We continue our run-down of five of this year's best run base layers...
Falke Long Sleeve Top
Price: £45 from www.falke.com
We have to admit it took us a while to find Falke’s sport range on their website, as we became lost in a world of knee-high socks and men’s knitwear. Yet judging by the Long Sleeve seen here, the German brand’s lack of a sport-specific focus hasn’t impacted on the athletic quality.
Once on, the 69% polyamide/26% polyester/5% spandex composition was close-fitting but not restrictive and didn’t ride up, offering compression for those of you convinced of the upper-body benefits.
The temperature regulation is also hugely efficient, keeping us warm and free from cold sweat patches throughout. It’s also stylish enough to be worn as a single layer come the warmer months and, if that price sounds high, the quality construction should last you multiple off-seasons.
Verdict: German efficiency at its finest; a belter of a base layer for which it’s very hard to find any negatives, 94%
Tenn Compression Fit
Price: £21 from www.tenn-outdoors.co.uk
We’ve used a nylon base layer for years for running, football and cycling due to its quick-drying nature and any wind-proofing ability. This 80% nylon/20% elastane mix also provides plenty of versatility, with Tenn touting its cycling benefits and the elastane offering plenty of stretch for the gym.
The downside of the quick-drying prowess is a lack of breathability compared to Falke and Gore (admittedly at half the price), with our core/sweat levels noticeably higher during extended run efforts. The top also gave upper-body compression, yet this tightness led to the bottom hem riding up on the run (and taking our tee with it) to reveal our, er, relaxed abs to the dog walkers of Bristol.
Although positioned towards the budget end, it features well-crafted touches such as reflective decals and flat-lock stitching that prevents chafing.
Verdict: Not the most breathable, but a versatile offering, especially for battling the wind and rain, 79%
DHB Active Long Sleeve
Price: £14 from www.wiggle.co.uk
Tri gear may not be famed for its cheapness, but nearly every top here has its merits and all come at an affordable price. The Active Long Sleeve, from the house brand of retail behemoths Wiggle, is yet another well-priced offering on test.
On some nippy December early morning runs, it kept us warm throughout, sitting comfortably on our skin, and remaining chafe-free for the duration due to the flat-lock seams. When the run intensity and/or temperature rose, however, the polyester construction fell behind in the breathability stakes, joining the UA as the only base layer here to produce noticeable sweat patches both on the back and under the arms, which soon became cold when we slowed down. The garment is treated with a Polygiene treatment to prevent nasty niffs, as synthetic offerings like this can develop pongs.
Verdict: Budget price and enough virtues to make it worth considering, but some breathability questions, 77%
And the winner is…
Falke wins Best On Test for their Long Sleeve Top – a belter of a base layer.
Adidas wins Best Buy for their Techfit top, it oozes lightness and is warm and well-priced.
... don't forget to check out our other recent gear round-ups: best pool goggles, best heart rate monitors, best aerobars, best run jackets, best turbo trainers, best tri bikes, best tri bike shoes, best wetsuits, best lightweight run shoes, best trail shoes, best energy bars, best bike jackets, best bike helmets, best TT helmets, best recovery drinks and best tri-suits.
What's your favourite run base layer? Let us know in the comments below!