5 Best Lightweight Work Shirts

Part of any standard workwear is the shirt, but if you work in a warmer climate, in an industrial situation where temperatures may be elevated or doing heavy manual labor, you’ll need a shirt that doesn’t cause you to overheat on the job. This is where a lightweight work shirt can really save the day.

It’s crucial to find a lightweight work shirt that can save you from grueling heat, and if it is moisture-wicking, all the better.

The important thing is that heat is not trapped inside the shirt making you perspire, uncomfortable, and generally miserable when you have tasks to do.

Best Lightweight Work Shirts

Because heat can tire you, heavy fabric will add to your discomfort.  They can leave you sweaty, itchy, and even sticky at work, and the heavier the shirt fabric, the longer it needs to dry if there’s a lot of perspiration.

A heavier fabric will tend to absorb the perspiration moisture only adding to the shirt’s weight. So, the lightweight work shirt becomes the optimal choice.

As our overall best lightweight work shirt, the Wrangler Authentics Short Sleeve Men’s Classic Woven Shirt really convinced us. We had an entire team of construction pros wear these shirts on the job, and we all know how hot a construction site can get.

We like our top choice because if you want a lightweight natural fiber classic work shirt, this is it. It is ideal for office or meetings with clients. For those that want a lightweight work shirt for manual labor, we like the Arctic Cool Crew Neck Instant Cool Short Sleeve Work Shirt for its moisture-wicking and cooling properties.

Just think that there are hundreds of various styles of lightweight shirts when selecting. Do you need a lightweight long sleeve shirt for an office situation or for meeting clients? Can you comfortably wear a short sleeve shirt in your work environment, a polo shirt, or can you use a lightweight t-shirt if you happen to be a tradesman involved in a lot of physical labor?

Whatever your preference, our team of experts searched out all of the possibilities to find you the very best lightweight work shirts on the market, in the hopes of saving you time above all. 

We’ve done the legwork, now you get to make the choice!

Work ShirtsMaterialClosureSizingFeatures
Wrangler Authentics  Men’s Woven Classic Short Sleeve 100% cottonButton-downSmall to 3X-Large and 2X-TallClassic relaxed fit for a professional appearance
Wrangler ATG Mixed Fabric Long Sleeve 73% nylon and 27% polyesterButton-downSmall to 6XLMoisture-wicking, Vented back, zip pocket, Inside hem glasses cleaner, UVP 30, Sleeve loop for sleeve length Stretch side and arm panels for increased movement
Red Kap Industrial 65% polyester and 35% cotton, 4.25 ounces, poplin7 buttonsSmall to 5XLMoisture-wicking stain-resistant
Arctic Cool Crew Neck Instant Cool Short Sleeve Hydrofreeze poly-spandex fabricNoneSmall to 4XL50+ UPF, Moisture-wicking, 4-way stretch for ease of movement, Cooling technology
Dickies Temp-IQ Long Sleeve Cooling Performance50% cotton and 50% polyesterNoneSmall through tall, and Large TallMoisture-wicking, Pocket with pencil stall

The Reviews

Best Overall Lightweight Work Shirt

1.) Wrangler Authentics Short Sleeve Men’s Classic Woven Shirt

Multiple short sleeve work shirts are manufactured in blends of various fibers, but this work shirt is 100% cotton if you prefer a natural fiber. 

It may weigh a tiny bit more than some poly-cotton mixes, but for lovers of cotton, it is truly a lightweight work shirt. The classic design boasts chest pockets with button closures and a relaxed fit.

Available in nine different colors, sizing begins with Small to 3X-Large and includes up to 2X-Tall. Reasonably affordable. If you want a lightweight natural fiber classic work shirt, this is it.

