Thursday, April 25, 2024

Round Up Review- Best Performance Running T Shirts of 2024 (so far): Salomon Sense Aero Short Sleeve, Gorewear Contest 2.0 Tee, and Tracksmith Brighton Base Layer Tee

Article by Sam Winebaum

In the article, I review 3 top performing high run and outdoor t-shirts: Salomon Sense Aero, Gorewear Contest 2.0, and  Tracksmith Brighton Base Layer Tee. Each has distinct differences and potential best uses. They all have highly technical fabrics. 


Salomon Sense Aero  ($70, tested graphic version $75)

Strengths: Most versatile with a wide range of temperatures performance even as a  “summer” weight fabric.

The Aero incorporates 37.5 tech which is truly temperature regulating. This natural minerals derived treatment not only absorbs and disperses your IR energy to cool but the billions of pores in its particles create more surface area for evaporation. In my testing I could clear feel both the well regulated temperatures and moisture evaporation.  It also incorporates Ionic+ Botanical treatment to prevent microbe build up and thus odors.

The feel is easy on the skin with a touch of stand off fabric texture to prevent sticking

While clearly a summer tee, I have also worn it as a base layer in winter with no clammy cold feel when wet due to its slightly textured fabric and the 37.5 tech which I think may also make it more abrasion resistant than many performance tees.

The fit is generous without being sloppy fitting. I am true to my usual medium with my height 5’ 9” and weight 164 lbs.  

Best Uses: Variable conditions from heat to cool, trail and road running

Gorewear Contest 2.0 Tee ($80)

Strengths: lightest and airiest fabric, most reflective elements

This is the lightest and airiest option of the three. While I have not had the opportunity to run in high heat I am sure it will perform very well. The Contest has a very light knit construction 

The fit is true to my usual medium size and is more generous than customary for Gorewear due to the extra light fabric. 

The neck is bonded instead of stitched to reduce potential irritation.  

There are reflective black out highlights and logos front and back for safety and some visual contrast. 

The Contest is available as T, singlet, and long sleeve for both men and women.

Best Uses: road running, extreme heat where a loose, airy and non cling fit is essential,

Tracksmith Brighton Base Layer Tee ($85)

I have been a big fan of the long sleeve Brighton which this past winter ended up as my favorite winter base layer for innumerable runs and nordic skis. 

Very cool: no labels

The short sleeve version has the same 52% Wool, 28% Nylon, 20% Polyester blend, same seamless construction with the same fabric weight of 16.5 Micron, 145 gsm, so is moderately thin. It is made in the EU. After many many cold water washes of the long sleeve version I see no wear and no shrinkage and I expect the same here.

The fabric texture is somewhat “furry” which provides insulating and cooling/evaporative distance from the skin. 

It also has ventilating holes in the stretch knit in a Tracksmith sash across the chest and at the upper back. 

I have never had a clammy cold feel when a breeze hits the shirt even with no outer layer. While not as thin and airy as the others here, it handles warmer temperatures well enough and is the best option for variable cool windy conditions during your runs or hikes.  The Merino content helps makes the Brighton odor resistant.

Called out as a “base layer” the fit is stretchy and the snuggest of the three here. I am true to my usual medium with my height 5’ 9” and weight 164 lbs. 

Of note, are the longer arms than typical for a tee and are snug yet comfortable. 

Many will choose to wear as intended as a base layer under a shell or other layer but it certainly can be worn as is. I often have worn it in the mid to lower 40”s F after warming up and taking my jacket off. I makes an excellent base layer under the Tracksmith Downpour jacket (Review soon) I am now testing, staying dry and comfortable even in somewhat warmer temperatures just under 50F in the rain..

Best Uses: running in cooler temperatures, as a base layer under a shell or other layers, hiking and travel.

Sam is the Editor and Founder of Road Trail Run. He is 66 with a 2018 3:40 Boston qualifier. 2023 was Sam’s 51th year of running. He has a decades old 2:28 marathon PR. These days he runs halves in the just sub 1:40 range if he gets very very lucky. Sam trains 30-40 miles per week mostly at moderate paces on the roads and trails of New Hampshire and Utah be it on the run, hiking or on nordic skis. He is 5’9” tall and weighs about 164 lbs, if he is not enjoying too many fine New England IPA’s.

Samples were provided at no charge for review purposes. RoadTrail Run has affiliate partnerships and may earn commission on products purchased via shopping links in this article. These partnerships do not influence our editorial content. The opinions herein are entirely the authors'.

Comments and Questions Welcome Below! 

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1 comment: said...

I'm sure it's fun to review shirts you're sent for free, but as a consumer who has to watch his running-related expenses carefully, the most important quality of all 3 shirts is the high price. I've never owned a shirt that cost more than $25 and I've never felt like I needed a $70-$80 shirt to help me enjoy the run more or to perform better. For the vast majority of my runs, the technology of the shirt doesn't make a difference; by the end of the run, my shirt is drenched. So almost any inexpensive, well-fitting, not-too-thick Coolmax shirt serves my purposes perfectly well. I'd love to see you review more inexpensive shirts and do an honest comparison with the expensive shirts.