training top suitable for everything from running to lifting, Picture Organic’s Dephi Tech Tee hides its high-performance spec behind a classic cotton tee disguise. Those subtle tones and classic styling mean it’s a good option for kicking back pre- and post-adventure.  

However, innovative Poly-Tencel fabric means it’s not only soft, comfortable and breathable, but also durable and environment-friendly. There’s odour-fighting antimicrobial tech and UP50+ ultraviolet protection built in too.

Benefits of training in the best gym shirts

When you’re hitting the gym floor, the right gear can make all the difference. You could just stick on any old cotton t-shirt you find at the back of the drawer. But if you want comfort, performance and a bit of confidence-boosting style, investing in the right technical workout tee is the smarter option.

Unlike regular cotton t-shirts, technical gym tops tend to be made from more advanced moisture-wicking fabrics, or sometimes high-end merino wool. They’re designed to be light, to move with your body and keep you cool and dry during even the most intense sessions. 

So when you’re knocking out your umpteenth burpee – and cursing yourself and the universe – your gym kit won’t add unnecessary discomfort, chafing and soggy misery into the mix.

Key features to look for in gym shirts

It’s not just moisture-wicking that makes technical workout t-shirts the smarter option, though. They often come with other features that make them a worthwhile investment. That includes breathable mesh panels that improve airflow and ventilation; and a workout-friendly fit that guarantees a good, unrestricted range of movement, leaving you to concentrate on the task at hand.

Some training tops are treated with anti-odor technology to keep you feeling fresh even after a gruelling session and you can even get compression tops that support your muscles – and make you feel more compact and supported like a Marvel superhero. 

The best technical workout t-shirts are also now made to be versatile. Not only are they great for working out, but they can also be stylish and comfortable enough for everyday wear. So if you’re looking to upgrade your workout wardrobe, a few high-quality technical tees is the way to go. 

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