I wear thermals a lot. They are great for under ski wear, under my motorcycle stuff, under my hiking stuff, and for sleeping in when camping. And they’re not just for winter either. Wearing them so much means two things for me – I want really good quality thermals that wash and wear well, and I often need to look for my next set to replace the ones I wear out.
Probably best known for their socks (which I can highly recommend – they’re so cosy), Smartwool offered to send me a pair of their merino base layer leggings to try out, and I’ve been using them regularly for all kinds of activities since (the irony of writing this on one of the hottest days of the year here in the UK is not lost on me). Merino is soft, moisture-wicking, thermoregulating (that it, warm when it’s cold, and cool when it’s warm), sustainable, and odour-neutralising. Smartwool use it in every item of clothing they make.
Starting out with a desire to be comfortable on outdoor adventures, Smartwool are also a company trying to do the right thing by our planet, including ensuring ethical practices for the sheep, the growers and within the supply chain. And as someone who is all too aware that clothing and other gear designed for outdoor pursuits such as those I enjoy is a huge contributor to plastic waste and chemical usage, it is good to choose a company who is doing their bit to make a difference. You can read all about how Smartwool are aiming to be sustainable and ethical on their website.
I have the Merino 250 base layer leggings in a size small. They certainly fit very well, no issues pulling them up over my wide thighs, and they are just the right length meaning they don’t bunch up at the bottom like a lot of leggings do for me. I love that they’re not just a basic black – the green asymmetrical design is pleasing, although I think I’ve waited a bit long to write this post as I can’t find this colour anywhere online to link to.
Most importantly, they work – they have done a very good job of keeping me warm when I have needed them to. They are thin enough to fit underneath my motorcycle or hiking trousers, but thick enough to wear on their own when I get to camp, and they’ve been especially good to sleep in on cold nights camping (have you read my guide on keeping warm in a tent?). They are stretchy in the right places, and are comfortable to wear all day – an excellent choice if you are looking for warm base layer leggings for your own outdoors activities.
I must add, though, that after six months and a good number of wears and washes (I slept in a camper van in March in the snow, remember…), they are already beginning to show signs of wear – including holes – which is a bit disappointing. I do wear these under motorcycle gear, in which there is knee and hip armour which could easily have rubbed over time, so I’m not blaming Smartwool fully, but I would have hoped that something that costs in the region of £60 a pair would last a bit longer than a few months. I’ll continue to wear them, of course, these are my base layer after all, no-one actually sees them except me; but I thought you should know that they are already holey.
Smartwool are doing something good here. They product works (even with the holes), and I am pleased to have discovered what looks like a decent and ethically minded company. Being comfortable outdoors has to be one of my biggest priorities, and it’s good to know I can do so while being a bit more sustainable. Yes, these are not cheap – anything made from merino wool is expensive – but I am happy to spend a bit of money to avoid the perils of fast fashion.
These particular leggings aren’t available any more, but these ones are similar. Here in the UK you’ll find them in a wide range of outdoors shops.
I received these Smartwool merino leggings as a gift. As always, I only write posts based on my own experience of using a product. This is not an advertorial.