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Greatest Base Layers for Ladies of 2023 – iRunFar

Best Base Layers for Women - trailrunning in the Paka Women’s Everyday Base Layer - feature photo

Base layers will be worn as a stand-alone prime or as a part of a layering system for colder temperatures. Photograph: iRunFar/Kelly Fain

“There’s no such factor as dangerous climate, solely unsuitable clothes,” at the least so sayeth Alfred Wainwright in his 1973 e book Coast to Coast, and absolutely he had base layers in thoughts when considering clothes techniques. One of the best base layers for girls will hold you heat, dry, and comfy, and you’ll put on them as a stand-alone layer or as a base for added insulation.

We sought to compile a flexible record of merchandise that will be helpful for various teams of ladies. Our testing began by narrowing our testing pool right down to choices from 10 manufacturers and taking them out in all forms of climates, from the San Juan mountains of Colorado to the excessive deserts of Utah to western North Carolina. We chosen each wool and artificial layers, and we additionally paid consideration to some budget-friendly choices. A few of these base layers are outdated familiars, and a pair are from newer corporations. Our aim was that will help you select the most effective base layer on your wants.

On the prime of the record is Patagonia’s Ladies’s Capilene Air Crew, adopted carefully by Smartwool Ladies’s Traditional All-Season Merino Base Layer Lengthy Sleeve, light-weight sufficient to layer or stand-alone and with wonderful wicking functionality. The Oiselle Flyout Lengthy Sleeve held down the tremendous light-weight class.

For extra background details about the varied base layers available on the market and the way we selected our winners, see our shopping for recommendation, testing methodology, and often requested questions under the picks.

Greatest Base Layers for Ladies

Best Base Layers for Women - watch window of the Oiselle Flyout Long Sleeve

The Oiselle Flyout Lengthy Sleeve has a handy watch window. Photograph: iRunFar/Kelly Fain

Best Base Layers for Women - Patagonia Women’s Capilene Air Crew - product photo


  • Nice match
  • Sturdy
  • It doesn’t decide up odor


  • Hefty price ticket
  • Attainable snag-ability

With a seamless 3D-knit construction, the Patagonia Ladies’s Capilene Air Crew boasts wonderful heat and is many runners’ go-to cold-weather base layer. This base layer makes use of merino wool from New Zealand that’s blended with Capilene, a recycled polyester, for enhanced heat balanced with wonderful wicking, sturdiness, and drying time. Its slim match gives consolation with out feeling restrictive, and its seamless construction means it’s much less more likely to rub or trigger chafing throughout lengthy runs below a hydration vest or in moist circumstances.

This layer deserves credit score for its capacity to withstand odor, substantial wicking prowess, and noteworthy capacity to dry shortly. It additionally has a mean UPF ranking of 34 to offer solar safety. Testers tout its heat and breathability as causes for this being their favourite layer. Longtime wearers of this base layer additionally be aware that it’s fairly sturdy and capable of stand up to months (and years!) of lengthy runs with out turning into too worn. Chances are high in case you are working or racing in chilly climate with a bunch, at the least one among them will likely be carrying this layer and can inform you how a lot they prefer it and its versatility. Most of the testers for this information have been utilizing this base layer for years.

Patagonia stays dedicated to its environmentally pleasant practices, and the wool for this base layer is responsibly sourced. The principle downside to this product is its price ticket, which is hefty.

Materials: 51% responsibly sourced merino wool, 49% recycled polyester | Match: Slim | Precise Weight: 5.2 ounces (147 grams)

Store the Patagonia Ladies’s Capilene Air Crew

Best Base Layers for Women - Smartwool Women's Classic All-Season Merino Base Layer Long Sleeve - product photo


  • Light-weight
  • Wicks properly
  • Odor resistant


The Smartwool Ladies’s Traditional All-Season Merino Base Layer Lengthy Sleeve has been a staple in lots of runner’s chilly-weather arsenals for a very long time and with good purpose. It’s light-weight and never cumbersome, so it may simply be layered below heavier gadgets in freezing climate, however it’s substantial sufficient to put on alone.