Pros

      • 100% cotton fabric
      • Choices in Nine different colors 
      • Classic relaxed fit for a professional appearance
      • Two Chest pockets are button-flap 
      • Reasonably priced

Cons

      • Sizing considerations reported
Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

Best Long-sleeve Lightweight Work Shirt

2.) Wrangler Long Sleeve ATG Mixed Fabric Work Shirt

This long sleeve with a button-down closure is featured in Wrangler’s “All Terrain Gear” clothing

Line. If you prefer a long sleeve shirt for protection or appearance on the job, but you need lightweight due to hot weather or working conditions, Wrangler offers a very convincing work shirt.

It has a very nice appearance, and at the same time offers a vented back to keep you cool. The fabric is a blend of 73% nylon and 27% polyester and is machine washable. 

The shirt has lots of extra features to make your workday more comfortable. These include two chest pockets. An eyeglass cleaner in the shirt’s hem, a UPF 30 protection from sunlight exposure, panels under the arms for ease in movement, and even a loop to keep your sleeves rolled up if you want.

But above all, it has moisture-wicking properties. Panels in a knit fabric add nice color contrast and give a bit of added stretch.

The chest pockets have a flap with button closure, but there is a zip pocket for storing small valuables. Available in six colors, sizes range from small all the way up to a 6XL.

Pros

      • Moisture-wicking
      • Vented back
      • 2 chest pockets and a zip pocket
      • Inside hem glasses cleaner
      • UVP 30
      • Sleeve loop for sleeve length adjustment
      • Stretch side and arm panels for increased movement

Cons

      • Durability issues
      • Sizing concerns reported
Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

Best Short-sleeve Lightweight Work Shirt

3.) Red Kap Industrial Work Shirt

A best-seller, this short-sleeve button-down work shirt comes in forty different patterns and colors. Produced in a blend of 65% polyester and 35% cotton, it is machine washable.

If you need a professional-looking shirt for hot weather, this is truly a lightweight shirt made in 4.25 ounces of poplin.

It features a classic design making it timeless and the collar holds its shape because it is lined with stays that are sewn in and permanent.

Two hex-style pockets have button-through closures, and the left chest pocket features a pencil stall.  It is moisture-wicking with great breathability and retains colors well after washing.

It also offers stain resistance. Sizing begins at small and continues through to 5XL. Whatever your profession, this is a great-looking button-down lightweight work shirt.

Pros

      • Moisture- wicking
      • Machine washable
      • 40 patterns and colors to choose from
      • 2 chest pockets, one with pencil stall
      • Stain resistant
      • Many sizes
      • Affordable
      • Sold in packs of two, three, or five

 

Cons

      • Sizing issues
Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

Best Lightweight Work Tee Shirt

4.) Arctic Cool Crew Neck Instant Cool Short Sleeve Work Shirt

Artic Cool uses their own HydroFreeze X Fabric to produce this shirt, featuring channels right in the material to aid fast evaporation for breathability and cooling.

The cooling effect triggers with the evaporation of perspiration. Another great factor is that this tee shirt offers a whopping 50+ UPF for protection from sunlight exposure. 

The fabric uses a blend of polyester and spandex for 4-way stretch making it ideal for those who need flexibility and facilitated movement.

It is quite long as standard tee shirts go. Designed with a chest pocket and a crew neck, it comes in nine colors with sizing starting at small and running up to a generous 4XL.

Pros

      • Hydrofreeze poly-spandex fabric
      • 4-way stretch for ease of movement
      • 50+ UPF
      • Moisture-wicking
      • Cooling technology
      • Machine washable

Cons

      • Very long
      • Some sizing concerns
Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

Best Lightweight Long Sleeve Work Tee Shirt

5.) Dickies Temp-IQ Long Sleeve Cooling Performance

Affordably priced considering the quality, this Dickies Temp-IQ shirt is a great choice if you want long sleeves but no buttons.

Made in a blend of 50% cotton and 50% polyester, it wears lighter than a full cotton shirt and offers more breathability but is soft against the skin as if it were pure cotton. 

