best fabric for base layer: wool vs. polyester best fabric for base layer: wool vs. polyester

Best Fabric for Base Layers: Merino Wool vs. Polyester

Posted by Matt Gahman on Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Finding the right base layers for a day or evening on the mountainside is a common quest for skiers and riders. Two popular options include the all-natural fibers of merino wool vs. the synthetic counterpart of polyester.

If you're on the fence about which material to choose, this guide will set you in the right direction toward base layers for skiing and snowboarding.

The Importance of Staying Warm While Skiing or Snowboarding

When you're outside enjoying a day on the mountain, the last thing you want is for winter winds or snow to interrupt your fun. The gear you wear to stay warm is just as important as your skis or snowboard.

The right base layer is the first step to staying warm, dry and comfortable. Base layers for skiing and snowboarding can take the form of shirts or pants in a variety of materials. Most skiers and riders have unique preferences for base layers. What you choose to wear on the mountainside makes a big difference in comfort and the amount of time you spend practicing your favorite sport.

About Merino Wool Base Layers for Skiing

Merino wool comes from a specific breed of sheep, making it an all-natural solution for winter enthusiasts. The natural fibers are biodegradable and renewable. Elite brands in the skiing and snowboarding worlds use this material for base layers since the fabric is also very effective in terms of holding heat.

The Benefits of Merino Wool for Base Layers

Many skiers and snowboarders choose merino wool for cold-weather sports due to its:

  • Moisture-wicking properties: Merino wool is an excellent material for wicking away moisture. In fact, it's one of the few materials on the market that will deflect moisture from the skin when sweat is in a vapor state. Your base layers for skiing will stay dry even if you break a sweat.
  • Odor resistance: Since merino wool defends against moisture, odor-causing bacteria are less likely to linger. You may even be able to wear your base layers a few times between washes.
  • Breathability: Merino wool is far more breathable than polyester. The shapes of the individual wool fibers allow air to pass through, keeping you comfortable.

Other Considerations for Merino Wool

Purchasing base layers made of merino wool offers plenty of benefits, but you'll also want to keep these factors in mind:

  • Higher price point: Merino wool products generally cost more than polyester-based garments.
  • Delicate care: You may have to wash your merino wool products by hand or get them dry-cleaned (pease note, dry-cleaning will shorten the life of your Merino Wool garment. Most all the Merino options we carry are machine-washable.

About Polyester Base Layers for Skiing

Polyester clothing for skiing is made of synthetic fabric. The material dates back to the 1940s. Polyester is often compared to fabrics such as cotton, silk or wool, and some people call it a miracle fabric because it resists wrinkling.

Cutting-edge sportswear brands use polyester for multi-season garments since the material is lightweight. If you're in the market for new skiing base layers, polyester can be an effective choice.

Advantages of Polyester for Base Layers

Polyester base layers for skiing and snowboarding provide users with a few key benefits:

  • Rapid drying times: Polyester material only absorbs 0.4% of its weight in water. You'll feel some moisture when you sweat, but the fibers dry quickly. Polyester continues to feel light on the skin even when the material is soaked, which makes it a good choice for slushy conditions and warmer days on the mountainside.
  • Durability: Choosing polyester base layers vs. wool makes sense from a durability standpoint. Polyester materials are engineered with plastic for a long life span. These base layers will have an easier time holding their shape, and you can wash polyester regularly without seeing significant wear and tear.
  • Affordability: You can expect to pay less for a polyester base layer. Synthetic materials are far easier to source compared to merino wool that must be collected from sheep.

Other Considerations for Polyester Base Layers

While it works for many people, polyester can have a few drawbacks as a base layer:

  • Low breathability: The plastic materials used to make polyester clothes do not facilitate airflow.
  • Reduced moisture-wicking capabilities: While polyester dries quickly, the lower quality polyester fibers may cause clothing to stick to the skin when it's wet. It is superior to cotton in terms of wicking.

When to Choose Merino Wool vs. Polyester Base Layers

When you buy your bae layer from, there's no wrong way to go with merino wool and polyester clothing products. You might choose merino wool base layers if comfort is a top priority and you have a higher spending budget. Some wool base layers can last many years if you take care of them, and you may find merino wool base layers are the superior option for insulation and keeping you dry.

Polyester base layers are fantastic for those looking for something at a lower price point. If you're just getting into skiing or you'd like to have more than one clothing option for winter fun, this material might be the right choice for you. It's also a great option for kids who are still growing. Additionally, polyester is far more durable than wool, which makes it a stellar base layer option for repeat trips to the mountainside.

Get Base Layers for the Whole Family

Searching for men's, women's or kids' base layers for skiing? Buckman’s Ski and Snowboard Shops has a wide variety of merino wool and polyester products for sale. Order your winter gear from our family-owned and -operated business that offers you a price-match guarantee.

Feel free to contact our team if you have any questions!

buy base layers for ski season for the family

Categories: Ski & Snowboard Apparel

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