When we focus on layering for warmth, it’s easy to get caught up in figuring out what great shirt and sweater you’ll pair under a topcoat. In our rush to figure out how much we can stack over clothes, it can be easy to forget about what goes underneath them.
Long underwear isn’t perhaps the sexiest phrase to describe base layers, but their benefit (keeping you warm and dry when it’s cold out by moderating your body temperature) can make all the difference on a particularly frigid day. Below, ten of our favorites for you to try.
Uniqlo Heattech Ultra Warm Long Johns
Muck like its excellent Ultra Light Down jackets, Uniqlo has made a name for itself with its quality Heattech products. The price for its long johns is easy to stomach, and if you don’t need the Ultra Warm version, they also come in Extra Warm and, uh, normal Warm.
Patagonia Men’s Capilene Midweight Bottoms
Patagonia’s capilene material has long been one of the industry’s best polyesters, but this season’s iteration has some great features. Among them are a Polartec grid construction for comfort, better odor control and a touch spandex for flexibility.
Mack Weldon Airknitx Performance Tight
Mack Weldon’s performance tights were engineered for running, but some of those same benefits (moisture-wicking, anti-odor, stretch fabric) are useful for winter layering.
Smartwool Merino 250 Base Layer Bottom
Made from ultra warm merino wool, Smartwool’s 250 base layer bottom is the warmest that the brand offers. Which means if you’re going to be spending a lot of time outdoors this winter, you should consider reaching for these first.
Tani Wild Silk Thermal Leggings
Made from Japanese fabric, Tani’s Thermal Leggings are made from a blend of wild silk, modal, viscose and acrylic. The composition makes them light, breathable and incomparably warm for their weight.
Lululemon Surge Light Tight
Designed originally for cold-weather runs, this bottom from Lululemon is one of a small handful that comes in a variety of colors. It’s useful if you’re the kind of guy whose long johns need to do two jobs: keep you warm and look good during a workout.
Tommy John SleekHeat Long John Bottom
Tommy John’s smart SleekHeat fabric offers expert temperature regulation, keeping your body warm when you’re outside and helping you stay cool when you’re by the fire. It’s a super useful feature for holiday party hopping.
Icebreaker 260 Tech Leggings
Icebreaker’s tech leggings are specifically designed to hug your body close to provide warmth without making your legs feel encased like sausages. They also feature a functioning fly. Which, well, matters.
Sunspel Superfine Wool Long Johns
This elevated baselayer feels almost as nice as cashmere (without actually being cut from that noblest of fibers) and still has the great temperature control properties of merino wool.
Kuhl Kondor Bottom
Sometimes tights can get too warm, but these from Kuhl have lightweight mesh at the back of their knees for added breathability.