Gear Guy

Synthetic might not be the best way to keep cool. Via Shutterstock     Photo: Stefan Schurr

Q:

What Running Shirts Should I Wear to Stay Cool This Summer?

I've heard conflicting things about synthetics and their ability to keep me cool. What should I wear while running in this brutal heat?

A:The weather has been brutal lately. So the question has become more urgent: can sweat-wicking shirts keep you cooler? The short answer is no. There is no evidence that technical fabrics keep you cooler. At the same time, the reasons for wearing them are adding up.

Multiple well-designed studies in Indiana, North Carolina, and Colorado have shown that sweat-wicking shirts don’t lower skin or body temperature compared with other shirts or going shirtless (or just in a sports bra).

All that said: Don’t be a hero. Wear a shirt. Sweat-wicking really does make you more comfortable. Covering up prevents sun damage and thwarts bugs. And for guys, at least, wearing a shirt is way classier. Let the 19-year-olds looking to court skin cancer go half-naked, but for shirtless men of any other vintage, the practice tends to draw disparaging comments from locals.

So for any of the crucial reasons outlined above, here are four great hot-weather options for men and women. Our favorite picks employ a variety of materials—including wool (!), cotton, and synthetics—and they provide the sweat relief needed to makes these dog days more bearable.

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