Researchers at Mass General-Harvard Medical School and Boston University School of Medicine have developed a topical pharmaceutical that activates skin tanning from the inside out — without the risk of UV damage. Of course, when you’re out in the sun, it’s best to wear sunblock and full-coverage shirts to minimize the risk of UV-related damage. Made from materials like sweat-wicking polyester, breathable cotton, and temperature-regulating linen, the best long-sleeve shirts for hot weather come in lots of styles, including crisp button-downs, basic crew necks, and golf polos, so you can find one for every occasion.
What to look for when choosing a shirt for hot weather
Material is one of the most important considerations when it comes to shopping for the best shirts for hot weather. Polyester and nylon are both known for their moisture-wicking properties, which is essential when you’re working up a sweat, but they tend to be less breathable and may retain odor over time. Meanwhile, cotton is breathable but slow to dry. Linen likewise promotes airflow — in fact, it even helps draw heat away from your body. Your choice will depend on your priorities, but you can always opt for a blend that will give you a balance of qualities from multiple materials. Plus, while most fabrics offer some level of sun protection, there are certain brands that list their UPF rating (similar to an SPF rating). A UPF of 50 is considered to offer a high level of excellent protection, while lower UPF levels — down to 30 — provide protection that’s still considered to be very good.
As far as style, a classic button-down shirt is great when you want to look polished (say for an outdoor wedding or work picnic), and it generally allows for greater ventilation, as it tends to hang looser on the body. On the other hand, a long-sleeve crew-neck T-shirt is a solid everyday basic that offers tons of comfort and a more casual feel. So whether you’re looking for a durable athletic tee you can wear while working in the yard or a button-down you can sport for an al fresco dinner, these are the best long-sleeve shirts for hot weather.
1. An affordable 2-pack of moisture-wicking tees
The most affordable option on the list, this two-pack of long-sleeve tees from Hanes is great for anyone looking to save a little money without sacrificing quality. With a 4.5-star rating on Amazon, these shirts are made with 100% polyester interlock jersey, which is ultra-soft and moisture-wicking to keep you dry. They offer UPF 50+ sun protection, and several reviewers also noted they actually felt cooler while wearing them out in the sun.
According to a reviewer: “Complete game changer for me! I work 12 hour shifts in the hot sun and have always used sunblock to protect my skin and tattoos. I started wearing these a few weeks ago and not only do they protect me from the sun, I am significantly cooler than when I am wearing a tshirt.”
Material: Polyester interlock jersey | Sizes: X-Small — 3X-Large | Colors: 20 combinations
2. A soft shirt with odor-resistant technology
Under Armour is known for its durable athletic-grade gear, and this long-sleeve shirt is no exception. Made from 100% polyester, Under Armour’s signature tech fabric is smooth, lightweight, and fast-drying, making it ideal for working — or working out — under the sun. Plus, the fabric’s anti-odor technology helps prevent the growth of microbes, which can cause unwanted smells. There’s no UPF rating, but quite a few happy customers have complimented the shirt’s ultra-soft feel, so it’s perfect if you’re on the hunt for comfort.
According to a reviewer: “This is my go-to shirt for yard work. It keeps you drier than no shirt at all, breathes easily, dries super fast. [...] You’d think “long sleeves for yard work?” But it really is fantastic. No farmer ran sunburn on your forearms. It’s not like the UA compression shirts you see athletes wearing— loose enough to be comfortable but fitted enough to stay in place. also, the smooth fabric lets most dirt brush right off.”
Material: Polyester | Sizes: X-Small — 5X-Large | Colors: 7
3. A crisp button-down in lots of colors & patterns
Here’s a crisp button-down shirt that can keep you cool in the office, at a wedding, or while enjoying an outdoor dinner. Made with a cotton-polyester blend, it’s breathable and sweat-wicking, and a hint of elastane helps keep the shirt from wrinkling. There’s no UPF rating mentioned, but it comes in a variety of solids, stripes, and plaids, so you can pick the style that works best for you. In short, if you want to look put together without sweating right through your shirt, this is a great alternative to a traditional cotton button-down.
According to a reviewer: “The material itself is slightly thin and sheer, which will be helpful in the summer; it might get the shirt put out of rotation in the winter though. The way it's made, the material has some give in it, so it's quite comfortable as you move through the day. The quality is there; the Dockers brand is always on point when it comes to quality. All in all, this is an excellent shirt and a welcome addition to the wardrobe.”
Material: Cotton-polyester blend | Sizes: Small — 6X-Large (big and tall options available) | Colors: 33
4. This cooling work shirt that regulates body temperature
The best long-sleeve work shirt for hot weather, this cooling shirt has yarns that trap cool air to regulate your body temperature. Made with a 50-50 blend of cotton and polyester, it’s breathable and sweat-wicking, and while it’s not as heavy as a conventional cotton work shirt, it still has enough weight to withstand wear. Note that there’s no UPF rating listed, but this shirt comes in dark neutral shades and high-visibility neons to fit the requirements of a variety of workplaces, whether that’s at home or on the job.
According to a reviewer: “I purchased for working outside in the summer to provide some protection from the sun. It is surprisingly cool and comfortable.”
