Buying Guide for Workout Tops for Women
Why buy a workout top?
The short answer is that you should wear the right clothing for the appropriate task. But specific to exercise, a good workout top can help you stay comfortable, even as you work up a sweat. This can include features such as moisture-wicking, quick-dry support, and better breathability so that you’re not stuck in a sticky, sweaty top while trying to focus on your form.
What to consider when buying a workout top?
- Fit: Workout shirts can range from close-fitting to loose. The right fit will depend on the type of exercise you’re doing. If you’re lifting weights, you might not mind a loose-fitting top. Meanwhile, if you’re running or cycling, you might want something that fits closer to the body so that natural resistance created by wind is less likely to disturb you.
- Length: Longer shirts will cover everything while you’re stretching and bending, but some people like a short shirt to keep cooler.
- Built-in Support: While not a requirement, some people prefer not to have to wear a sports bra and an exercise top. If this sounds like a pain point, then focusing on workout tops with built-in sports bras is important. However, be mindful of the level of support. Some tops may have nothing more than a shelf bra, which is fine for low-impact workouts but insufficient for intense exercise.
- Functionality: Many sports tops are moisture-wicking, which helps to move sweat away from the body. Meanwhile, other features such as quick-dry or even UPF-infused clothing can be ideal depending on the exercise or your workout location. And for cooler weather outdoor exercise, don’t forget thermal functionality that can keep you warm.
- Breathability: Again, depending on the type of exercise, this feature may be crucial. For vigorous workouts, or if you exercise in warm locations (either indoors or outdoors), breathability such as a vented design or built-in mesh panels can be important to boost airflow so that you stay comfortable.
- Sleeve Length: You can find tank tops, cap sleeves, short sleeves, or long sleeves. It comes down to your preference and the type of exercise you’ll be doing. If you’re exercising outside, you’ll want to pair your sleeve length with the weather and your comfort level.
Do you need to buy a moisture-wicking or quick-dry workout top?
It’s not necessary. But if you’re the type who sweats profusely or dislikes standing around in sweaty clothes, those features will come in handy. Ultimately, you’ll want to pair your workout clothes with the exercises that you’ll be engaged in.
Our Picks for the Best Workout Tops for Women
Ictive Workout Tank Tops for Women
Built-in mesh paneling for added breathability.
Pros: Whether you’re working out in a gym or outside in warmer weather, this racerback tank top is perfect for low- and high-impact activities. Built-in mesh paneling along the back aids in breathability, while the sleeveless design ensures that your range of motion won’t be compromised. You’ll also get a stretchy, breathable fabric that’s available in a wide range of colors.
Cons: A common complaint with this top was that the fit was unflattering. Most negative reviews noted that while the top fits well in the shoulders and bust, the length is long. In particular, the A-line cut hits at the hips, creating a wider effect.
Bottom Line: If you keep your focus exclusively on your workout, this simple but effective workout tank is a solid choice. But not everyone will love the fit.
CRZ Yoga Seamless Workout Tank
A form-fitting top with a built-in bra.
Pros: If you dislike wearing multiple layers of clothing when you exercise, you’ll appreciate that this true racerback tank top comes with a built-in bra that features removable pads. And the ribbed design is ideal for a wider range of activities, from yoga to running.
Cons: While this pick does come with a built-in bra, it’s a shelf bra which may not be sufficient for more vigorous exercise, especially if you’re larger chested. Similarly, the slim-fit design might feel too revealing for some people.
Bottom Line: Those seeking a sleek physique-forming workout top will appreciate the ribbed, slim-fit top with a built-in shelf bra that offers removable bra pads. However, those with a fuller bust might want to keep shopping.
Vorcy Women's Padded Sports Cropped Top Bra
A stylish crop top with a racerback design.
Pros: Whether you like to keep it light or want to invest in activewear that can also double as athleisurewear, this crop top with a built-in bra and a racerback design is a great staple to incorporate into your workout wardrobe. Choose from eight different colors, including a bold cheetah print option. You’ll get four-way stretch throughout the body and removable bra pads.
Cons: Not everyone wants a crop top, so keep that in mind. The hem can roll up during movement.
Bottom Line: For a fashionable workout crop top that can also be worn after an exercise session, this is a solid choice.
Real Essentials 5 Pack Dry Fit Tech Stretch Workout Tops
An economical choice that's ideal for those who love a daily workout.
Pros: Multi-pack sets are smart investments. This five-pack of short-sleeve tees is designed with dry fit technology that helps to wick away moisture and quickly dry after heavy sweat sessions. There’s small through 3X sizing, making it accessible to a wider range of bodies. The short sleeves make it versatile for year-round wear and offer more coverage if that’s important to you during a workout.
Cons: Shoppers noted that it’s best to size up with this pick, as the tops tend to run small. Others noted that the fabric was a little thick, which can get uncomfortable if you’re the type who sweats a lot.
Bottom Line: This five-pack of short-sleeved workout tops is a solid economical choice to help you stock up on your activewear.
Under Armor Women's Tech 1/2 Zip Long Sleeve Pullover
The perfect option for indoor or outdoor exercise sets.
Pros: Under Armour is a brand that needs no introduction. If you’re looking for a top that can be used as a layering piece on cooler days or that will work great by itself, this 1/2 zip pullover with long sleeves is perfect. You’ll get quick-dry integration with moisture-wicking support so that you can stay comfortable as you exercise.
Cons: While Under Armour is a trusted performance clothing brand, it’s not without a few drawbacks. Namely, the brand is a premium choice, meaning that it might be a bit expensive for some shoppers. Also note that this top tends to run small, so you may need to size up if you want a more relaxed fit.
Bottom Line: You can’t go wrong with Under Armour for performance gear that can keep up with even the most rigorous workout. Just know that the premium performance comes with a price tag to match.
No matter your workout routine, you need clothes that can keep up with your exercise sets. More importantly, performance-fit clothing can keep you focused on your routine instead of worrying about sweaty clothing. From short-sleeved tops to racerback tanks and pullovers, there’s something for everyone.