light summer tees
(Photo: 101 Degrees West)

6 Ultra-Light, Ultra-Breathable Running Shirts for Summer

We tried the coolest running shirts on the market to let you know how they handle the heat.

light summer tees

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Many of us have a shelf or drawer full of tech tees from races, but while nearly any polyester shirt will do better than cotton in the heat — as well as last seemingly forever — they often lack in comfort, particularly when the temperature and humidity soar. These new high-tech models not only feel amazing against the skin, they move, breath and dry unbelievably fast, look stylish, and don’t retain odors. You may never want to wear anything else, on or off the run.

Arc’Teryx Cormac Comp Shirt SS | $75

Arc'Teryx breathable shirt
Photo: Arc’Teryx

We loved the way the slightly-stretchy knit fabric of this shirt drapes and feels against the skin. Panels on the side and back are even more breathable than the primary fabric, which provides sun protection, never feels clingy, dries quickly and doesn’t smell. It works so well we often continued wearing this stylish tee for hours after a run.

Black Diamond Rhythm Tee | $75

Black Diamond merino tee
Photo: Black Diamond

This 43 percent merino wool shirt has a natural touch, but is soft, smooth and highly breathable for quick-drying comfort. It’s also seriously stretchy, providing ease of movement and a relaxed, shape-following fit. One of the few wool pieces we reached for, even on hot, sticky days. We wore this tee in both casual settings and on runs of any distance.

Rabbit EZ tee perf SS | $45

Rabbit mesh breathable tee
Photo: Rabbit

The stretchy poly/spandex blend and tailored fit of this comfortable tee keeps it close to the body where it moves like skin. But what makes the shirt stand out is the airy, perforated, ultra-thin mesh that breathes so well it feels better than being bare. We wore this on the hottest, hardest workout days when we wanted no distractions and maximal ventilation.

 Salomon Sense T | $70

Salomon ultra-light running tee
Photo: Salomon

At face value, this is a sporty, nicely-fitting, light and thin tee that doesn’t cling. But, unseen, embedded in the fabric are active particles made from volcanic sand that, Salomon claims, react to sweat vapor and move moisture away from your body. We can confirm that the shirt kept us cool and comfortable when working hard, and dried almost instantly. We liked it so much we dug it out of the dirty clothes basket to wear on a run more than once.

Tracksmith Twilight T | $58

Tracksmith Twilight Tee
Photo: Tracksmith

The feel of this shirt’s Italian stretch-mesh fabric is silky and luxurious, the classy retro-feel styling impeccable. Slightly heavier than some ultra-thin options – giving it a durable feel — the shirt breathes admirably, dries immediately and moves naturally. Mostly, it made us feel comfortable, whether cranking out miles or hanging out with friends (in small groups, of course).

Under Armour Breeze Short Sleeve T-Shirt | $60

UA Breeze Tee
Photo: Under Armour

Under Armour blended polyester with hydrophobic GORE-TEX fibers to create the softest, most breathable shirt we’ve tried. The thin, stretchy tee hangs loosely away from your skin and stays away even when it gets wet, quickly evaporating and cooling in the stickiest conditions. We were afraid the airy mesh wouldn’t be durable, but despite its light weight and buttery feel it has stood up to a spring of runs and washes without any snags or visible wear.

Check out our review of women’s summer running tops here

From PodiumRunner
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Lead Photo: 101 Degrees West