10 Best Base Layers for Running Reviewed
With a chill still dominating mornings and nights, a base layer is an essential tool in your athletic gear arsenal. As the cool transitions to warm summer temperatures, a base layer is no less crucial to comfortable, more functional workouts.
While under garments are notably important for keeping the body insulated, a base layer will also assist in keeping the body cool when it’s hot. Who wouldn’t rather stay dry during hardcore training?
After reading our list of the best base layers, we’re certain you’ll find the perfect under clothing for your athletics. Whether it’s compression gear to delay muscle fatigue, technologies for enhanced wicking and cooling, synthetic fabrics, or wool designed to upgrade performance, we’ve compiled your go-to guide for well-engineered base layers that’ll keep you training year round at your best, in ultimate comfort and style.
10 Best Base Layers For Running
1. Helly Hansen Men's HH Warm Ice Long Sleeve Crew
This wool base layer is available in 18 colors and dual tones, each as sleek as the next - Black with Flag Red and Racer Blue with Evening Blue are exceptional. Sophisticated technologies contrasted with a classic design fuse to create a high functioning, aesthetically pleasing base layer. Flatlock stitching and low-bulk cuffs mean comfortable fabrics and fit next to the skin. You need your base layer to work for you and look great, while simultaneously forgetting your wearing it at all. With the NH Warm Ice, mission accomplished!
Coupling merino wool with 43% polypropylene makes for excellent fabric that thermoregulates and feels right next to the skin while also providing both insulation and drying capacities. Patented Lifa T3 hollow fiber engineering keeps athletes even warmer during hardcore workouts in the coldest climates. The lean design and low bulk cuffs make throwing your layers over easy-breezy. Flat lock stitching adds essential smoothness with anti-chafing and less irritation. With warm wool and wicking properties together, you’ve found your perfect long sleeve base layer!
Medium price point with high end value.
Looking for an all-around base layer look no further we have the solution for you, functions are wide and regulate temperature at any given time provides insulation and drying capabilities while simultaneously forgetting you’re wearing it at all.
If you are an all-weather runner we have what you are looking for, one that can keep you warm when need be and can also help you cool down when there is need to due to its thermoregulatory function.
- Lifa T3 insulation and cooling
- Performance Merino Wool
- Low bulk cuffs for easy layering
- Refer to size chart; fits snug some run a size up.
2. Under Armour UA Treestand Base Top
The UA Treestand Base Top is an essential layering piece. With flatlock seams for better performance and a modern aesthetic, you’ll love it for all your athletics. And you won’t mind when the top layers come off - it looks that good! The Rifle Green with Velocity and Black hues look stunning. Accent piping gives the base layer a more enhanced athletic appearance and striking hue selections mean there’s something for every taste.
Under Armour uses its trademark UA Scent Control technology. The anti-microbial system keeps athletes feeling better and yes, smelling better during hard training. How cool is it that you can skip the shower and head to lunch in a crunch without worrying about odor? A high pile interior and ergonomic, flatlock seams with 100% polyester and wicking fabric mean looking sleek and feeling better. Stay warm, stay odor-protected and look chill. Thanks, UA.
How would you like to never smell of sweat even after your hardcore workouts, having to work out and never having the fear of what if my odor is bad? Well with this type of base layer is designed to control odor so that every time you work out you smell fresh this is so attractive right?
When you want to look hot and smell sweet even after a workout session we think you are in the right track. This base layers gives you the sense of confidence you require each time you work out.
- Anti-wicking fabric
- Ergonomic flatlock seams
- Some colors may not be available
3. Duofold Men's Mid-Weight Wicking Thermal Pant
A base layer pant can be crucial to a productive workout. These thermals dual-perform as an everyday, soft bottom and an incredible athletic base. Ankle length with an adjustable inner drawcord, the Mid Weight Wicking Thermal Pant boasts a calm, comforting aesthetic. Feel softness against your skin while you workout, rest or whatever. Feel confident these pants will get you through your tough training dry, cool and odor free.
Fabric comprised of 96% polyester and 4% spandex/jersey is soft while providing 360-degree stretch for flexible motion. The thermal fibers insulate, keeping your body warm and odor free.Flat-locked seams are smooth and prohibit chafing and irritation while the fabric itself provides full length wicking and quick drying. Small details with big impact include a tag-free elastic waist to assist with moisture control and irritation. A base layer pant should work hard so you can work out hard. This one definitely does!
