Here's What Runners Should Look For When Shopping For Base Layers — Plus, 10 Top Picks
Cold weather is coming, but for runners, that doesn't mean you have to switch from trails to the treadmill. Running in the cold can be made easy and even comfortable, as long as you have the right layers. Layering keeps you warm while allowing flexibility throughout your run, especially if you heat up easily during cardio. Most experts recommend starting with a base layer, then adding additional layers as necessary — ideally ones you can remove if the weather (or your body temperature) changes mid-workout.
There are two important qualities to keep in mind when choosing a base layer: it should be sweat-wicking and fit close to your skin. Each is equally important, as they'll help you stay warm and dry and avoid clammy shivers later. While cotton may come to mind, it absorbs too much moisture; that's fine in the summer if you're sweating, but in the winter, a damp undershirt leads to chills, fast. Synthetic materials like polyester and nylon are recommended, and wool is also an excellent choice — just like wool socks, wool base layers are odor-resistant, sweat-wicking, and warm. Of course, the heft of the material matters, too. Wool might be a better choice for the colder winter months, whereas a lighter base layer will do in the fall.
While it definitely takes some trial and error to discover what works best for you, we've rounded up 10 long-sleeved tops and leggings that fit the bill. Keep scrolling for our picks.
Icebreaker Merino 200 Zone Seamless Long Sleeve Top
The wool blend in this Icebreaker Merino 200 Zone Seamless Long Sleeve Top ($130) wicks away moisture, while the brand's body-mapping technology helps ensure the shirt breathes where you need it most.
Smartwool Merino 150 Long Sleeve Base Layer
You might know Smartwool best for its socks, but this Smartwool Merino 150 Long Sleeve Base Layer ($85) will quickly become one of your go-to tops. The shirt's nylon core will ensure it lasts, too.
Columbia Midweight Stretch Baselayer Long Sleeve Shirt
This Columbia Midweight Stretch Baselayer Long Sleeve Shirt ($55) includes the brand's signature Omni-Heat technology to keep you warm, and the four-way stretch fabric will move as seamlessly as you do.
REI Co-Op Merino Midweight Base Layer Tights
For a cozy wool legging, look no further than these REI Co-Op Merino Midweight Base Layer Tights ($55, originally $80). Bonus: these chafe-resistant tights are Fair Trade Certified.
Nike Therma-FIT ADV Epic Luxe Running Leggings
You'll love the houndstooth-inspired texture of these Nike Therma-FIT ADV Epic Luxe Running Leggings ($110) and that they're made with heat-regulating technology that keeps you comfortable no matter the conditions.