Base layers: not just for cold conditions
Wearing a base layer in hot weather seems to go against common sense. And yet, more and more cyclists are using them to help perform in the heat. It’s a move backed by a growing body of research showing that the right base layer is actually better than wearing nothing at all. In fact, a study by the University of Colorado has just proven that the right kind of base layer is the most important thing you can wear in hot weather.
Key findings changing the use of base layers
The research in question centred around our 37.5® technology; a revolutionary step forward in technical fabric, designed to maximise the body’s ability to maintain a steady core temperature. When tested against a traditional sweat-wicking shirt and a cooling vest, the experimenters found that using a 37.5® base layer:
- Extended an athlete’s peak performance by 26%
- Added core temperature cooling similar to a cooling vest circulating cold water
- Increased efficiency so that athletes used less energy to get the same amount of work
- Decreased the rate of core temperature build up
Controlled body temperature leads to improved performance
The human body performs its best at the core temperature of 37.5°C. When you do any kind of cardiovascular activity in hot weather, your core temperature rises, and your body prioritises dealing with metabolic waste over providing energy to your muscles. As well as affecting your power and stamina, this can have really serious repercussions on your health.
The dangers of overheating
“When intense exercise occurs in the heat, the cardiovascular system simply cannot meet the maximal demands of the skin to decrease thermal load and the muscle simultaneously,” Douglas J. Casa, PhD, of University of Connecticut explains.
“Ultimately, maintenance of blood pressure will take precedence over the body-cooling skin blood flow and muscle blood flow, which simultaneously increases the rate of hyperthermia and metabolic inefficiency. This prioritizing can result in hyperthermia, especially in populations committed to maximal physical exertion like soldiers and athletes.”
Managing your energy expenditure
But research shows there are other benefits to managing your core temperature; by maintaining your optimum heat levels you can extend your performance at lactate threshold and increase your muscle efficiency, so that the same amount of work uses less energy.
How 37.5® works
Our 37.5® fabric keeps your core temperature cool in a similar way to circulating cool water around it. It’s made of microporous particles that are embedded in the yarns of the fabric, carrying out three important jobs; absorbing sweat, absorbing heat, and absorbing infared.
Maximising your body’s natural heat-beating system
Your body already has the ultimate thermo-regulating system. The perspiration vapor that comes off of skin during activity cools the body when working hard. In fact, each gram of evaporated sweat releases 580 calories of stored heat. Unless this water vapor can be removed from your clothing, footwear, or gloves it builds up and creates a clammy and uncomfortable microclimate.
Unlike most sweat-wicking fabrics, 37.5® doesn’t simply spread your sweat across a larger surface area; it actually takes the sweat away from your body to the outside of the garment. This becomes even more noticeable when you start layering 37.5® fabrics – the inner layers will keep dry while the outside of your top base layer will start to feel wet.
Fig. 1: The powerful sweat-wicking properties of 37.5® radically affect your body’s micro climate
This powerful wicking ability means that you dry much quicker and can keep your body at the optimum core temperature for longer. And because 37.5® is woven into the yarns of the fabric, it doesn’t wash out or become less effective over time.
Cycle-specific base layers
Of course, our base layers are built to cope with the specific challenges faced by cyclists. They’re designed to be as comfortable and useful as possible on the bike, and fit perfectly underneath a cycling jersey. They’re also super lightweight, weighing just 85g per square metre.
Fig. 2: Game-changing fabric technology to change your ride
They’re made with a seamless construction and set-in sleeves, so there’s no chafing or excess fabric. We cut them with a low curved hem to keep the small of your back covered in the aggressive riding position, and a soft silicone grip stops it from riding up your back under your jersey.
Lots of riders are finding them to be hugely beneficial in the the most challenging conditions. Take a look at our collection and start seeing the difference for yourself.