Shirt or no shirt? That is the question.

Whether for comfort, performance or just plain aesthetics, opting not to wear a shirt or singlet while running is a personal choice. Yet so many runners have an opinion on it. Going completely shirtless is an option available mainly to men, although some would argue that women wearing a sports bra alone is a similar scenario.

Regardless, the decision to bare an abundance of skin is also likely to rouse a response from onlookers. Often other runners display either strong opposition or tepid tolerance. Why exactly is that? Why are runners’ opinions so strong on this one?

RELATED: Male runners: Do you shave your legs?

Running without a shirt can have its advantages. In humid conditions, a shirt can quickly become drenched in sweat and when saturated, will be physically heavy to wear, likely uncomfortable and no longer provide a cooling effect. However in hot, but not necessarily humid weather, a shirt actually helps draw sweat–and thus heat–away from the body to help keep it cool. Most obviously, a shirt also helps block the sun’s harmful UV rays from exposed skin. Some might argue, it’s also more socially acceptable.

Most running events also require or strongly encourage wearing a shirt which is used to pin a bib/race number to the body for easy identification.

What are your thoughts? Is running without a shirt acceptable? In what conditions could it be?

Is running without a shirt an acceptable practice?

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  • Suzanne says:

    I think it would be interesting to also see a gender breakdown of results. I personally think that it is a double standard that it is considered ok for a man to run without s shirt but not a woman. I personally have no interest in seeing men’s hairy chests.

  • Vancity says:

    Why is there not a who … cares option. Wear whatever you want. Get out there and enjoy the outdoors.

    Thanks for giving us all something interesting to read Canadian running… (I hope the authors understand sarcasm here..)

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