It options Core Spun expertise, consisting of merino wool fibers wrapped round a nylon core. This provides sturdiness to the fabric whereas conserving the consolation and wicking properties of ultra-soft, responsibly sourced merino subsequent to the pores and skin. The raglan minimize on the sleeves means hydration vests don’t trigger friction on the shoulders, and the merrow stitching down the sleeves is super-smooth, strengthened, and really snug.

The excessive merino wool content material means this layer will be washed much less often, including to shelf life, because it repels odor-causing micro organism. This prime dries shortly, so rinsing it throughout multi-day fastpacking journeys is not any huge deal.

One tester skilled a hydration bladder leak whereas working up Mount Leconte in Nice Smoky Mountains Nationwide Park in Tennessee and famous that the layer stored her heat regardless of being soaked all down the again.

This layer is accessible in a wide range of colour selections and sizes and can also be out there as a ¼ zip prime if you wish to have the choice of extra venting.

Smartwool makes use of ethically sourced and recycled wool practices to cut back the environmental footprint of their merchandise.

Materials: 88% merino wool, 12% nylon | Match: Slim | Precise Weight: 5.3 ounces (150 grams)

Store the Smartwool Ladies’s Traditional All-Season Merino Base Layer Lengthy Sleeve

Best Base Layers for Women - Janji Repeat Merino Long Sleeve - product photo


  • Odor-resistant
  • Thumbholes
  • Recyclable packaging


  • Greatest for cool or transitional climate

Selecting the most effective base layer for girls was a tough activity, and the Janji Repeat Merino Lengthy Sleeve scored excessive in lots of classes for a lot of of our testers. This ultralight layer has a tee-shirt-type match and was a favourite for cold and transitional climate. Testers famous that it was a snug layer for runs that begin chilly however progressively warmth up, because it isn’t overbearing in its heat degree. The thumb holes on the finish of the sleeve made it straightforward to get slightly bit of additional safety over the palms, and it additionally stored the sleeves from using up once we put an additional layer on over it.

The merino is Accountable Wool Normal (RDS) licensed, and the nylon is bluesign licensed, that means it’s free from dangerous chemical compounds and is fabricated in a method that meets a excessive environmental commonplace. The mix of nylon and wool makes for a sturdy materials that maintains all of wool’s moisture-wicking and odor-control properties. Additionally it is fairly breathable; we may put on it a number of occasions between washes.

Janji has a clearly acknowledged environmental mission and is a part of the two% for Clear Water program.

Materials: 47% RDS-certified merino wool, 53% nylon | Match: Tee-shirt | Precise Weight: 9.9 ounces (282 grams)

Store the Janji Repeat Merino Lengthy Sleeve

Best Base Layers for Women - Under Armour Women’s HeatGear Compression Long Sleeve - product photo


  • Wicks properly
  • Nice worth for the value
  • Vegan


  • Not probably the most breathable
  • It felt too tight in locations on some testers

If you need a base layer that can hold you heat and doesn’t include a big price ticket, the Below Armour Ladies’s HeatGear Compression Lengthy Sleeve is a good selection. It’s an approachable, available, and budget-friendly choice, and this light-weight layer didn’t disappoint. It’s fabricated from the model’s HeatGear cloth, a four-way stretch materials, and the flatlock seams provide a chafe-free match.

This can be a compression prime, and a few folks may not just like the tightness of the match. The science on utilizing compression clothes for efficiency enchancment is inconclusive, however many individuals just like the assist and really feel of it, particularly throughout longer runs the place all elements of the physique begin to harm by the top. Should you’re not into the compression, think about sizing up.

Testers report that this layer depraved comparatively properly and was bearable even as much as 55 to 60 levels Fahrenheit, however it wasn’t ultimate for these temperatures. Additionally they famous that though this can be a artificial layer, it supplied wonderful odor resistance.

