Cycling is an enjoyable activity during the warmer months, but what about in the winter? There are a lot of people who would love to get out there and ride as much as possible, but it is a challenge with the temperature dropping and the weather not being ideal in any way.
The good news is that there are more companies than ever putting out quality clothing that is specific for cycling and other similar physical activities. All it takes is layering up, and a person can be on their way riding as much as they want.
What are the best options out there right now? All of these are great for those looking to add an extra layer or two to make things so much warmer. Any of these five options can be used solely by themselves, or as part of a more extreme set up.
1. Endura Baabaa Merino
A lot of people rank this as the top base layer for cyclists right now. Made in Scotland, people from all over the world have started wearing this as a base layer when the temperature drops a little bit.
The Merino (Amazon) feel has a certain difference to it that is hard to explain in words, but people love comfort and effectiveness when trying to face off against the elements.
Some people love to have a very fitted style with their base layer, while others want a more comfortable and relaxed look. This seems to be more towards the comfortable fit, which makes it not stand out as much as far as other cycling shirts are concerned.
Maybe people who are really worried about when resistance might bulk a little, but it is not going to make that much of a difference.
Since the shirt is separated in different panels to help with long term comfort, no one has to worry about any weird rubbing or other challenges that people might be concerned about.
2. Castelli Flanders Long Sleeve Base Layer
Another very popular base layer amongst cyclists comes from Castelli. The Castelli Flanders base layer (Amazon) can help out in so many different ways, and is one of the more comfortable options out there today thanks to the materials used.
There is a fleece inner material that is extremely comfortable during long rides. Some people are afraid that there might be some overheating because of the slightly thicker material, but there are places for heat to escape to keep things from getting too bad.
For example, the armpits are made of mesh, and the hem at the bottom of the shirt is easy to tuck into other pieces of clothing.
Not everyone wants to have a mock turtleneck set up, but those who want to keep that area a little warmer will opt for this option. It might only be a few extra pieces of protection, but it is certainly better than nothing.
Sizing is a little bit tricky, which is frustrating when ordering online, but the general recommendation is to go up in size. Ultimately, it comes down to whether a person wants a super tight fit, or something that fits a bit more like a regular shirt.
3. Craft Active Extreme 2.0
Made of a mixture of polyester and elastin, the Craft Active Extreme 2.0 (Amazon) is one of the thinnest base layer options out there. Maybe some people will feel like they are not going to get them out of warmth that they would like out of something like this, but it does help out in colder weather.
Ideally, it is built for the milder times of the year, but it makes it versatile enough to wear in the summer and the winter as well.
This base layer is meant to fit very loose, so do not worry about ordering something that does not particularly fit the way one might expect.
There are always going to be people who opt for something a little bit tighter, but it is meant to be comfortable so that the particular areas line up with the body just right.
There are a few different colors offered by the company, and sizing is all over the place as well. No matter what type of rider a person is, they can get exactly what they need.
4. Shimano S-Phyre Winter Base Layer
Shimano has a strong reputation in the biking world, so of course, they make a base layer that people enjoy. Their specific formula includes a combination of polypropylene, polyester, and spandex. It is extremely soft and stretchy, which is what comes in handy.
They offer a lot of different color choices as well, which is perfect for people who wish to try to match as much as possible. It also gives people a variety to work with if they are riding almost every single day.
Dressing up in the same colors every day can be very frustrating, and having variety ensures that a person never feels forced to wear something dirty.
If there is any concern about the base layer getting too hot, there is mesh that runs along the spine to help with heat control. This allows the shirt to never feel like it is getting weighed down or too much sweat, and people can feel little bit of coolness when they are running around.
5. Giordana Short Sleeve Ceramic Base Layer
A short sleeve base layer can come in handy for people who are trying to stay just a little bit warmer, but not want to have to deal with longer sleeves.
They have put into the Giordana Short Sleeve Base Layer (Amazon) ceramic crystals along with microfiber to make this type of layer a bit unique. The result is that it is able to reflect heat from the sun when it is very hot, and it also warms people up in cooler conditions.
Having the ability to work well in all different types of weather conditions is really remarkable. This means that a person does not have to switch up what they wear on a consistent basis regardless of the weather.
It can adapt in ways that a lot of other shirts can’t, and that encourages people to buy multiples and even wear them for different activities.
Winter Base Layer Cycling Shopping Tips
It might seem like a simple purchase, but getting the right base layer for riding around is crucial. Failure to do so could be a crucial mistake, and no one wants to have a bunch of shirts laying around that they can’t put to use.
Most base layers are made of either polyester or merino wool. There are benefits to both, and people usually find themselves gravitating towards one or the other.
Synthetic fiber like polyester can be manufactured specifically to help with keeping things dry, which can help out considerably. They are a little more prone to getting smelly, and not everyone is a fan of the feel, but they are worth checking out.
Merino wool is natural fiber used for most of these base layers, and it will last a little longer and feel softer. The downside is that sweat will stick to the body a little more, and some people do not like that all that much.
Can’t decide between the two? There are companies out there that offer a mixture of both types of fiber. These usually tend to be more expensive, but they are built last longer and be more effective. It is all a give-and-take with the material.
Design and Cut of the Shirt
Base layers come in a lot of different varieties as far as design and cut are concerned. Most people believe that a long sleeve option makes the most sense, since it is going to cover more skin, but some people like to go with a cut off sleeve option as well.
Perhaps it is the case of a person who wants to keep a little bit warm, but not to the point that they want to have layers all the way down to the wrist.
Freedom of movement is extremely important with any piece of clothing on a cyclist. It can be extremely frustrating to go on a ride and feel restricted because of one particularly troublesome piece of clothing.
The best companies have been at this for a while, and they know the type of design that will make things the most comfortable. That means having the right cut at the neck area, reducing the number of seams on the shirt, eliminating zippers, and so much more.
Anytime a person is putting a piece of clothing very tightly to their body, it is prone to smell a little. Not only that, but sweating a lot is going to build up any type of bacteria that is going to cause odors.
The great shirts will be able to handle odor in a lot of different ways so that they do not feel like they are ruined over time.
Merino wool is so popular because it can resist most odors naturally. Since wool fiber is pretty smooth overall, the bacteria has no place to hide and build up.
With synthetic fibers, it is much easier for bacteria to grow. There are some quality micro bacterial treatments out there that will help in some ways, but it is a little challenging to say the least.
Washing these base layers regularly should be part of the routine, but people will realize that some cheaper options will remain smelly after washing.
That is just one of the reasons why anything too cheap should be avoided, as it might not provide the type of value a person is looking for in the end.
Purchasing any of the shirts above is great because there is a money-back guarantee. If the shirt does not fit, or a person feels like it is not as high-quality as they would like, they can switch out to something different. A lot of places offer this online these days, which takes the guessing game out of shopping.
Base layers might not be needed the entire year, but it helps to have them around for temperature drops. No one should ever be caught not wearing pieces that can keep them comfortable.