The Best Running Shirts

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Whether you are training for your first marathon or casually running with friends, the right running shirt can make a difference in how much you enjoy your run. Several factors can help you find the best running shirts for your needs. The three F's -- fit, fashion and fabric -- can help you find exactly what you need.

Find the Right Fit

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Like Cinderella finding her perfect shoe, finding the right fit for a running shirt can take some time. It's important that the shirt isn't too tight, as this can impact circulation and cause discomfort while running. In addition, a shirt that is too loose can debilitate your natural movement and may cause drag, which can impact your time when it comes to running fast. Many brands manufacture shirts that are designed specifically for women, which helps ensure that all runners can find running shirts with the best fit for them.

Evaluate the Fabric

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Cotton, polyester and spandex are the most widely used fabrics for running shirts. Polyester and spandex offer benefits to keep your skin cool and dry. However, in a 2006 issue of "Environmental Considerations, a study by researchers at Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions revealed that the type of shirt fabric doesn't contribute to temperature regulation. Moisture-wicking fabrics do have other benefits. These fabrics pull moisture away from your skin. In turn, they help to reduce rubbing against your skin, eliminating any chafing issues.

Express Your Personality

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Choosing the color and design of a running shirt is just as important as finding the right fit and fabric. In the summer months, for example, Bob Glover, author of "The Runner's Handbook," recommends wearing a light-colored shirt to reflect the sun, keeping you cooler.

When it comes to design, there are a number of options. Brands focus on creating fashionable running shirts with thumbholes, hoodies and embroidered accents that you can wear for everything from exercising to running errands or visiting with friends. Because of these options, runners can find shirts that help them express their personality and feelings.

Where to Buy

Knowing the right fit, fashion and fabric for you makes it easier to find the right running shirts for your needs. Specialty running stores, located in communities across the country, carry brands that specialize in running gear. Sporting goods stores also sell a variety of running apparel. Online stores are another option for shopping for running shirts. They offer the opportunity to shop selections that you can find in both specialty running and sporting goods stores.