Materials: 87% polyester, 13% elastane | Match: Compression tight | Precise Weight: 5.0 ounces (143 grams)

Store the Below Armour Ladies’s HeatGear Compression Lengthy Sleeve

Best Base Layers for Women - Paka Women’s Everyday Base Layer - product photo


  • Amazingly delicate
  • Good look
  • Heat but wicking


  • Excessive value
  • Lengthy-term sturdiness not but decided

The Paka Ladies’s On a regular basis Base Layer scored excessive amongst testers with its delicate texture and comfy match. This base is a mix of alpaca wool and Tencel, making for a sturdy and delicate materials. The highest could be very light-weight with a form of body-skimming, nearly liquid texture, however it gives numerous heat, particularly for the way gentle it’s. Testers scored it extremely on match, breathability, and drying time, and we discovered it to work properly solo and beneath outer layers. We additionally favored that this merchandise was good sufficient to be worn as an on a regular basis piece of clothes, and it grew to become a staple for informal put on along with being a purposeful piece of drugs.

In contrast to lots of the manufacturers included on this information, Paka is comparatively new to the market, so we’re uncertain if this base layer will final so long as others we’ve used for years.

We appreciated Paka’s transparency and sustainability practices. They use compostable packaging to ship their merchandise, and shoppers can hint clothes to the precise coordinates the place fiber for his or her merchandise was sourced.

Materials: 80% Tencel, 20% Royal alpaca | Match: Informal | Precise Weight: 4.9 ounces (139 grams)

Store the Paka Ladies’s On a regular basis Base Layer

Best Base Layers for Women - Oiselle Flyout Long Sleeve - product photo


  • Thumbholes
  • Watch home windows
  • Vegan


Once you need a gentle base layer for these shoulder-season chilly however not chilly runs, the Oiselle Flyout Lengthy Sleeve has quite a bit to supply. Oiselle makes use of its proprietary Flyout cloth with HoverFit expertise. They declare the fabric can hover above the pores and skin, serving to with warmth and water switch. We discovered that this layer does certainly breathe properly.

Oiselle is a model that provides gear made particularly for energetic girls’s our bodies, and gadgets can be found in an inclusive vary of sizes. The raglan design helps to get rid of seams chafing across the arms and shoulders, and testers commented that this layer boasts an ultra-soft hand really feel. We beloved the thumb holes that stored the sleeves down and warmed our palms, and we additionally appreciated the watch window, which allowed us to control our splits and tempo with out having to roll up our sleeves.

Oiselle seeks to supply supplies responsibly and upcycled supplies to cut back waste with their Material Ahead Program.

Materials: 65% polyester, 32% Tencel, 3% spandex | Match: Pores and skin tight | Precise Weight: 3.8 ounces (109 grams)

Store the Oiselle Flyout Lengthy Sleeve

Best Base Layers for Women - CEP Compression Run Tight 4.0, Women - product photo


  • Excellent compression degree
  • Heat but breathable


  • Worth
  • Compression may not work for some runners

Should you usually put on compression socks or calf sleeves, the CEP Compression Run Tight 4.0, Ladies are an important cold-weather different. Whether or not you put on compression clothes for all your runs, only for racing or lengthy coaching runs, or for restoration, these tights present a excessive degree of assist in a heat package deal. These compression tights are high-waisted with no aspect seam, have a wire drawstring with anti-slip coating, and have a big again pocket. These tights ranked excessive for staying the place they’re speculated to, that means no stopping to hike them up or modify leg seams. The design contains mesh in locations, which helps decrease the prospect of chafing and will increase breathability. These tights will not be lined with extra insulation however are substantial sufficient to maintain legs heat on chilly runs.

These tights are fairly expensive however appear sturdy sufficient to solely want one pair for a number of seasons. The ankle space has additional abrasion resistance in a spot that tends to wear down for a lot of runners.

Materials: Compression – 58% polyamide, 42% elastane, Mesh – 84% polyamide, 16% elastane. | Match: Compression tight | Precise Weight: 6.0 ounces (172 grams)

Store the Compression Run Tight 4.0, Ladies

Evaluating the Greatest Base Layers for Ladies

Shopping for Recommendation: The best way to Select Base Layers for Ladies

When looking for the most effective base layer for girls, there are a lot of particulars to think about, together with the place you’ll be working. Is the local weather dry or humid, or will you possible sweat or keep dry? How chilly will or not it’s? Will you be uncovered to the solar and require UPF safety? Does the layer want to suit below a number of extra layers for heat, or will you put on it as a stand-alone layer? All these components come into play when choosing the proper base on your run. Our workforce discovered that the Patagonia Ladies’s Capilene Air Crew was the right combination of all of the components, making it an important base layer.


