Why use wool base layers? Everything you need to know about wool base layers and exercising

Exercising in wool? Sure! Wool base layers are godsent for those of you who are year-round outdoor exercise fanatics. Because wool has wonderful properties!

In Norway, we are well acquainted with wool base layers (directly translated to “wool underwear”). But wool base layers are perhaps not that common beyond the Norwegian border. Norwegians wear it almost all year round, from summer to winter, when hiking and exercising, but also in everyday life.

Read more: Why invest in high quality hiking pants

Women's wool base layer

The history of wool base layers (ullundertøy)

Wool base layers, also called “stil-longs” and “stilongs”, is a trademark for wool longs. Wool base layers are long, skin tight long sleeves and bottoms made of various wool blends. In Norway, wool base layers are used as base layers with regular underwear underneath. Wool base layers were first introduced to the Norwegian market in the 1950s and are today a well-known and beloved autumn and winter garment, used by both adults and children.

Read more: All you need to know about running in cold weather

Why use wool base layers?

Wool has unique properties and is well suited as a base layer because the material is very breathable as well as it keeps you warm if you become wet. Another thing that makes wool base layers amazing is their temperature-regulating properties that will keep you warm on cold days, while it can help cool you down on hot days. Just like technical gym wear, wool will dry quickly compared to e.g. underwear in cotton. Wool also has a microclimate in which bacteria do not thrive. This means that wool will smell less - even when you get all nice and sweaty. Often it’s enough to air dry it after use instead of washing it. That’s good for both you and the environment.

BARA Sportswear's wool base layers, Wool Pants and Wool Long Sleeves, are made of 100% merino wool. This type of wool is known for being both soft and comfortable against the skin.

Exercising in wool

As mentioned above, there are many advantages to using wool. If you are a person who likes to exercise outside all year round - regardless of the weather - you should invest in a proper set of wool base layers. In Norway, wool base layers are used as a base layer by everyone from kindergarten children to top athletes. And there's a good reason for that:

  1. Wool has fantastic breathability - yes, actually better than many other technical garments!
  2. Wool is very stretchy, which makes it comfortable to wear while exercising.
  3. Wool is naturally "self-cleaning".
  4. Wool is temperature-regulating: Work out until you sweat or wear wool to keep warm when it's cold. You’ll feel comfortable no matter what.

Women's wool base layer for exercising

How to take care of BARA's wool base layers?

Our wool base layers are made of merino wool and must be washed correctly in order for them to retain their wonderful properties for as long as possible. Here are some tips:

  1. Try hanging the wool to air dry before you decide to wash it. As mentioned above, wool is naturally self-cleansing, and it will often be enough to hang it to dry after use.
  2. If you are going to wash your wool base layers, you should use a detergent that is intended for wool and/or silk. Avoid the use of fabric softener too!
  3. Wash wool with other wool garments.
  4. Wash wool on the machine's wool program or delicate wash program (hand wash and up to 40°C/104°F).
  5. Hang to dry. Do not use a tumble dryer.

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