You’re entering the Box, full of swagger. You know you’re going to have an amazing workout with some pretty cool people.
The only way you feel like this is if you have your entire gym wardrobe on point.
Nothing beats a form-fitting, comfortable CrossFit shirt. These aren’t your normal T-shirts: CrossFit shirts offer you certain benefits to push your workout to the next level.
- Under Armour Raid
- Nike Pro Fitted
- Reebok Crossfit Burnout
- WOD Warrior Tee
- Under Armour Waffle Crew (Long Sleeve)
Not only that, you can make a statement with your shirt; with the perfect workout shirt, it shows you know what you’re doing, you’re here to kick ass and take names, and you’re a CrossFit maniac.
In this article, we’ll explain what a CrossFit shirt is, the benefits of owning one (or five), and what to consider when purchasing your latest workout gear.
Plus, at the end, we’ll go over the top CrossFit shirts you can add to your routine that will elevate your CrossFit game.
Here is the quick list of these otherworldly CrossFit shirts:
Now let’s get down to business!
What is a Crossfit Shirt?
There are T-shirts and crew neck shirts and even turtleneck sweaters…but what the hell are CrossFit shirts?
When you go to your local CrossFit gym, chances are most of your workout mates are wearing shirts that are related to something CrossFit.
Whether it be the material (next section) or the print on the chest of the shirt, if you’ve been a part of the CrossFit community for a while, you have some sort of CrossFit shirt in your dresser drawer at home.
What are Crossfit Shirts Made Of?
A variety of materials are used to create the ultimate CrossFit shirt.
Normally, these shirts are made out of some polyester/cotton blend, combined with something called MicroThread technology.
For instance, most Under Armour gear you purchase or see on the racks that are for workouts – a.k.a. moisture-wicking, breathable, and stretchy – include this MicroThread.
It’s a combination of compression and elasticity, making you feel like the shirt is part of you.
The material has to almost act like a second skin, so it has to be lightweight and comfortable.
By mixing elements of cotton and polyester (the majority being polyester), you get a stretchy, easy-to-move-in shirt that’s ready for anything CrossFit throws at you.
The polyester specifically allows you to move anywhere you want and maintain a snug fit on your torso. It’s the material used for spandex, so it keeps things tight and compact while giving you a nice, breathable microclimate.
Rarely are CrossFit shirts made entirely out of cotton. This would be a traditional T-shirt, one that clings to sweat, doesn’t stretch, and doesn’t allow your body to breathe.
So when you’re looking for a CrossFit shirt, go for a high-polyester mix, along with any microfiber technology that enhances your ability to workout in absolute comfort (and style).
Benefits of Crossfit Shirts
Compression shirts are super vital for your CrossFit success. Here are the advantages of having a couple CrossFit shirts in your closet:
- Unbridled Power – The proper CrossFit shirt should hold your muscles in place. This will aid you in using your muscles properly, helping you proportionally apply energy to each muscle within the movement. Added to perfect posture (which is another benefit covered below), you should experience an efficient output of power.
- Increased Performance – Combined with that power comes performance. With efficiently-functioning muscles, you can run faster, lift with more focus, and you waste less energy. This is why athletes and endurance runners love compression material; it makes sure every ounce of your energy is used methodically.
- Helpful Pressure – When material pulls tight on your muscles, you feel a slight constriction. This pressure is actually beneficial for you because it keeps your muscles active. Your mind-muscle connection is optimized, which of course leads to focused workouts.
- Warmer muscles – Additional pressure also increases blood flow where the shirt constricts. Warmer muscles are always better when in the middle of a CrossFit WOD. This will aid you throughout the entire workout, from pre-workout stretching, post-workout stretching, and intra-set work.
- Enhanced posture – Another terrific benefit of CrossFit shirts is better posture when performing exercises. With warmer muscles and a better mind-muscle connection, you know how good your form is at all times. Especially when you start dogging it late in the workout, you can ensure that your reps or movements are as good as can be.
- Moisture-wicking – This is huge for people who sweat a ton. Usually, CrossFit shirts have breathable, mesh-like material that grabs your sweat and throws it from your body. Unlike regular cotton shirts, which end up soaked after an hour in the Box, these shirts keep you dry and fresh.