Excellent price point.
- Soft thermal fibers fused with 360-stretch fabrics
- Tag-free elastic waist
- Odor control
- Limited colors
4. Hot Chillys Men's Micro-Elite Chamois Crewneck
An utterly stylized base layer top for all your training needs. The accent striping enhances the shoulders and chest while the fitted cut looks on-trend and athletic. Available in black or granite - definitely check out the granite - you’ll love the appearance of this crewneck and equally, the softness. Hard to believe something that looks and behaves so tough is simultaneously so gentle and comfy against your skin - we won’t tell!
We love that the Chamois is UPF 30+. With increasingly sunny days ahead, it’s crucial to have protection. Be confident you’ll stay free of morning chill, with a Warmth Factor of 8, too. Add flat seam construction for additional strength and resistance to abrasions, a sanded fabric for enhanced softness and Bio-Silver trademarked microbial fibers to resist odor and you’re soft, easy chamois is also your base layer machine.
Price point is fair - medium cost but enormous value.This type of layer is best known for stretching and flexibility,it provides,softness,warmth and enough comfort as well,so for the price you get that value,this is the all in one kind of scenario.
This is for the runners who are looking for a hard to believe, something that looks and behaves so tough and is equally gentle and comfy against your skin – tough to break easy on you kind of layer.
- Bio-Silver microbial fibers to control odor
- UPF 30+
- Warmth Factor 8
- Refer to sizing chart - runs tighter. Possibly best to order a size up.
5. Tesla Women's Coldgear Compression Mock Long Sleeve
This compression base layer mock long sleeve meets your feminine and athletic quotient. Feel on-trend, adorable and sporty in this well-crafted design. The soft white translates to a classic hue fitting for all seasons and climates. As durable as this base is, it’s also light and airy accomplishing a forget-it’s-there feel with technology that lets you focus on your workout while it focuses on assisting you with your all time best performance.
This contender encompasses the best of the best engineering, including the unique Hot Gear Technology which uses scientific based analysis to regulate the dissipation of body heat and maintain thermal insulation. The Over Heat Series base layers are designed to prohibit heat loss and stabilize temperature no matter the climate. 3-Dimensional, trademarked patterns coupled with heat maintaining fabrics boast ultimate comfort with best-insulation. All of this encapsulated in a micro-fleece fabric that feels oh-so soft against the skin and unbelievably light, too. A base layer that increases your performance with its high performing craftsmanship.
A price point that falls under the category of “shockingly” reasonable.
This type of base layer provides a 360-degree stretch for flexible motion and also the thermal fibers it has helps in insulation. Check this out, you get to be flexible in it as if that is not enough, you get to be warm in it.
For runners who want the flexible kind of pants that allow you to do every move during your work out, you just got it. Duo fold does the trick any day, giving the warmth you require while working out as well, with this we got you covered.
- Highly engineered technology to regulate body temperatures
- Light weight, thin micro-fleece fibers for optimum softness
- Excellent price
- Possibly purchase one size up, runs extremely fitted
6. CompressionZ Women's Leggings
We love the on-trend appearance of these sleek compression leggings. They fit snug in all the right places, offering excellent support and an attractive fit. With go-to, all-occasion capability, the CompressionZ Leggings are certain to be a favorite. Reasonably priced, we’re pretty sure you’ll want one in each color (nine, to be exact)! Choose Leopard Blue to appease your wild side or sophisticated Ferns Silver for day outings that transition into night’s at the gym. With odor free fabric, not only are they the perfect “everything” pant, you’ll love the way you can wear them from gym to park-and-play to dinner without missing a beat!
Sit back and relax - this may take awhile. The CompressionZ Legging helps to reduce unwanted muscle motion during runs or hard workouts. This assists in energy waste-reduction, ultimately improving your workout and stamina. The compression fabric also works to improve circulation and reduce muscle fatigue and pain during and after your training. This helps athletes to feel less soreness even days after strenuous workouts, too. The patented Smart Moisture Management system eliminates moisture and sweat and protects the body from chafing and abrasions or irritation. We love the antibacterial/anti-odor technology fused into the fabric. When you don’t have time to shower between the gym and lunch, you don’t have to worry - between the microbial protective system and the wicking fabric, you’ll feel fresh and ready for anything.
