If you want to make the most of the outdoors, whatever adventure you choose to go on, you are going to want a great clothing layering system to ensure you can stay outside for as long as you want, no matter what the weather throws at you. The ultimate layering system starts with the layer next to your skin - your first layer, underwear or base layer.
This guide takes a look at the the key brands in the women's base layer market right now. From fun to serious, stylish to technical, eco-conscious to not and big brands to small brands, we'll try and cover as many as possible. If you think we've missed someone off the list let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org we'd love to hear from you!
Before we dive into the detail there are a few key choices to make when buying base layers:
We've featured the following women's base layer brands in this article, click on the links below if you would like to be taken straight to that section! We've focused on some of the newer and up and coming brands in this article, but included some of our favourite products from the bigger brands including North Face, Icebreaker and Arc'teryx towards the end.
The Eivy brand was created by the snowboarder & fashion designer Anna Vister for challenging and expanding the perception of base layers. Here at Latitude we absolutely LOVE this brand, not only have Eivy brought modern print designs into the base layer market but they have really nailed the fit too. Resulting in a product that can be worn from mountain to home, to bar to work ALL day long.
This Swedish brand is a relatively small business but growing in popularity rapidly with its fast expanding loyal following. Their instagram feed is full of snowy inspiration and fun prints check them out @eivy. Here at Latitude we are currently stocking the Leopard, Bloom and Orchard prints and have more on the way for Winter 19/20.
Eivy are now including some recycled fabrics in their line, our favourite is their "Rather be Skiing" and "Rather be Snowboarding" Fleece made from Oeko-Tex® 100% recycled polyester. We've had a sneak peak at Eivy's next collection and you won't be disappointed!
The Eivy base layers are primarily made from a Polyester / Elastane mix making them sweat wicking, quick drying and stretchy. Eivy really set themselves apart from the competition with their fit and design; flat lock seams mean no chaffing, a wide waist band for comfort, a slightly longer fit for warmth in the Winter and a range of base layer tops, bottoms, neckwarmers, socks and mid-layers too that will have you covered whatever the weather.
Eivy are a mid-premium priced brand, but by creating gear you will want to wear again and again we think their products are well worth the investment.
Best for: Funky prints, comfort and style you'll stand out from the crowd
Entitled the "ultimate base layer" from the brand Odlo, this top features a warm long sleeve top that fits perfectly under heavy layers keeping you warm in icy temperatures which makes this product ideal for winter sports like Ski/Snowboarding.
The Odlo ultimate base layer top features body mapping technology with a built in face mask for when the temperature plummets. Made from 50% Merino wool mixed with synthetic fibres this is a mid-weight top perfect for cold weather activities like skiing and snowboarding.
Odlo was founded in Oslo, Norway in 1946 by Odd Roar Lofterød Senior who started making innovative, warm, stretchy high-performance suits for cross country skiers including the Norwegian Olympic team. Odlo have continued to be at the forefront of base layer fabric and design innovation including an ISPO gold award in 2015.
Odlo focuses on technical designs covering a range of sports from skiing to biking and hiking, with simple colourways. If you are looking for a brand focusing on technical product innovation in base layers then Odlo will have you covered. As an established brand they can be found globally with their own branded stores, outlets and dealers.
Best for: Technical performance
This product from the Under Armour brand and is made of 93% polyester and 7% elastarell. Made of synthetic fibres this top is quick drying and with a looser fit which makes it both quicker and easier to change into before and after skiing or snowboarding. We love the Under Armour attention to detail here, the slightly relaxed neck fit, reflective detailing and thumb holes make for a great design.
The Under Armour story began in 1996, founded by American Kevin Plank has exploded onto the sportswear scene in the last two decades. With its unique branding and strong messaging Under Armour's growth has gone far beyond the American market. Facing stiff competition from other big brands including Nike and Adidas it will be fascinating to watch this brand develop.
Best For: Multipurpose, on-trend design
The sister brand to Quicksliver, Roxy is renowned for its female surf and snow collections. A global brand with a full, year round product line and top athlete sponsorships to match, Roxy gear can be found in stores worldwide. Roxy's instagram account boasts a staggering 1.5m followers, check them out @roxy.
Roxy offers a great range of technical products including ski and snowboard base layers, mid-layers and outerwear; their designs are technical, bright and fun at a mid-price point. We love the colourway of the leggings shown above - Medieval Blue Sparkles with fabric made from 95% polyester and 5% elastane and flat-lock seams they will be quick drying, with some stretch and perfect for snowy, cold days under your snowboard pants.
Best for: Brand recognition, bright colours and fun prints
Planks Clothing was founded by British ex-pro skier Jim Adlington, starting with beanies and t-shirts the brand has come a long way to selling a full technical range of ski specific clothing. A big supporter of the British snow sports scene, Planks can be found at the Telegraph Ski and Snowboard show and giving air-time to up and coming British skiers on their Grassroots tour.
Planks currently sponsors British freeski superstar James "Woodsy" Woods and has 4 stores in the Alps - Morzine, Meribel, Val D'Isere and Tignes where you can check out their latest collections as well as serving as a hub for resort seasonairres.
The Planks Women's range has improved in leaps and bounds during the last two years, and whilst still significantly smaller than their men's collection if you are looking for a mid-priced technical ski jacket the Planks Women's Good Times Ski Jacket is well worth a look.
Planks introduced their women's base layers to their collection for the first time this year. We love their Miami Palm print, it also comes as a women's black base layer too with Planks branding on the side. Its made from polyester, including a proportion of recycled fibres making it sweat wicking, quick drying and with some stretch that will keep you warm whether you are cruising blues or shredding the snow park.
Best for: Seasonairres, bright prints, Skiers
Mons Royale was founded in 2009 in New Zealand's South Island by former freeride pro-skier Hamish Acland. Identifying a gap in the market for a stylish Merino base layer the brand have stayed true to their original vision developing products for their sports needs - mountain biking, skiing, snowboarding and well, any mountain adventure.
If you want to catch up on the latest from Mons Royale and some mountain biking action check out their sponsorship of Crankworx, Innsbruck.
The use of Merino Wool is fundamental to Mons Royale's design approach. Their range of Women's Merino Wool base layers is comprehensive with different weight fabrics providing different levels of warmth, and Merino Wool vests, t-shirts, long sleeved tops, hooded tops, zip tops and even a Monsie (their version of an all in one!). Merino wool is such an important part of the Women's Base Layer market we've written a whole blog postabout it! Merino wool has some fantastic properties that make it a great first layer including temperature control, sweat wicking, softness and performance when layering.
Mons Royale also offer a couple of different fits and styles depending on what activity and look you are going for. Their Bella Tech range (shown above) is slightly more fitted, perfect if you are going to wear multiple layers making it the perfect women's base layer for skiing. Their Viva La and Mtn X ranges are slightly longer fitting and more relaxed perfect for a snowboarder or freeski style or biking. We also love their Stella X-back bra's with a fun design, great colourways and a perfect solution if you are looking for a women's merino wool bra.
In this blog we've tried to include a range of different brands, with more of a focus on some of the smaller and up and coming players in the market. In doing so we have omitted some of the biggest brands on the market so here's a quick summary of some of our favourites:
We've covered 10 different women's base layer brands in this blog! From classic looks to cool prints there is a huge amount of choice on the market. Here at Latitude we stock what we believe are the best, and most up and coming brands click the link below to check out our collection!
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