As much as you may love the free cotton tee you got from that work retreat six years ago, you probably know it isn’t the optimal choice for your run, weight-lifting session, or Pilates class. Your workouts deserve a top made of sweat-resistant fabric with sleeves or straps that move with you—but finding such a shirt, one that also fits well and makes you feel ready to smoke your routine, is easier said than done.
That’s why, as part of the 2022 SELF Certified Activewear Awards, we selected, tested, and awarded the very best workout tank tops, T-shirts, and long-sleeve shirts available now.
What to Look for When Shopping for Workout Tank Tops, T-Shirts, and Long-Sleeve Shirts
The features you should pay attention to when shopping for workout tops are the fit, fabric quality, length, and straps or sleeves. A loose-fitting shirt can be distracting or impede movement, while a shirt that’s too tight can feel uncomfortable with extended wear and even cause chafing. Fabric quality can play a role in chafing too, but you shouldn’t stop at finding a shirt that’s soft. Look at whether it can wick away moisture, keep you warm in colder conditions, and hold up under repeated wears and washes depending on how (and when) you plan to wear it.
The length of your shirt and its straps or sleeves can either enhance or detract from its overall fit and feel. Make sure the sleeves don’t cut into your upper arms, cover your hands, or constrict movement in any way. For tank tops, consider whether you prefer that they have adjustable straps. Keeping this criteria in mind will help you find a shirt that suits you and your choice of activity, which will ultimately make your workout more enjoyable.
How We Picked the Best Workout Tank Tops, T-Shirts, and Long-Sleeve Shirts
The tops and tanks considered for the 2022 SELF Certified Activewear Awards had to meet our submission guidelines, which you can read here. In addition to setting parameters around when items launched, we also introduced an inclusive-sizing eligibility requirement. We eliminated products from brands that haven’t displayed a true commitment to size inclusivity, meaning all of our winning products are from companies that carry some or all of their inventory in at least a size 20 or above, with a few exceptions from maternity-wear brands. (This year, we worked to ensure maternity and/or postpartum winners were selected in each category as well.) For specific items that lack a full range of sizes, we’ve provided similar, more inclusive alternatives. We also considered a brand’s commitment to size inclusivity via its public messaging, and the concrete actions the brand has taken toward having a more inclusive product line.
Brands who met the above criteria were able to submit products for consideration. Of the 500-plus products submitted, our judges—more than 40 people consisting of SELF staffers, fitness professionals, and influencers—tested over 300 products. Each product was tested against its respective SELF Certified criteria, which you can find summarized above and in greater detail here. Testers wrote extensive reviews and rated each product. Those who came out on top—all listed below—were awarded a SELF Certified seal.
Read on to see the 10 best workout tank tops, T-shirts, and long-sleeve shirts for 2022, and check out the rest of our 2022 SELF Certified Activewear Awards here.
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