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Three Wool-Blend Base Layers that Work Exceptionally Well

Performance Tech Long Sleeve

The lightest weight and softest of the three options we reviewed, this rib-knit crew from the Norwegian cross country ski brand derives its feel from merino wool and Tencel lyocell (a sustainably sourced fiber made from wood pulp). An mesh insert along each side, down the sleeve and at the top of the back enhances the shirt’s breathability and sweat management, which we appreciated. Like all of the shirts in the test, this one doesn’t retain odor, either. With a close-but not-tight fit and ample stretch, this crew is a true layering piece to go under a weatherproof jacket. One feature we would have liked: thumbholes. $70,

Long Sleeve Base Layer Crew

Known for its fabric innovation, this Colorado company maximizes the best attributes of wool and polyester in a construction it calls dual surface. A next-to-skin layer of synthetic fibers wicks sweat, then disperses it along the all-wool exterior to dry. The advantage? The shirt feels soft on the inside, while the durable outer has enough heft that we could wear it without a jacket on warm days. Additionally, a perforated underarm insert extends down the sleeves and sides for more breathability. We never felt clammy or overheated. Thanks to a touch of Lycra, this shirt has the greatest amount of four-way stretch of the test garments. $119,

Flatiron 185 Crew

This Boulder, Colorado–based brand favors modern, minimalist designs. Like the other shirts we tested, this one has an insert (perforated) that runs along each side, underarm and sleeve all the way to the cuff. We particularly liked this crew’s supple feel. The key: a merino and nylon blend called Nuyarn, made with a twist-free variation on wool’s traditional spinning process. The method reportedly results in higher loft, more stretch and greater durability, plus a quicker drying time and increased wind resistance. Indeed, though this crew feels a bit lighter than the Voormi, it, too, works as a standalone layer on warm winter days. $130,

This story first appeared in the Early Winter 2023 issue of Cross Country Skier (#42.2).