Do you need a base layer for cycling?

Do you need a base layer for cycling

If you’re like me, when you first got into cycling, you saw all these cyclists wearing long-sleeved, tight-fitting tops and pants and wondered why they wore them.

Were they trying to make themselves look like the Michelin Man? Well, yes and no—but mostly no! The base layer is an important part of a cyclist’s uniform (known as their kit). Let’s talk about what makes it so important and whether or not you need one!

How to decide if you need a base layer

Regarding bike clothing, there are three main layers: the base layer, the mid-layer, and the outer layer. The base layer is the first layer of clothing you put on, and it sits next to your skin.

The best base layer bottoms I have owned are made of Merino wool because it is a natural fiber that is both antibacterial and anti-odor. It will also keep you warm in the winter and cool in the summer.

The main purpose of the base layer is to wick away sweat so that it doesn’t build up on your skin and cause chafing. If you tend to sweat a lot or are riding in hot weather, then a base layer is a good idea.

What makes a good base layer for cycling

The best base layer bottoms I have owned are made of merino wool. They are snug but not too tight and don’t bunch up or ride up when I’m pedaling.

They keep me warm in the winter and cool in the summer, and they don’t get stinky even after multiple days of wear. They look good enough to wear on their own, so I can transition from the bike to the bar without changing.

Why you might want to wear a base layer anyway

You might not think you need to wear a base layer when cycling, but there are quite a few benefits. For one, a base layer can help wick away sweat, keeping you comfortable and dry.

Additionally, a base layer can provide a bit of warmth on chilly days. I’ve found that the best base layer bottoms I have owned are made of merino wool.

This natural fiber is breathable, comfortable, and works excellent at regulating temperature. Consider investing in a high-quality base layer bottom, whether you’re a seasoned cyclist or just starting out.

Pro Cycling Base Layers 

You’ve probably seen cyclists wearing what looks like skin-tight long underwear. That’s a base layer, and it serves several important functions:

  1. It wicks sweat away from your skin to keep you dry.
  2. It keeps your body temperature so you don’t overheat when pedaling hard and then freeze when you stop.
  3. It provides a bit of padding to prevent saddle sores.
  4. It prevents chafing by covering the spots where skin rubs against itself or clothing.

The best part is that they’re not just for pro riders! You can find them at any bike shop or sporting goods store.

Is a base layer necessary?

A base layer is the first layer of clothing you wear when getting dressed to go outside. It’s also the layer that’s in closest contact with your skin.

A base layer’s primary function is to keep you warm, but it can also wick away sweat and regulate your body temperature.

Base layers are made from different materials, including wool, synthetic fabrics, and cotton. So, do you need a base layer for cycling? It depends on the weather and your personal preferences.

If it’s cold out or you tend to get cold easily, then a base layer can help keep you comfortable. A wicking material can help keep you dry and comfortable if you tend to overheat or sweat a lot.

Do you need an undershirt for cycling?

You might be wondering if you require an undershirt when cycling. The answer is that it is determined by the weather as well as your personal preferences.

If it’s cold outside, you should probably wear an undershirt to keep warm. If it’s hot outside, you shouldn’t wear an undershirt because you’ll sweat. It is finally time to decide whether an undershirt is necessary when cycling.


In short, a base layer is not essential for cycling, but it can certainly offer benefits. It can help to wick away sweat, regulate body temperature, and provide a bit of extra padding.

If you often cycle in cold weather or tend to sweat a lot, then a base layer could be worth investing in. However, if you generally cycle in mild conditions and don’t tend to get too sweaty, you may be just as comfortable without one. Finally, it’s up to you to decide whether or not a base layer is right for you.

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