Temperatures are rising so it’s time to invest in some lightweight kit: these technical running tops will help keep you cool.
Under Armour Qualifier Short Sleeve
£36 | Tester: Tina
A great t-shirt for spring, this is a light, breezy and easy to wear top that’s also a beautiful blue. It’s not tight fitting – there is plenty of room for you to move comfortably, so it will adapt to any run or cross-training. The fabric is extremely lightweight and feels very soft against your skin. We love that it has a four-way stretch, so it fits comfortably and moves with you as you work out. A hex-shaped pattern ensures warmth is trapped when you need it but allows the fabric to breathe when you need to stay cool. It definitely doesn’t feel heavy when the sweat starts to build up during a tough speed endurance session. The sleeves and the cut of the hem are subtly feminine. This really does feel like the ideal for top for spring running.
Brooks Distance Graphic Tee
£30 | Tester: Geri
The Graphic t-shirt looks super cool and promotes the Run Happy brand to those in the know but is also such a great message to send out and feel confident running in. The fabric is highly technical, soft and breathable. It’s a great t-shirt to wear in the spring and summer because it’s so light and loose and just so incredibly easy to wear. As well as being pink, the cut is very feminine and it could easily be worn casually with a pair of jeans. The DriLayer material wicks the sweat away to keep you dry and comfortable whatever the distance and odour resistant fabric is music to our ears! Machine washable, it retains its original fit very well. This t-shirt is as laid-back as its message, for the runner who likes to be different. We like different and we like to run happy.
DHB Merino Short Sleeve Base Layer
£30 | Tester: Caroline
This t-shirt is made with superfine merino wool and it cuts a classic shape, the perfect length, fitting snugly around the torso. The flatlocked seams ensure there isn’t any rubbing or chafing o distract or cause discomfort mid run. The function is good as the thermoregulation offers warmth on colder days and keeps you cooler on warmer runs too. The breathability is pretty good, although you may experience sweat patches underarm on harder runs, which may be partly due to the slim fit. However, the fabric consistently washes well and stays true to size, in fact the appeal grows the more you wear it. You will eventually see this as a reliable, good running staple for layering with a jacket or gilet or wearing solo as a single layer with leggings or shorts.
Gore R3 Sleeveless Shirt
£59.99 | Tester: Tina
When you first run out in this its fit feels impressive; it’s very true to size, loose but without being overly baggy, and it still feels feminine. The fabric feels soft against your skin and it functions brilliantly in warm weather, being very breathable. The fabric is also very comfortable, and the striking design makes any outfit just that little bit more interesting. You get 360-degree visibility with several reflective details, as well as an impressively nifty small hidden pocket on the front that’s got enough space for keys and money (not a phone though). The relaxed fit under the arms and with the racer back gives lots of opportunity for cooling. This top doesn’t come up short and has a slightly flared cut at the bottom.
The North Face Flex Tank
£20 | Tester: Tina
This beautiful flex tank may look like just another vest, but if you’re looking for a comfortable and reliable vest for hotel months, this is an excellent buy. It’s reassuringly long in the body so it extends over your shorts/skorts and has a flattering feminine scoop neck. The stretchy fabric works hard to wick away sweat and keep you cool, and feels very comfortable against skin, with no pinching or digging in under the arms. It performs well, with excellent breathability and the chafe-free seams mean this vest quickly feels like an old favourite. There’s no doubt it’s on trend, making it great for layering or those gym workouts where all you want is understated style.
Craft Nanoweight Singlet
£35 | Tester: Susan
The Nanoweight singlet is so light, you will hardly know you are wearing it. It’s very stylish too, with a racer back and detailing on the front. It comes in a choice of four appealing colours with a contrasting colour on the straps. Weighing only 40g it will keep you cool and ventilated, even on the hottest of summer days. It has a glued hem in the neck area to avoid chain and the moisture transport feature moves sweat away from the skin to the outside of the garment effectively, keeping you cool and dry during more intense workouts. An ergonomic, tight fit offers optimal freedom of movement and the length is perfect to wear with shorts. It’s 100 per cent polyester and machine washes at 40°C. This vest could well become an essential part of your summer running wardrobe.
Reebok Running Essentials Tank Top
£17.95 | Tester: Caroline
The Reebok Essentials Running Tank Top is a good quality, affordable vest that comes in four colours; white, black, neon lime and crushed cobalt. This cool breezy tank has an overall fit that’s relatively loose, almost too much so, but the length is perfect with shorts. There are small reflective touches, such as the logo and back panel strip which is a subtle addition to enhance the style and visibility. The top really comes into its own with exceptional function and breathability. The back mesh panel runs the length of the garment for cool running and the racerback design enhances freedom of arm movement, perfect for speed and strength sessions. The tank washes well on a cool wash and dries quickly due to the 100 per cent polyester knit fabric, so it’s a perfect running top for your summer holidays.
New Balance Accelerate Tank v2
£20 | Tester: Louise
This simple, black, updated Accelerate New Balance Tank V2 will be a staple part of your running wardrobe this summer. It’s made with 100 per cent recycled textured polyester fabric and feels soft and breathable against your skin. It has a flattering scoop neck, athletic fit, with racerback and reflective details on the front, side and back. Available in pink and light blue too, it’s tunic length with a slight shirt-tail hem, and is also sweat-wicking, ensuring you are ventilated. You won’t feel any chafing or rubbing on the straps. It’s definitely a vest you’ll use time and time again over the summer months as an easy to wear, cool and stylish top. Very lightweight and easy to pack into a small ball, it’s ideal for when you are running through the summer months.
Prices are RRP and correct at time of print for Women’s Running Issues 112/114 April/June 2019.
How we test: All our kit is tested by real runners. Our reviews team is a group of passionate women with diverse running experiences, from dedicated marathon runners to happy plodders. We wear the clothes, run in the shoes and use the tech on our usual runs to see if they go the distance. We then give each piece of kit our star rating.
Need a sports bra to go with your top? Check out our top picks for larger cup sizes.
*Please note that this article contains affiliate links.