Choosing the Best Base Layers in 2018
Base layers are something that many people who work out regularly love to wear. However, to many, the term is still a bit of a grey area.
What are base layers and how do you know which style, material and size you are looking for?
In general, a base layer is an item of clothing worn tight on the skin with the aim of keeping you cool when the weather is warm, or warm when the weather is cold.
But let’s take a look at the best mens base layers in more detail, shall we?
What are Base Layers?
A base layer, also known as Foundation or Primary Layers, is when looking at clothes, the item that forms the basis of ant layering system.
The purpose of base layers is to cling tightly to the skin. Then, the material will wick sweat away. This means you can be kept dry throughout your workout.
And, not only that, men’s base layers are able to trap a thin layer of air against the body, this also means you will be kept warm, or cool, depending on your choice, when wearing them.
Things to Consider
Before choosing the best base layers it is recommended to consider these few points. This is as they could be the deciding factor against you being completely comfortable, or completely uncomfortable.
Does the Base Layer Wick?
Wicking is the ability to take moisture away from the skin. This, in turn, can make you feel more comfortable when you are working out and is most likely to keep you dry from sweat.
Therefore, as the layers are close to the skin, considering whether you want one that can wick is important.
If you are someone who is likely to be getting very sweaty, a base layer that can wick is a good idea. But, if you are only wearing them to keep you warm then this is perhaps not as essential.
How does the Base Layer Fit?
One of the worst things you can do when choosing the correct base layer for you is to choose one that is the wrong size.
Too small, and you may find it hard to move. In fact, you may even begin to cut the circulation of your body, which of course, is a big no.
Alternatively, too big and you may not fully feel the benefits of wearing a base layer. Therefore, we recommend trying them on before you buy, or purchasing them from an online store that accepts returns.
Ideally, you want to be choosing a base layer that is a comfortable fit that feels pleasant against your skin.
Base Layer Seams
Something often overlooked, considering the seam of the base layer is a big contributor to how comfortable you are likely to be.
For example, a flatlock seam is likely to rub against your skin. This is as there is no seam allowance with layers folding to the underside.
As the base layers are so close to the skin, opting for those with odour control is probably a sensible decision to make.
Consider whether it has natural or man-made antibacterial properties. This way you can be sure the odour is either being absorbed or eliminated.
Is the Base Layer Durable?
Of course, as base layers can be rather pricey, therefore you want to make sure you are choosing one that is durable.
Most often you will be able to tell just from the look and the feel of the base layer whether it is likely to be durable or not.
Make sure to consider what your intended reason to purchase base layers are. For example, if they are for vigorous workouts, the durability of the garment is much more important than if you are wearing them for less intense workouts.
Best Base Layer Fabrics
Finding the best base layers mens can be difficult. Should you be looking for fleece base layers, wool base layers or something else?
Let’s find out.
When we get asked what kind of fabric to opt for when looking for the best men’s base layers we often recommend synthetic fabrics.
Why? Because they are a hard-wearing material that is good at wicking moisture away, and in turn sharing it across a larger surface area. This is a big plus as it means the process of evaporating moisture is accelerated. Especially useful when you are likely to sweat a lot.
Furthermore, they are a stretchy and quick drying fabric. Therefore, highly likely to be comfortable at all times.
A general rule when looking at base layers is that the thinner base layer will keep you cooler and be able to wick. Whereas, the thicker base layers will be warmer.
Synthetic fabrics include Polyester and Polypropylene.
Often combined with cotton, lycra or wool fibres, bamboo offer a tight fit and are experts at holding their shape over a long period of time.
Furthermore, bamboo is eco-friendly and is able to dry at a fast rate, whilst wicking away unwanted odours and bacteria.
And, as base layers made from bamboo are so soft, they are ideal for those with sensitive skin who may find that men’s wool base layers tend to irritate their skin.
An excellent choice of natural fabrics, Merino wool is soft and has odour prevention properties.
Furthermore, woollen base layers will be extremely comfortable against the skin as the fibres are lighter than any other type of wool.
A big no no.
Cotton is a fabric you should definitely be avoiding when finding effective base layers. This is as when wet, cotton will easily soak up liquid, especially sweat.
Furthermore, it will draw heat away from the body, which is the cause when you feel cold when wearing cotton. Obviously not ideal if you are looking for mens thermal base layers.
Summer Base Layers
In order to keep as cool as possible when working out in the Summer, you want to be looking for base layers that are thin and made of a light fabric.
Ideally, they will be made of synthetic materials. This is as they allow for convenient stretching, are able to wick away moisture. They also tend to be resistant to shrinking when used for long periods of time. Which is a huge plus if you’re looking to exercise all Summer.
Furthermore, choosing between short sleeved or sleeveless is often not that big of a deal. It is down to personal preference. Although, we find that a vest style is likely to be cooler.
Spring/Autumn Base Layers
To survive these two seasons, a base layer that is a compromise between warmth and sweat control is what you should be looking for.
For example, merino wool or polyester that is on the slightly thicker side is a good option.
Whether you choose a long sleeve or short sleeve base layer top, or tights or shorts, you are likely to be comfortable during these seasons. Again, it all comes down to personal preference as to what is best.
Winter Base Layers
Perhaps one of the main reasons people are drawn towards base layers. Men’s warm base layers designed for the winter aim to keep the core of your body warm at all times. This is as they work on the principle that as long as your torso is kept warm, the rest of your body is easier to moderate.
Merino wool or synthetic fabrics such as polypropylene are the mens best warm base layers as they are fast drying with great thermal abilities.
Furthermore, ensuring that the base layers fit close to your body is essential. This is as, too loose and it is likely that the layer won’t be able to keep you warm to the best of its capabilities.
Some ski base layers mens come with thumb holes in the arms allowing your hands to be kept warm. And, we recommend, if you are choosing to wear a jacket or coat, that a long sleeve base layer may be most appropriate.
Overall, when finding the best base layers, it may be best to read various a base layers review of the specific model you are looking at. This way you can be 100% certain that you are choosing something that is suitable for you.
Furthermore, we recommend having a different base layer for each season. This way you can be sure you are kept as warm as possible during the colder months. And as cool as possible during the warmer months.
However, we understand that merino wool can be much more expensive than other materials. This is due to how much it costs to source in the first place. But, with that said, we believe it is worth it if you are likely to be wearing them often.
And remember, base layers are intended to be like a second skin on your body. So if you are trying them for the first time, and find them to be tight, it could be that you have the wrong size. Or, it may be that you are just not used to them yet.