8 Killer Running Shirts As Stylish As They Are Cooling

Whether you're hitting the trail or the treadmill, you'll want a to rock one of the enhanced running shirts on the market. Today's tech-optimized options offer tremendous benefits, like moisture wicking and optimized breathability, so you'll sweat less and sprint more—and even shave some time off your mile. (Oh, and they look amazing, too.)

Columbia F.K.T. Short Sleeve Shirt in white photo

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Columbia F.K.T. Short Sleeve Shirt

When the scorching September sun starts to heat up your high-elevation trail run, find shelter in this tech-packed shirt. Tiny, shiny titanium dioxide (the same chemical in sunscreen that protects your skin) dots cover the shirt's upper half, deflecting the sun's rays—and heat—away from your body, and resulting in a flashy, somewhat understated disco ball effect. Also, the entire inside of the F.K.T.—short for "Fastest Known Time," which is a speed record along any given route—is covered with polymer rings that use your own sweat to mechanically cool your skin through a microscopic, whiz-bang evaporative process. This is just the latest step in Columbia's tech-forward approach to apparel, and it's one that'll make those bluebird days above tree line that much more comfortable. ($75; columbia.com)

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Running shirt with white stripe diagonally across it photo

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Tracksmith Van Cortlandt Singlet

This classic mesh singlet—that's runner speak for a lightweight, breathable racing tank—was inspired by "Boston Billy" Rodgers, who famously won the 1975 Boston Marathon (setting his first American record of 2:09:55) wearing a mesh tee he found in the trash. Lightweight and antimicrobial, the Van Cortlandt is a performance piece that breathes as hard as you do, so you stay cool—and look like a winner—no matter how fast you run. ($65; tracksmith.com)

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New Balance Ice 2.0 Short Sleeve in black photo

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New Balance Ice 2.0 Short Sleeve

Anyone who runs with headphones can relate to how obnoxious and distracting they can be, when their dangling cords are loosed from purpose-built, jacket-based internal routing ports to knock against your chest with every bouncing stride. Finicky retention clips and pricey wireless headphones, with their connectivity problems, have done little to alleviate the situation. But the Ice 2.0, a polyester-based tech shirt, has seemingly solved the problem with a small, deceivingly simple cloth loop on the back collar. Simply thread your headphones through it on the way from your arm to your ears, and it forces the cord down your back. Add to that a vented mesh back side and 360-degree reflectivity, and you're ready to rock your runs. ($45; newbalance.com)

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Light gray men's running tank photo

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lululemon men Metal Vent Tech Surge Tank

It's hard to imagine wrapping up a hot-weather run on a happy hour barstool without at least stopping off at home first to air out, apply deodorant, and, of course, change your stinky, geeky tech shirt. But lululemon's latest running tech tank, like everything they make, is designed to be fashion-forward on the outside—note the sleek, tailored silhouette in stylish, muted heathers that don't scream for attention—but high-performance at its core. Body-mapped open-hole mesh fabric helps you keep your cool on the run, flatlock seams minimize chafing and Silverescent tech bonds anti-bacterial silver to the surface of every fiber to quash the funk, making the intervals-to-IPAs transition smooth and effortless. ($68; lululemon.com)

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La Sportiva Skin T-Shirt in orange photo

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La Sportiva Skin T-Shirt

Let's get this out of the way now: It's not your fault that you stink. Running is sweaty work, and odor-causing bacteria like to set up shop between the synthetic fibers of our favorite shirts and shorts while sweat is wicked away, leaving behind a stubborn, sour funk. That's not the case with this Polygiene-treated technical running shirt from La Sportiva. Polygiene's silver chloride treatment is the most effective—and likely most environmentally friendly, because it's a naturally occuring salt recycled from electronic parts rather than strip-mined primary material—anti-stink silver treatment we've come across. So long as you air it out in between, you could easily wear it for five consecutive sweat-drenched sessions without raising a whiff of suspicion from your friends. And that's a good thing, because the Skin's breathable knit is so ridiculously soft and fast drying—with body-mapped compression that makes it feel almost like a second skin—that you'll want to do exactly that. ($79; sportiva.com)

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Cobalt blue sleeveless running tank from Patagonia photo

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Patagonia Windchaser Sleeveless

If you want to run like the wind, you've got to be as light as air. Patagonia pulled out all the stops with the Windchaser, selecting ultralight fabrics—moisture-wicking recycled polyester down low, breathable mesh up top—crafting a slim, body-hugging silhouette, and even cutting off the sleeves, in their relentless pursuit to achieve that weightless, almost-off-the-ground feeling. The end result is a 2.3-ounce, barely-there performance piece that's perfect for sniping the local age-groupers in your next competitive 5K race. ($49; patagonia.com)

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Light red men's running shirt made of merino wool photo

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Icebreaker Zeal SS Crewe

While most running shirts lean on manmade synthetics for their performance properties, the Zeal depends mostly on "nature's performance fabric": merino wool. A blend of 65 percent merino—harvested from hard-living New Zealand sheep—and 35 percent polyester, it manages moisture (moves sweat and water vapor away from your skin) better than synthetics and most other natural fibers alone, making it highly breathable, odor-resistant, and even cooling in hot summer and early autumn weather (so banish that scratchy wool sweater from your mind). And, when you've finished up your run—bonus!—you can still wear this wool to the coffee shop without turning any heads. ($70; icebreaker.com)

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Salomon S-Lab EXO Tee in white photo

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Salomon S-Lab EXO Tee

This skin-tight shirt, which wears its tech on its sleeve, is sure to draw curious stares if you take it for a jog on your local rail trail. With its honeycomb-like EXO Sensifit polyurethane "exoskeleton" laminated across the chest, abdomen, and back, it supports improved posture for long mountain slogs, where proper body position can improve oxygen intake, reduce fatigue and increase overall efficiency for long-term comfort. Another premium feature is superior moisture management that dries up to five times faster than competitors, to keep your core from overheating. The EXO half-zip is a premium piece, intended for hard workouts and races—preferably in the mountains above Chamonix or Courmayer. Be warned, though, that this design leaves little to the imagination, and makes all but the fittest of athletes look like stuffed sausages. ($150; salomon.com)

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