The best women’s base layers for winter running

Author: Holly Taylor

Read Time:   |  November 25, 2020

Few things are as important as a really comfortable, warm and cosy base layer to protect your core throughout the colder months

The best women's base layers for winter running

INOV-8 Base Elite Long Sleeve Base Layer
£47 | Tester: Caroline

Designed specifically for women, Inov-8’s Base Elite looks and feels ultra-feminine with the perfect overall length. Technically it’s on point too, with great wickability, reflective logos and thumbholes to keep you comfortable. Happily, this is an ethical product too, as it’s made from recycled technical polyester yarns, which are super lightweight, plus the anti-microbial fabric diminishes odours. This is a brilliant choice for your winter running kit.

The best women's base layers for winter running

RUNDERWEAR Long Sleeve Base Layer
£45 | Tester: Sarah

This base layer is super-soft with excellent moisture-wicking properties. It drives sweat away from the skin allowing maximum breathability and ensuring your core temperature is optimised. It’s seamless, which means no irritation or chafing and finger mittens can be unfolded from the sleeve. It’s warm, but doesn’t allow you to overheat. It’s true to size, has a feminine neckline and is perfect as a base layer on its own or under a coat. A great option for many outdoor activities.

The best women's base layers for winter running

GORE Women’s Windstopper Baselayer Thermo
£74.99 | Tester: Tina

Such a warm base layer, with Windstopper fabric giving extra protection at the front and a tapering mesh panel at the back ensuring you don’t overheat. You get Windstopper fabric over your kidneys, perfect for when you first head out of the door, and extra coverage for your lower back. It’s a tight fit, without feeling restrictive and stretch in the fabric means freedom of movement. A quality base layer you can fall in love with.

The best women's base layers for winter running

RON HILL Women’s Stride Matrix 1/2 Zip Tee
£55 | Tester: Sue

The perfect top for layering in colder weather. The Matrix fabric cleverly traps air to insulate your body, low bulk ensures ease to fit under a jacket and the outside dernier gradient means sweat on the inside is drawn to the outside. Great additional touches include the option of a full-hand mitt or a thumb loop and reflective trim on both the front and the back. A useful addition to you kit wardrobe.

The best women's base layers for winter running

SUNDRIED Escape Half Zip Top
£40 | Tester: Sue

Versatile and comfortable, this is a fabulous top you can wear all year. Lightweight with a stylish look, it’s practical too with a longer body length and long arms complete with thumb holes. Finally, a top that stays in place while you run, due to four-way stretch material and raglan sleeve construction. The addition of a holder on the zip to prevent chafing on your neck is great.

The best women's base layers for winter running

ASICS Seamless LS Texture
£50 | Tester: Claire

This Asics base layer provides warmth yet prevents overheating. With the help of moisture-wicking quick-dry fabric, sweat is drawn away from your skin to keep you comfortable while mesh detail on the back allows for optimal ventilation. The tight fit ensures the shirt sits comfortably under your outwear but is not restricting, while super soft material feels great against skin. This top makes a brilliant staple item.

The best women's base layers for winter running

CEP Winter Wing Tech Shirt
£75 | Tester: Louise

This shirt is warm, breathable, and effective. With a unique design and smart wing tech stripes, it provides sensorimotor stimulation – which accounts for that price point – reminding you to stand up straight while running. You will notice your shoulder blades opening, making breathing easier, and your run smoother. A snug fit, due to its compression qualities, you may go for a slightly bigger size than normal, but it soon adapts to your body shape when in motion, and you will love the flattering length.

The best women's base layers for winter running

ODLO Active Spine Light
£60 | Tester: Laura

This base layer’s Active Spine Technology has been specifically engineered to ensure posture control during sport. It also claims to increase performance by improving spine, torso and shoulder stability, opening up the chest to enhance oxygen intake – and you really feel the support as soon as you put this base layer on. You will also find the fit is true to size with a long length and the base layer doesn’t ride up during a run. This top washes easily and it air dries quickly, just in time for your next run.


The best women's base layers for winter running

CRAFT Fuseknit Comfort Wrap
£40 | Tester: Beccy

This base layer is light and attractive with a good fit, simple lines and a contemporary collar for a distinctive style. The material is excellently soft, breathable and snug; warm but never stuffy with good moisture transport. The four-way stretch fabric and partially seamless design provide maximum comfort and mobility, meaning it’s a pleasure to run in. The design is topped off with good grip at the wrists and hem and an ergonomic shape so the top stays comfortably in place with no breezes coming in.

The best women's base layers for winter running

2XU Heat 1/4 Zip Top
£75 | Tester: Tina

Such a smart technical top, which performs highly under tough conditions on the trails and looks great with jeans. The Bio-Heat X heat activating yarn feels luxuriously smooth and soft against skin, even when you’ve worked up a sweat. It will keep you dry by wicking away sweat, as well as toasty, even when temperatures really drop, without the feel of a thick or heavy fabric. It’s also quick drying and the antibacterial technology is another great feature, as are the longer arms with thumbhole cuffs for hand protection.

The best women's base layers for winter running

£55 | Tester: Geri

This is a versatile base layer made of merino blend. It has a great cut and is very feminine in style and super comfortable. It comes with two rear-side, easy-access zip pockets to store your small valuables. The reflective details on the back, front and sides help with extra visibility for night runs. The moisture-wicking fabric helps to dry very quickly which adds to the comfort. The half zip in the front has a chin guard centre front to help when it gets too hot. The longer back makes it excellent for cycling, too.

The best women's base layers for winter running

£60 | Tester: Esther

This is on the thick side for a base layer, but I’m not complaining in the colder winter months. The arms and body are wonderfully long, and provide decent warmth, and thumb holes are always a welcome addition. The fabric is soft and technical, so great for sweat wicking, but can feel a bit cold direct on skin on chilly mornings. The zippered back pocket is unexpectedly fab. My only niggle would be that slightly small neck hole. And I’ve got a small head!

Written by

Holly Taylor

Holly Taylor

Holly Taylor is the digital editor of Women’s Running and co-host of the Women’s Running podcast, where she shares her running journey as well as the inspiring stories of women runners all over the country. She’s never been the sporty type, but running is the first time she’s felt real joy in getting active. She loves talking about running with a community of inclusive and supportive runners, and Women's Running is the perfect space for this. She's currently aiming for a half marathon PB!

Meet the team

We use cookies to give you a better experience on By continuing to use our site, you are agreeing to the use of cookies as set in our Cookie Policy.

OK, got it