How to choose a baselayer

Base layers are essential for keeping warm during the colder months. With the establishment of new thermal technologies arising over recent years, the range of base layers is vast. With compression, thermal and base layer leggings, covered in this handy guide, you will get an idea as to which is the best choice for you. Both men’s and women’s base layers are available on our website.

What is a base layer top?

A base layer top is ideal for maintaining body temperature, helping wick away moisture caused by sweat from the skin, so you stay warm and dry in all weather. Base layer tops are mostly worn in the winter for keeping warm and in the summer for staying cool and dry.

They are particularly popular with sports enthusiast, especially walkers, runners, cyclists and footballers. You can wear a base layer top and stay warm or cool and dry without the heat or the cold affecting your performance.

What are compression base layers?

Compression base layers are designed to be tighter fitting than ordinary base layers. They are designed this way to keep your muscles in a secure and natural position. These layers help to protect your muscles and reduce the chance of injury by stopping muscles moving and vibrating. 

Compression wear is perfect for sports such as running and cycling. Wearing compression base layers during sporting activities will help let blood flow to the muscles more fluidly.

What is a thermal base layer?

A thermal base layer is a thin layer of clothing that insulates your body in cold and freezing conditions. It’s usually worn underneath other items of clothing. Layering is a good way to trap air and maintain body warmth, with the option to remove it if it gets warm.

When it comes to thermal base layers, there are three different kinds of fabrics; each has its advantages. Lightweight thermals are worn in moderate or cool temperatures, midweight thermals for cold temperatures and heavyweight thermals when the weather is freezing.

Through research and development, The North Face® has concluded the best thermal base layers are made of materials such as synthetic fabric that is a blend of polyester, spandex, nylon, and lycra that provides just the right amount of warmth with heat retention and moisture-wicking properties.

Wool might get itchy, silk might not be warm enough and cotton can make you feel uncomfortable with its moisture retention.

A thermal should support your day-to-day activities like travelling, going to the gym, yoga and other adventure sports.

Thermal base layers should be made of fabric that is stretchy, moisture-wicking, moisture-managing as well as warm. It should be soft and comfortable to wear as it is going to be your first layer of clothing next to the skin. A good thermal base layer should provide all-around comfort and protection during colder months.

What are base layer pants?

Base layer pants are thin, comfortable leggings worn by both men and women. They are designed to manage moisture effectively while adding a layer of warmth under trousers. An insulating base layer like these with weatherproof trousers copes with all winter conditions.

Base layers should be snug fitting but not so restrictive that you can’t move when exercising. Warm air needs to be trapped between fabric layers without the possibility of feeling a draft if you are to stay warm.

Bottom base layer pants should feel snug but not too tight. Just like top base layers, a snugger fit will offer more warmth. They should reach the bottom of your lower leg and rest around the ankle area unless it is a three-quarter length. Going with the same size as your standard size will be adequate when sizing baselayer bottoms. 

They are suitable for all weathers and can be worn underneath tracksuit bottoms or on their own in mild to cool conditions.

Don’t be fooled into thinking the tighter it is, the better it will perform. It must fit your body properly; compression that is too tight can prevent circulation.