Can I wear everyday leggings as a base layer while skiing?
And what's more: should I?
The question you might consider asking instead is not can I wear everyday leggings as a base layer while skiing, but should I?
While the short answer is yes — because of course, you can wear whatever you want — properly answering this question requires the a bit more follow-up. For one, do you want to be warm? And do you want to be comfortable?
Are all leggings made equal?
At one point, maybe, but not anymore. Over time, leggings have evolved from being long underwear you would wear beneath your clothing to the now-popularized everyday pants that are worn alone. Today there are so many types made for different purposes that it can be hard to choose the right ones for the right setting, particularly for sports. Our team here at Pulse offers a few pointers for choosing the right base layers for winter conditions.
When we think about base layers, most of us think long johns, leggings or tights. The one commonality that ties all these garments together is that they’re thin. And for good reason: slim fitting clothing won’t add bulk under your ski pants.
It may seem counterintuitive, but thicker does not always equate warmer. In fact, adding bulk under your ski pants means less ease of movement. And making movement harder can prove to be a safety concern on the mountain, especially when you need to move quickly.
So if you need to choose between thick and thin, we always say go for thinner.
Ensure that your leggings are made from a moisture-wicking material, as this will help keep your skin dry and comfortable while you’re on the slopes. If sweat isn’t being wicked away, the wearer will end up wet. And — you guessed it — being wet leads to being cold. We suggest you look for merino wool, as this is a natural fibre that is temperature regulating, odour resistant and breathable.
If we can suggest anything, let it be this: invest in ¾-length leggings. Again, this one may seem illogical, but it’s actually best practice to wear ¾-length or to roll up full-length leggings above your ski boots rather than under.
Why? Because this will keep your legs warm and insulated while preventing your base layer from bunching up uncomfortably under your boots.
If you insist on full-length, you’ll need to make sure they’re thin enough to fit comfortably inside your boots without causing any discomfort or irritation. If your leggings are causing issues in your ski boots, adjust or change your leggings, not your ski boots.
Base Layer Brands the Pulse team recommends
Our team really doubles down on ¾-length for the reasons listed above. We highly recommend Mons Royale ¾-length, as they are a quality brand that produce base layers with a 4-way stretch fabric, reducing friction while offering comfort and support.
Another favourite is the Icebreaker ¾-length, which feature soft merino wool.
Looking for socks to keep your feet warm in your boots? Check out our best sock recommendations!