Base Your­self

If you want to stay warm on the run this win­ter, your ba­sic in­stinct should be to layer up

Runner's World (UK) - - Contents -

Base lay­ers tested and rated

Columbia Mid­weight Stretch ½ zip

£50, columbi­as­ This top fully de­serves top marks. It’s bril­liant value, of­fer­ing anti-odour treat­ment, flat­lock seams, thumb loops and a four-way stretch for com­fort. But the stand­out fea­tures are the un­beat­able tag team of Omni-heat (metal­lic dots on the in­side of the top that re­flect body heat) and Omni-wick, a polyester and elas­tane weave that quickly moves sweat to the out­side so you stay toasty and dry.

FOR HIM 01/ Inov-8 AT/C Merino

£55, If Inov-8 can do a lit­tle more work on the fit of this top it’ll have a real win­ner on its hands. It had a ten­dency to ride up un­der­neath jack­ets and bunch a lit­tle un­der a back­pack, but in ev­ery other re­spect it was su­perb. The merino adds nat­u­ral anti-odour pro­tec­tion, dura­bil­ity and ex­cel­lent tem­per­a­ture reg­u­la­tion, and this top is so soft and com­fort­able you could prob­a­bly wear it to bed.

02/ Helly Hansen Dry Per­for­mance Crew

£30, helly­ Nor­we­gian brand Helly Hansen has been mak­ing mid-range, no-non­sense base lay­ers for decades and this is a clas­sic ex­am­ple of its out­put. On the down­side the ma­te­rial is a lit­tle scratchy, the fit vari­able and the seams can ir­ri­tate, but you can wash it of­ten on any tem­per­a­ture and treat it with dis­dain with­out com­pro­mis­ing the im­pres­sive wick­ing, warmth, breatha­bil­ity and dura­bil­ity it pro­vides.

03/ Falke RU Long Sleeved Tee

£60, This top is ideal if you want a more for­giv­ing cut. It gives you room to breathe with­out be­ing so loose it bunches up un­der outer lay­ers. It wicks well and is rea­son­ably quick-dry­ing (ex­cept when it’s wet through), but the best fea­ture is the lu­di­crously soft feel against the skin.

04/ Arc’teryx Mo­tus Crew

£60, arc­ The best thing about this su­per-light top from Cana­dian brand Arc’teryx is the fit. Er­gonom­i­cally cut, with a weave that gen­tly stretches with you, it al­lows max­i­mum free­dom of move­ment. It was one of the best-wick­ing tops on test – but it’s also on the del­i­cate side, which is not what you’d ex­pect given the rather hefty price.

FOR HER 05/ Gore Es­sen­tial Wind­stop­per Base Layer

£59.99, gore­ap­ This is a de­cep­tive top: the in­ner is soft, sleek and cov­ered in laser-cut holes for ven­ti­la­tion, so it’s as com­fort­able as you could hope for. How­ever, the outer layer, fea­tur­ing Gore’s patented Wind­stop­per ma­te­rial, cov­ers the chest, arms and kid­neys, so the cold weather doesn’t even get a look in. It pro­vides a snug fit and does its job su­perbly.

06/ Berghaus Ther­mal Base Zip

£54, You could wear this top on its own or un­der an outer gar­ment, de­pend­ing on the aw­ful­ness of the weather. It will ap­peal to tra­di­tion­al­ists, as the weave and the cut are res­o­lutely old-school: thick, lightly ribbed and fo­cused on dura­bil­ity rather than on tech­ni­cal pizazz. As the name sug­gests it’s ex­tremely warm, and while the neck­line is high it’s also soft, so there’s no ir­ri­ta­tion.

07/ Ron­hill Merino Tee

£65, ron­ This is rather more ex­pen­sive than Ron­hill’s usual mid-range cloth­ing, ow­ing to the su­per­soft merino wool. We think it’s worth the money, as it feels dreamy against the skin and is ex­cel­lent at tem­per­a­ture reg­u­la­tion, wick­ing and breatha­bil­ity. Only the slightly scratchy seams and boxy cut stopped this from be­ing among the top-rated gar­ments on test.

08/ Craft Ac­tive Com­fort Run

£31.95, bergfre­ A great func­tional sta­ple for your run­ning wardrobe. This top is not out­stand­ing in any area but it’s solid and depend­able – more re­doubtable ma­tron than mav­er­ick brain sur­geon. It’ll stand re­peated wash­ing, thanks to the soft but sturdy weave. One no­table draw­back: our tester found it a lit­tle tight around the armpits un­til it was bro­ken in.

When it comes to base lay­ers, a quick-dry­ing weave is a must.



Look for anti-odour tech­nol­ogy wher­ever pos­si­ble.

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