Best felt and not seen – under garments are the unsung heroes of the snow apparel world; what did we do before them? Wore cotton t-shirts and froze.
Today, there’s no excuse to get cold with the kind of clothing available to skiers and a good base layer is the essential starting point. Don’t over-layer, one or two base layers, combined with a good mid-layer if it’s really cold and then an outer layer is normally all that’s required.
There’s many different base layer fabrics around and Merino Wool is a popular choice that certainly works for many, but we’ve picked three men’s tops that are made from man-made fibre plus three ski socks to go with them.
Falke – Athletic Top
German brand Falke started off in 1895 and is still family owned – they now have their own dedicated stores and make both sports and fashion garments that remain true to their origins.
The snug fitting Skiing Athletic Long Sleeve Shirt is our top pick for 2015. It really wicks away any moisture fast and for a synthetic fabric, remains extremely odour free even after several days without a wash (the things you do for testing!).
It actually looks pretty good too, and I felt very comfortable wearing it whilst standing at the bar after skiing – the fabric is thick enough to pull it off.
Helly Hansen – Lifa Flow ‘Warm’ Top
Helly Hansen’s large range of base layer garments continue to provide reliable and comfortable tops that also have their iconic stripe down the sleeve, although this has been toned down a little so you look a little less like a commando soldier (although perhaps that’s really what you want?).
The HH Warm Lifa Flow is a mix of the synthetic ‘Lifa flow’ fabric and 100% Merino Wool – you get the warmth and moisture wicking qualities combined.
This one is particularly good for cold days on the mountain, but might be too much for ski touring in the spring.
Odlo – Evolution ‘Warm’ Long Sleeve Crew
This body hugging top from Odlo feels super stretchy and certainly shows off that toned body you’ve been working on through the summer months (note: actually makes you look better off than you really are which is a bonus).
There’s a blend of fabrics, but they are all synthetic fibre with 60% polyester, 34% nylon and the rest, Elastane which does really give that stretchy feel through the garment.
Feels nice to wear and it’s really warm, but for us, it’s definitely an under garment – you might just feel a little self-conscious standing around at the bar with this top on, unless you’re ripped!
Available from Snow+Rock: ODLO Men’s Evolution Warm Long Sleeve Crew
Aclima – Alpine Ski Socks
These are really nice socks, really nice. They are pretty thick, and that’s not always a good thing, but in this case it doesn’t seem to effect performance and certainly for colder days on the mountain, they would be a great choice.
There’s plenty of design features such as padding in all the right places and despite the fact I struggled to get a perfect fit (I’m a UK size 7 and the socks I wore were UK size 8/9), they still seemed to work very well for me.
Norwegian quality definitely shines through here – Merino wool at 83% with Polyamide and elastane to help keep their shape. Worth a go in our opinion.
Falke – SK4 Ski Socks
Nice, comfortable socks for performance skiers who don’t want a pure Merino wool product. The SK4 has a mix of fabrics that includes 22% wool and the rest synthetic.
They feel comfortable to wear, although feet occasionally get a little sweaty. These are socks for cold days and really do keep your feet warm.
Good for people who suffer from cold feet and still want performance.
Teko – Freeride World Tour Ski Socks Medium Cushion
There’s a wide choice of ski socks from Teko, official sock suppliers to the Freeride World Tour and these medium cushion versions are a great all-round ski sock for most occasions.
You can’t go too wrong with these socks. Light, breathable and pretty warm too, the combination of fabrics include 35% Merino wool, 23% Recycled polyester 40% Polyamide and 2% Elastic.
Performance as you might expect is high and durability is very high.