Why Wear Base Layers?

This is a topic where there are many opposing ideas on when to wear the base-layer. So this is an article to present our views and it is hoped that it will shed some new light on why its a good idea to wear the base-layer in all conditions.  Would also love to hear your opinion if you have one.

We believe the base layer should be an essential part of any cyclists’ wardrobe and worn regardless if it is cold or hot. Many of you may have seen the base layers advertised on various cycling websites but perhaps not sure exactly when or why to even use a base layer. We hope that this short informational piece will educate you more about them and their purpose and motivate you to add one (if you don’t already have one).

A base layer is a piece of garment (or second skin if you will) that acts as an under shirt that is worn under your cycling jersey. It is the first layer of clothing you wear next to your skin and is actually the most under-rated, yet most essential piece of garment to be wearing while out riding. The base layer should be most in tune with the body in regards to shape, fit and movement plus act as your moisture management system.

Check out what Velominati have to say about layering up


Velominati concur with us! Always wear a base layer, on hot days, in summer or winter, when racing, training or trail riding.

A decent quality base-layer will be made from high tech synthetic fabrics that are designed to wick sweat away from you body and keep you feeling good. Base-layers made out of cotton or non-wicking fabrics should be avoided at all costs. This is due to the fact cotton will hold moisture near your body and make you feel clammy - you all know this feeling right? The wet cotton t-shirt can also increase the incidence of rashes. Cotton as a base layer will just make you feel hotter in the summer and colder in the winter!

From what we gather, most people tend to wear a base layer when it is actually cold, and just wear a jersey in the summer warmth. Cold weather is when most cyclist will choose to wear a base layer for the obvious reasons of giving you an extra layer of insulation and pulls sweat from your skin, keeping you dryer longer and thus warmer for the ride duration.  However, it is actually good practice to layer up in hot conditions too, for increased ride comfort especially in humid conditions where evaporative cooling is less effective.

Other good reasons, and should not be overlooked, include protection from the sun and if you crash. Sometimes you can get sun-burnt through the thin technical fabric of cycling jerseys so the additional layer keeps you shielded from the sun.  If you crash, the base-layer can act as a second skin which slides against the road you hit and save your skin from massive road rash!

TIP: How should it fit?

The fabric should be skin-tight and hug every curve of your body without restricting your movement or breathing. By having the fabric surface area in contact with your skin helps the base layer to do its main job of removing moisture away from your body and allowing you to keep optimal temperature and comfort.

It cannot be baggy at all as this will bunch up under your cycling kit and will add to your ride discomfort.  It is highly recommended to go with the sleeveless base layer especially if you are using a snug racing fit jersey like many of our GreenMonkey styles. 

So hopefully our article has help educate you about why wearing a base-layer all the time is a good idea. There are many schools of thought about when to wear the base-layer so its not simple as a right or wrong answer. Perhaps we are just wanting to convince you to buy our baselayers, it could be an elaborate marketing ploy just to get you to spend your dollars. However, we are keen cyclists ourselves and definitely see the benefit of wearing the base layer in all weather conditions.

We will discuss tips on how to look after your cycling kit in the next newsletter!  We want you to look the best you can and enhance the longevity of your GreenMonkey cycling kit. 

RULE #53// Keep your kit clean and new. As a courtesy to those around you, your kit should always be freshly laundered, and, under no circumstances should the crackal region of your shorts be worn out or see-through. (From the Velominati Rules)

Shop GreenMonkey Base Layers: www.greenmonkeyvelo.com/products/greenmonkey-base-layers