running shirts that would be better than running in a cycling jersey

Thinking about wearing a cycling jersey for running?

Yeah, you can wear a cycling jersey for running.

Is it ideal? No. But it works.

Here are some things to consider beforehand, and some tips to help you choose a cycling jersey that will also double as a running top.

What makes a good cycling jersey?

Cycling jerseys are made for cycling, an activity where you are usually seated, leaning forward, and your upper body is mostly stationary.

The better the jersey, the more specifically it is tailored to this position. The most noticeable aspect is how it’s going to be longer in the back and shorter up front.

Expect it to be tight and stretchy for the best aerodynamics.

Jerseys also have pockets along the low back, which are great for carrying a cell phone, energy bars, spare tools, or a myriad of other items. They are near your center of gravity so you hardly notice the contents.

Another handy feature is the front zipper. Some jerseys have a 1/4 zip and some have a full-length zipper. Full zips are great for heat regulation, and they’re really to put on and take off.

They are made from sweat-wicking materials (as any good athletic attire should be).

What about running in a cycling jersey?

Many aspects of the cycling jersey are also great for runners:

  • Sweat-wicking material
  • Tight fit for better aerodynamics
  • Front zipper to increase wind flow and improve cooling

But there are also key differences:

The big problem is that cut that works so well when you’re sitting and hunched forward is rather weird if you’re standing upright. Instead of being form-fitting, it’s more like a mullet. It could hang low over your butt yet expose your stomach.

You also have to consider the movement of running. You are moving your body a lot more, swinging your arms. Your chest is pressed into the jersey. There is much more opportunity for chafing!

If you wear a cycling jersey for running, test it on a short run first! And have some Bodyglide on standby.

Then there are the pockets. The pockets are the same, but can you use them when running? That’s the difference.

If the jersey is made of a tight and stretchy material, the pockets may be usable when running. At least for smaller, lightweight items like gloves, a headband, or an energy gel. Anything heavier will likely bounce around and be very annoying when running. So don’t plan to put a big iPhone or water bottle in those pockets.

If you need to carry stuff, look at a belt, hip pack, or ultra-running vest.

(For tips on choosing a belt or vest to carry food, water, and accessories: How To Carry Food And Water With You On Your Runs: 6 Ways That Work)

Finally, the cycling jersey might look out of place. But that’s probably the least of your concerns.

Considering a triathlon?

If you’re wondering about wearing a cycling jersey for the bike and run legs of your first triathlon, go for it.

Pro tip: Wear a full-zip jersey. That will be easier to put on when your body is still wet from the swim.

If there’s paddling rather than swimming, you could do the whole race in a cycling jersey. That’s what I always did.

Just running casually?

If you’re just running casually, you could get by running in a cycling jersey. You could also do just fine wearing a T-shirt or tank top. Or no shirt at all!

Really, for casual running, you’re almost better off with a regular T-shirt than with a cycling jersey.

Rather than worrying about a cycling jersey or a running singlet, just find some workout shirts. A sweat-wicking shirt would be great. Doesn’t matter if it’s a short sleeve, long sleeve, sleeveless, or a tank top.

Better choices for running tops

Usually, the debate is the other way around: someone has a good running top and is wondering if they can keep wearing that for cycling, rather than spending the money on a cycling jersey.

But if you have a cycling jersey or two, and you need running tops instead, here are a few options to consider:

Russell Men’s Core Performance Short Sleeve T-Shirt

russell core performance t-shirt

Built with Dri-Power 360 moisture-wicking technology, this active tee also features Fresh Force all-day odor protection to keep you cool, dry, and comfortable when running, working out, or just lounging at home. Find it for $13.99 or less at

Next Level Apparel Men’s Tri-Blend Crew (6010)

next level 6010 tri-blend shirt

Made from a “tri-blend” of 50% polyester, 25% cotton, and 25% rayon, this is the most comfortable, versatile t-shirt I’ve ever owned. It’s equally at home for casual wear as it is for gym workouts, runs, and hikes. You can usually find them for about $11 each on Amazon.

Decathlon Rockrider Men’s Short-Sleeved Mountain Bike Jersey

decathlon rockrider mountain bike jersey

There is a newer style of cycling jersey out there called a “mountain bike jersey.” It’s somewhere in between a tight-fitting road cycling jersey with three back pockets and a loose-fitting downhill mountain biking jersey with no pockets. This one is made from high-performance material yet looks casual, and it has a single zippered back pocket for storage. It’s a great value for just $16.99 at

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