Temperatures are rising so it's time to invest in some lightweight kit: these technical tops and comfy tees will help keep you cool.
We have a lot of choices when deciding on a running top. Long-sleeved or short-sleeved? Loose or compression? Technical or cotton? But once you’ve made some of those choices, we can help you out – our testers have tried out every type of top imaginable to let you know which are the best of the best – or, in this case, the best of the vest.
Read on for their reviews of short-sleeved running tops.
PATAGONIA Capilene Cool Lightweight Tee | £40
They’re not joking when they say ‘lightweight’: this tee is gossamer light, and perfect for long running when you don’t want to be distracted by anything other than the trail ahead. The cut is slightly fitted, but with enough room for movement and layering, and is a great length with small side slits. Meanwhile, the tech is spot on, wicking sweat away effortlessly. It washes well, with no degradation of fabric or performance, and dries super quickly. The featherlight fabric packs away into a tiny handful, so this is an ideal choice for trail kit essentials. Made from 52% recycled fabrics and Fair Trade Certified sewn, this hits the eco and ethical nails on the head too. Now available in charcoal grey and a lush blue, but we’re rather taken with our canary yellow version. Not all tees are created equal…
Available in sizes XS-XL
BADASS MOTHER RUNNERS Neoteric Tech T-Shirt | £16
Badass Mother Runners is a movement that helps get women active, and that is also helping women and children that need our support. Each t-shirt purchased sees £1 donated to Women’s Aid to help women and children in shelters stay safe. On top of that, the tops are ethical and hand-printed using vegan ink too. The quality is superb, the fit is feminine and the range of colours will offer something for everyone. The tee is made from a technical fabric called neoteric which cools and wicks away sweat easily, and it’s also easy to wash on the go. I love my top and feel totally badass wearing it.
Available in sizes 8-18
ZAAZEE Aria Luxury T-Shirt | £40
As the name says, this is a luxury tee! It feels amazing, fits beautifully and has stylish features like the short rolled sleeves and scooped lower hem on the back. The fit is relaxed, and the fabric is a fast-drying material sustainably sourced from Italy, containing 90 per cent polyamide and 10 per cent elastane. The design is simple; there’s a small rubber ZZ tag, flat seams and no irritating labels. It washes perfectly and has a no-fade promise. This top is already a frequent find in the washing pile, and has retained its shape and colour perfectly, so it’s definitely a keeper for spring’s multiple activities and daily life.
Available in sizes XS-L
TOG 24 Barton Tech T-Shirt | £25
This run top is super soft but still highly technical. The Sangria colourway that I tested is gorgeous and complements other Tog 24 clothes. The top is brushed inside and feels so soft next to your skin, even when you’re working hard and sweating. It has a lovely scooped neck which is great for hot running days, short capped sleeves and a small cut out to the neck on the reverse for extra ventilation. It’s seamless, wicking, long enough in the body for taller runners (I’m 5’8), and has a loose fit which moves with you on the run. I can vouch for the fact it doesn’t ride up. This is an item that you’d wear and wear, be it for running, the gym or a dog walk – and it wouldn’t look out of place as casualwear either. It’s the best gym top I’ve ever worn, and it’s made from 50 per cent recycled products!
Available in sizes 8-18
ASQUITH Smooth You tee | £55
This relaxed top is equally at home during a yoga sesh, or loosely thrown on for a warm run. It’s made of thin, super-soft stretch bamboo that moves with you. It has a fitted waistband, something I’d normally avoid – bodies are all different lengths, after all, and what looks flattering on a shorter body can look chuffing awful on mine. But this top is long enough that the band sits comfortably across my hips, and doesn’t shift up no matter what sort of downward dog I throw at it, and the back dart gives it a pleasing pouffe of fabric. For what appears to be a basic black tee, I would usually baulk at that outlay, but this one is lovely enough to cross the divide into workwear, so it works hard. Plus the benefits of bamboo are myriad: it’s more sustainable than cotton, it’s naturally sweat-wicking, you don’t have to wash it as much (true!) and – AND – it’s more crease-resistant than cotton. No ironing. Not that I’d iron running gear, but if I’m wearing it for work, you know, Zoom. Can I give it six stars?
Available in sizes XS-XXL
UYN Marathon Shirt | £64
I really liked the feel of this shirt from the moment that I put it on. Soft to touch and in fabulously contrasting colours (there’s a choice of charcoal/white, fl amingo/white and lavender/blue). It is cleverly designed with lots of great technical features, and the ventilation technology will keep you dry with its superior wicking ability. It’s cleverly made: using only one piece of fabric helps to support your body posture and give ultimate freedom of movement. The front of the shirt has a woven area with numerous channels that permeate the inside surface. This very successfully keeps a constant air flow and regulated my temperature on a particularly long summer run. Special Drylight technology designed by UYN ensures that any moisture is drawn outwards keeping you dry and comfortable. This will be my go-to shirt now for longer runs.
Available in sizes XS-XL
F&F TESCO Black Top with Blue Bra | £14
I love this black top with blue ditsy bra underneath from the Tesco F&F range. It’s flattering and it’s a bargain! The top and bra can be worn together or separately and, with its subtle colour and pattern, it’s dead easy to mix and match with other pieces. The fabric is smooth on the skin, quick drying and has four-way stretch which makes it very comfortable and non-restricting. Personally (as someone with big boobs), a little more support is required for running but this bra-and-top set is nonetheless perfect for home and gym workouts.
Available in sizes 6-22