What are base layers?
A run base layer is a close fitting garment that feels almost like a second skin. It’s designed to wick moisture away from your body. It does this by absorbing moisture (sweat) from your skin when you’re running. By wicking sweat away from the body, the base layer is keeping you dry and chill free. Base layers also keep you warm by trapping warm air around the skin. So although the water is allowed to escape, your warm natural body heat stays put due to the base layer’s thermal properties.
Wiggle has an excellent range of base layer clothing to help you stay dry and comfortable during your run activities
What qualities do base layers provide?
Compression: 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.
Wicking: This is a thin, but long-sleeved top made of a moisture-wicking fabric. Synthetic fiber running tops allow 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. Whatever you choose make sure you avoid cotton. Cotton soaks up sweat like as sponge and when it’s wet; it draws heat away from the body, which can cause hypothermia.
Dryness: This is an important feature. 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
Versatility: A base layer for running can also be used across a wide variety of sports.
Protection: Baselayers are essential for any form of outdoor activity in both cold and warm conditions and many baselayers are designed with inbuilt SPF (Sun protection factor). 100% SPF indicates the baselayer can protect from UVA, UVB and UVC rays.
How do I choose a baselayer?
Base layer fabrics should satisfy 4 core level requirements:
- Wicking – does the fabric wick away moisture and keep you dry?
- Fit – Is the fabric comfortable on your skin?
- Anti smell - does the fabric have any odour reducing properties?
- Sun protection – does the fabric provide any protection from the environment if worn by itself?
There are two main types of fabric you can choose for a baselayer:
Merino wool: Merino wool is a natural fabric that is comfortable and odour resistant, but is a less effective fabric at wicking sweat. Merino is ideal for extreme cold conditions. Merino wool has a much smoother final finish than a standard sheep's wool, and the fibres are non abrasive and ideal for people with sensitive skin. Merino wool’s wavy fibers also contain millions of air pockets that lock in body heat for warmth.
Synthetics: Synthetic technical fabrics offer great wicking properties, meaning they don’t absorb moisture, but transfer it very well. This makes makes them the best of the three for humid or wet conditions. Many synthetic baselayers are polyester or microfiber based. The advantages of synthetic fabrics are: lightweight, abrasion resistant, wrinkle resistant and relatively easy care. In contrast to be petroleum based, odors can build up.