Material: Cotton-polyester blend | Sizes: Small — 2X-Large | Colors: 8
5. A shirt with breathable underarm panels
This Wrangler button-down shirt has knit panels sewn into the underarms for enhanced breathability and movement. Made with sweat-wicking polyester and a touch of spandex, the shirt offers an extra bit of stretch for maximum comfort, and the vented back provides lots of airflow. You can also roll up the sleeves and secure them with buttons at your elbows. Plus, with a UPF 30 rating, this shirt’s fabric will help shield you from the sun.
According to a reviewer: “This is a great outdoor shirt. Compared to the other Wrangler ATG shirts, this has the best fit and comfort of all if you’re going to be doing hiking/fishing, or even climbing. [...] The shirt material is breathable, and with the mixed tight woven mesh on the underarms, it provides great maneuverability and comfort while moving.”
Material: Polyester and spandex | Sizes: Small — 4X-Large (tall options available) | Colors: 6
6. A sun-protective shirt with a hoodie
This long-sleeve shirt provides extra sun protection with its lightweight hood — just pull it up over your head to keep your ears, neck, and scalp shielded from UV rays. You can even use the thumbholes in the sleeves to keep your hands covered while biking or jogging. The 100% polyester material is UPF 50+, so you can be confident that your skin won’t soak up any UV rays. Also available without a hood, this shirt comes in a wide range of colors.
According to a reviewer: “Very comfortable and cool in the heat. The hood works better than a sun hat for the top of your head and back of your neck and ears. It’s also way less cumbersome than a big hat. I pair mine with a baseball hat to protect my face. Material is thin and light.”
Material: Polyester | Sizes: Small — 3X-Large | Colors and styles: 42
7. A linen blend that’s both dressed up & casual
This button-down strikes the balance between casual and dressy, thanks to the relaxed material and tailored fit. And linen is an MVP when it comes to high temperatures — it offers lots of breathability and actually works to draw heat away from your body to keep you cool. There’s no mention of UPF rating, but reviewers noted that it’s quite soft and not scratchy like many linen shirts. Perfect for everything from outdoor restaurant dinners to casual weddings, it comes in a variety of light shades and patterns that are ideal for warmer months, like blue, lavender, and natural (tan).
According to a reviewer: “In my search for linen shirts, I came across these, read the reviews, and decided to give them a try. I'm so glad I did, they are a nice and light cotton, and so comfortable. Much to my surprise, I prefer these over my linen shirts. I now have three of them and am going to order a couple more”
Material: Linen-cotton blend | Sizes: X-Small — XX-Large | Colors and patterns: 23
8. A laid-back linen shirt with vacation vibes
This linen button-down shirt gives off the perfect casual vibe for warm-weather destinations. Sport it while on vacation to tropical locales, on engagement photo shoots, or during outdoor yoga sessions. The cotton-flax blend creates a natural look fabric that’s cool and breathable, while the banded collar keeps your neck cool and ventilated. The sleeves can be rolled to your elbows and buttoned in place, but there’s no UPF rating mentioned. Choose from gray, beige, navy blue, and other soft neutrals that are great for temperate climates.
According to a reviewer: “I broke out the shirt for the first time to wear to a 50th bday party that was outdoors in 95 degree temps with 85%+ Humidity. It was brutal but I felt comfortable and cool the whole evening. I was worried a bit about sweating because of the color of the shirt but I was so comfortable that it never was an issue.”
Material: Cotton-flax blend | Sizes: Medium — 3X-Large | Colors and patterns: 38
9. A shirt designed for fishing & outdoor adventures
Made from 100% nylon, Columbia’s quick-drying button-down fishing shirt features two chest pockets with Velcro closures that make it easy to reach in and grab fishing lures. Of course, it’s also great for other outdoor activities (camping, yard work, etc.), and for added versatility, the sleeves can be rolled up to a mid-length and fastened in place. The UPF-30 fabric blocks UV rays, while the hidden shoulder vents help keep you cool. Plus, this relaxed-fit shirt comes in more than 30 shades, including bright aqua, sunset red, alpine tundra green, and basic black.
According to a reviewer: “Good gosh. I love this shirt! It's my favorite shirt by far. I am a cold weather guy, but live in VA. I'm constantly sweaty in the Summer. This bad boy does the trick to keep me as cool as possible.”
Material: Nylon | Sizes: XX-Small — 6X-Large (tall options available) | Colors: 47
10. A quick-drying golf polo
For those who like to spend their day on the golf course, this long-sleeve polo is made with a stretchy polyester-elastane blend that lets you swing with ease. The moisture-wicking shirt offers UPF 30 protection and features stretchy cuffs, a collar, and hidden buttons for a clean, streamlined look. Plus, because of the elastane, this shirt isn’t prone to wrinkling, making it a great option for travel.
According to a reviewer: “Very nice shirt! The quality is unmatched I wore it today for a round and even though it was probably a bit to hot for long sleeve it kept me cool! Great moisture wicking and the stretch ability of the short allows you to move freely! Could even wear out casually if you wanted to. I got an XL fits right usually wear a large which probably would have been a bit small. Would definitely recommend!”
Material: Polyester-elastane blend | Sizes: Small — 4X-Large | Colors: 16
This article was originally published on