The Best Base Layers For Warm And Cold Weather Training
One of the most vital parts of an active wardrobe is the right base layer. In fact, you probably want at least two – one for warm-weather training and one for the cold.
It’s easy to grasp how base layers can help in the winter – they sit tight against the skin to help keep you toasty warm while also wicking away sweat so you don’t end up a sticky mess 20 paces into a run. You might be more sceptical of their benefits come summer, but adding another layer can actually be just the ticket to avoiding overheating, because lightweight base layers with sweat-wicking tech that dry quickly have a cooling effect on the body.
Here are the best base layers for both hot and cold training.
Cold Weather Base Layers
This thicker-than-average base layer has a number of strings to its bow. It’s a very comfortable and warm layer to wear by itself for running or any other especially vigorous activity when it’s not too cold, and it slips nicely under a jacket when it is freezing or for less strenuous exercise. It’s also perhaps the only base layer on this list that you could happily rock up to the pub in after your workout because the fit isn’t excessively tight and the bamboo fabric is naturally odour-resistant, so you won’t be stinking up the joint.
Buy from BAM Bamboo Clothing | £48
Ashmei Long Sleeve
The Merino/carbon blend used in this base layer makes for a top that is very lightweight and regulates temperatures like a champ, keeping you warm in the cold and cool when it’s hot. The Merino wool also ensure the base layer is odour-resistant and oh-so-soft on the skin, and the extra-long arms means that you can tuck your mitts inside if you’ve unwittingly left your gloves behind.
Buy from Ashmei | £80
Craft Active Intensity
You might be sceptical of the warmth-retaining properties of this base layer when you first handle it because it feels far too thin and lightweight to face down winter weather, but one run will be enough to dispel your doubts. The Intensity base layer traps the heat you need next to your skin, while wicking away sweat so it doesn’t cool against your body. The top also has a long fit so you can tuck it into your shorts comfortably and help trap warm air against your torso.
Buy from Wiggle | £34
Runderwear Long Sleeve Base Layer
Having mastered the world of chafe-free running pants, Runderwear has turned its attention to your top half. It uses the same seamless tech as the underwear, which means the base layer is exceptionally comfortable next to the skin and it dries so quickly after exercise you’ll be happy to sit around in it all day. We were, anyway (don’t judge). One other feature we especially liked was the wrap-around mittens on the end of the sleeves. Unfurl them to cover your entire hand – perfect for the days you forget your running gloves.
Buy from Runderwear | £45
dhb Merino Long Sleeve Zip Neck Base Layer
Whatever your preferred style of base layer is – high-neck long-sleeve, low-neck long-sleeve, short sleeve, NO SLEEVES AT ALL – dhb has a warm, Merino wool option for you. For our part, we like as much skin covered as possible, so this zip-neck long-sleeve top is our preferred pick, especially since it also works as an option to wear by itself when the weather turns milder. All of dhb’s Merino tops are sweat-wicking, breathable and naturally resistant to bad smells, which is always nice.
Buy from Wiggle | £44.99
New Balance Seasonless Long Sleeve
This top works equally well as a base layer or as your only top if the weather isn’t quite cold enough for two layers, but too chilly for a standard one. The fabric wicks sweat away quickly, and the thumb loops are sewn on inside the sleeve, so most of your hand is covered and kept cosy. There are also reflective details on all sides if you opt to wear the Seasonless solo for runs at night.
Buy from New Balance | £35
Iffley Road Dartmoor Base Layer
This top is soft – oh so soft – and seamless so it’s exceptionally comfortable to wear next to skin. The Dartmoor base layer is made from Merino wool and quite fitted, though it’s not so tight that you’ll feel like you’re revealing too much if you don’t wear another top over it.
Buy from Iffley Road | £95
Warm Weather Base Layers
CEP Ultralight Shirt
When you first take this shirt out of the box you will probably assume that CEP has mistakenly sent you a child’s top, because it looks absolutely tiny. Rest assured, however, that the Ultralight shirt stretches to fit tightly, but comfortably, so that it’ll slip under any other running top you want to wear. The extremely lightweight fabric wicks sweat and dries rapidly to help chill you out on hot runs.
Buy from CEP Sports | £39.99
Men’s UA HeatGear Armour Short Sleeve Compression Shirt
The exceedingly tight fit of these tops ensures that sweat doesn’t get even a second to linger on your skin before it is whisked away to evaporate. Even more exciting is that for a mere £9 more you can get versions of these shirts emblazoned with the logo of your favourite superhero. As long as your favourite superhero isn’t something niche like Aquaman. No-one is making Aquaman compression tops yet.
Buy from Under Armour | £26
Adidas Alphaskin Tech
The Climachill tech in these compression tops (which come in T-shirt or tank top form, depending on how proud of your biceps you are) helps keeps you cool in two ways. One is the mesh-style fabric, the other is a series of aluminium-silver dots on the back that conduct heat away from the body, which sounds space-age enough to make us sit up and take note. The top also has ultra-soft seams to avoid irritation, and who doesn’t love a soft seam?
Buy from Adidas | £42.95