The 11 Best New Workout Tanks, Tops, and Jackets of 2019

When it comes to workout tops and outerwear, our philosophy is that you shouldn’t overcomplicate things. A good workout top should be sweat wicking, have a snug fit that doesn’t get in the way of your movement, and be made of a soft fabric so there’s no risk of chafing or rubbing. The same goes for shirts, running jackets, and hoodies.

Our winners this year reflect what our judges liked best: subtle color and stylish details, paired with performance materials that keep their shape during tough workouts. Our testers took these tops cycling, on outdoor runs, and for walks in the rain. They also wore them to teach fitness classes, and even just commuted to and from work in them, day after day. Bottom line: You can feel certain that the (admittedly simple) racerback tank you see on our list is actually the best we found this year. The same goes for our new favorite packable nylon jacket (which folds up small enough to fit in one hand!) and the breathable raincoat that won’t leave you a sweaty mess.

Our judges—made up of editors, fitness enthusiasts, and trainers—tested more than 30 different styles of tops this year. Using their detailed feedback and scores, we narrowed the list down to the top 11 winners you see below. All of the winners listed here are new—released between October 2018 and September 2019.

1. Best Tank for Barre and Pilates: Girlfriend Collective Celia Tank, $28

This sheer, lightweight tank comes in four colors and is perfect for lower-impact workouts. It might look like a classic racerback tank, but like all of Girlfriend Collective’s clothing, this piece is made with sustainability in mind (the website claims it saves 682 gallons of water each year over traditional T-shirt manufacturing). The tank has a tighter fit, so if you want a more oversized style, definitely size up.

One reviewer says: “I liked this shirt more than I thought I would. It has a great fit, soft cotton blend that absorbed sweat well, and fit really well (just baggy enough without being cumbersome). I was actually most impressed by the fit—it covered my body well but was still snug and flattering. I’d definitely wear this shirt outside of the gym/yoga studio!” (Size tested: small)


Buy it: $28,

2. Best Tank for HIIT and Strength Training: Good American The Knot A Quitter Tank, $27

The classic muscle tank gets a subtle upgrade thanks to the knotted detail at the front of this shirt. The performance material means it’s perfect for your sweatiest workouts, and with five colors to choose from, we’d recommend getting a few to work into your regular rotation.

One reviewer says: “This is a super-cute tank top! I love wearing it! It’s light, non-constricting, sweat wicking, and I love the tie-knot front detail. It looks super cute on and goes well with high-waisted leggings. One thing: You must wear a bra underneath, since there’s no lining built in.” (Size tested: Good American size 1, equivalent to US standard size 2–4)

Sizes: Good American sizes 0–6 (XS–3X)

Buy it: $27,

3. Best Tank for Yoga: Gaiam Adrianna Loop Tank, $29

Made with loose, breathable fabric, this tank top is perfect for stretching, yoga, barre, and Pilates classes. Our reviewers enjoyed the looped detail in the back, plus the wide arm holes that keep you extra cool while practicing.

One reviewer says: “This tank top fit really well and was far more interesting than I thought. It had great material, baggy-but-flattering fit, and the color was more subtle than I initially thought. There were cutouts in the back that elevated it beyond your basic workout top. It was a great length if you’re a person who loves a T-shirt that covers your bum. I did yoga in it and I tried it during an interval-training class to see how it would do in sweatier environments—and both worked well!” (Size tested: small)

Sizes: XS–XL

Buy it: $29,

4. Best Studio Tee: JoyLab Women’s Tie Front T-Shirt, $20

A perfectly fitted tee is a wardrobe staple—both in and outside of the gym. We selected this release from JoyLab—Target’s beloved activewear line—because it checks all the boxes (fit, style, comfort), and at just $20 it won’t break the bank.

One reviewer says: “I loved everything about this top! The length of the shirt is great, and the little tie at the bottom sat in the perfect spot and made it cute. I loved the color, feel, and fit. I would wear this going out or to work out in, and I actually taught a group fitness class and strength workout class while wearing it!” (Size tested: XL)

Sizes: XS–XL

Buy it: $20,

5. Best Cycling Tee: Pearl Izumi Women’s BLVD Merino T-Shirt, $80

If you haven’t yet gotten on board with merino wool for activewear, let us convert you. Our editors rave about this fabric regularly—and with good reason. The fine wool helps with temperature regulation and will keep you warm in the winter and cool in the summer (this is especially helpful for road cycling). Most activewear pieces (including this winning T-shirt) are actually a blend of fabrics (this one is combined with polyester) so you still get a quick-drying material that won’t lose its shape when wet.

