The right base layer is all about a good fit and great thermal regulation. The Sportful Bodyfit Pro long sleeve base layer fits perfectly and covers a wide range of temperatures. Use it when you want long sleeves but don't need the warmest gear available
- Excellent fit
- Not too long
- Lightweight with long sleeves
- Could be softer against the skin
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Sportful is no stranger to building quality base layers. Manifattura Valcismon, Sportful parent company, started producing knitted underwear over 80 years ago. In the 1940s that meant a supply chain consisting of local sheep grazing in the shadow of the Dolomites. Technology and innovation have brought changes but all these years later, Sportful is still at it.
Not only is the brand still creating base layers but we consider them good enough that we've included them among our list of the best base layers. Although we appreciated the summer version, the northern hemisphere is bringing a change of seasons. As summer gives way to colder weather and shorter days, we've begun looking at the best options for cooler weather. Keep reading to see if we think the winter version is the same level of quality and how it might fit into your cold weather options.
Design and aesthetics
A good base layer is the foundation of every layering system. The primary job of the base layer is to move moisture away from your skin. When it's hot that means quickly evacuating moisture to create a cooling effect. When it's cold that means keeping the moisture from sitting on your skin and sapping away heat while also trapping warm air.
The way the Sportful Bodyfit Pro long sleeve base layer approaches the challenge is with a ribbed internal structure. Essentially, you've got two layers of fabric in one. The external face is a single lightweight layer and then, on the inside, there's alternating three-dimensional channels.
The thicker channels add bulk and thermal insulation. They also allow space next to each raised channel. That space means trapped body heat. Above each channel of trapped body heat the thinner, more breathable, backing layer is an easy path for water to exit.
Although these two layers act like separate pieces of fabric they are actually a single piece. Wherever possible, Sportful has intentionally kept things simple. That means just a single type of fabric used throughout with a material makeup of 94% polyester and 6% elastane. There's very little ability to absorb moisture and the fit is excellent.
Continuing the trend of simplicity, Sportful has opted for a minimal pattern. The front back is a single panel as is each sleeve. The crew neck collar uses the final piece of fabric for an edge treatment bringing the total to five. Joining the pieces, you'll find flatlock stitching on every seam except where the sleeves join the torso.
There's a period of time in the spring and autumn when I like to leave the house with a base layer and a lightweight shell. It's relatively warm and often raining. The challenge with this arrangement is that most hard-shell jackets don't feel great directly against your skin. It leaves me needing a lightweight base layer that's also long sleeve and that's where the Sportful Bodyfit Pro long sleeve base layer has found a home in my cycling wardrobe.
While most long-sleeve base layers have deep winter in mind, this piece from Sportful covers warmer temperatures, too. It's a part of the market that isn't well covered and it's about more than just a small slice of temperatures. A lighter weight base layer makes for a less specialised option with a greater range and more adaptability. If it's colder, add more layers - and if it's warmer leave them off.
Aside from the lightweight design what I appreciate about the Sportful Bodyfit Pro long sleeve base layer is the excellent fit. Even with a somewhat low percentage of elastane/spandex the upper is form fitting. The arms are on the long side and no matter how long and low your bike fit is you won't run into issues with shoulder movement. Then at the waist you get a bit of length but not so much that it runs into the chamois.
When you want a long sleeve base layer but don't need to pair that with extreme warmth the Sportful Bodyfit Pro long sleeve base layer is a good option. The fit is perfect and the excellent wicking helps it work across a wide range of temperatures. The feel is less luxurious than it could be but performance is top notch.
This is a good piece to start wearing in the fall and keep in rotation all the way through the winter into the spring. Change your upper layers as rides get colder and you'll have enough insulation for all but the coldest rides. One of the best uses is spring and autumn when it's warm but wet and rides call for low insulation paired with a hardshell outer.
Tech Specs: Sportful Bodyfit Pro long sleeve base layer
- Price: £60 / $75 / €54.90 / AU$90
- Materials: 94% Polyester / 6% Elastane
- Weight: 100g (small)
- Size availability: XS-XXXL
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Josh hails from the Pacific Northwest of the United States but would prefer riding through the desert than the rain. He will happily talk for hours about the minutiae of cycling tech but also has an understanding that most people just want things to work. He is a road cyclist at heart and doesn't care much if those roads are paved, dirt, or digital. Although he rarely races, if you ask him to ride from sunrise to sunset the answer will be yes.
Weight: 140 lb.
Rides: Cannondale Topstone Lefty, Cannondale CAAD9, Enve Melee, Look 795 Blade RS, Priority Continuum Onyx
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