Sizing Guide for Base Layers and Mid Layers
By Steve Kopitz
The layers you wear below your ski jacket and pants are just as important as the jacket and pant themselves. These layers offer some important protection and warmth and it is important to size them properly. These are not your everyday shirts and pants so it’s important to realize just how they are supposed to fit so you get the proper fit for yourself. Here we will go over the general sizing of base layers (long underwear) and mid layers as well as the different fits you will find in each.
Base Layers (Long Underwear)
A base layer is the layer you wear next to your skin making it the first defense you have against becoming cold. Called base layers by some and long underwear by others these serve a great purpose to manage body temperature to ensure you are not too cold or overheating.
Sizing for Base Layers
As a base layer is your first layer and is the layer nearest to the skin you will want these to fit fairly tight. Most are going to fit tighter by default as this is how these run; occasionally a company will offer a looser fitting base layer but these are few and far between as they don’t perform as well.
Base Layer Top Fit- A base layer top should cover all exposed areas and give you the ability to tuck it in while still fitting tight. Base layers should be taken the same size as your standard shirt size as the fit of these are tighter by design you don’t need to size down to get a tight fit.
Base Layer Bottoms Fit- These are going to fit tight as well. The same theory goes into the bottoms as the tops which means a snugger fit will offer more warmth. These should fit right to the bottom of your lower leg and rest around the ankle. Going with the same size as your standard underwear size will be adequate when purchasing base layer bottoms.
A mid layer is the layer of clothing that goes above your long underwear or base layer and consists of sweaters, vests, fleeces, technical tees, turtle necks and lightweight polyester shirts. This is an important layer in the battle to stay warm in cold conditions and to stay comfortable in warmer conditions. A mid layer is meant to be warn as a second under layer but can be used as the outer layer on warmer condition days or spring skiing.
Sizing for Mid Layers
A mid layer is not designed to fit like your standard everyday sweatshirt or sweater. A mid layer is designed to fit tightly to give you a performance style fit. This style fit does not let body warmth escape but the material of these mid layers will allow sweat and moisture to escape, learn more about this process in the mid layer buying guide. The tight fit traps the air next to your body helping you keep the heat with you as you ski.
Mid Layer Top Fit- There are several different styles and brands of mid layers and the rule for most is to take the same size as standard shirt size. As there are so many different styles and some brands fit differently we recommend you reference the brands size chart to pinpoint exact sizing from brand to brand. A mid layer should fit tight yet comfortably offering enough coverage for adequate protection from the elements.
Mid Layer Bottoms Fit- The same size that fits in long underwear should fit in a mid layer so going with the same as your standard underwear size is good. These will fit snug and should not bulk up in any areas.
So, there you have it, you are now a base and mid layer sizing professional! Now you don’t have to guess while sizing for an under ski outfit and can get a precise fit which will lead to warmer, more comfortable and enjoyable days on the mountain.