Reviews You Can Rely On

ON Performance-T - Women's Review

The most well-designed running shirt we tested, it excels across the board
ON Performance-T - Women's
Photo: ON
Top Pick Award
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Price:  $80 List | Check Price at REI
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Exceptionally breathable, taped seams, lightweight, packs down super small
Cons:  Expensive, a more open crew neck that requires a bit more sunscreen
Manufacturer:   ON Running
By Paige Klugherz ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  May 21, 2021
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88
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#1 of 13
  • Comfort - 30% 9
  • Breathability - 30% 9
  • Drying Speed - 20% 9
  • Features & Versatility - 20% 8

Our Verdict

A winner across the board, the ON Performance-T is a no-brainer for every runner. Impressively breathable and quick-drying, it will keep your body regulating temperature well in any conditions. High-quality taped seams don't chafe and are supremely comfortable underneath a running vest. The unique panel on the back promotes even more airflow, and its color blocking sets it apart style-wise from other running shirts. Although it may feel thin, its tear-proof fabric withstood off-trail travel and never snagged. It gains versatility points in our eyes for how small it can pack down and its multiple reflective decals. Whether you need a workhouse for grinding out daily miles or that splurge item for your race goal, this one performs in every circumstance.

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$58 List
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Pros Exceptionally breathable, taped seams, lightweight, packs down super smallSuper comfortable, breathable, quick drying, versatileUltralight, super breathable, packs small, smooth and stretchy fabricSoft fabric, super breathable, comfy fit, strategic meshVery breathable, quick-drying, flattering fit, raglan sleeves
Cons Expensive, a more open crew neck that requires a bit more sunscreenHeavier than some, only one small reflective decalDelicate fabric, not as versatileBarebonesHigh cut underarms, fabric can snag
Bottom Line The most well-designed running shirt we tested, it excels across the boardAn all-around lightweight winner with high performance that can withstand endless milesUnbelievably light and breathable, this is the shirt for hot summer daysAn ultralight running tee that has all of the performance without any unnecessary featuresThis highly breathable and comfortable tee can handle running in any weather
Rating Categories ON Performance-T -... Salomon XA Tee - Wo... Patagonia Capilene... Ultimate Direction... Oiselle Flyout Shor...
Comfort (30%)
9.0
9.0
8.0
9.0
9.0
Breathability (30%)
9.0
8.0
9.0
8.0
8.0
Drying Speed (20%)
9.0
9.0
10.0
9.0
9.0
Features & Versatility (20%)
8.0
9.0
7.0
8.0
8.0
Specs ON Performance-T -... Salomon XA Tee - Wo... Patagonia Capilene... Ultimate Direction... Oiselle Flyout Shor...
Weight 2.22 oz (size S) 2.93 oz (size S) 1.69 oz (size XS) 2.22 oz (size S) 2.86 oz (size 4)
Material 100% polyester 89% polyester, 11% elastane Polyester double knit body-mapped mesh, antimicrobial 65% polyester/32% TENCEL/3% spandex
Reflective Areas? Yes, logos on front and back hems Yes No No No
Seam Type Taped Flatlock Flatlock Flatlock Flatlock
UPF? No No No No Yes, 15
Odor Control? No Polygiene Polygiene Antimicrobial fabric No
Zip Neck Option? No No No No No

Our Analysis and Test Results

Blending top-notch performance and style, the Performace-T provides stellar breathability and comfort. Whether you're racing an ultra this summer or wanting that perfect daily training tee, this is a top-notch option.

Performance Comparison


From easy runs in cool temps to hard efforts on race day, we will...
From easy runs in cool temps to hard efforts on race day, we will wear this tee for nearly any occasion!
Photo: Paige Klugherz

Comfort


The Performance-T earned a top spot in the comfort metric thanks to a number of great design choices. First off, the fabric itself is smooth, with a good amount of stretch to move with you as you stride. It's made of 100% polyester, but the panel in the back is slightly more breathable, and the rest of the shirt is tear-proof to increase durability. There's only the slightest difference in texture between the two fabrics — so subtle you probably won't even notice — but we love the thought behind this. Even after an off-trail desert adventure, we didn't have any snags.


While you may not give much thought to seams in your normal wardrobe, they can make a huge difference in comfort for running apparel. The taped seams of the Performance-T lay perfectly flat, almost entirely negating the chance of chafing. Additionally, the shoulder seams are set forward off of the bone, so they won't rub underneath the straps of a pack or vest.

