What are base layers and what types of base layers you should know about?

Recode · Dec 16, 2022


If you are looking for new activewear to add to your workout gear for your training, we recommend adding some base layers to your wardrobe as it helps you boost your performance while keeping you insulated. Base layers come in many different styles, materials, and sizes. They can keep you warm when exercising outside, provide insulation against the cold, and even offer protection against sun, wind, and rain. Staying comfortable while running in cold weather is all about layering and finding the right balance to keep you warm and dry while maximising your output.

You should start with layering yourself with moisture-wicking fabrics that draw sweat away, so you stay dry and cozy. Cotton is not a good option as it absorbs too much water, which is why it takes so long to dry. However, synthetic fabrics, like polyester and nylon, fall into this category; these hydrophobic materials resist water, so they won’t retain moisture against your body.

A good option would be a compression top or a pair of compression shorts. Compression Base Layers are designed to regulate body temperature and reduce the build-up of lactic acid by compressing the muscles before during and after physical exercise. This is a thin, but long sleeve top made of moisture-wicking fabric. Synthetic fiber running tops such as spandex or lycra allows the moisture to be pulled away from the body and to the outside of the garment to evaporate, ensuring that the runner does not become cold from their own sweat. Compression tights also offer multiple variations which include recovery and performance. Recovery compression tights assist with recovery and are perfect to wear to sleep or after training and Performance compression tights are perfect to wear during training which will help you increase their output.

Natural wool is also another good option as is it odor-resistant and warm and it also wicks sweat through capillary action, releasing moisture through small openings in the fabric. If you’ve ever worn a wool sweater, you’ve probably noticed that it doesn’t get wet very easily. You’ve probably also noticed it’s a bit itchy, which is why soft Merino is generally the best option for a layer that sits close to your skin.

Base layers are essential for any form of outdoor activity in both cold and warm conditions and many base layers are designed with inbuilt SPF (Sun protection factor). 100% SPF indicates the base layer can protect from UVA, UVB and UVC rays. Our best bet is to go for a compression garment as it provides performance and recovery benefits while keeping you dry throughout your exercises. Compression garments also come in different sizes and variations ranging from short length to ¾ length to full length. Whatever you choose to make sure you avoid cotton. Cotton soaks up sweat like a sponge and when it’s wet; it draws heat away from the body, which can cause hypothermia. This is an important feature as this feature largely dependent on the above, wicking. The type of fabric will do that if there is some moisture that evaporates quickly or not. A base layer for running can also be used across a wide variety of sports including basketball, boxing, weightlifting and many more.


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