Tech t-shirts are that happy medium between tank tops and long sleeves…the top you need for the *perfect* running weather. You know, those sunny days where it is Goldilocks good, not too warm and not too cold. While t-shirts are a sign of a great day on the trails they are not all created equal. Finding a t-shirt that fits you just right and has you jones’ing for another sunny trail day is easier said than done. So, let’s jump into this review of running t-shirts so you can get one step closer to the perfect top!
In this review we will chat about the length of the shirt, the shoulder width and the overall style of fit. These t-shirts are made with technical material, but as a basic go-to top the fit and feel of the shirt will be what makes you choose it from your gear stash over and over again.
The Smartwool Merino 150 Base Layer Short Sleeve top is made with a core spun merino wool meaning the wool is spun around a nylon fiber to increase durability without reducing heat regulation performance. The knit feel of the shirt is soft and cozy, perfect for on and off the trails.
The Merino 150 Short Sleeve measures at 25.5” long with a 16” span across the shoulders in a size medium.
What We Loved: The soft feel of this shirt is amazing and will have you thankful for the smell repelling qualities of wool because you won’t want to take it off.
- What We Would Change: Honestly, beyond more colors or a “heathered” option, I don’t know that I’d change this shirt. Maybe a longer version to pair up with leggings?
- Fit & Feel: The Merino 150 Short Sleeve is a fitted shirt, but it is not so snug that you’re feeling restricted or constantly adjusting it. I did size between small and medium, opting to go up to a medium which was the right choice to keep the t-shirt comfortably fitted.
The Icebreaker Merino Cool-Lite Amplify Crew Tee is made with merino wool and designed to offer extra ventilation across the back and ribs. The Cool-Lite material makes this shirt a great option for the warmer days that aren’t quite tank-worthy. The ventilation across the back helps to reduce the sweat build that usually comes with wearing a running pack. The longer drop tail in the back also helps avoid any riding up when you’re wearing a pack.
The Amplify Crew Tee measures at 26” long with a 15” span across the shoulders in a size medium.
What We Loved: The overall fit of this top is great and the drop tail helps to provide a bit of coverage while also keeping the shirt in place.
- What We Would Change: The sleeves are a bit narrow and tend to ride up a bit when you’re moving. As a t-shirt this isn’t unusual, but a bit more room in the hem of each sleeve could mitigate this.
- Fit & Feel: The Cool-Lite Amplify Crew Tee is a fitted shirt, but still allows for a lot of movement in your arms without causing the shirt itself to ride up. I sized into a medium and it is true to size.
The Under Armour RUSH Seamless Tee is created with the RUSH material. The premise is that the mineral-infused fabric reflects the energy of your workout back into your body for an added boost. The t-shirt has a unique design of knit material for added ventilation in the areas that sweat the most — back and underarms.
The RUSH Seamless Tee measures at 25.5” long with a 16” span across the shoulders in a medium.
What We Loved: The fit of the t-shirt is very comfortable, fitted but not restrictive. The subtle technical design of the various knit panels just make you feel faster!
- What We Would Change: The material is quite stretchy, which is great unless you have broader shoulders — a bit more room in the width of the shoulders would offer an even better fit.
- Fit & Feel: The RUSH Seamless Tee is a fitted t-shirt with a knit design that allows the t-shirt to follow the contour of your body. I sized into a medium and it is true to size as a fitted top.
The Black Diamond Rhythm Tee is an extremely lightweight merino wool t-shirt. It is designed to dry quickly [5x faster!] while offering a lot of breathability and stretch. The t-shirt has smaller cap-like sleeves with a scalloped “tail” in the back for a bit more booty coverage.
The Rhythm Tee measures at 24” long with a 14” span across the shoulders in a size small.
What We Loved: The t-shirt is so incredibly lightweight and it really does dry out quickly.
- What We Would Change: It has a very narrow fit across the shoulders so if you have broader shoulders [*raises hand*] consider sizing up for this reason alone.
- Fit & Feel: The Rhythm Tee fits snuggly. I sized into a small and it does fit, but I would size up for more room in the shoulders. The merino wool does scratch a bit, so I would also recommend wearing this t-shirt with a tank underneath.
The REI Active Pursuits Tee is made with a polyester fabric that is both stretchy and durable. It offers quick-dry and sweat-wicking properties that will help keep you cool and dry when on the trail. It also has longer sleeves, perfect if you prefer to avoid the “cap sleeve” feel of many trail running t-shirts.
The Active Pursuits Tee measures at 24.5” long with a 19” span across the shoulders in a size medium.
What We Loved: The longer sleeves give this t-shirt the feel of a comfy favorite and the material is soft.
- What We Would Change: It would be great if this shirt was just a bit longer, especially with the more relaxed fit. A little more length would have it falling over the hips rather than stopping at them.
- Fit & Feel: The Active Pursuits Tee is a more relaxed fit with an almost boxy feel to it. If you’re someone who doesn’t like a fitted shirt, this one will be your jam! I sized into a medium and it is true to size, although you would have room to size down if desired.
