Athletic wear has come a long way since the days when American football was played in wool sweaters and tennis was played in dress slacks. Today’s sportswear is built to move with you while offering other benefits like breathability and quick-drying fabrics. And with athleisure going from a trend to the norm, basketball shorts are just as likely to be worn on the couch while playing NBA Live as they are to be on an actual basketball court. That’s why we’ve rounded up some of the best performance shirts for men.
Performance shirts may look a lot like T-shirts, but they feature subtle details that make them ideal for any workout routine, whether that’s putting in reps at the gym or going for a morning bike ride. Performance shirts typically include polyester or other synthetic fabrics; they can be 100% polyester, but most of them are at least 40% polyester. Polyester is moisture-wicking, meaning these shirts pull sweat away from your body, allowing perspiration to evaporate more quickly.
In addition to fabric construction, other details to look out for are features like raglan sleeves, which are sleeves that are sewn from the collar to the underarm, instead of just around the shoulder. Raglan-sleeve shirts have the benefit of offering a wider, more natural range of motion. Other details include SPF protection for days out in the sun, 4-way stretch for easy movement, and a good range of colors.
So what are the best performance shirts for men? Keep reading to find our favorites from brands like Under Armour and Russell Athletic.
1. Russell Athletic Men’s Cotton Performance Short Sleeve T-Shirt
Russell Athletic revolutionized sportswear by inventing the sweatshirt in 1926, and the brand remains a great source for affordable athletic wear, such as this performance shirt. It’s available individually or in packs of two or three, and there are a wide variety of colors to choose from. It’s made from a 60/40 cotton/poly blend, retaining the softness and comfort of cotton while adding the moistuire-wicking benefits of polyester. The shirt also provides UV and odor protection.
Pros: Wide variety of colors available. Combines the benefits of cotton and polyester. Affordable.
Cons: Colors don’t always exactly match the photos.
Russell Athletic Men's Cotton Performance Short…
2. Under Armour Men’s Tech 2.0 Short Sleeve T-Shirt
This workout shirt from Under Armour is made from 100% polyester, making it a great option if you need a shirt that’s quick-drying and moisture-wicking. It comes in a wide variety of colors, and features a small Under Armour logo on the chest. The shirt also features raglan sleeves, offering a wider range of motion. It’s stretchy and odor-resistant, so it’ll be able to keep up with marathon workout sessions. The best performance shirts for men hold up to repeated laundry cycles, and this Under Armour product is more durable and longer-lasting than your average workout shirt.
Pros: Raglan-sleeves for more natural arm movement. Moisture-wicking fabric. Available in a wide variety of colors.
Cons: Fitted silhouette means some may find that it runs small.
Under Armour Men's Tech 2.0 Short Sleeve T-Shirt
3. Champion Men’s Long-Sleeve Double-Dry Performance T-Shirt
If you prefer the comfort and coverage of a long-sleeve T-shirt, consider this option from sportswear icon Champion. Unlike some long-sleeves, this shirt doesn’t have ribbed cuffs at the wrist, so you can easily push the sleeves up your arm if you feel warm. The shirt is made from moisture-wicking polyester and has 50+ UVF protection. It’s not available in as many colors as others on this list, but there are a handful of tasteful options like maroon, dark green and stone gray.
Pros: Long-sleeves and UV-protected fabric make this a great cold-weather running shirt.
Cons: Runs somewhat large.
Champion Men's Long-Sleeve Double-Dry Performance…
4. Dickies Men’s Temp-iq Performance Cooling Long Sleeve T-Shirt
Unlike the sportswear brands on this list, Dickies is best known for workwear. But that doesn’t mean this long-sleeve T-shirt wouldn’t make a great option for the gym or outdoor activities. It’s made from a 50/50 cotton/poly blend that is comfortable, moisture-wicking and quick-drying. The shirt has raglan sleeves to support natural arm movement, and the flat-lock seams reduce chafing. Plus, the chest pocket is a great place to stash a protein bar for any early morning runs. The shirt comes in muted colors as well as high-vis orange and yellow options.
Pros: Comfortable cotton/poly long-sleeve with a chest pocket. Flat-lock seams prevent chafing. Lightweight and moisture-wicking makes it good for warmer weather.
Cons: Fit is a little large.