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Guide To Buying A Running Top

by Alexandra Parren
Activewear Guide To Buying A Running Top Sundried Activewear Liquid error (sections/main-article line 111): Could not find asset snippets/relatedblogs.liquid

guide to buying a running top

Was your New Year's resolution to take up running, run more, or even run a marathon for the first time? You'll need a great running top to take you the distance! We're here with everything you need to know when buying a new running top.

Running Top Styles

The first thing you need to think about when buying a new running top is what style you'd be most comfortable wearing. Some people prefer to run wearing a running t-shirt, while others feel restricted and prefer to run wearing a vest. In colder weather, you may well need a long sleeved running top to keep you warm. Let's look at the advantages and disadvantages of each of these to help you decide.


A running vest will be the option of most people during summer and in warmer climates and they give complete freedom of movement thanks to their sleeveless design. A running vest will usually feature a racerback design which is when there is one thick strip panel between the shoulder blades and thicker strips over the shoulders. This design completely prevents the straps from falling down your shoulders as you move and as such is perfect for running.

This design also exposes the shoulder blades which could help to keep you cool and dry in very warm temperatures – perfect if you sweat a lot! Look for vests which have larger arm holes if you're worried about your underarms chafing. 

You will also want to make sure your running vest isn't too tight or restrictive around the stomach area as this could really put you off your training session. Check the fabrics used to make the top to see if there is a lot of elastane. Extra long length hemming can also help stop the running vest from riding up as you run which will also add to your comfort level. 

What to look for in a running vest:

  • Racerback design
  • Large armholes
  • Long length
  • Fairly loose fitting

If you feel self conscious about your arms, a running t-shirt might be better suited to you. 

guide to buying a running top


Running t-shirts come in many different designs so it's important to make sure you're going to be comfortable. Most people get quite hot and sweaty when running, so usually a tight-fitting t-shirt won't be suitable as it could get uncomfortable and chafe. 

You also want to avoid capped sleeves for this reason. Capped sleeves are sleeves that are very short in design and will finish quite high on your shoulder without going down your arm. For this reason, any time you try to lift your arm, the whole t-shirt will ride up and this could be very uncomfortable when working out.

On the other hand, raglan sleeves are perfect for training tops and running t-shirts. Raglan sleeves are ones which extend in one piece fully to the collar with a diagonal seam from the armpit to the collar. Thanks to this design, when you lift your arm, only the sleeves will move and the rest of the garment will stay put. This prevents the t-shirt from riding up and moving too much when you exercise. 

What to look for in a running t-shirt:

  • Long length
  • Sweat wicking
  • Raglan sleeves
  • Anti odour
  • Avoid capped sleeves
  • Avoid muscle fit if you don't like feeling restricted

Long Sleeved Running Tops

In colder weather you will want to wear a long sleeved top for your running to keep you insulated and protect you from the elements. There is the option to go for a compression top which is thought to aid performance by improving blood flow to muscles, but this is inconclusive. A good long sleeved running top for running will be seamless so that it doesn't chafe and will be super sweat wicking so that your arms don't end up wet with sweat and get uncomfortable.

What to look for in a long sleeved running top:

  • Sweat wicking
  • Raglan sleeves
  • Anti odour
  • Compression technology could work for you
  • Temperature control

Sundried long sleeved running top

The diagonal seam at the shoulder of the Sundried compression top pictured here indicates a raglan sleeve, which means you can lift your arms and move freely without causing the top to ride up – perfect for running. 

Running Top Fit

Especially when running long distances, comfort in your running gear is paramount. Both men's running clothes and women's running clothes need to be comfortable enough that you can forget about them and focus on your run. Let's look at the different issues you may face and how to make sure you avoid them.


Running involves a lot of repetitive movement and as such leaves you vulnerable to chafing. This is when the fibres of the running top you're wearing rub against your skin and cause irritation. Opt for a running top made from super soft materials and one that's crafted in a seamless design in order to minimise the risk of chafing.

Riding Up

One of the worst feelings is trying to concentrate on your run but being distracted by a running top that keeps riding up and having to constantly pull it down. Riding up will be caused by an ill-fitting running top that's too tight and made from restrictive materials. Avoid running tops that are made with too much elastane and instead for for more natural fabrics. Additionally, a longer length design will eradicate this problem completely. 

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