The Arc’teryx Kapta Top SS is made from a very lightweight and breathable material, the Reza mesh. When you slip this top on you’ll almost forget you’re wearing a t-shirt. It offers endless breathability and allows for your full range of motion, although the lightweight material will ride up a bit if you’re wearing a hydration pack.
The Kapta Top SS measures at 25” long with an 18” space across the shoulders in a size medium.
What We Loved: The shirt is incredibly lightweight, which also makes it very comfortable to wear. There is also a small “v-neck” cut which keeps the neckline from being restrictive.
- What We Would Change: The length of the shirt is a bit short for anyone with a longer torso. The shorter length in such lightweight material leads to the shirt riding up a bit when wearing a pack.
- Fit & Feel: The Kapta Top SS has a relaxed fit with plenty of room to move without any restriction from the material of the t-shirt. I sized between a small and medium, opting for a medium. If the shirt was a bit longer I would likely fit more comfortably into a small.
The Brooks Distance Short Sleeve t-shirt is made with the DriLayer fabric that provides comfort and sweat-wicking. The shirt is designed to be flattering with a chic flair to it. It is made of a soft material that hangs well with a relaxed fit. The sleeves are a bit longer than the somewhat standard cap-like sleeve of running t-shirts, which adds to the chic appeal.
The Distance Short Sleeve tee measures at 27” long with a 17” span across the shoulders in a size medium.
What We Loved: The soft feel and chic style of the shirt makes it great for the trail as well as the town.
- What We Would Change: The back v-neck design does feel a bit out of place on the trails, but if it were a deeper v-neck it would be perfect for the yoga studio!
- Fit & Feel: The Distance Short Sleeve top is a relaxed fit and provides a casual feel when you’re wearing it. I sized into a medium and it is true to size.
The Tracksmith Twilight Tee is made with a lightweight, almost mesh, material that is both soft to the touch and anti-microbial. The small pointelle holes in the knit material allow for more breathability as well as a quick dry…when wet from sweat or summer rain. Also, by avoiding the top-of-the-shoulder seam the sleeves of the t-shirt fit comfortably while allowing full range of motion.
The Twilight Tee measures at 26” long with a 16” span across the shoulders in a size medium.
What We Loved: The t-shirt’s mesh-like material is stretchy and breathable without being see-through. Also, the sleeves don’t bunch in the armpit even though they are a bit fitted.
- What We Would Change: The neck feels a bit restrictive, especially on someone who prefers a larger scoop neckline…possibly just a personal preference.
- Fit & Feel: The Twilight Tee is very stretchy which allows it to feel fitted without feeling restrictive across the back or shoulders. I sized into a medium and it is true to size, but if you have broad or muscular shoulders you may want to size up for more mobility across the shoulders.
The Daehlie Training Wool Summer T-Shirt is an extremely lightweight top made with panels of wool and wool mesh. The wool mesh panels are strategically placed to provide extra ventilation in the areas we sweat the most. The fitted t-shirt does not restrict motion, but it does ride up a bit in the back when you’re wearing a pack.
The Training Wool Summer T-Shirt measures at 24” long with a 13” span across the shoulders in a size small.
What We Loved: The t-shirt is very lightweight with a lot of breathability making it great for hot summer days [or warm spring days!].
- What We Would Change: The shoulders are not very wide, even for a very fitted t-shirt. A bit more space across the shoulders would help the t-shirt stay in place when you’re on the move.
- Fit & Feel: The Training Wool Summer T-Shirt is a fitted top with panels of different materials. It fits well, but it does ride up a bit [unless you size up?]. I sized between a small and medium but sized down…I would recommend sizing up if you’re between sizes, or if you’re looking for a slightly less fitted top.
|Brand & Style||Type of Fit||Back Length||Shoulder Width|
|Smartwool Merino 150 Short Sleeve [M]||Fitted||25.5 inches||16 inches|
|Icebreaker Amplify Crew Tee [M]||Fitted||26 inches||15 inches|
|Under Armour Rush Tee [M]||Fitted||25.5 inches||16 inches|
|Black Diamond Rhythm [S]||Fitted||24 inches||14 inches|
|REI Active Pursuits Tee [M]||Relaxed||24.5 inches||19 inches|
|Arc’teryx Kapta Top SS [M]||Relaxed||25 inches||18 inches|
|Brooks Distance Short Sleeve [M]||Relaxed||27 inches||17 inches|
|Tracksmith Twilight Tee [M]||Fitted||26 inches||16 inches|
|Daehlie Training Wool Summer T-Shirt [S]||Fitted||24 inches||13 inches|
**Measurements: The “back length” is measured from the top of the collar seam to the bottom of the back hem. The “shoulder width” is either measured from seam-to-seam if available, or across the shoulders as the shoulders line up with the width of the chest of the shirt. The “shoulder width” is a bit harder to accurately measure, but efforts were made to make it as realistic to wear as possible…according to a woman with broader shoulders!**