The best cycling base layers for summer have an emphasis on wicking and comfort in the heat, while pure winter base layers focus on both staying dry and trapping warm air. But the truth is that even the most open-meshed summer base layers can span the seemingly paradoxical dual role of helping you feel drier in summer while adding a bit of comfort in cooler conditions. And Gorewear’s Base Layer is a good example of this.
Its fabric has a less open weave than many summer base layers, and it’s thin but not crazy thin like extreme summer base layers. However its fabric wicks so well that it’s still very good against the skin in summer, while feeling like a base you’d be very happy wearing into autumn to keep a bit of the chill off.
Design and specifications
The Gorewear base has a flat weave with needlepoint holes, rather than the more common filled mesh of the dhb Lightweight Mesh Sleeveless Base Layer or the Castelli Pro Issue Base Layer; or the open mesh of the Brynje Super Micro. Compared to a full open mesh it means you can’t dump excess heat so easily just by opening a zip; though it seemed no different to the more common filled mesh tops in this regard.
Like the Brynje Super Micro, the Gorewear base is made from polypropylene (plus a bit of elastane for stretch), which all else being equal is a quicker-drying and harder-wearing fiber than the more common polyester.
It’s a straightforward cut, with straight side seams, a generous length, unobtrusive flat-locked seams, and a weight that’s a few grams heavier than the lightest base layers in our summer guide, but by no means the weightiest of the bunch. It’s also available in a short-sleeved version, with a diagonal raglan shoulder seam for a smooth fit and easy movement.
Good polypropylene yarn can make for a great wicking fabric, and the Gorewear base felt impressively dry under pressure; one of the best in our summer guide. Polypropylene can sometimes feel a bit rougher than other fabrics, but if this one wasn’t quite as soft, I didn’t notice. The fabric felt smooth, with a decent stretch that fitted snugly against the skin to allow maximum wicking, while avoiding a vice-like grip. It was easy to get on and off, and the armholes were well-sized.
Despite its good sweat-shifting performance, I probably wouldn’t pick the Gorewear base for the hottest of summer temperatures, just from the point of view of being able to dump hot air – I’d either go for a full mesh base or no base at all. But the flip side is that I’d carry on wearing it into autumn or spring when a super-thin summer base would feel inadequate.
It might seem odd to say that the Gorewear doesn’t have any wow factor, it’s just quietly capable. It’s not a height of summer specialist, though it does have excellent dryness; it’s a solid all-round base that will be a reliable companion until the winter thermals come out.
Tech specs: Gorewear Base Layer Sleeveless Shirt
- Price: £34.99 / €39.95 / $50
- Colors: Black, white
- Weight: 61g
- Sizes: Men’s S-XXL; Women’s XXS/34-XL/44
- Materials: 88% polypropylene, 8% elastane, 4% polyamide