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Here’s a truth we all need to hear: stop wearing that raggedy, old college tee to the gym every time you go. It’s doing nothing for you. The year is 2022 and we’re onto bigger and better things. We’ve got oils for our beards, we’ve got trimmers specifically made for our nether regions and, most importantly, we’ve got moisture-wicking shirts to keep you dry even on the sweatiest of days.
While hunting for the world’s best t-shirt over the past few of years, we began to notice that not every t-shirt is made the same. Some are perfect for layering beneath your favorite hoodie, others are great for rocking solo in the office. Some are stiff, some are soft, some are made for sweating, and some will stain at the slightest drop of sweat from your armpit.
When it comes to moisture-wicking shirts, it’s important to make sure the one you’re wearing was made to sweat in. So in our search for the best moisture-wicking shirt, we tested 10 different options performing an array of intensive activities to determine the ones we stand by when working out.
We would consider most of the SPY editors to be, well, sweatier than the average journalist. Some can’t leave the gym without completely coating their tees in sweat, leaving the building with a much darker t-shirt. But between our sweat glands and proclivity for testing shirts, we found it extremely resourceful for this particular review.
The Best Moisture-Wicking Shirts At a Glance
- Best Overall: Vuori Strato Tech Tee — $54.00 at Vuori
- Runner Up: DSG Everyday Short Sleeve — $20.00 at Dick’s Sporting Goods
- Contender: Adidas Designed for Training Tee — $35.00 at Adidas
- Great Fit: Under Armour Tech 2.0 Short-Sleeve T-Shirt — $12.99 on Amazon
- Biggest Splurge: Lululemon Drysense Training Shirt — $68.00 at Lululemon
- Budget Buy: Amazon Moisture-Wicking Tee — $9.00 on Amazon
- Honorable Mention: Allbirds Men’s Sea Tee — $29.00 at Allbirds
When to Wear a Moisture-Wicking Shirt
Today’s best moisture-wicking shirts are designed for everyday wear amidst the athleisure movement taking the country by storm. With that said, the best use case for a moisture-wicking shirt is while exercising.
Moisture-wicking shirts are your best friend for the gym, sports, hiking, fishing, and everything else under the sun — literally. They’re a surefire bet for keeping you cool, and more importantly, keeping you dry and comfortable to continue with your activity. Most moisture-wicking shirts also offer UPF protection, which shields your skin from the sun’s harmful, skin-damaging rays.
Could you wear cotton? Sure, you could wear a trash bag — that’s your prerogative. But since the popularization of moisture-wicking clothing through the 2010s, there’s virtually zero reason to look for cotton shirts when you know you’re going to be sweating.
From legendary brands like Nike to lesser-known must-haves, such as Vuori, here are what we found to be the very best moisture-wicking shirts you need to know about in 2022.
When picking up shirts for testing, we were sure to pick up different colors, not just black, to determine whether sweat stains were visible. Obviously, dampness is also something that we could feel on these shirts, but visuals helped tremendously. For the Vuori Strato Tech Tee, we picked up every sweaty guy’s most-feared color: grey.
What did we expect? Sweat stains galore. What did we get? The best moisture-wicking t-shirt money can buy — full send. Upon first wear, this shirt was soft, totally breathable, and draped handsomely over the body. When working out, there is no visible sweat to be seen whatsoever. Sure, your body will sweat, but the shirt keeps you cool, diminishing the normal amount of sweat we’re used to. Essentially, this shirt is made with witchcraft.
We know that $54 is a big ask when it comes to a t-shirt, but we can’t express enough when we tell you that this is simply the best moisture-wicking shirt. We could not rate this tee any higher, but if we could, we would.
- Super soft
- Effortless wicking
- Extremely cozy
- Looks great on
- High price point
Sometimes, big box stores have great research and development departments that create great products. That’s the case with Dick’s Sporting Goods’ Everyday Short Sleeve moisture-wicking shirt. This classic fit shirt is made from a mid-weight blend of polyester and spandex. It’s incredibly stretchy and good for all-season wear. And at $20, it’s a steal.
This moisture-wicking shirt was tested at a local park running football drills for two hours. We found that sweat did accumulate down the center of the back, the pectoral region, and just a little under the arms — deodorant had been applied that morning. The shirt rapidly wicked and dried at a quick enough pace to keep up with sweat production. At no point was there an uncomfortable, wet feeling from sweat being “backlogged.” We’re calling this our second-best moisture-wicking shirt as it aced all our performance testing categories, including the smell test afterward.
- Available in 10 colors
- Perfect length
- Effortless wicking
- Could use a slimmer fit
- Lack of online product specs
The Adidas Designed for Training Tee is self-explanatory but undersells its power. This moisture-wicking shirt is partially made with recycled materials, a step in the right direction from one of the biggest corporations in sports. It’s designed for training, yes, but it works well for sports, outdoor adventures, and just hanging out in something comfortable.
We tested this very soft, comfortable shirt on the football practice field for two hours. Throughout our workout, we monitored how the sweat wicked through the shirt and had a hard time keeping up because it was working so quickly. To be fair, it was also a windy day. So we decided to drive home with the windows up and back pressed against the seat to create a “moisture lock.” After getting out of the car, there was a seat-sized sweat mark on the back of the shirt. It was gone within three minutes of walking down the street. This shirt works — fast.
