You can’t change a 90-degree day, 100 percent humidity, or the dread of logging miles in both. But you can outfit yourself in whisper-weight, sweat-wicking apparel that helps make summer runs feel like the good kind of hot. We’ve handpicked 16 new pieces that are up to the task. From laser-cut ventilation holes to fabrics woven with UPF sun protection, these tech-packed threads will help you run your best in the elements.
How We Tested
Every piece of gear on this list has been evaluated and vetted by our team of test editors. We research the market, survey user reviews, speak with product managers and designers, and use our own experience wearing these hats, shorts, and tops to determine the best for your runs. Our team of experienced testers spent many hours and miles running—and sweating—in it. We evaluated this gear on performance, price, comfort, technical features, and style to come up with this list of the best options to keep you cool when the temperature isn’t.
See at-a-glance reviews of five of our top-rated pieces of summer apparel below, or scroll deeper for more helpful buying info and full reviews of these and other high-ranking options.
Vast Terrain Elevate Tech Tee
This pick from Vast Terrain stands up to Division I speed and sweat—as proven by our tester Dan Roe. The polyester-spandex tee combines welded seams and bonded hems to hamper billowing fabric when you’re cranking the pace, while silver-ion infused yarn helps kill odor-causing bacteria. According to Roe, the Elevate delivered on three humid runs (without a single wash between) with zero chafe and minimal stink.
The North Face “Better Than Naked” Short Sleeve
The name pretty much says it all, but we’ll add a few more words of praise. This airy, quick-drying, chafe-free top has a lightweight feel and looser cut that’s barely noticeable while you’re running. It actually feels cooler than running without a shirt—plus it protects your body from the sun.
Saucony HydraLite Short Sleeve Shirt
A good summer running shirt can make you feel like you’re not wearing a shirt at all, but with the added bonus of protecting your skin from the sun. This barely there layer is breathable and lightweight enough to disappear from your thoughts while you’re running, so you can just enjoy the sunshine and sport. A grid-like fabric design that wicks away sweat, and chafe-free flatlock seams crank up the comfort factor.
Oiselle Kara Tank
When the sun seems lower and you can see the steam rising from the pavement, Oiselle’s Kara Tank is the top you’ll want to slide over your head before heading out for a run. The A-line silhouette provides a flowy fit without billowing on the sides as you power through those warm summer headwinds. Plya Knit Hole Punch fabric prevents heat from becoming entrapped and ventilates your upper body. Just remember the sunscreen.
Fourlaps Level Tank
If our tester Derek Call can’t find a tank up to his standards, he’ll make one himself by snipping the sleeves off a tee and poking some holes for ventilation. Luckily, Fourlaps has a tank that’s already done the dirty work for you. Polyester fabric incorporates 37.5 technology, which “removes sweat in the vapor stage” to lower your core temperature and prevent chafing. Slits at the bottom hem and a bevy of reflective fabric swatches increase air flow and visibility to earn it a place in Call’s starting line up.
Under Armour Rush Tank
Shoes like the Nike Vaporfly Next% tout improved running performance, so why not get an extra boost from your running tops, too? According to UA, the Rush collection’s mineral-infused Celliant fabric absorbs the energy emitted from your body and reflects it back to your muscles and tissues for better endurance. Whether you chalk it up to science or placebo, one thing is certain—our tester confirmed that the open back and streamlined halter-style make it both breathable and flattering for hot-weather workouts.
Gore Wear R7 2-in-1 Short
Whether you’re transitioning from loafers to flip-flops or tights to shorts, seasonal wardrobe changes can feel the same way—friction in unfamiliar places. While these shorts won’t stop the blisters on your feet, they’ll prevent chafing from the latter. On the outside, the shorts look like typical running shorts; inside, a mesh liner hugs your skin and offers just enough compression to help you feel contained and secure without restricting movement. Three mesh pockets hold all your small necessities.
Lululemon Hotty Hot Short II
Tester Erin Benner calls the Hotty Hots “the ultimate summer running short”—and we trust her, considering that her pair of the first-version Hotty’s are entering their eighth sweaty season. In addition to their astounding durability, these Lulus have a built-in liner with hidden pockets, an infinity drawcord that won’t slip out in the wash, and slivers of reflective detailing. If the 2.5” inseam feels a little too hotty hot, there is also a 4” option.
Saxx Kinetic 2N1 Sport Shorts
After a post-swim run in the first Kinetic Run, our Runner-in-Chief Jeff Dengate purged his entire shorts drawer KonMari-style in favor of a week’s worth of Saxx bottoms. This newer model keeps all the features that sparked joy in the original, like the “BallPark pouch” (a silky inner hammock that prevents chafing down in delicate areas), but also adds some updates with a back zipper pocket and a lighter liner material. According to Jeff, the nylon-elastane blend dries fast and lets you skip the BodyGlide for long runs—although he’d prefer the inseam length a little shorter.
Janji Middle Short
Available in a variety of colors and inseams for both men and women, these Janjis are a staple for every summer runner. A perforated drawstring waistband secures a built-in brief liner above the hips—which our tester said felt especially breathable. AdventureVent mesh (a polyester fabric with a pinch of spandex) is great at wicking sweat, while a zippered rear pocket holds a phone, cash, and a specialized bungee loop to lock down your house key.
Molly T. Sports Bra
Say hello to your go-to bra this summer. The Molly T nixes traditional zippers and clasps for a comfier design that wraps you like a beach towel and secures with Velcro. Soft, quick-drying Chitosante fabric (an eco-friendly poly-spandex blend) offers adjustable support depending on the intensity of your workouts, and won’t dig in if your skins swells more on hot and sticky long runs.
Outdoor Voices Zip Bra
No matter your cup size, this high-impact zip bra is easy to get in and out of when you’re tired and sweaty without dislocating a shoulder. Available in different band sizes and cup sizes with easy-to-adjust straps, the bra works great for runners of all sizes. The back of the zip bra is made from honeycomb mesh that feels breathable and cool in hot weather.
Old Navy Cross-Back Bra
With high support for A-C cups (and medium for D and up), this running bra is a stellar value so you can stock up and always have a clean one in rotation. It’s available in three different colors—plus a sleek racerback version—and uses wireless reinforced seams with sewn-in pads to offer bounce-killing support without irritating hooks or clasps. It doesn’t have any frills or special features besides its sporty keyhole back, but at this price, do you need any?
Nathan SpeedDraw Plus Insulated Water Bottle
A quality handheld bottle is an absolute necessity if you’re logging double-digit long runs in triple-digit heat this summer. This insulated pick from Nathan wraps your palm with an added zip pouch for holding your phone, key, and fuel, and won’t slip around when your hands start to sweat, thanks to a textured rubber backing. Plus, the generous 18-ounce capacity will keep you hydrated for miles without stopping to refill.
Rockay Accelerate Running Socks
Rockay is a new kid on the block in the world of running socks, but the Accelerate is a good option for runners looking for an ultralight sock for race day. Despite the thinness of the sock, it’s quite soft on foot, thanks to a merino-blend. The weave of the sock provides nice compression over the arch, and an elastic ring just below the ankle holds the sock up better than most no-show running socks we’ve tested.
Sunski Headlands Sunglasses
We like Sunski’s 23-gram Headlands because they get everything right for an affordable price. The recycled plastic frames are sturdy and there’s no play in the hinges. You get polarized lenses with 12 percent visible light transmission; our blue lenses pumped up the greens of trees and bushes while providing enough glare protection on bright summer days. The frame doesn’t have grippers but it stayed put on testers both with slim and wide faces.
('You Might Also Like',)