The-importance-of-Base-Layers-in-Cycling Pro Cycling Outlet


Cycling base layers are one of the most important pieces of cycling kit you can buy.

Pro Teams issue riders with literally hundreds of different varieties of thicknesses, cuts and materials and a huge amount is spent developing the technology that goes into these garments by brands like Castelli, Assos, Santini, Giordana. And sometimes only Pros get to use these, often prototype items. Here we aim to outline some of the technology and some of the options.

What is a base layer?

A base layer is the first layer of clothing worn next to the skin. It is important that this layer can absorb and wick moisture away from your body efficiently. Enabling you to stay warm as well as dry. As with all items of cycling apparel, it can be a very personal choice.

We have divided base layers into 2 main categories, though it is important to know that many options exist within each category, and I have highlighted some of my personal favorites that I use here in Girona.


Perfect for autumn cycling and can be used under a normal even short sleeve jersey to keep your torso insulated and dry. 

My personal favorite is a variation on the classic string vest (picture) again many options exist for this type of base layer, but a thick mesh is a great place to start for keeping you warm on a chilly day.

Other high-tech options rather than a string vets exist, for example synthetic fibers designed to pass moisture into one direction and have panels with different materials with different qualities for different areas of the garment. My favorite high-tech base layer is from the brand Louis Garneau and has a mesh back and a windproof front panel, there are several brands such as Craft, Castelli or Assos to choose from. I find them excellent for long road rides.

Other thinner mesh designs with very light contruction can even be worn in the summer purely as a wicking layer.

Thermal & Long Sleeve

For deep winter rides thick thermal base layers designed to lock a layer of warmth between your body and mid and top layer clothing. 

Should be worn skin tight under other layers. More technical base layers often incorporate different panels so they can flex differently in different locations of your body, allowing you to wear them super-tight but still be comfortable. A mistake that people often make when selecting cycling kit of all types is to remember when you try them on the position you are in on your bike, cycling kit should be tight!

Also, for winter rides a long sleeve base layer will keep you warm and your entire upper body including your arms, protected from windchill.

My personal favorite is the Endura BaaBaa Blend L/S Base layer which is a thick, thermal windproof fleece base layer.

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