When contemplating match, weigh what you’ll put on on prime of your base layer. A base layer generally is a stand-alone garment for some climates or transitional climate. Among the layers we examined had been excellent for cold climate and had a looser match for ease of movement and luxury. The Paka Ladies’s On a regular basis Base Layer was reported to have one of many softest and most snug on a regular basis suits, however its body-skimming minimize may not be ultimate for layering.

The compression layers on this information, together with the Below Armour Ladies’s HeatGear Compression Lengthy Sleeve, are designed to suit very tightly, and there are a number of skin-tight layers within the information, as properly, just like the Oiselle Flyout Lengthy Sleeve, which might be tight, however not compression-tight. A tighter layer generally is a little much less cumbersome, which some runners favor, particularly in the event that they search heat from a mid-layer on prime of their base. Moreover, compression layers promote blood circulate and oxygenation to muscle tissues and can be utilized to assist fatigued muscle tissues.

Seam dimension and placement are vital. Most of the layers we examined featured a raglan-style minimize to get rid of the seams across the shoulders and had specialty stitching elsewhere to cut back the potential for chafing. The Janji Repeat Merino Lengthy Sleeve combines merrow stitching and thumbholes that perform properly to maintain issues in place on lengthy runs and below hydration vests.

Best Base Layers for Women - seams of the Smartwool Women's Classic All-Season Merino Base Layer Long Sleeve

The seams of the Smartwool Ladies’s Traditional All-Season Merino Base Layer Lengthy Sleeve decrease the prospect of chafing. Photograph: iRunFar/Kelly Fain


Historically, many runners have turned to merino wool for his or her base layer. Merino wool is thought for being insulating, even when moist, and for serving to regulate temperature by controlling the speed of moisture evaporation from the pores and skin. This can be very breathable because of the porosity of the fibers and you’ll keep dry whilst you sweat. So far as heat for the buck, merino will do an important job of conserving you insulated from colder temps. A light-weight merino or merino-blend base layer is a superb choice for cooler temperatures, whereas a mid- or heavyweight merino will hold you toasty within the coldest climates. The Smartwool Ladies’s Traditional All-Season Merino Base Layer Lengthy Sleeve has a really excessive merino content material, that means it retains runners cozy in all circumstances and gives heat and breathability even whereas moist.

Relating to sustainability, runners should weigh the place they stand on the moral implications of utilizing sources to lift livestock and the impact on local weather change, in addition to utilizing animal merchandise in clothes.

Should you’re vegan or looking for extra budget-friendly choices on your base layer, look to synthetics. Sometimes, a polyester or polyester-blend base layer will excel at wicking and conserving you tremendous dry. Artificial base layers can be found in a wide range of suits, together with compression. They typically have a tighter match, which is great if you wish to add layers on prime for heat or climate safety. Due to their wicking functionality and quick-drying attributes, artificial layers will decrease chafing and hold you from overheating. Whereas not overly budget-friendly, Oiselle’s Flyout Lengthy Sleeve checked the containers for our vegan runners and people who most popular artificial materials to wool.


Usually talking, you’ll need to select the layer that can finest match most of your working circumstances. Light-weight layers are finest for reasonable to chill temperatures and runs that may start in chillier climate that warms up in the course of the day. Midweight layers are efficient for chilly temps, and heavyweight layers are for these frigid below-freezing runs. One factor to think about is that the principle job of a base layer is to maintain the wearer snug and dry. Extra heat is nearly all the time decided by what’s worn on prime of the bottom, together with the outer layers. Discovering probably the most snug and wicking base layer towards your pores and skin is paramount. The Smartwool Ladies’s Traditional All-Season Merino Base Layer Lengthy Sleeve was light-weight sufficient to behave as a base layer, and we discovered that its ¼-zip cousin labored nice as a mid-layer that may be unzipped to vent. Most layers examined for this purchaser’s information had been light-weight or midweight choices.

