The right workout top (one that’s not a grimy T-shirt from the back of the closet) is breathable and comfortable while providing the right amount of coverage. That’s a surprisingly difficult thing to find. To help women of all different shapes and preferences narrow down their options, we consulted a panel of fitness experts on the workout tops they rely on to get them through anything from a low-impact workout like yoga to a sweaty, high-intensity class. There are some cropped tops for people who don’t like feeling constricted, plus loose, airy, sweat-wicking tanks for those leaning into their fitness resolutions. If you’re re-upping on all of your workout basics, don’t forget to consult our guides to the best workout bras, leggings, and shoes, too.
Cropped workout tanks
There was a clear preference among the fitness experts we spoke to for airier cropped tanks (since they’re the next best thing to wearing a sports bra by itself). Trainer Tara Laferrara says she always gets compliments on this laser-cut tank that she likes for yoga or weight training. “It’s super cute and sporty, and the length is long enough to just show a hint of a waistline.”
And for the especially sweaty, Laferrara recommends a comfier tank like this Athleta one. “It’s roomy and breathable, making it a great option for just about any type of workout.”
This Nux tank doesn’t look strictly like a workout top, which is why Glenn says she loves wearing it with regular clothes outside the gym. “It’s form-fitting and great for days when you’re feeling super confident and don’t mind showing some skin, but also great for yoga, animal flow, and things of that nature.”
Not everyone wants a cropped fit, but your tank should at least keep you cool during workouts. Hollis Tuttle, a coach at Mile High Run Club, finds that this Lululemon racerback with “anti-stink technology” does the trick during runs. “It’s very breathable, light (even when sweaty), drys quickly, and does not chafe.”
Here’s a tank that ties up in the back, which NASM-certified personal trainer and yoga teacher Lauren Seib recommends as a “go-to for crushing outdoor miles or PRs at CrossFit.” It has ventilated strips down the back for keeping cool, and she adds that “the chafe-free seamless fabric moves with you.”