Is it hot out there, or is it just me? While I wish it was the latter, I also happen to live in New York City, which just endured a heat wave so fierce we received news alerts that the humidity and temperatures could be high enough to make cockroaches fly (as if under-boob sweat and sticky subway seats weren’t bad enough).
So I thought, “What better time to test run (and yoga, and cycle, and box) all of those breathable, sweat-wicking unicorn items sportswear brands boast about each summer?!”
Because if you’re going to brave sweltering temperatures (and maybe even some flying roaches), the last thing you need is your clothing holding you back. Read on for the 12 pieces that helped me beat the heat.
C9 Champion Women’s Performance Shorts
I reserved these shorts for a workout that didn’t require much rapid movement (because sprinting in spandex isn't for everyone). Enter yoga. These shorts are, well, short (think: the closest thing to naked you might be able to achieve publicly), which let my skin breathe, and they absorbed the sweat that would have turned my mat into a Slip 'n Slide.
Get it: C9 Champion Women’s Performance Shorts, $16.99, target.com
Lululemon Sculpt Tank
If you look on the Lululemon site, you’ll find a variety of items that are formulated for the heat (including a “Sweat Date Tank” and “Beat the Heat Tank”), but I was skeptical as to whether this top would really keep me cool. Something about the material just looked hot. But, unlike other absorbent fabrics, this blend of Lycra and mesh truly soaked up the sweat. Plus, the tank contains a little window in the back for added airflow while I flowed on the mat. I even cleaned my non-air-conditioned apartment in it when I got home. (Work up a sweat with these moves from Women's Health's Look Better Naked DVD.)
Get it: Lululemon Sculpt Tank , $58, lululemon.com
Alala Essential Seamless Bra
I completed my yoga look with this bra from Alala because it seemed like it would be really comfortable—and it was. The seamless construction kept everything in place during my downward dog, and the mesh paneling along the front and back helped my body breathe. Ohm.
Get it: Alala Essential Seamless Bra , $45, alalastyle.com
Athleta Track This Run Short
These shorts come with a lot of rave reviews on Athleta’s website, so I was excited to take them on a jog. I hit the East River running path by my apartment and my run was a breeze. Made with super light fabric, these shorts have mesh panels along the sides for added ventilation. Plus, the waistband stayed in place (some bottoms tend to slide up or down when you get really sweaty).
Get it: Athleta Track This Run Short, $54, athleta.gap.com
Old Navy Go-Dry Fitted Performance Seamless Tank for Women
If you’ve yet to discover Old Navy’s activewear line, you’re missing out. The brand has become one of my personal go-tos for affordable and cute workout shorts, crops, pants, and sports bras. This ventilation-style tank fit like a glove (when tops are too loose, they can become irritating, slapping against hot skin), without suffocating me or weighing me down.
Get it: Old Navy Go-Dry Fitted Performance Seamless Tank, $19.94, oldnavy.gap.com
H&M Sports Bra
The strappy design features sheer paneling in front, an airy back, and padding that actually stays in place. No nip slips here, people.
Get it: H&M Sports Bra (Medium Support), $19.99, hm.com
Reebok Cardio Zip Crop Shirt
If I’m being honest, I was most excited to test drive this crop from Reebok because it just looks so damn cool. I promised myself I would remain unbiased for the sake of this article, but I am happy to report that, yes, it does feel just as cool as it appears. It features mesh fabric along the back, along with moisture-wicking fabric in the front. You can unzip it a bit (proceed with caution) for even more air, or pair it with a lightweight top for added coverage. I felt so good that I didn’t even care that my lack of abs was showing, and I got several compliments on the way out of my boxing class.
Get it: Reebok Cardio Zip Crop Shirt, $55, reebok.com
Brooks Go-To Running Capris
While I usually steer clear of anything other than shorts in the summer, I was impressed by the capabilities of these cropped pants from Brooks. The waistband stayed in place, and the strong fabric—formulated to help manage condensation—felt like a second skin.
Get it: Brooks Go-To Running Capris, $55, brooksrunning.com
New Balance Impact 3 Inch Short
This is another short that stood out during my testing. It’s made with NB Dry fabric-wicking material that helped me remain completely moisture-free. The best part: They didn’t stick to my legs when things started to heat up. The wide waistband is smooth and helped absorb belly button sweat (you know what I'm talking about).
Get it: New Balance Impact 3 Inch Short, $44.99, newbalance.com
Nike Dry Women’s Running Tank
This Nike tank is formulated with fabric that promises to wick sweat away as you move. And when tested against a run and a cycling class, it didn’t disappoint. Not only did I feel dryer overall, but the sleek, open back allowed for more breathability. In short, I would buy this in bulk.
Get it: Nike Dry Women’s Running Tank, $55, nike.com
Terez Women’s Steel Mesh Back Sports Bra
I completed my cycling outfit with this futuristic sports bra from Terez (the brand has been gaining popularity due to its extensive line of edgy leggings). Its sleek style, featuring thin straps, a low-cut front, and mesh backing, kept me feeling supported and dry.
Get it: Terez Women’s Steel Mesh Back Sports Bra, $55, terez.com