- Flexibility – The stretchy material in CrossFit shirts gives you the ideal blend of constriction and flexibility. Not only do you feel your muscles and improve blood flow, but you also can move the shirt around to get to the positions you want. This is key when you’re moving from station to station in a WOD; you can hang clean, then do butterfly pull-ups, then do jump rope without having to compromise due to the clothes on your back.
- Improved Recovery and Reduced Risk – Because your body is mobilized but tight at the same time, your risk of injury decreases. Your muscles are at pique activation, keeping your body focused throughout. Then, when your workout is complete, your muscles are still poised for a speedy and thorough recovery. The fact that your upper body was warm during your workout helps with your eventual cooldown, along with the moisture-wicking aspect of the shirt.
Obviously, there are some neat benefits to having a shirt specifically designed to make your CrossFit experience better. Here are some other factors to consider…
Tank Top or T-shirt?
This question is more of a preference than a real pro vs. con discussion.
However, tank tops give you a better range of motion by taking sleeves out of the equation.
They also give you the opportunity to show off your shoulders. Ya know…if you’re into that sort of thing…
As for T-shirts, the sleeves help you constrict your shoulders, which could be advantageous when you have to do shoulder exercises.
It keeps your deltoids warmed up and ready to perform perfect reps.
Again, the choice is up to you. But no matter your preference, you’ll be getting a sweet boost to your workouts.
Short Sleeve or Long Sleeve?
Another preference conundrum, but here the differences can be pretty easy to spot.
Long sleeve CrossFit shirts allow you to compress your whole arm, from shoulder to wrist.
For accessory work, including compound exercises, this could be a terrific bump in performance and power.
Short sleeves, on the other hand, keeps you from overheating, which could be a dilemma with the long sleeves. They still compress your shoulders, but they keep your arms free to sweat without constriction.
A solid strategy would be to have a couple of tanks, a couple of short sleeves, and a few long sleeves in your CrossFit shirt arsenal.
That way, climate depending, you can be prepared for what you need for that day’s WOD.
Considerations Before Buying
Before you start browsing Amazon for any and all CrossFit shirts, you have to know what you’re on the lookout for.
Here are some factors you need to consider before buying your collection of CrossFit shirts:
- Material – Polyester or spandex are your go-to materials for the optimal CrossFit shirt. Other decent materials include soft, breathable cotton and bamboo, a sustainable, eco-friendly natural fiber that is actually quite flexible and elastic in clothing.
- Durability – Of course, you want a shirt that lasts you a long time. Your shirts should keep you working out for the next 2-3 years before you’re even thinking about getting new ones. A tip is to pay a premium for solid CrossFit shirts so that, in terms of cost per time, you’re getting tremendous value.
- Fit – Comfort and compression are key for CrossFit shirts. The snugger, the better is the motto for most CrossFitters. Even if you don’t appreciate skin-tight shirts, having a fitted or semi-fitted shirt for CrossFit will help you out with your WOD. Loose shirts can get caught or get in the way, so go for fit.
- Flexibility – Seeing as this is one of our benefits explained above, you want a shirt that’s super flexible, one that moves with you. With every day in the Box offering a variety of exercises, your CrossFit shirt must get all of your angles without bunching up or getting in the way.
- Breathability – This is a make-or-break aspect for most people who do CrossFit. Sweat is a given for most Workouts of the Day, so you’ll require a shirt that allows you to breathe. Overheating is never a good thing, so finding shirts with mesh ventilation areas and lightweight material will keep you from shedding your layers in the middle of your workout.
- Moisture-Wicking – Same as above, you want the sweat to stay off you, so getting a shirt with moisture-wicking technology is a fantastic plus. Traditional cotton clings to sweat, making you a wet mess, along with potential chafing, which is the worst. Instead, go for a CrossFit shirt that attracts and throws moisture off your body so you can stay dry and focused.
- Style – Obviously you also want to look cool while working out. Style isn’t some vain attempt to stroke your ego; it’s all about making a statement in the gym. It shows people what you stand for, who you are, and why you’re there. When we say “style,” we don’t mean what’s “in” at the moment – we’re talking about your Whatever makes you tick, that’s the shirt you should get.
- Price – This factor is tricky because the higher the cost, usually the more quality you’ll receive. Our take is this: spend your dollars wisely. That is, find a high-quality, super nice CrossFit shirt, and then purchase it. Find ways to get discounts when you can, but if you have to bite the bullet and pay a premium for a shirt that has all of the considerations above, you should be happy to pay whatever price.
