Back in the day, it was simple. Before hitting the gym or playing a game of five-a-side, you’d simply slip on an old tee. Those days are over. Now, there are so many different styles of sports tops out there – from personalised vest tops to technical tees – that you might have no idea where to start. Yikes.

Don’t panic. Whether you’re kitting out an entire team or simply looking for new sports gear for yourself, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve got you 100% covered. So, sit back, relax and enjoy this guide to the best workout tops you can get your hands on.

Choosing the right fabric for your tops

Before we look at the best top styles, it’s worth taking a moment to talk about the type of material that you choose. When a team is competing, they need a kit that is at once comfortable and breathable. However, that’s not the only thing that you should consider when making your choice here.

The Sweat Factor

What about how the vest tops smell? It’s a tricky topic, but we can’t ignore it! Research from the American Society for Microbiology suggests that, after the wearer works out, polyester clothing actually smells worse than cotton clothing. If you want your team to avoid the post-exercise stench, a completely synthetic option may not be the answer.

The Comfort Factor

While cotton does decrease the smell of sweat, it is also extremely absorbent. As people sweat, the top may start to get moist and heavy. That’s sure to be uncomfortable for players when they’re in the middle of a game. So, you may want to avoid 100% cotton tops completely. Strike them off your list. Instead, opt for a blended material, which gives you the best of both worlds.

The Lightweight Factor

Finally, you should also consider how lightweight and, ultimately, breathable the fabric is. One of the most popular recent sportswear trends is the mesh look. That means that there are tiny, breathable holes in the garment itself. While this style may not be for everybody or, indeed, right for every sport, it’s certainly worth looking into!

[content_band bg_color=”#E8F6D2″ border=”all”] [container]By the way, do you need customised sportswear? ⚽️ Printsome’s apparel-printing services are perfect for making souvenirs, merchandise and uniforms, among many other possibilities. Visit our website to find out more.[/container] [/content_band]

12 of the best tops for sports and working out

Racerback Top

Best for: General workouts

With a scooped neckline and urban racerback design, this style of workout top is ideal for most types of exercise. The loose-fit of the top means that the wear has a full range of movement – whether they’re playing basketball or running a race. What’s more, there’s an option to turn these products into personalised vest tops by adding a logo or print design.

Personalised vest tops - Racerback tops
Racerback top from ASOS.

Alphaskin Tee

Best for: Dynamic exercise

Complete with mesh inserts and an otherwise lightwear material blend, the alphaskin design is one of the best for dynamic sports. It has compression tech, which keeps you feeling strong and sturdy, while also being super dry and cool. Plus, this type of tee makes the ideal base layer to your workout gear. Nice! Alphaskin tee from Adidas.

Personalised Vest Tops - Alphaskin Tee
Alphaskin tee from Adidas.

Y-Back Tank  

Best for: Strength training

Building on the racerback design, the y-back look takes things one step further. Rather than having that signature criss-cross style, the rear of the top literally looks like a ‘y’. This style of workout gear is most suited to bodybuilders and those with already rippling muscles. They are highly breathable with minimal fabric. Oh, and they are also the perfect way to show off your pecs. Y-back tank from

Personalised vest tops - Y-Back Tank
Y-back tank from

Wide Armhole Vest

Best for: Weight lifting  

From personalised vest tops to plain white tees, the dropped armhole design has been a huge trend in recent years. This type of top can be highly functional as well since it negates having material near the armpit area. That means less sweat and irritation for the wearer, which is a massive bonus too.

Personalised vest tops - Wide arm holes
Wide armhole vest from Illusive London.

Oversized Top

Best for: Cardio exercise

Of course, some prefer a looser style when it comes to their gym gear. That’s cool. If you’re looking for something that is durable and comfortable, an oversized training top is a smart place to start. You can either opt for a large-sized tee or a baggy tank top instead.

Personalised vest tops - Oversized Top
Oversized top from Gym Wear.

