When it comes to choosing a new workout shirt or gym top, it’s not as easy as just going into your local sports shop, picking up a t-shirt and heading home. There are myriad factors that come into play: what fabric is it made from? how well does it fit? does it fit into your budget?
You also need to consider where you’ll be wearing said workout shirt, do you workout in the confines of a gym, or do you prefer to keep fit in the great outdoors?
You’ll also find that different gym tops are better suited to different types of workouts. Runners and cyclists will require something more breathable and durable than someone who just wants to lift heavy weights in the gym. Our preference is choosing gym brands that invest in fabric technology to fight heat and smells, like Lululemon’s Silverscent technology.
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- Men’s Running Jackets To Keep You Going Against The Elements
Workout Shirts FAQs
Choose gym shirts that are made from breathable and moisture-wicking fabric, like nylon, bamboo and spandex. This will allow air to circulate, making you feel fresh and comfortable. Workout shirts should not get in the way of your movement. The fit should depend on your activity. Generally, gym shirts should be loose and comfortable, but if you are doing pilates or yoga, you need stretchy and fitted fabrics. Cotton is excellent for working out as long as you blend it with other fabrics like spandex. Pure cotton tends to absorb moisture easily, leaving your shirt heavy and sticky with sweat.
What to consider when choosing gym shirts?
How should gym shirts shirt fit?
Can I wear a cotton shirt to the gym?
Choose gym shirts that are made from breathable and moisture-wicking fabric, like nylon, bamboo and spandex. This will allow air to circulate, making you feel fresh and comfortable.
Workout shirts should not get in the way of your movement. The fit should depend on your activity. Generally, gym shirts should be loose and comfortable, but if you are doing pilates or yoga, you need stretchy and fitted fabrics.
Cotton is excellent for working out as long as you blend it with other fabrics like spandex. Pure cotton tends to absorb moisture easily, leaving your shirt heavy and sticky with sweat.
You May Also Like
We don’t blame you if you haven’t taken all of this into consideration for your next shopping trip, so to make the buying process that much easier, we’ve compiled a list of the best men’s workout shirts out there, from globally recognised brands to those you may not have heard of before.
Most importantly, all of them will keep you looking your best, even with that awkward face you pull when pushing yourself to the limit.
Gymshark - Vital Seamless T-Shirt
Gymshark is the brainchild of a British youngster who made savvy use of social platforms to propel his gym clothing brand to unbelievable heights. Fortunately, the quality of the clothing can back up the popularity, and with low prices across the board, it could be your new favourite.
The Vital Seamless T-Shirt is just that, vital. This workout shirt’s slim fit will enhance the size of your biceps for all of Instagram to see, while the sweat-wicking fabric will leave you as cool as you think you are just wearing Gymshark clothing. A multitude of colours means you can constantly change up your outfits.
Free shipping over $75
Rhone - Reign Tech Shirt
Rhone may be a brand you haven’t heard of before, but the American startup’s clothing should definitely be on your radar when buying some new gear for the gym.
While it clearly has many competitors in the same arena, Rhone spends much more on its fabrics than some of the big boys – the Silvertech line of men’s workout shirts, for example, employs actual silver in its construction to control odour – to not only give its customers high-performing products but ones that provide a more premium feel.
Lululemon - Metal Vent 2.0 Shirt
Lululemon is a Canadian sports brand founded in 1998 and although its primary focus is on yoga, the company also produces clothing for multiple sports and disciplines.
The Metal Vent shirt is described as “the ultimate training top”, meaning it accompany you on your morning run or your evening session on the gym floor. It’s available in a multitude of colours, but its headline feature is a seamless construction, meaning you need not worry about it chafing – something that other workout shirts can be guilty of.
On Running - Performance-T
Swiss sportswear brand On Running is, as the name implies, predominantly a running brand. That’s helped largely by its footwear, which has been meticulously developed to help improve your running performance tenfold. Clothing, however, can have multiple uses.
The Performance-T is a running top first and foremost, due to its severe lack of any real weight, but its breathability and moisture-wicking credentials lend it to being just as capable as a workout shirt to be worn in the gym.
Outdoor Voices - Sweatee T-Shirt
Outdoor Voices was founded in 2013 by Tyler Haney. She has since stepped away from the company, leaving in 2020, but it continues to honour the same traditions upon which it was founded. Those being a supportive community for anyone who simply “turns up” to keep active.
The Sweatee T-Shirt is, as its name suggests, the ideal workout shirt for your beastly workouts. It provides a soft, comfortable fit, with sweat-wicking properties. A touch of spandex allows it to stretch, so those barbell bench presses can be carried out with ease.
Champion - Double Dry Tee
American sportswear brand Champion isn’t just one you want to throw on before or after a workout (see its impeccable range of sweatshirts and hoodies) but one to wear during your workout too, through tops such as the Double Dry Tee. It uses the brand’s own Double Dry technology for effective moisture management, yet without sacrificing the softness of regular cotton. Better still, it’s available in a wide range of colours and is unbelievably affordable.
