The base layer is designed to trap a thin layer of warm air against the body and it also works to pull sweat away from the skin, which is known as ‘wicking’. The 2 main types of fabric you can choose for a base layer are Merino wool or synthetic fabrics.
No matter what sporting activities you are involved in, ensure that your base layer is your lightest layer. You’ll be putting on at least two more articles of clothing over your base, so keeping it lightweight, snug, and stretchy will help you maintain agility and flexibility even when you’re fully layered.
The following are the main advantages of wearing a base layer:
- improves muscle endurance, power and performance
- reduces the risk of sports injuries
- maintains body temperature and moisture wicking
- reduces the time taken for muscles to repair themselves
- reduces muscle soreness during post-work-out recovery.
Sports base layers can be divided into the following categories based on the weather conditions of the game being played-
This category is generally used by athletes in sports such as cricket, football, golf, running, cycling and rugby. These base layers are made with the Dri-fit technology which consists of a combination of polyester and spandex. Base layers for staying cool incorporate fine mesh zones strategically placed on the chest, underarm, thigh, groin and spine to disperse heat and evaporate perspiration. This type of base layer enables players to train hard for long periods even in the hottest and most severe sunshine, without over heating or getting sun burned.
This category is suited for games which are played in cold weather conditions and also for hikers in cold and mountainous areas. Merino wool is the best fabric for this type of base layer because it can regulate body temperature efficiently. In cold weather conditions, keeping your core muscles warm is vitally important for maintaining performance and avoiding injury. Base layers designed for cold conditions often use a thicker fabric than warm-weather base layers, or those designed for all seasons. They are often manufactured with a brushed inner finish, which offers even better heat-retention.
In order to stay warm, there are essentially three layers to consider. Each has a specific function:
- The base layer: wicks moisture and perspiration away from your skin to keep you warm and dry.
- The mid layer: insulates and keeps you warm
- The outer layer: allows moisture to escape while blocking wind and repelling water.
Base layers for staying dry are essential in any type of sport. The most important reason for using base layers is to wick away moisture. Moisture wicking base layers work by drawing sweat away from the wearer’s body during exercise and allowing it to evaporate on the surface of the material, rather than on the skin. This provides several benefits, keeping the wearer dry and light during exercise. Being drenched in sweat hinders performance by increasing body eight and causing discomfort for the athlete. Usage of base layers helps athletes to always stay at the peak of their performance.
A zip-neck base layer provides another tool to conveniently regulate body temperature. Alpine activities such as hiking and climbing can seem like an endless cycle of putting on and taking off clothing. A zippered neck can often save you the time required to stop and shed an outer layer. The additional cooling of an open neck is substantial when you are working hard and easy to zip up when you take a rest.