The best cool clothes for hot summer workouts

Marilou Gladfelter

There are few things in the world that can tempt me to work out in a heat wave. I’m already a hesitant participant—I need to have my yoga mat pre-unfurled on the floor, completely obtrusive to my direct path to the sofa, in order to get in a daily stretch. […]

There are few things in the world that can tempt me to work out in a heat wave. I’m already a hesitant participant—I need to have my yoga mat pre-unfurled on the floor, completely obtrusive to my direct path to the sofa, in order to get in a daily stretch. But when temperatures spike over 80 degrees, I’d sooner lift ice buckets at my desk than head out for a jog.

That said, sportswear companies are clever and know aversion can arrive in the form of sticky, sweaty summers. From innovations in fabric tech to breezy, featherweight design, these are the clothes I would wear to work out when it’s hot, hot, hot. If I have to.

[Photo: courtesy Lululemon]

Lululemon Cool Racerback Tank Top

I love Lululemon’s Align leggings made with the Cool Nulu fabric. They have the same nearly naked stretch that makes those a cult favorite, with added breathability. This tank follows suit—with a no-tug shape and buttery feel that won’t ride up when you break a sweat. 

Lululemon Hotty Hot Low-Rise Short

The Hotty Hot short is the adult answer to my beloved Soffe shorts of yore. But unlike those thick poly-cotton blends that were sometimes unbreathable, Lululemon’s short-shorts are made with the company’s sweat-wicking Swift fabric with mesh panels for even more movement. 

[Photo: courtesy Artic Cool]

Arctic Cool Vortex Vent Cooling V-Neck

Arctic Cool built a fan following among runners for its HydroFreeze X fabric tech—a cooling stretch fabric powered by your own sweat. The Vortex Vent V-Neck adds another level with micro-ventilated panels to help keep air flowing in and heat out. 

[Photo: courtesy Sweaty Betty]

Sweaty Betty Longline Sports Bra

One more layer can feel like extra punishment in this heat, so I tend to gravitate toward compression crop tops for summer workouts. Sweaty Betty’s Stamina Longline Sports Bra gives medium support in a seamless sweat-wicking fabric designed to reduce chafing. Extra perforation below the bust may also be the key to keeping under-boob sweat at bay.

[Photo: courtesy Summersalt]

Summersalt Convertible Split-Back Tank $50 10%

Summersalt’s Convertible Split-Back Tank is handy for creating the shape you want for different exercises. It’s also ideal for throwing on and leaving untied, when it’s so hot you don’t want anything touching your body at all.

[Photo: courtesy Summersalt]

Summersalt Do-It-All Biker Shorts

I live in bike shorts during the summer, and these cute ones from Summersalt feature recycled polyester and sweat-wicking CoolCore fibers. Plus, UPF50+ because heat isn’t the only thing wreaking havoc on your body in the summer. 

Naomi Osaka x Nike Court Njc Crop Top

Is there anything cooler than this bright-orange crop top by tennis megastar Naomi Osaka for Nike? Honestly, no.

[Photo: courtesy Knix]

Knix Catalyst Sports Bra

If you want a sports bra with more support, Knix’s Catalyst Sports Bra is made for high impact—strategically ventilated, versatile (hello, adjustable straps!), and designed to fit up to a G cup.  

[Photo: courtesy Outdoor Voices]

Outdoor Voices Hudson Short

The Hudson shorts are my go-to for all-day wear. They’re made from quick-dry polyester with an extra-wide, stretchy waistband that will. not. budge. Plus, I love the flattering dolphin hemline and zipper pockets.

[Photo: courtesy Ten Thousand]

Ten Thousand Distance Tank

My boyfriend swears by the brand Ten Thousand—but especially its Distance Tank, an unbelievably lightweight workout garment designed in collaboration with top competitive and endurance athletes. Bonded seams make chafing a thing of the past, and there’s just enough stretch for even the worst days of summer. 

[Photo: courtesy Ministry of Supply]

MoS Newton Active Shorts

Naturally Ministry of Supply has a well-designed, science-forward pair of shorts for your gym bag. The Newton Active shorts feature S.Café Silver threading, an eco-conscious, odor-controlling material made from coffee grounds. Also, pockets.

[Photo: courtesy Saxx]

SAAX Hot Shot

I have been told this is the shirt to own. Similar to the Arctic Cool V-neck, the SAXX T-shirt features an evaporative cooling fabric called DropTemp, which uses a unique weave to quickly wick sweat for even, fast drying.

[Photo: courtesy Vuori]

Vuori Elevation Bra

“Cozy” is the kiss of death in the dead of summer, but Vuori knows how to keep things light and super, super soft.

[Photo: courtesy Rhone]

Rhone Swift Tank

Rhone’s lightweight, ultra-breathable Swift tank is designed to move with you, combat odor, and keep you cool and dry. Plus, it also comes in a short-sleeve style.

Fast Company’Recommender section is dedicated to surfacing innovative products, services, and brands that are changing how we live and work. Every item that we write about is independently selected by our editors and, whenever possible, tested and reviewed. Fast Company may receive revenue from some links in our stories; however, all selections are based on our editorial judgment.

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