Barbell Apparel - Havok Short Sleeve
Barbell Apparel caters to all gym-goers, but it’s the real heavy lifters and bodybuilders who will get the most from this company’s clothing range. Designed to accomodate for huge muscles, Barbell’s collections make use of advanced fabrics, such as Flextek, which is used for the Havok t-shirt.
Boasting it will be the softest, lightest and most breathable gym top you will ever own, the Havok can, naturally, be worn in the gym or on your off days, paired down with jeans or chinos.
Ten Thousand - Lightweight Shirt
American activewear brand Ten Thousand doesn’t do things by halves. Everything it makes is the direct result of days, months and years of testing, with the aim to provide timeless styles that offer unrivalled fits and performance.
The Lightweight shirt is one of three models (each is designed for different disciplines) but provides an ultra-breathable fabric designed for use in high-sweat workout sessions. The fabric used doesn’t cling to your body, effectively wicks sweat away from it and is treated with anti-odour technology to help keep bad smells at bay. Simple in its aesthetic and available in a multitude of colours, you have to add this gym top to your collection.
Satisfy - Black Light Muscle T-Shirt
This Parisian brand turned the world of active and running wear upside down when it launched in 2015. It employs designs not often associated with sports, such as moth-eaten t-shirts and a whole host of music-inspired pieces. But they’re incredibly functional and sustainable too, to make it possibly the coolest activewear brand out there.
While most pieces of clothing are designated for running, they can easily be applied to gym training too, such as this muscle singlet, which uses the lightweight Deltapeak fabric and moulds it into a singlet that you could easily get away with wearing as an everyday piece or to a festival. Text on the front and back is reflective and you even get a chest pocket to hold small essentials close by.
Free shipping on order over $300
Vuori - Strato Tech Tee
Vuori, while making use of classic styles for its workout clothing, manages to instil its pieces with an incredibly laid back vibe. The brand is well associated with yoga and running, but because all of its clothing collections are designed to assist you when you’re putting your body through its paces, Vuori’s workout shirts can also be worn to the gym.
Vuori claims its Strato Tech Tee to be the “softest piece of workout apparel on the planet”. It wicks moisture away from your body and dries in an instant and is available in a range of autumnal hues and won’t break the bank.
Ryderwear - Evo T-Shirt
If you’re on the larger side of the fitness scale, hosting muscles the size of mountains, then you may find that many gym shirts don’t quite fit to your bulging proportions. That’s where Ryderwear comes in. The Australian brand was founded to kit out the world’s bodybuilders and gym bros, giving them clothing for use in the gym and for the five minutes they’re away from the weights floor and tucking into some brunch.
The Evo T-Shirt offers subtle branding and is made from a lightweight performance fabric that doesn’t restrict you when you’re trying to lift crazily heavy dumbbells.
Olivers Apparel - Convoy Shirt
Californian-based brand Olivers has set out to create a range of simple menswear essentials, but are versatile enough to wear both in the gym or casually at the weekend.
The Convoy workout shirt can be had in a number of colours, allowing you to team it with whatever gym shorts you already own, or a pair of jeans or chinos for hitting the town at night. It’s made from 100 per cent Merino wool, so feels soft against the skin, but Olivers has also instilled its own technologies, and as a result, the Convoy helps fight against body odour, and can even protect you against the elements should you find yourself in a sudden downpour.
Free shipping on orders over $100.
Myprotein - Velocity T-Shirt
British retailer of sports supplements Myprotein is also in the game of gym clothing, with various pieces coming in at different prices to reflect the materials and fabric technologies on offer.
The Velocity t-shirt is one of Myprotein’s more premium workout shirts, as well as being its most technical. Mesh panels placed all over provide breathability, while the fabric itself effectively wicks sweat away from the body. Side seams are fused together and shoulder seams are taped to add greater durability, and reflective strips on the arms even help you stand out if you’re out running before the sun rises.
Asics - Branded Graphic Tee
Japanese sportswear giant Asics is one of the true pioneers of high-performance sportswear, with its GEL-series of footwear, in particular, being a favourite amongst serious runners. The company also has a comprehensive range of clothing to back up its brand prestige though, with the bulk of it more than suitable for the gym.
This branded graphic tee is rather handsome we feel, and is made from a quick-drying fabric to keep it moisture-free. Asics’ tri-blend material also makes it incredibly soft against your skin and, thanks to its clean aesthetic, can be worn out of the gym too.
Nike - Dri-Fit Shirt
No list of gym wear would be complete without Nike. The company has been at the forefront of the sports industry ever since it was founded in 1964 (as Blue Ribbon Sports, it was renamed Nike in 1971).
