Running Baselayer Guide – Are All Baselayers the Same?

The baselayer is an incredible important first layer of clothing. In the summer it might be your only layer. On a cold day it will be your next-to-skin layer. Baselayers perform several tasks. They wick the sweat away from your skin to keep you dry and comfortable and on cold days they help to keep you warm. To do these tasks they need to be snug fitting so that they are against the skin. They also need to be made of materials that wick moisture.

Feeling Cold? Your T-Shirt Is Probably To Blame

Regular t-shirts (long or short sleeved) are not particularly useful as baselayers and won’t perform the same tasks. They aren’t tight fitting enough and if they are made of cotton or poly cotton then they will hold onto any moisture soaking, it up like your bath towel does. This makes the garment heavy, making it more likely to rub against the skin and cause chafing. The garment will also pull the heat from your body making you cold! Baselayers are usually made of polyester, polypropylene, merino wool or a combination of these fabrics.

The properties of each of the fabrics are slightly different.

Polyester

Very thin and hard wearing. It can be woven to be very effective at wicking and can be treated to make it anti-odour.

Merino Wool

Naturally wicks and is naturally anti-odour. It is usually a bit warmer than polyester and holds a bit more moisture.

Polypropylene

Made of lots of hollow fibres and is hydrophobic. The moisture gets pulled up the fibres and then the material doesn’t hold onto it. Allowing it to evaporate.

Which material is the best for your needs will depend on how much heat you generate when you run and how cold it is. For this reason we have classified our baselayers into 3 levels.

LOW WARMTH BASE LAYERS // SHOP THE RANGE

The first level contains high wicking mainly garments that offer little insulation. If you get hot easily when you run or are running in temperatures around 10 degrees.

MID WARMTH BASE LAYERS // SHOP THE RANGE

The second level is what the purists would think of as a baselayer. High wicking with some insulation. If you get cold easily or are running in temperatures around 5 degrees then these are the ones to consider.

HIGH WARMTH BASE LAYERS // SHOP THE RANGE

The third level is the warmest. This still wick well and are light and thin garments but, they will offer more insulation than the previous two layers. If you get cold easily and are going to be running in temperatures below 5 degrees then these are worth considering.

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