The height of summer means many of us are spending our days baking in the sun. Despite my best efforts to slather on sunscreen, I can’t help but notice how much sun has been battering my poor shoulders. As much as I love tanks, I find myself occasionally wishing for tops that provide just a little more coverage while still delivering on performance and keeping me cool.
I scoured the internet to find some fab options for short-sleeved active tees to give your shoulders a break. I’ve noticed that a ton of tees out there are just regular cotton tees, but for this list, I focused on tops with performance-ready fabric. The list is split in two sections according to price.
Note: most of these tops do not have formal UV protection associated with them (I’ve noted the ones that do), but generally speaking, having some fabric covering your shoulders is always more helpful than none!
Short sleeve active tees over $60
1 | Lululemon swiftly tech short sleeve | You can’t go wrong with this signature top from lulu. Fitted, seamless style made of super-breathable fabric. Always a ton of beautiful colors to choose from! There’s usually a couple colors on markdown if you’re not picky on color and want to save a few bucks.
2 | Tracksmith strata tee | An ultra-lightweight running tee with an understated, slightly retro design. Features UV protection.
3 | Lululemon long distance short sleeve | A newer style made of super-lightweight, anti-stink fabric. Contoured hem and quite a few really nice hues. Slightly longer sleeves than the swiftly tee for a little more coverage.
4 | Nylora bronte crew neck top | If sleek, basic black is more your thing, this top has got you covered with a simple, relaxed design.
5 | Lululemon quick pace short sleeve | Breezy, shorter-cut top with a crossover back and mesh details for maximum airflow. Features UV protection.
6 | Alala blade tee | A simple cap-sleeve style in ultra-soft tactel fabric. A mesh panel in the back keeps things interesting. Limited sizes available.
7 | Tory Sport performance checkered t-shirt | POW. A statement-making choice in bold-hued checkers, this relaxed-fit tee is sure to stand out.
8 | Nike run division crop top | If covering your shoulders sounds stiflingly hot, perhaps a crop top is a worthy compromise. This pretty color reminds me of a pearl–neutral yet still unique and pretty. Pair it with high waist bottoms for extra coverage.
9 | Sweaty Betty breeze short sleeve | Relaxed fit with a sport-jersey type look if fitted, cap-sleeved tops are not your cup of tea. Mesh details at the hem and sleeves make it extra sporty.
Short sleeve active tees under $60
1 | Athleta shadow stripe chi tee | A basic, relaxed-fit, do-anything tee made in a lightweight fabric. Rated UPF 30+.
2 | Athleta sunlover tulip back tee | The name says it all! Designed specifically for sun protection, this top also has a nice back detail to keep things cool. Rated UPF 50+.
3 | Nike dry training tee | A basic, relaxed option from Nike in heathered fabric. The scoop neck is flattering, but does expose a little more skin to the sunshine. Ringing in at only $20, this wins as the bargain buy of the list!
4 | Oiselle hawkeye cap sleeve | If you’re looking for something a little less basic, a contoured hem and mesh details spruce up this top. On sale at REI, with a couple more colors on Oiselle’s website.
5 | Athleta speedlight tee | One of Athleta’s signature tees, this seamless, fitted style is available in a wide variety of colors with nice feminine ruching down the sides. Rated UPF 50+.
6 | Athleta essence twist tee | One more by Athleta! A relaxed-fit layer with an on-trend twist front detail. Lots of beautiful colors, including this soft sgreen, a shade you don’t see much of in activewear! Rated UPF 50+.
7 | New Balance transform perfect tee | A simple yet effective fitted option with flattering ruching. Lots more colors on the New Balance site, including some on sale.
8 | Nike pro short sleeve training top | A no-frills style with a tailored fit at a nice price.
9 | Zella stand out seamless training tee | Another seamless, fitted style with perforated fabric details in high-sweat zones. Five colors to choose from.
I own all three lululemon tops and although they don’t officially have UV protection, I wear all three while running on sunny days in summer. I’ve never gotten sun burned. I also wear long sleeve Swiftlys to I can cover up my arms. All three are sweat wicking. I sweat like crazy and those tops don’t feel gross when wet. Lululemon IMO does a great job when it comes to their running tops
I really like to wear Lululemon’s Swiftly relaxed fit (breeze) short sleeve shirt in the summer. For some weird reason, the regular fit of Lululemon’s other Swiftly shirts are unbelievably itchy on me, but the breeze version doesn’t give me any problems!
I also like wearing my long-sleeved Athleta Sunlover shirt when I’m running errands, but it would probably be too much for extended periods outside.