The vast majority of Nike’s clothing, including their gym tops, uses its renowned Dri-Fit technology – a proprietary polyester fabric – to help wick sweat away from your skin before quickly evaporating. What’s more, Nike promises the technology will retain its performance throughout its life, so you won’t need to worry about replacing it.
Under Armour - Charged Cotton Tee
Under Armour is another heavy hitter in the sportswear field, thanks in no small part to its large number of sponsorship deals – it provides clothing for Sydney FC and has tie-ins with Tom Brady and Dwanye “The Rock” Johnson.
That’s not to say its clothing can’t match it’s high-profile status, as this Charged Cotton short sleeve workout shirt takes everything that’s great about cotton and makes it better. A loose fit will prevent you from feeling constricted when lifting weights, while the ‘charged’ properties mean it dries much faster and stretches further, making it suitable for a variety of active pursuits.
Free shipping over $60
Adidas - Freelift Sport Prime Heather Tee
Adidas is the world’s second-largest producer of sportswear – behind Nike – and for good reason. Not only is the company’s three-stripe logo one of the most valuable in the style stakes, but its clothing offers plenty of performance to match.
This Freelift Sport tee can help you to look bigger than you actually are thanks to a tapered fit (but of course, you’ll fit it out eventually, won’t you?) while Adidas’ own Aeroready moisture-absorbing fabric technology will help keep your body sweat-free.
Free shipping over $100
Reebok - ActivChill Move Tee
Reebok started life as a British-based company – the Union Jack flag still features on its “Classic” line of clothes and shoes – but was bought out by American Paul Fireman in 1984. Since then, the company has introduced various firsts, including the first athletic shoe designed specifically for women. Today, Reebok produces clothing for all manner of sports and training exercises, including the ActivChill shirt.
It’s not just a fancy marketing term, ActivChill employs a unique weaving process that sees tiny air portals move sweat away from the body, keeping you cool no matter the weather. Reebok says it’s best suited to HIIT workouts, but it will be just at home in the gym or outside.
2XU - Lightspeed Tech Shirt
2XU – Two Times You – proves that Australia can compete in the A-league when it comes to activewear. The company, which was founded in Melbourne in 2005, works with athletes, universities and sports scientists when developing its range of clothing, with the ultimate goal – as the name suggests – to multiply human performance.
The Lightspeed Tech workout shirt for men features strategically-placed mesh vents to help keep you cool, while the lightweight X-LITE fabric will make it feel barely noticeable. It will dry quickly too, and reflective logos all around help you to be seen at night.
Echt - Core T-Shirt
Australian activewear brand Echt was founded in 2014 and has already cemented itself as one of the most popular activewear brands Down Under. The company’s clothing is designed so that it doesn’t just need to be worn to the gym, but during your entire waking day too.
The Core T-shirt is designed to be minimalistic in design but highly functional in terms of performance. It’s ultra-lightweight, has just the right amount of spandex stretch and will effectively wick sweat away from your body.
Reigning Champ - Deltapeak t-shirt
Reigning Champ is a sportswear brand hailing from Canada. Founded in 2007, the company has the sole focus of producing minimalist, essential pieces, but ones that are functional enough to accompany you during the toughest of workouts.
The Deltapeak t-shirt is part of Reigning Champ’s Deltapeak collection which takes the trademarked third-party fabric; an incredibly lightweight mesh design, and uses it in the construction of clothing that is both breathable and fast-drying. It is, therefore, perfect for your hard-hitting, sweaty gym sessions.
Free shipping on order over $250
Castore - Colombo Tech Tee
Castore is a British brand that may charge a little more for its clothing than some of the more recognised names on this workout shirts list, but in return, you get clothing that is fully tested before it even enters full production. The company’s mission statement is to “make athletes better”, and to do so, it tests its clothing for 100 days before it gets full approval (it’s also a favourite of British tennis champion Andy Murray).
The Colombo Tech Tee has been made from a reverse Pima cotton, resulting an incredibly soft material that offers effective stretch and moisture-wicking properties. The super softness also means you can wear it as a daily tee and not reserve it solely for the gym.
American lifestyle brand, RVCA is transcending the boundaries of traditional action sports apparel with its design-driven approach. All of RVCA’s sports apparel is made to last with high-performing fabrics that’ll take your workouts to the next level.
RVCA has an extensive range of men’s gym shirts and tops on offer. All feature moisture-wicking properties. With multiple colours and styles available too, no matter what type of gym top you’re after, RVCA will have it.
Founded in 2007, Alo Yoga began with one simple goal: to create the best yoga gear. Having achieved that reputation quite quickly, the brand then expanded their range and began to create fashion-forward activewear that’s also high-performing.
Alo Yoga has a huge range of workout shirts for men that are moisture-wicking and are designed to withstand even the toughest of workouts. Whether you’re after a tank, a short sleeve, or a long sleeve gym top, Alo Yoga make some of the best on the market.