Average priced, but this pant does its duty as your go-to fashion legging and compression gear. Well worth it!The pants stand on their own hence eliminating the need to buy other compression clothing.Quiet amazing as it provides just the boost that your lower half needs and craves for.
we have to admit that not everyone likes to put on shorts,reasons best known by them that is why we feel that this compression pants will be your go to.they act as support on your lower half eliminating the need to shop for a number of compression clothing,they are a perfect choice since they also have a number of advantages with them.
- Best compression fabrics
- Wicking, breathable
- Anti-odor technology
- Compression fit will run snug, see size chart.
7. Smartwool Men's NTS Mid 250 Zip T
Jaw-dropping good looks may be the first thing that comes to mind when considering the Smartwool Men’s NTS Mid 250 Zip T, but trust us: this base layer isn’t that superficial! Full of modern technologies that promise to enhance your workout, you get to love the way you look and feel in this gorgeous design. Merino wool is soft and cozy and the colors are sophisticated and earthy at once. We love the Taupe Heather. ‘Urban Mountain Man’ comes to mind. Swoon.
This base layer covers every tech need to promote your better and more comfortable workout. Smart shoulder panels reduce the necessity of shoulder seams which means a smooth, irritation free fit. The flatlock seam adds to chafe-free, comfy wear and fine merino wool fibers creates an uber soft, itch-free environment for your body. SmartWool provides a moisture and temperature controlled environment that also prohibits odor. All of this provided in an UPF 50+ construct for ultimate sun protection. Fall in love with a slim fit base layer that looks amazing and keeps you healthy and productive during all of your activities.
Pricey but stunning. A must-have purchase for great looks with sun, fitness tech, and safety features.
Mid 250 Our warmest base layer. Works as a single layer in cool weather or as a base layer in cold weather ,perfect for winter runs, apart from this it also provides the masculine nice sexy look in a guy, we are not only trying to make you warm but also look great in the process. It’s a ‘win’ for you!
Smart wool Men’s NTS Mid, wear alone in cool climates or as a base layer in harsher conditions, Easy right? Get one of this keep it in all weathers.
- Smart shoulder panel
- Flatlock seams
- SmartWool technology for moisture, odor and temperature control
- High priced
A woman-specific design which includes a wide waistband for optimum fit with flattery, this lightweight legging is perfect as a base layer during chilly morning runs or alone as the weather warms. A merino wool, jersey knit is unparalleled in softness and exceedingly flex while snug enough to give support during all your play. “All” being the optimum word: these leggings are awesome for running errands, work, playtime with the kids, and of course running. Perfect workout gear with perfect fashion sense. Awesome!
Flatlock seams are smooth against the skin and promote an irritation free, anti-chafing relationship with your body. We love the contrast color stitching - a nice, subtle design detail for additional sleekness. Constructed with a Natural Rise, Form Fit patented cut, the leggings contour to give you a feminine and simultaneously athletic form. Jersey knit meets 100% merino wool for an uber soft and stretchy feel. The wide waistband promises attractive support. All of this in Smartwool’s lightest weight baselayer. Rugged features in embodied in soft, airy fabric. Perfect.
Redesigned for spring, our new Women's Micro weight Bottom features a women's specific wide waistband for a body enhancing fit. Flat lock seams eliminate chafing, we know you want to look good so we go for the best look you want to pull. We don’t disappoint.
Smart wool Women's NTS Micro 150 Bottom Works as a single layer in warm weather or as a base layer in cool weather.
- Jersey knit, merino wool for soft flex
- Natural Rise, Form Fit design
- Available in limited colors
9. Ibex Women's Zip T-Neck Base Layer Top
Ibex calls the Woolies 220 Zip T-Neck the “weekend warrior” - and we agree! This base layer does everything you need it to do and then some, with sophisticated, sleek style. Comprised of natural feeling, superfine wool, athletes and daytrippers alike stay warm and dry no matter what the adventure. Available in black and also blood orange (we love this bold hue), you’ll love the way you look in this durable base.
You’ll laugh in the face of chilly weather in this ultra cold-resistant base! A heavier fabric (220 g/m), this zip T-neck means business when it comes to keeping you warm. The only distraction from your adventure will be the soft feel of fine wool against your body. The set-in sleeves and smooth, flatlock seams lend to the on-trend and irritation free craftsmanship. Form fitting, the base contours to your body with flattery while also making it easy to throw additional layers over when necessary. With such stunning good looks, you’ll be glad when temperatures rise, those other layers come off and your Ibex Woolies 220 base can get the attention it deserves!