These are just a few things to keep in mind when selecting your CrossFit wardrobe.
As long as you have a good head on your shoulders, you’ll be able to spot the difference between a solid CrossFit shirt and one that will end up in the dumpster in a matter of weeks.
Top Crossfit Shirts Reviewed
Best Long Sleeve CrossFit Shirt: Under Armour Waffle Crew
Our top choice for long-sleeved CrossFit shirts is the Under Armour Waffle Crew.
Perfect for cold-climate Boxes or those who want compression throughout their entire arms, this crew shirt will provide you with all the amenities you would expect in CrossFit wear.
Made of 100% fibers that aren’t cotton, the material of this shirt wicks away moisture and dries really fast.
Not only that, it has a waffle texture that traps heat without adding too much weight. So it is ideal for those who are either cold-blooded or have a CrossFit trainer who is evil and keeps the Box freezing.
Other cool features include anti-odor technology, a scalloped hem, and ribbed cuffs. It comes in a variety of colors, so go nuts with your hues.
If you want a CrossFit shirt that keeps you warm throughout a chilling workout, look no further than the Under Armour Waffle Crew.
Under Armour Raid
As for our short-sleeved shirts, we kick things off with another Under Armour product: the Raid T-shirt. Sleek and sexy describes this shirt, which also comes in a plethora of styles.
The Raid shirt is built with materials that made Under Armour famous. Mostly stretchy polyester, this CrossFit shirt also has HeatGear tech that is ultra-soft, smooth, and comfy, providing you with a compressed feel and keeping your muscles nice and toasty for lifts.
Its 4-way stretch construction allows you to move with confidence, while it is second to none in wicking away moisture.
Plus, it has a stretch-mesh underarm and back panels that offer great ventilation where it counts.
An absolute classic CrossFit shirt, Under Armour Raid is a tremendous option to start your workout wardrobe.
Nike Pro Fitted
Next up should be a given when it comes to a roundup of athletic wear: Nike Pro Fitted.
This staple for years has been updated and crafted to give you the best possible CrossFit shirt…and overall athletic shirt.
First off, this shirt comes in a wide variety of styles, helping you make a strong statement when in the Box.
It’s 92% polyester and 8% spandex, with Dri-FIT technology to help you stay dry and comfortable.
On top of that, their fitted design keeps the shirt from being too bulky and gives you the best range of motion possible.
With a back panel of mesh for optimized cooling, Nike Pro Fitted is a superb selection for your CrossFit shirt arsenal.
Reebok Crossfit Placed Burnout
Here we have a legit CrossFit shirt from the bros over at Reebok.
Their CrossFit Placed Burnout shirt shows you know your stuff when it comes to the sport, plus you look really cool when you’re working out.
For starters, it has some style. It has the word “CrossFit” spelled out with numbers and punctuation in a Burnout graphic, mimicking a placement in the CrossFit Games.
They look really sweet, in both English Emerald and Portrait Purple.
The bare move system delivers freedom of movement, along with extra comfort from Playdry technology.
This is some serious CrossFit love here. If you want to be considered a professional in the Box, the Reebok CrossFit Placed Burnout is cream of the crop.
WOD Warrior T-shirt by Epic MMA Gear
Last on our list is one cool ass T from WOD Warrior. Half of them sport an epic WOD Warrior graphic with a spartan head replacing the O and the other half says “W.O.D. the F@%K!”
Wear this shirt with pride and purpose. The WOD Warrior T-shirt is made out of a tri-blend fabric, is true to size, and the fabric is both light and durable.
Plus, it’s form-fitting, wicks away moisture, and it comes at a great price.
For a CrossFit shirt that does the talking for you – without running away with your wallet – grab a WOD Warrior T-shirt by Epic MMA Gear…or two.
CrossFit shirts are, without a doubt, necessary for a great workout experience.
They are designed and engineered to provide you ultimate comfort, breathability, and flexibility, all while making a statement.
When you decide to make an investment and purchase your first CrossFit shirt, make sure you check off all the boxes and take a look at our top picks. You can’t go wrong with any of them.
Here’s to your future CrossFit success! (Minus sweaty T-shirts, of course.)