UPF Score

UPF stands for ultraviolet safety issue, and a few base layers carry a tag with a UPF ranking for solar safety. The UPF ranking refers to how a lot UV the material of the garment blocks. On the whole, a darker-colored cloth will provide extra UV safety, as will a cloth with a tighter, denser weave. Artificial supplies like polyester present extra safety than pure fibers like merino, and a looser match gives extra safety than an merchandise stretched tightly throughout the pores and skin. In case your runs take you to environments that have you ever open and uncovered to the solar’s rays, UPF safety is vital for conserving you protected. Should you’re at the next elevation, have sun-sensitive pores and skin, or are taking medicine that makes you weak to the solar, a UPF ranking could also be vital to think about. Not all base layers provide a UPF ranking, and garment makers have their very own testing protocols. Patagonia devotes a web page of its web site to explaining the intricacies of UPF, which is one more reason the Patagonia Ladies’s Capilene Air Crew got here out on prime on this information.


Arguably, breathability is without doubt one of the most vital elements of a base layer. There’s nothing worse than being drenched in sweat or precipitation and feeling like you possibly can’t escape it. Materials, weight, and openness of the weave all contribute to a layer’s breathability. Light-weight merino and artificial base layers are typically extra breathable than heavier ones. Merino, particularly, is thought for its thermo-regulating properties, because it has superior wicking functionality whereas additionally conserving you heat even when moist. The Smartwool Ladies’s Traditional All-Season Merino Base Layer Lengthy Sleeve supplied an important heat and breathable merino layer, whereas the HoverFit expertise of the Oiselle Flyout Lengthy Sleeve made it rating excessive on the breathability scale for synthetics.

Best Base Layers for Women - Running in the Janji Repeat Merino Long Sleeve

Kelly Fain exams base layers in cool fall circumstances. Photograph: iRunFar/Kelly Fain

Odor Prevention

Merino wool is the clear winner in stinkiness prevention. The wicking nature of merino contributes to its odor-resistance. As a result of it stays dry, permitting water to evaporate earlier than it soaks the fabric, there’s much less likelihood for odor-causing micro organism to flourish, thus much less funkiness brought on by microbes. Merino layers don’t have to be washed as typically, and any time you will get a couple of run from a layer is a win. Our testers may run in Smartwool’s Ladies’s Traditional All-Season Merino Base Layer Lengthy Sleeve and within the Janji Repeat Merino Lengthy Sleeve for a number of back-to-back outings with nary a wash or rinse.


Most of the base layers available on the market require shelling out slightly little bit of dough, so in fact we would like this stuff to final for so long as potential. One other plus for merino or merino blends is that they scale back odors, so that they have to be washed much less often. Much less frequent washing can lengthen the shelf lifetime of a garment. We advocate air-drying base layers, particularly wool ones, which ought to by no means be put within the dryer, to assist lengthen their lifespan as properly.

A number of workforce members have owned Patagonia’s Ladies’s Capilene Air Crew for years and have been impressed with its long-term sturdiness. For path runners particularly, gadgets are likely to get put via the wringer as we will encounter slim singletrack, which might enhance the potential for snags and tears, so we would like supplies that may get up to make use of.

Having to switch gadgets often has an environmental impression, however extra on that later.


When selecting the most effective base layers for girls, think about local weather and surroundings. Ideally, we need to choose the lightest and most purposeful base layer for that day’s effort. Base layers will be light-weight for cool to chilly climate, midweight for chilly climate, or heavyweight for excessive chilly. Extra heat will be offered by a mid-insulating layer and prime shell, relying on circumstances, so there’s no must attempt to have the bottom layer be the one layer in harsher climate. The Smartwool Ladies’s Traditional All-Season Merino Base Layer Lengthy Sleeve is a basic base layer that works properly in chilly temperatures however will be worn below additional layers as temperatures drop.


There are lots of types to select from on this planet of the most effective base layers for girls. Some can be found in short-sleeve lengths in addition to lengthy sleeves. Our runner-up, the Smartwool Ladies’s Traditional All-Season Merino Base Layer Lengthy Sleeve, is accessible in a crew kind and a quarter-zip choice. There are a number of base layers available on the market now that even have hoods.

Inside this testing, the Paka Ladies’s On a regular basis Base Layer ranked excessive within the fashion class, with runners commenting that the layer is so good trying and dries so shortly that it simply goes from run to city. It’s more likely to double as a non-running merchandise in lots of closets as properly.