This is a higher priced base layer.
Woolies are beautifully made Merino layers made for more than just the winter months. With the elegant finish of wool and a clean, zip T-neck, rock this top all year long as the antidote to cooler weather, synthetic fabrics and conventional thinking. Just the right weight to wear over a tee or as a first line of defense against cold.
You’ll laugh in the face of chilly weather in this ultra-cold-resistant base. Because of the warmth it provides. You won’t feel the change in weather and you can wear the same face every day. A smile!
- 18.5 superfine wool yarn
- Odor resistant
- Body contouring flex and fit
- Two colors
- Slightly higher priced
10. Adidas Men's Training Techfit Base Shorts
The Adidas Techfit Base Short Tights offer a multitude of technologies to enhance your fitness and health. Better performance is delivered in this unassuming 9” seam base layer. Fabric comprised of polyester and elastane single jersey keep athletes dry and supported with ultimate stretch for a more comfortable workout. White, black or grey color options keep it simple and never distracting. Total focus on total fitness.
The right compression fabrics help athletes to increase durability during training by adding muscle support and better sweat control. The Techfit Base Short Tights exceeds our standards.
Infused with technologies like Climalite for wicking, the TechFit trademarked, ergonomically shaped gusset for comfort, Polygiene odor control and UPF 50+UV protection, this base gives athletes a machine, not just short. Peak performance is yours with the help of this powerhouse!
These are priced slightly below average for base layer shorts.
We all know adidas is a great brand, everything we do is bound by one simple thought: we strive to help you perform at your best your success is our ambition your defeat Spurs us on to be better we provide you with this short that helps you attain that.
Most people sell brand, but that is not why we picked this shorts for you, it enhances workouts by increasing endurance. You want to be a tough runner I bet this is the way to go.
- Climalite fabric for wicking
- TechFit for ergonomic comfort
- UPF 50+
- May run small
- May feel short for taller men. Refer to size chart.
This wraps up our guide to the 10 best base layers for running. By now you’ve found your just-right short, tight, compression legging, wicking top or contoured zip layer. With so many tech and design options, there’s a perfect fit for everyone and we’re certain you’ve found yours!
The Criteria We Used for Our Evaluation of the Best base layers for running.
As your best runners buying guide, we not only provide solutions to your running shoes but we also come to your rescue for the best base layers ,we provide solutions to all weather, all season layers that will never disappoint you. For starters, you need a fabric that never gets wet. There are some factors to consider when picking the best layers to buy, we not only provide you with the best and updated layers but we also let you have the right to choose the best out of the best.
The breathability of any clothing depends on various factors,this goes from the quality of the material used,its ventilation ability and thickness. long story cut short a good light weight merino wool often offers a great breathability. Apart from merino wool we have a number of other good quality synthetics that are also great and offer a nice ventilation,depending on the activity you are going to engage yourself in ,if it is one that you must sweat then getting a more breathable material is all you need.But remember this really depends n your choice at the end of it all,do not go for cheap heavy fabrics that will not serve you in all seasons look for something that is all season.
Of course, we all go for quality or expensive to serve us long. We do this to save on cost and maybe on a number of other important factors. When going to buy a running layer we need one that can pass the test of time. This is the point when merino wool is questioned,it is so soft hence likely to develop holes with continue usage and in return hindering it from achieving its intended goal .Be keen to read the washing instructions that are given in every cloth you purchase this also helps a great deal in ensuring the fabric remains intact as a result durable. It came to our knowledge that some manufactures are blending some fabrics together to give us one product that has increased strength having in mind the comfort of it on skin,how well thought,also this boosts the durability of the end blended product.
