Base layers are crucial when combatting cold weather. When you don’t invest in quality base layers and thermals, you can kiss a great ski season goodbye and say hello to hypothermia. To ensure you don’t put yourself in danger, make sure you get your hands on a great base layer that’s not only highly insulating but features moisture-wicking & anti-odour properties and stretchy comfortable materials too.
Rather than throwing a few jumpers and basic tees over the top, choose a breathable yet durable undergarment that keeps you feeling fresh while helping to retain body heat in even the most challenging weather conditions. Make sure you also select a form-fitted base layer that feels like a second skin, promising to seal cold elements out.
Men’s Base Layer FAQs
What is a base layer?
A base layer is an item of clothing your wear under other clothes and is often thought of as the 'second skin' when layering in cold weather. Base layers and thermals provide you with optimal warmth while also helping to absorb sweat due to their moisture-wicking properties.
Can you wear just a base layer?
A base layer is an undergarment worn beneath all your winter clothes. Although many base layer tops are a simple, minimalist design, they can be worn by themselves; however, to ensure the best results, definitely pair them with a few outer layers when facing icy weather.
Is fleece a good base layer fabric?
Fleece is a high performing fabric but it doesn't make for a good base layer. Fleece is an excellent option for the cold due to its highly warm and insulating properties, but it can easily overheat you, making it a great choice for your second or third layer so you can easily remove it.
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Though it may seem daunting, we’ve uncovered the best base layer brands, ensuring you can create a quality layering system geared to be high performing and protective.
Uniqlo manufactures shirts perfect for a lightweight base layer, as they're highly breathable yet warm. These base layers have heat tech added to them - a revolutionary fabric that works with your body to generate heat and retain it. Also, Uniqlo heat tech base layers have bio-warming, insulating, anti-microbial, anti-static, moisture-wicking, moisturising, breathability, and self-deodorising properties, guaranteed to keep you comfortable at all times. Uniqlo offers both short sleeve and long sleeve base layers.
Make sure you check out their range of merino wool base layers, as these tops can sustain even the most challenging climates. Icebreaker has a diverse selection of base layer tops that come in different shapes and styles. No matter if you're looking for a long sleeve glacier top or a thermal crew neck, they have it all. These merino wool baselayers also help regulate body temperature in hot and cold climates; and are naturally odour resistant, keeping you feeling fresh all day long.
If you’re looking for a remarkably sturdy yet delicate base layer, check out their online store, as these tops are crafted from rich materials, promising extra durability and softness against the skin. Hanes has a wide selection of thermals that help retain body heat, wick moisture and are anti-odour. These shirts come in various colours, lengths, sizes and patterns, so you're guaranteed to find what you're looking for in an undergarment.
Kathmandu offers a range of base layers crafted from premium merino wool, offering optimal warmth. These thermals can endure all kinds of weather conditions, thanks to their soft yet durable construction. These lightweight base layers also provide stretchy materials, so you can move with great ease while you tackle the most vigorous outdoor activities.
Columbia has a collection of some of the best ski base layers that will keep you toasty in the lowest temperatures. These highly comfortable tops feature Omni Heat technology, trapping body heat inside. Columbia base layers are incredibly functional due to their 4-way stretch fabrics while also helping to wick away moisture.
Stormtech produces lotus long sleeve and short sleeve thermal shirts crafted from the finest polyester to offer fast-drying technology while supporting muscle maintenance. These tops are exceptionally soft and comfortable as well.
The North Face
Their collection of men's base layers come in a range of different colours, styles and lengths, regardless if you're after a heavyweight waffle knit or a lightweight, highly breathable thermal; they have you sorted. These top-notch base layers offer optimal warmth and comfortability for even the coldest weather conditions.
Make sure you check out their FreeForm Long Sleeve undershirt, as it's extremely warm and comfortable, thanks to its micro modal construction. This form-fitted top holds its tight shape over time while ensuring no cold elements creep inside. This shirt is also a seamless design and promises not to create any visible lines under clothing.
Champion has a series of base layer tops that are super stretchy and flexible. These lightweight baselayers promise to supply optimal warmth without adding extra bulk and are also moisture-wicking. Champion offers designs that come with thumb loops, helping to keep the cold out.
These merino wool base layers are extremely warm and cosy and feature moisture-wicking capabilities, keeping you fresh and clean. If you're looking for a base layer promising thermoregulation, check out their Smartwool Merino 250 base layers. These are some of the most advanced tops that come in flatlock seams to help minimise chafing.
Their selection of thermal shirts and tops are some of the best basic tees you can have for winter, as they are a seamless construction that offers mesh, ensuring a high level of breathability. These tops are perfect for high-intensity training as they’re odour resistant and incredibly stretchy too.
Aether not only has excellent outdoor and activewear, but its apparel is super trendy and can be worn casually as well. Aether’s base layers are crafted from some of the best fabrics, including Japanese merino. These shirts are also fast-drying and come with stretch fabric, giving you a full range of motion.
If you’re looking for a high tech base layer top that checks every box, then check out their Motus AR Crew top. Their engineered polyester base layer materials offer excellent moisture management while adding lightweight warmth. This base layer is performance-enhancing in a diverse range of climates due to its adaptable construction.
Outdoor Research has a series of selected merino wool base layers designed to seal out the cold in even the most challenging weather conditions. These quality base layers are perfect for the alpines, as they’re highly durable and control moisture. These wool base layers have flat seams and anti-odour qualities, making them the perfect top for multi-day expeditions.
They have some of the finest men’s base layers, as these tops come in simple, clean silhouettes, promising to be super lightweight while offering ultimate warmth. These undergarments are a flatlock seam construction that possesses fast drying, odour resistant and moisture-wicking properties. Also, these shirts come with thumb loops providing you with additional coverage.
Trespass has a diverse collection of base layer tops. From merino wool thermals to quick-drying base layers, you’re sure to find what you want. If you’re searching for something with extra coverage, they have tops that come with a high neckline - so there’s no need for a scarf. Also, many of these base layers are available in sets, so you can purchase the matching thermal bottoms too.
Regatta offers long sleeve and short sleeve base layers, suitable for a whole range of buildable looks. These tops are soft and premium fabrics guaranteed to last while enduring the harshest climates. If you’re looking for something ideal for warmth, they also have a selection of merino wool base layers engineered to keep your core toasty.
Under Armour have moisture-wicking and anti-odour base layers, which promise to keep you feeling crisp all day long. These crew necks and mock tops are the perfect underlayer garment, as they’re simple and minimal designs that will effortlessly blend into all your winter wear.
Their range of base layers can sustain in even harsh Norwegian weather, making them some of the most well built, durable tops for winter athletes. Odlo has a vast number of base layers available in different cuts, colours and styles. From long sleeve tops with mesh venting to light, breathable short sleeve thermals, Odlo has you covered.
Unbound Merino supply excellent undergarments crafted from the most delicate synthetic fabrics to offer antibacterial, fast-drying, odour resistant, wrinkle-resistant and moisture-wicking features. They provide great merino wool long sleeve base layers that are super sleek and comfortable. Pair with an outer layer, and you'll be ready for even the coldest, iciest weather.