Many runners are typically comparatively aware shoppers, so contemplating sustainability is a good way to slim down selections when investing. Some points to consider when selecting a garment are the producer’s manufacturing unit emissions, together with gasoline emissions and something which will finally find yourself in a water supply, whether or not producers and plant employees are compensated pretty, how uncooked supplies are sourced, and the way the corporate as a complete provides again to our neighborhood and our world.

Within the group of merchandise we selected, nearly the entire merino used was ethically sourced and licensed by a third-party group. Relying on animal circumstances, merino will be thought-about eco-friendly because it consists of proteins and amino acids and finally naturally breaks down in water and soil.

We’re additionally impressed by corporations utilizing recycled packaging. Patagonia, Smartwool, and Janji had been all standouts on this space, and Paka took it one step additional with their Paka Ladies’s On a regular basis Base Layer through the use of compostable packaging and a system that enables one to hint the fibers of their garment again to their supply through their web site.

Why Belief Us

For this information, we examined ten completely different manufacturers of base layers. Ladies from everywhere in the nation, together with Colorado, Utah, Tennessee, and North Carolina put these layers via their paces in a wide range of environments, elevations, and climate circumstances. We tackled the paths, ran roads, and crushed some gravel. We used the bottom layers in colder climates and a few hotter climate to check breathability and wicking capabilities. We referred to a few of our outdated acquainted merchandise that we all know and love, and we threw some newcomers and outliers into the combo to slim our record right down to the most effective base layers for girls.

We routinely replace our purchaser’s guides primarily based on ongoing testing and analysis by our authors and editorial workforce. Our aim is to seek out the most effective merchandise available on the market so as to run your finest.

Best Base Layers for Women - seams of the Smartwool Women's Classic All-Season Merino Base Layer Long Sleeve

The seams of the Smartwool Ladies’s Traditional All-Season Merino Base Layer Lengthy Sleeve decrease the prospect of chafing. Photograph: iRunFar/Kelly Fain

Continuously Requested Questions on Base Layers for Ladies

What makes merino wool a very good base layer materials?

Most of the finest base layers for girls are fabricated from merino wooden. This cloth has the distinctive property of permitting water vapor out of your pores and skin to evaporate earlier than it turns into water droplets. This comes from the porosity of the fibers and helps them keep dry whereas wicking moisture away out of your pores and skin. Merino wool, comparable to that used within the Smartwool Ladies’s Traditional All-Season Merino Base Layer Lengthy Sleeve, additionally insulates even when moist and helps regulate temperature by controlling the evaporation charge. That, mixed with the odor-resistance of this materials talked about above, means it stays recent longer between washes. It dries exceptionally shortly when washed or moist with precipitation or sweat. Washing much less often provides to the shelf lifetime of the layer.

What’s the finest sort of base layer for working?

One of the best base layer for girls would be the lightest and most snug whereas nonetheless assembly the wants of the runner’s local weather and surroundings. Merino appears by far and away to be the frontrunner, however a number of synthetics and blends that additionally provide heat and powerful wicking efficiency can be found. Our workforce beloved the Patagonia Ladies’s Capilene Air Crew and named it the most effective total base layer for girls.

What are the most effective forms of base layers for excessive chilly?

For very chilly circumstances, it could be vital to decide on a heavyweight base that’s completely going to carry out with superior wicking functionality. Usually talking although, midweight base layers, just like the heaviest layer we examined, the Patagonia Ladies’s Capilene Air Crew, used with different layers will get most runners via most circumstances. Keep in mind, the principle job of a base layer is to maneuver moisture away out of your pores and skin with out getting moist, so a extremely heavy base layer may not be the best choice.

Are there heat scores for base layers?

Base layers will be light-weight, made for cool to chilly climate, midweight for chilly climate, or heavyweight for probably the most frigid circumstances. Extra heat will be offered by including additional layers on prime of your base layer. Selecting the lightest, most snug, wicking layer for the circumstances ought to hold you able to run for all of the miles. A light-weight base layer just like the Janji Repeat Merino Lengthy Sleeve is a good place to begin for including additional layers.

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