For the best performance, base layers need to have a skin tight fit. which assists the material to pull moisture from the skin. . Some people like putting on their layers for laid back use and that is makes the customized products less functional,consider getting one that is more useful than getting one just because of style.We have to say that your decision is all that matters in the end but we tend to think that while making it we would act as an eye opener to make it easy for you
Thickness and Warmth
One way of measuring the warmth of a base layer is insulation weight. We try and test the different types of weights, this isn’t about science as the type of insulation loft and other fabric specifics all matter too. We have the lightweight, mid-weight and the heavy weight. Pick one according to the season and type of activity you are into.Mostly light weight is best breather but does little in keeping you warm. This here is where merino wool shines it does a great job of temperature control for the weight and thickness, the breathability of lightweight is undeniable and great for back-country activities. Mid-weight comes in handy when the season is cold, it has a breathable quality just enough for you running during cold weather, it also does justice to warm you in case it is very cold. Heavy weight come in handy during extreme cold conditions, as a runner you don’t want to have an excuse as to why you cannot do any activity. Especially not weather related issues.
Base Layer Material
The base layer material matters a lot, this will define the durability and comfortability of the gear not forgetting the breathability of it too, quite sometimes we tend to pick stylish or most expensive things, not knowing that material is everything. Merino wool despite its higher cost is our most recommended base layer material for a number of reasons, its ability to be so soft and comfy, it has superior temperature regulation and has an anti-odor ability, but let’s face it, it is an expensive but less durable than polyester. They need good care and handling to get a few more seasons with it, we mean it is expensive to make it worth your while. Then we have the blends, where we mix different materials at a certain percentage to acquire the desired outcome. Some brands like arc’teryx and pantagonia are mixed to provide the comfort of merino wool and the durability of polyester. For polyester it is cost effective, the comfort difference is not that far apart, it can keep up in terms of moisture wicking and comfort as well as odor control, though truth be told the cost saving is too huge to overlook.
Other Important Factors To Consider
Odor prevention is a consideration when picking the best base layer for yourself, especially if you have thorough work out schedules, you will need to stay fit and slay at the same time. Got it? Merino wool does best in pulling moisture away from your skin and does a great job avoiding any stink build ups.
Base layers have two primary uses: beneath a mid-layer or shell during winter months for running or as an outer layer during fall and spring for activities like hiking. The thickness of the material of your base layer will have a big impact on warmth and breathability so have this in mind while doing your base layer purchase.it is majorly ignored but trust us this is a factor to put into consideration.
Below are some the frequently asked questions that may get you contemplating about a few of your own. This is some of what other runner are asking when looking for the best base layers for running.
Q: Which Material is the best for all season running?
A: you want a fabric that will wick moisture away from your skin, leaving you cool and dry, this depends on the season you are in but still we would advise merino as all round since it can do best in all seasons. You can also check out polyester which has some of the great qualities any runner would want in a layer.
Q: How long should I have a base layer before getting another?
A: We cannot tell you have one for a long time though we would advise you to own more than one to avoid wear and tear how you treat your base layer also influences the end result, how you wash is a factor to consider. Merino is soft but prone to develop hole quite fast, but if you go for a blend one that has more than one material in it is usually durable hence you can prolong your use with one.
Q: Which is the best anti-odor base layer to use for a sweaty runner?
A: Sweat can be annoying, but mostly if it has a scent. Now, this is embarrassing and difficult to hide.so from every runner we would like to make you feel fresh even after a long marathon or just a vigorous running exercise. Merino wool does best in pulling moisture away from your skin and does a great job avoiding any stink build ups.
Q: What’s the Best Long Sleeve Base Layer?
A: In our opinion go for something that has Merino wool since it is already a proven quantity. The material insulates in cold weather and cools you down in the heat. Merino sheep have evolved a fiber to vaporize sweat droplets next to their skin in summer to give you an anti-odor experience. Thanks to nature, a thin wool material can be the coolest thing around on a 90-degree day, as several apparel makers have admirably demonstrated.
Q: Why not use a cotton base layer?
A: Cotton absorbs and retains moisture. Once a cotton base layer gets damp from perspiration, it will hold the moisture and remain damp instead of wicking and allow the moisture to evaporate. That’s why it’s such a bad choice It’s a moisture barrier only in the sense that it holds moisture against your skin. I can’t think of any environments, hot or cold, where that’s desirable. There is a difference between just soaking up water and “wicking”. Cotton is hydrophilic, which means it likes to attract and hang on to water molecules. Unlike a good wicking fabric (which relies on a capillary action), cotton will not transfer that water up through your layers to the air as quickly.
Here are some sources we used while conducting our research:
We outsource our content from different resources and drive to provide the best information to our readers. Some are clinical sources, some fitness sources and others are manufacturing sources that give us the right insights on which are the best base layers.