One reviewer says: “This is a merino wool T-shirt, so it feels super soft and there was no chafing at all. I found that the merino wool was great at sweat wicking and keeping me cool, since I tested it in hotter temperatures. There’s a reflective band on one of the sleeves, which makes it good if you’re on the road in the evening.” (Size tested: small)

Sizes: XS–XL

Buy it: $80,

6. Best Running Hoodie: L.L. Bean Adventure Grid Fleece Pullover Hoodie, $69

With a brushed-fleece interior, thumb holes to hold sleeves in place, and slightly fitted style, this hoodie is ideal for running or other high-intensity outdoor workouts in colder temps. Our reviewers like that it was snug but also stretchy enough that you could easily layer another long-sleeve shirt underneath for added warmth.

One reviewer says: “I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked this hoodie! It felt very warm and comfortable. The hoodie is designed with small fleece circles on the inside, which were very hygge-friendly but didn’t make me feel like I was overheating. I also love the thumb holes, which allowed me to snuggle deeper into it and easily wipe away forehead sweat. It was perfect for an outdoor run in cooler temps!” (Size tested: XL)

Sizes: XS–XL

Buy it: $69,

7. Best Windbreaker Jacket: Tory Sport Nylon Packable Jacket, $150

No matter where you live, if you like running outdoors, a lightweight nylon jacket is one of those workout essentials. It’ll keep you warm and dry, and this year’s winner has the added bonus of being able to be folded up and carried or tied around your waist if you get too hot.

One reviewer says: “This lightweight jacket kept me dry and warm. I loved that there was a hood and pockets, plus that it was supersoft and breathable. I wore it while running and for a walk with a drizzle of rain and stayed dry and not overheated.” (Size tested: XS)

Sizes: XS–XL

Buy it: $150,

8. Best Waterproof Jacket: Duluth Trading Women’s Dryfecta Rain Coat, $170

A newcomer brand to this year’s awards, Duluth might not be your first thought when it comes to outdoor jackets. But our testers were pleasantly surprised by this raincoat, which ditches the plastic-like feel of old-school coats (that, yes, kept you dry, but also sealed in sweat and had zero breathability) for a unique blend of fabrics that allow sweat to escape, while still locking rain out.

One reviewer says: “The overall fit and material of this jacket is great! It’s got a little stretch to it and feels softer than other waterproof jackets. It’s a great length and has a slightly oversize fit. There are two big zipper pockets on the outside and one on the inside, all of which kept my stuff nice and dry in the rain. I also love the color and the monochromatic minimal look: simple and functional. Plus, it breathes surprisingly well for a waterproof jacket and is really comfortable to wear.” (Size tested: medium)

Sizes: XS–3X

Buy it: starting at $170, up to XXL and up to 3X

9. Best Cropped Hoodie: Torrid Black Embossed Star Active Crop Hoodie, $29

Transition to cooler temps with this cropped hoodie that will keep you warm arriving and leaving your workout classes. Subtle embossed stars at the front of the hoodie keep it from being too plain, while our reviewers loved that the fit was just right.

One reviewer says: “I loved this cropped hoodie!!! It is supersoft and surprisingly a little bit sweat wicking. I liked that it was a little longer than most crops I own and it also had longer sleeves and holes for your thumbs, which I love. It’s pretty simple but a really great staple! It’s also got cute little stars on it, just enough design without being too over-the-top.” (Size tested: Torrid size 1, equivalent to U.S. standard size 1X)

Sizes: Torrid sizes 00–6 (M–6X)

Buy it: $29,

10. Best Post-Workout Coverup: Torrid Black Dream Believe Achieve Embossed Active Hoodie, $41

Looking for a top with extra motivation built in? This is the one for you. The words “Dream Believe Achieve” are embossed on the front and serve as the perfect reminder when you need it most. Our reviewers loved that this hoodie was warm and easy to throw on whether it was for running errands or hitting the gym.

One reviewer says: “I wore this hoodie after a light workout while running a few errands and found it to be warm and fashionable. I loved the subtle lettering on the front. I also enjoyed the front pocket and thought it added a nice decorative element to the overall design. This jacket fits true to size and is a great addition to a plus-size wardrobe. It suited my curves and helped me feel more secure as I walked out of the gym.” (Size tested: Torrid size: 2, equivalent to U.S. standard size 2X)

Sizes: Torrid sizes 00–6 (M–6X)

Buy it: $41,

11. Best Sweatshirt: Addition Elle Active Zone Colorblocked Sweatshirt, $50

This retro-inspired chevron sweatshirt is cute, cozy, and extra soft. Our testers found it was just as easy to wear for cold outdoor workouts as it was to pair with joggers and snuggle up on the couch. Wear this over a tank and sports bra for brisk runs, or with skinny jeans while out and about.

One reviewer says: “The sweatshirt is genuinely very cute and looks like many things I already own—it’s comfy as hell and so soft. And warm without being too much. It also has a flattering color blocking, and it feels like a fuzzy blanket on but doesn’t make me sweat too much. It’s super easy to pull on and off, looks cute with leggings, and is perfect for when I’m going on long brisk walks outdoors and want freedom of movement without sacrificing warmth.” (Size tested: 1X)

Sizes: Addition Elle sizes: X–5X (14–32)

Buy it: $50,

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