Molded bra offers modest compression, support, and shaping. Open back and low-cut armholes allow for maximum airflow to keep you cool. Made with soft wick-away material that eliminates friction. Cut is flattering with "draped" material that gives an hourglass silhouette.
The size chart is slightly off, so some wearers will need to size up for a good fit.
Super thin design that almost feels like it isn't there. Runs true to size and is spacious enough to fit loosely around the neck and shoulders. Length is fairly long, so it covers most of your bottom. Available in a wide variety of colors, and many wearers invest in several at a time.
Colors look different in person. Lengths often vary between different colors.
Made with Adidas' signature Climalite fabric that wicks away sweat. Material is soft and is color-fast, and won't shrink if it's hung to dry. Fit is relaxed without being too loose. Many wearers enjoyed it for high impact activity as well as weightlifting.
Lighter colors of this tank top can be somewhat sheer or feel thinner than darker colors.
Material is wick-away and has anti-odor technology. Seams are soft and flat, so they won't chafe skin. Quality is evident with the shred-resistant seams. Has a slightly tapered waistline to give you a natural yet flattering shape. Holds up well in the wash.
Mostly available in lighter colors or pastels, and many wearers would have preferred darker options.
Slinky, soft material blend of polyester, rayon, and spandex. Relaxed fit with a fairly long length that conceals the midsection and lower back. Ideal if you prefer moderate coverage, especially since it will hide most sports bras.
Neckline is a bit too high cut for some wearers, and material is a bit sheer.
We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.
As summer heats up, athletes don’t have to thanks to the reliable and always stylish tank top. This sleeveless sports garment is easy to wear and looks great. It’s an essential element in the athletic woman’s wardrobe.
Tank tops became a mainstay for women athletes much earlier than most people think. In 1912, the US women’s swim team at the Stockholm Olympics wore an early version of the modern tank top as part of their uniform. While the design was chosen for its functionality, it was considered scandalous and daring at the time. Today, women can focus solely on the functional and fashionable aspects of the athletic tank top and not worry about causing a scandal.
The tank top is a versatile piece of clothing that keeps the wearer cool and allows for freedom of movement. But choosing an athletic tank top for women requires some time and thought. Our buying guide covers key aspects of this garment so you’ll know what to look for, which fabric and cut will work best for you, and more. Read on for details and check out our favorites.
Athletic tank tops for women are a necessity on hot summer days. For runners, tank tops provide incredible breathability thanks to the loose drape around the torso. In the gym, athletic tank tops allow full freedom of movement so you can get your best workout without limitations. The benefits of tank tops include the following:
Because tank tops are so popular in warmer months, the market is flooded with comfortable-looking styles that may not be ideal for athletes. Plus, tank tops have a few downsides that potential buyers should be aware of:
If you need a new athletic tank top while vacationing internationally, ask for a vest in the UK or a singlet in Australia and New Zealand.
Athletic tank tops commonly come in sizes small, medium, large, extra-large, XXL, and upward. When a tank top is marketed as athleisure wear, shirt sizing may be used (such as 8, 10, 12, 14) instead of general sizing.
Women’s tank tops come in a variety of styles. A few of the most common athletic tank top styles include the following:
Built-in bra: This provides some support and helps reduce chafing during athletic activity.
Lined: Athletic tank tops may include a thin lining that helps wick away sweat while managing body temperature. These tops are great for outdoor activities during spring and fall.
Flared: This tank top flares at the bottom, creating a flowing, relaxed look and improving airflow beneath the garment.
Racerback: The straps on these tank tops meet in the back, just below the nape of the neck to become a single strap. This style allows for maximum ventilation while the top stays in place when exercising or playing sports.
Muscle: This tight-fitting tank top is cut more like a traditional T-shirt, with a high neckline and smaller armholes.
Halter: This tank top fastens around the back of the neck rather than relying on shoulder straps. It’s not a popular athletic style because most halter tops are not as comfortable as other styles.
