If you’re shopping for ski gear and base layers are on your list, there are several key factors to consider. With the best base layers for skiing, it’s all about looking for the right materials — namely, those that are warm, moisture-wicking, and designed for movement.
Base layers are typically classified as lightweight, mid-weight, or heavyweight. The right one for you will depend on the temperature and how hard you work on the slopes. On this list, you’ll mostly find a mix of lightweight and mid-weight pieces that are suitable for less extreme climates. That’s because in most cases, it’ll be easier to layer on extra pieces rather than start with a heavy layer that makes you uncomfortably hot.
Another important feature is moisture management. You’ll be sweating a lot, so you’ll want fabric that’s breathable, wicks moisture, and dries quickly. Look for merino wool or a blend that includes it.
Your base layer also needs to be able to stretch with you as you move. Pieces that feature a hint of spandex or Lycra will give you the flexibility you need. Additionally, aim for pieces that are more fitted, especially around the shins and ankles, so they don’t bunch up under your boots.
Below, I’ve compiled a list of the best base layers for skiing in the categories of bottoms, tops, and onesies (Hot tip: each category is arranged from the lowest to highest price). While you’ll find the onesies tend to be pricier and aren’t offered in as many sizes, the added warmth can be a lifesaver if you find one that works.
Hanes Women’s X-Temp Thermal Pant
Made with a soft cotton-polyester blend, these exceptionally comfortable base layer bottoms feature flat, no-seam runs that allow you to move your legs throughout the day without any rubbing or chafing. They have a high-quality elastic waistband that keeps them up without feeling too tight or restrictive, plus a tapered design for a snug fit at the ankles. On top of that, these thermal-knit pants are machine-washable. Several reviewers did note that the waist is extra high, so if you don’t like that style these may not be a good fit for you.
ColdPruf Women’s Platinum Plus Size Dual Layer Bottom
With a Goldilocks waistline that’s not too high but not too low, these breathable, mid-weight base layer bottoms offer an easygoing, comfortable fit. The double-layer fabric boasts 100 percent polyester on the inside and a blend of polyester and merino outside. The stretchy, flexible material traps air between the two layers to create a barrier of warmth. Additionally, it’s moisture-wicking and formulated with special technology called Silvadur Intelligent Freshness to reduce odor. “They are very comfortable and warm,” wrote one reviewer. “I used them for skiing in Utah last week under my ski pants in 27-34 degree weather.” One note on sizing: several reviewers found that these run slightly large, so you may want to order a size down for a more fitted style.
Woolx Avery Women’s Mid-Weight Wool Leggings
These high-quality wool leggings are made with Australian merino fabric that’s soft, breathable, and durable. The material does a great job of lifting moisture from your skin to help keep you dry while you’re on the slopes. It also features antimicrobial properties to help curb odor-causing bacteria. Many reviewers have commented about how cozy the fit is, which can likely be attributed in part to the smooth, contoured back-rise. One reviewer in particular wrote that these leggings are “soft, not bulky, and they feel very warm.”
ColdPruf Women’s Platinum Plus-Size Crewneck Top
Made with high-performance, dual-layer fabric, this plus-size base layer top delivers exceptional breathability and moisture management. The two-layer engineering of the merino wool traps air between the layers to create a natural warmth barrier. The inner layer is built from high-performance polyester, while the outside is a blend of polyester and merino wool. It is tag-free and stitched with flat seams, so there is no rubbing or chafing with this crewneck. On top of that, the fibers showcase Silvadur Intelligent Freshness, which uses silver ions to neutralize odor. It is designed for medium to high exertion levels in extremely cold temperatures. Just one note: reviewers found it runs slightly large, so you may want to order down a size.
Under Armour Women’s ColdGear Authentic Mock
With more than 450 reviews, this popular poly-elastane base layer top features soft, brushback knit fabric. With flatlock seams to prevent rubbing and irritation, this top is as warm as it is comfortable. The sweat-wicking fabric dries quickly, while its four-way stretch construction allows extra range of motion. In addition to that, the material boasts technology that helps keep odor-causing bacteria at bay. “Wore this almost every time I skied!” wrote one Amazon reviewer. “Well made and fits beautifully.” Available in six colors, reviewers did find that this shirt runs small, so you may want to order a size up.
Helly Hansen Merino Wool Crew Top
Constructed with a soft blend of polypropylene and merino wool, this high-tech base layer is one of the more premium options available. It’s built with dual-layer technology that features 100 percent wool on the exterior to trap heat, with moisture-wicking properties in the polypropylene layer underneath. This is another top that features flatlock seams, which won’t irritate and rub against your skin like other seam styles. While this top is designed for skiing and snow sports, it also works great for other winter activities. “Works well as a base layer when I go running in sub-zero temperatures,” wrote one reviewer. “Keeps me dry and warm at the same time. Definitely worth the price.”
AIRBLASTER Women’s Hooded Outdoor Base Layer Suit
I’ve tried this hooded one-piece base layer myself and can attest that it’s fantastically soft and cozy. The classic one-piece suit is made from polyester with a bit of spandex for stretchiness and comfort. The moisture-wicking material lets you sweat hard without getting sticky or damp. Meanwhile, the thumb loops work to keep sleeves from riding up while also blocking out wind and other elements. The best feature, however, is the suit’s 350-degree waistline zipper, which lets you break to use the bathroom without having to take off your jacket. As a bonus, it comes in 14 different patterns and colors.
Icebreaker One-Piece Merino Wool Base Layer
I have this Icebreaker merino wool onesie and can tell you that it’s magically soft and warm. The premium Lycra material gives it comfy stretch qualities, while the strategically placed merino mesh provides ventilation at key perspiration points. The fabric is moisture-wicking and breathable, so you won’t feel like a puddle of sweat when you take your ski pants off at the end of the day. It has a protective hood that fits snugly without feeling tight, plus a zippered neck to help you regulate your temperature. Best of all, the zipper has a soft chin guard and interior storm flap so it doesn’t rub or chafe. This one-piece is a bit pricier than some of the other options, but if you can afford the splurge, it’s worth every penny.
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