Taped seams that are shifted off of the shoulder bones provide...
Taped seams that are shifted off of the shoulder bones provide unparalleled comfort and never chafe.
Photo: Paige Klugherz

We love the fit of this shirt with its looseness that somehow doesn't end up looking baggy. The sleeves sit well, and we like the length of the body. Our tiniest gripe is that we would prefer the neckline raised ever so slightly for a bit more protection from the sun. Overall, we were extremely happy during testing and received multiple compliments on the look of the shirt when passing friends on trails.

The Performance-T struck a perfect balance of being loose without...
The Performance-T struck a perfect balance of being loose without being baggy, and we loved how the sleeves fit.
Photo: Paige Klugherz

Breathability


If there's one place the Performance-T truly shines, it's in the breathability metric. To start, the thin polyester fabric has a woven structure that allows for tons of airflow. Although we never found it sheer while in use, it is pretty see-through when held up to the light. No matter how hard you're working during your fartleks, that heat and sweat quickly moves away from your body and leaves you feeling more refreshed.


Additionally, the actual cut of this shirt helps with its breathability, too. The looser fit and subtle A-line hem let it flow away from your body as you run. The back of the shirt features a panel of fabric that is subtly thinner than the rest of the shirt, and it has a sewn crease of extra fabric, allowing the back to billow slightly and catch the breeze. Since we know many runners are spending hours on end outside each week, we're always considering sun protection while testing as well. With a size small weighing in at a meager 2.22 oz, even on test runs in the full desert sun, this one was breathable enough that we were never tempted to take it off — a true win in our book.

The black back panel of the Performance-T is even more breathable...
The black back panel of the Performance-T is even more breathable than the rest of the shirt, and the way it's attached at the upper seam with a small gather allows it to catch the wind and circulate more air as you run.
Photo: Paige Klugherz

Drying Speed


Drying speed is a worthwhile metric to test because it can affect your comfort in both summer and winter. We're happy to report that the Performance-T dried super fast during testing. The lightweight polyester that makes it so breathable also makes it quick drying. After being fully saturated with water, thoroughly wrung out by hand, and hung up, it dried at nearly the same rate as another front runner in this category.


If you're running in serious summer conditions, you'll feel the lovely effects of evaporative cooling as your sweat dries. And if you're running in cold weather or are caught in a rainstorm, the quick-drying speed of this shirt keeps you safer since you won't be wet for long. Because of this performance, we have no qualms about taking this tee on backcountry adventures. So, no matter the weather, get out there and log some miles!

It stood up to the rigors of full-sun desert running, keeping us...
It stood up to the rigors of full-sun desert running, keeping us cool and drying incredibly fast.
Photo: Paige Klugherz

Features & Versatility


In terms of features, there isn't always a ton to say about running apparel. They're pretty straightforward pieces of gear, right? However, there are a few standout specifics that we look for. The Performance-T has three reflective decals: one along the lower front hem, one along the lower back hem, and one in the middle of the back. This instantly increases its versatility in our eyes because with enough spots for car headlights or a headlamp to catch, we feel safer wearing it along a road or out on trails at night. There isn't a designated UPF rating for this shirt, but since polyester generally has a baseline UPF of 15, and because the shirt is so comfortable to keep on in hot weather, we are satisfied with that.


When considering versatility, we think about the different types of runs and any other activities we could use the shirt for. Not only is this one great for daily workouts, but it's also the one we'd reach for on race day. It's long enough to wear under a climbing harness, taped seams make it comfortable under a pack when backpacking, it layers well under jackets, and it's breathable enough to wear during a hot yoga class. On top of all that, since it packs down so small (it fits in the palm of our hand), it's the shirt we'd toss in a carry-on for easy travel.

High-quality construction and multiple reflective decals are part of...
High-quality construction and multiple reflective decals are part of what makes this shirt so versatile.
Photo: Paige Klugherz

Value


We know there might be some sticker shock at the price of this shirt (we thought the same thing at first), but if it's in your budget, this one is worth it. With top marks across all of our metrics and great overall quality, this could be your "one and only." It has all the features you want without being overdesigned and is wearable year-round. So although it's on the higher end price-wise, we still stand by the value of this pick.

Conclusion


The ON Performance-T is easy to wear, so comfortable you won't ever have to think about it, and durable enough for all your adventures. It's one of our top picks this season for its outstanding fabric, fit, and performance.

No matter where your running takes you, this shirt can perform...
No matter where your running takes you, this shirt can perform beautifully.
Photo: Paige Klugherz

Paige Klugherz