- Full range of motion
- Barely feel it
- Best moisture-wicking shirt dry speed
- Runs larger than average
- Not odor eliminating
Anyone who’s worn Under Armour before can attest to exactly how high-quality these performance-centric staples are for any and all workouts. This doesn’t stop at the Tech 2.0 tee. When working out, this tee has the ability to wick sweat and provide all the stretch you need to keep you cool. We will be honest and tell you that if you are an extra sweaty individual or someone who goes to the gym for extra long workouts, you might not leave completely sweat stain-free, but moisture does dry quickly if there’s somewhere you need to be afterward. Having said that, this is the best moisture-wicking shirt as far as fit is concerned. Pick this up if you need a reliable moisture-wicking tee that does the trick to the best of its ability.
- Glove-like fit
- Great stretch
- Classic brand
- Doesn’t fully wick moisture for extra sweaty folks or during extra long workouts
Let us start by saying that it’s almost impossible to hate on Lululemon gear. But if you’re going to hate something, it’ll probably be the pricing. Lululemon is expensive, so in order to become a serious Lulu lover, you’re going to have to drop some serious quiche to fill your closet up.
We loved Lululemon’s Drysense Training Shirt. Like Vuori, this shirt is soft to the touch and is made with unmatchable quality. Similar to UA though, it won’t fully wick sweat if you’re into longer workouts or if you’re an extra sweaty person. That said, it does dry very quickly if you need to be somewhere after the gym.
The real standout here is how well Lululemon is able to eradicate foul scents. Judge us if you must, but in order to test the true anti-stink technology woven into this shirt, our sweatiest, but most determined, editor tested it at the gym three times without washing it. After the third sweat, it still refused to smell. The only reason he washed it before the fourth is because he felt like he had to. Needless to say, this is the best moisture-wicking shirt for eliminating odors — a very helpful feature if you share a hamper.
- Great fit
- Great material
- Refuses to stink
- Falters with extra heavy sweat or during longer workouts
- Very pricy
Say what you want about Amazon Essentials, but they actually do create some mighty products for an ultra-cheap price. These moisture-wicking tees come in a two-pack for $9 a pop and have moisture-wicking properties we’ve seen in shirts that are almost $70. Yes, we’re looking at you, Lulu. Although the quality of the material is quite different, we were able to find that Amazon Essentials played the same kind of role it did in the gym that Lululemon did.
While the stretch won’t blow you away, it does stretch enough to keep you comfortable during your workout. Additionally, these aren’t made for extra-long workouts, like many shirts here, but they do dry fast. Come on though, they’re just $9 each. It’s a characteristic we find hard to beat.
- Comfortable fit
- Very affordable
- Can’t handle downpour of sweat
- Not the best stretch
Let us say it straight off the back — if you’re someone who sweats a lot or goes to town during their workouts, this sadly is not the shirt for you unless you’re wearing it on a sweat-free day. And, if you do want to wear it without sweating, go for it; it’s comfortable and stylish. However, the moisture-wicking properties Allbirds talks about are not accurate in our experience.
One of our sweatiest editors took a light-color Allbirds Sea Tee to the gym and sweat through it completely at the very beginning of his workout. The shirt stayed sopping wet the entire time and it was extremely noticeable because of how light the shirt was. For those who only build up minimal sweat when working out, you might have a better experience than us, but we wouldn’t necessarily consider this one moisture-wicking. Use this one instead for casual wear on a warm summer day.
- Super comfortable
- Great for minimal workouts
- Fits very well
- Does not wick sweat in our experience
How We Determined the Best Moisture-Wicking Shirts for Men
For over a month, we’ve been running, lifting, hiking, playing football, and generally just trying to generate enough sweat to find the best moisture-wicking shirt for men. And while we’ve been walking around smelling a little funky a few days per week, we do it for you, the reader. To be clear, we are also showering.
To find the best moisture-wicking shirts, we considered the following factors:
- Size: is the shirt an average size compared to the others? And also, after washing, does it maintain its shape?
- Fabric Quality: does the moisture-wicking shirt feel high quality? In testing nearly a dozen options, we’re keen on the differences in overall shirt feel.
- Tags: is it tagless? We’ve decided there could be no worse feeling than a tag on this type of shirt.
- Wetness: while active, does the moisture-wicking shirt make you feel wet? This can make you feel extra comfortable or the exact opposite.
- Comfort: simply put, is the shirt comfortable to wear? Though there are different types of fits, the best moisture-wicking shirts will undoubtedly be comfortable.
- Odor: after you’re done exercising, does the shirt retain stank? This is a big deal because it’ll likely sit in the hamper for a week.
Why Trust SPY to Find the Best Moisture-Wicking Shirts?
Testing the best gear is one thing SPY does best. We spend hours cruising the internet and local shops for the latest and greatest styles so we can share how they really work.
If that doesn’t do it for you, just understand that we literally put, not so much blood and tears, but hours of sweat into testing in order to find the best moisture-wicking shirts. And even though that sweat was quickly wicked away, it was still WORK to get to that point.
Aside from finding the best moisture-wicking shirts, SPY has reviewed many other categories in the style and fitness space. Recently, we’ve reviewed the best hiking socks for men, the best Vuori joggers, and even the latest Theragun massagers.
Click here to read more about SPY’s product testing and review process.
About the Authors
Tyler Schoeber is the E-Commerce & Special Projects Editor at SPY. Based in Chicago, Tyler’s a proud Jersey native who loves good food, good wine, and good times. Recently, Tyler has written about the best winter coats, the best men’s joggers and the best sweaters for men as well.
SPY Reviews Editor, Anthony Mastracci, is a Los Angeles transplant by way of Boston who enjoys helping guys look and feel their best through outfit coordination. Recently, Anthony has written about his favorite prAna hiking pants and shared his entire beard regimen, developed over the last eight years.