Featuring a chest pocket with a carpenter pencil inside-division and the logo, it is machine washable. Available in nine colors, sizes start with small but include both “Tall” sizes and Large-Tall sizes. There are lots of choices here.

Moisture-wicking technology keeps you dry throughout the day and even offers a cooling effect triggered by perspiration, so your body temperature stays under control.

Pros

      • Long sleeve summer T-shirt
      • 50% cotton and 50% polyester
      • Breathable
      • Chest pocket with pencil space
      • Machine washable
      • Nine colors
      • Lots of sizes
      • Moisture-wicking
      • Affordable

Cons

      • Very long 
Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

What Our Search Discovered

One of the most advertised characteristics of lightweight work shirts surprisingly isn’t the fabric weight but the “moisture-wicking” or “cooling” shirt. Often these descriptions are used to describe similar characteristics.

The idea when considering a moisture-wicking shirt is to move perspiration away from your body and to the fabric surface for quicker evaporation. This helps to move body heat outward as well, so your body temperature remains more comfortable.

Even when a lightweight shirt is advertised as moisture-wicking or cooling, the fabric that it is made from will make a difference in how effective the lightweight shirt can be.

So, when we searched for the best lightweight work shirts for you, these are what we factored into our research and testing to get you the best.

Fabric Material

Fabric can make a difference and will depend heavily on the wearer’s personal preferences and comfort. Is the fabric cool and does it breathe for you?

Lightweight shirts ideally should be constructed in a fabric that makes breathability a priority. Some shirts will come in polyester-cotton blends, nylon, rayon, 100% polyester, spandex, chambray, cotton, bamboo fiber, linen, hemp, merino wool, and even silk.

Fabrics need to permit air circulation and if they offer moisture-wicking capability to keep you dry, all the better.

Shirts can feature panels in mesh as well to enhance cooling properties while keeping the shirt lightweight. Moisture-wicking features and a mesh panel on the sides, front, or back of the shirt can enable airflow. 

Underarm venting may be available on some more casual models. In the war on heat and rising temperatures, everything helps. Take into consideration that a tight shirt clinging to the skin must permit a minimum of airflow.

Protection from the Sun

This may or may not be important to you. If you work outdoors, even for a part of the day, however, it should. UV Ray Protection and UPF or the ultraviolet protection factor can protect you if you have fair skin, are particularly sensitive to sunlight, or are prone to sunburn. 

Direct sunlight can contribute to skin cancer. Prolonged exposure without protection increases the potential for damage to your skin. The UPF is a method used for indicating the amount of protection clothing offers.

Odor Resistance and Stains

Some work shirts feature odor resistance to counteract any smells due to excessive perspiration.  

Depending on your profession, a lightweight shirt that has odor-fighting technology may be important. This is also true for those who may regularly be tasked with dirty jobs. In this case, a stain-resistant fabric will save you a lot of hassle.

Sleeves and How Long?

Again, depending on if you are in and out of an office setting or must meet with clients, this can be a difficult decision. Long-sleeved and short-sleeve lightweight shirts are available.

If you need to go out into the sunlight for an extended period, more coverage offers better protection however, some pros don’t want a long sleeve because of movement restriction. 

Keep in mind that a shirt with long sleeves that is lightweight and guarantees breathability also gives an extra layer of protection. 

Professionals with sunlight sensitivity may need a longer sleeve for protection. Lightweight long-sleeved shirts exist for warmer climates.

They can also protect you from dirt or particulates that fly around in windy conditions, insects, and vegetation. You can always roll up long sleeves partially.

Conclusion

Dressing for work depends a great deal on your profession and the type of tasks you deal with daily.

When it’s hot, whether inside or outside, lightweight shirts are to be considered necessary for your comfort and performance while on the job.

Fortunately, the marketplace has a lot to offer, and we hope this article will assist you in your search for the best lightweight work shirt for your profession.