Backless: The back panel of this style of tank top is cut very low, almost to the waistline. This can dramatically improve airflow and breathability but may be too loose for certain sports.
Low neckline: The neckline sits a couple of inches lower than the typical women’s tank top, allowing for better air circulation.
High neckline: This is a popular cut for tank tops worn in active sports where a loose fit would be hard to control. Women can also wear a sports bra underneath without the straps showing.
Polyester: This is a mainstay of athletic apparel because it’s light, breathable, and wicks away sweat. Most tank tops feature a blend of polyester and other materials.
Spandex: This is added to the tank top fabric to give more structure to the garment. Fitted tank tops rely on spandex to easily conform to the body.
Mesh: Used as a liner or sewn on as a center panel, nylon mesh is the ultimate fabric for maximum airflow, but it can be quite transparent. An option called pinhole mesh improves ventilation through a garment without being as revealing.
Cotton: While it isn’t recommended for sports clothing, cotton is very comfortable. Consider a poly-cotton blend if you want breathability and comfort.
Eco-friendly detergent: Rockin’ Green Platinum Series Active Wear Laundry Detergent
If you sweat in your athletic gear, your clothes will get funky. This detergent uses plant-derived enzymes to break up oils and dirt and a bit of tea tree oil to disinfect clothing.
Headband: Buff Coolnet UV+ Multifunctional Headband
The original flexible microfiber band, this one-piece accessory controls sweat, keeps hair out of your face, and offers sun protection. Its cooling technology helps maintain body temperature on blazing hot days too.
Wristbands: Adidas Interval Wristbands
Tired of sweat running down to your hands just as you’re trying to grip a barbell? Adidas puts a modern twist on a low-tech solution with these forearm-gripping, sweat-trapping wristbands.
Sunscreen: EltaMD UV Sport Sunscreen Lotion
Don’t play games with the sun. This SPF 50 mineral-based zinc oxide lotion protects well, absorbs quickly, and stays put when you’re working out.
Inexpensive: You can find a variety of lightweight, poly-cotton tank tops for just $8 to $12, perfect for those on a budget. Their performance can vary widely, however.
Mid-range: Athletes can find sweat-wicking, breathable poly-blend fabrics in the $13 to $21 range.
Expensive: Expect to pay $22 to $40 for structured tanks with cutting-edge fabric blends.
Athletic tank tops should fit loosely but not too loosely. If you must continually pull the tank top back into place during exercise, exchange it for a size down or try a different style.
A. The best theory out there is that the modern tank top originated with Olympic swimmers, and the nickname for swimming pools back then was “tanks.” The tops resembled swimsuits (“tank” suits), so people in the United States began calling the new garments “tank tops” as they became more popular.
A. Most likely, social mores and the ebb and flow of fashion trends kept the tank top firmly in the realm of athletic wear for women for many decades. Men wore tank tops for swimming and athletic events, and they adopted the comfortable garment as an undershirt for daily wear, replacing long johns and union suits. With the advent of the bikini and the miniskirt in the 1960s, and the rise of casual fashion, the tank top quickly became popular among women again.
A. Comfort outweighs style in the gym, especially when lifting. An athletic tank top needs to stay in place during lifts while not limiting the movement of the arms or body. It also needs to wick away sweat and not get soaking wet during a hard session.
A. Not at all. Women runners wear a variety of athletic shirt styles depending on their personal preference and comfort. Athletic tank tops are extremely popular with runners during the summer because they are cool and expose more skin to the air, keeping body temperature down. But other runners prefer T-shirts or even long sleeves for protection from the sun. Unless they’re required to wear a team uniform, runners can wear whatever they like.
A. Choose a tank with a high neckline that is well fitted to the body, especially if you’re practicing a high-contact sport like judo or jiujitsu. The tank top shouldn’t slip too far out of place when your gi top is tugged on by an opponent. Your chief goal is to maintain body temperature during a workout and reduce chafing from the outer garment or the practice mat. A tank top with a higher percentage of spandex may work best.