Basketball Jersey

Best for: Team sports

There are few things quite as cool as a suave basketball jersey. When you’re looking for a sports workout top, why not shop like a pro? If these vests are good enough for the world’s best players then they should be good enough for you. Look for a classic jersey style along with a blended material option and you’ll be onto a winner.

Personalised vest tops - Basketball jersey
Basketball Jersey from Footlocker.

Muscle Tanks

Best for: Strength training

Muscle tanks do exactly what they say on the tin – show off the wearer’s muscles. The design is ideal for those looking to bulk up, as they are created with weight-lifting in mind. Note the thicker straps and high scoop neckline here. None of the design features will get in the way of training. In fact, they might just enhance it.

Personalised vest tops - Muscle tank top
Muscle tank from Reebok.

Fitted Gym Tee

Best for: General workouts

Offering both comfort and flexibility, it’s hard to go wrong with a fitted gym tee. Raglan style sleeves offer a snug fit around muscles, but also mean that the wearer can move freely. The sides of the tee are also tapered in neatly, which means that the entire piece is fashion-forward while also being entirely functional.

Personalised vest tops - Seamless tee
Seamless tee from Bulk Powders.

Classic Tank Top

Best for: Cardio exercise

If something ain’t broken, why fix it? Sometimes, the classic style is also one of the best options when it comes to sportswear. The standard tank top is neither overly fitted nor loose; it simply fits any form. Tanks also make excellent personalised vest tops, should you want to add a design to the garments.

Personalised vest tops - Classic tank top
Classic tank top by Zalando.

Technical Training Shirt

Best for: Precision exercises

Boasting short sleeves and a ripped crew neck, a technical training shirt is a high-quality tee. While the neckline is relatively high, it allows for free movement. The arms are also quite short, which means that the wearer can train without any added interference. All in all, it’s a seriously good everyday gym top.

Personalised vest tops - Technical training shirt
Technical training shirt from Sports Direct.

Long Sleeve Training Top

Best for: Outdoor competitions

For outdoor competitions, a long-sleeve garment could be just the ticket. Look for specific training tops with sturdy, long-lasting material that’s also breathable. These types of tops tend to have a fitted design, which means that not only do they get the job done, but they also end up looking cutting edge too.

Personalised vest tops - Performance Long-Sleeve Top
Training top from My Protein.

Longline Vest

Best for: Upper body workouts

Popularised by rappers and sportsman alike, the longline vest is certainly at the forefront of fashion right now. But, the burning question is, does it actually do the job? The answer depends on what type of activity the wearer is doing. While these won’t work for full gym sessions (and could be dangerous!), they may be okay for upper body workouts. Just make sure you don’t trip over your top!

Personalised vest tops - Longline best
Longline vest from Topman.

The choice is yours!

Choosing the right sports and workout tops may seem tricky, but it doesn’t have to be. So long as you consider the type of exercise, you should be able to pick a top that fits the bill. Use this guide to help you make the right decision and it should be as easy as pie!

Personalised Sportswear

Thanks to our five years of experience in the apparel-printing industry, Printsome is able to attend the needs of anyone looking for personalised sportswear. May it be the customisation of a team’s kit or running vests for a marathon, our printing experts are ready to offer you the best option. We’ve got you covered with your event T-shirt printing!

From the moment you get in touch, one of our printing experts in either London or Glasgow will answer all of your questions and find efficient solutions to your needs. It is our mission to help you reach your goals.

We ship all over the UK with flexible delivery services that can adapt to most deadlines. Fast T-shirt printing has never been this easy. Need to print in bulk? We got you covered. Why worry about inventory or logistics when we can take care of that? To find out more, simply visit our website by clicking on the banner below.

Printsome, Sportswear, banner


Charlotte has research experience in HR and Marketing of apparel printing and is a Freelance Content Writer for the Printsome-Insights Blog. Coffee lover and co-manager for Shed – a plant-based food vendor in Sheffield – she is always on the hunt for a good story! Leading UK and US publications can't get enough of her – she has written for Cosmopolitan, The Metro UK, Psychologies, and Men's Health.

Write A Comment