Icebreaker Base Layer Clothing Review

Cross-Posted at: One Foot In Reality

Back on November 28th, I was contacted by a representative of the Natureshop which is based out of New Zealand, asking me if I would be interested in wear-testing some of their Icebreaker base layer clothing after reading my post on what to wear in the winter post on “One Foot In Reality”.

We coordinated the logistics and they sent the package out on November 30th and it got here December 6th. Unfortunately, I wasn’t home to receive the package and had to wait until today to get it picked up. Six days to travel half-way around the world for delivery to Maine from New Zealand is pretty impressive delivery time.

Here is what their site says about the Icebreaker line of clothing:

What I will be looking for in them are:How well are they made, what are the obvious flaws or how is the workmanship

  1. Fit to sizing for me
  2. Comfort
  3. Did they work as advertised
  4. A very important factor to TheWife do they stink after having worn them for a while?

During this first review I will address the first two of those factors and give a short summary of what I like or dislike about the items being reviewed so far.

Quality of Workmanship?

I was very impressed with the quality of workmanship, the seams were straight, all but one of the thread ends were properly cut. In many garments that I have purchase lately, this little attention to detail is often neglected even in high-end clothing. There were no obvious flaws in workmanship or materials that I could see. The designs were appropriate to the function that the clothing will be used for.

Below are pictures that I took of the Icebreaker clothing when I took them out of the box.

I turned all of the items inside out to check the seams and I didn’t find any imperfection in either the top or bottom.

  • Quality of Workmanship? Top notch

How did they fit?

I wear a size large for most of my clothing and the Icebreaker top was snug to fit, like it was supposed to be and the bottoms ran a little long as do most size large clothing for me. The clothes ran true to size and fit the way I expected them to.

Picture of me wearing them – yes I did suck my gut in 😉

  • How did they fit? Just as I expected them to.

Are they Comfortable?

Initially when you think of wearing wool, you think of something itchy, scratchy and not very comfortable when worn directly against the skin.

When I initially put the Icebreaker Merino Wool clothes on it was a different sensation than synthetics, but it was not uncomfortable.  I have worn them a few hours now, without any unpleasant scratchy or itchiness from the wool fabric.

They have been comfortable as a base layer, around the house. Initially I was concerned about the tags on the side of the top, but I since I put the shirt on, I haven’t noticed the tags at all.

I have stretched and done some light moving around in them, without any restrictions in my ability to move.

  • Are they comfortable? They are very comfortable and more than met my expectation in this area, I fully expected the Merino wool to be a little “itchy”, but it wasn’t.

Don’t Like

The only thing that I do not like about the Icebreaker base layer is that it recommends that you not dry  these clothes in the dryer. TheWife doesn’t like the idea of us having to be careful to remember to not put them in the dryer and to hang dry them after washing.

I imagine that sooner or later they will “accidentally” go through a dryer cycle and we will see what happens then. However, they are Merino wool and this is the same warning that most other wool garments have, so I was not really surprised by this warning.

The Gloves

The gloves, I got them in Medium and they fit really well and are comfortable.

Like the other pieces of Icebreaker clothing, they were well constructed and when I wore them outside in a cold rain tonight, the gloves worked really well. My hands remained warm in spite of the gloves getting quite wet.

They will need a shell for wind protection, which is the same as my other gloves that I wear for running.

Up Next

For the next part of this wear test I will see how well they do when I am actually running in all three pieces. The important one to my wife though, is how bad do they smell after I get through running in them.

I have had to throw away otherwise perfectly functional and fine – synthetic base layers, because they smelled so bad, TheWife refused to let me wear them in the house. So that is an important criteria for the Icebreaker line to pass.

On the box Icebreaker advertises “no stink” and TheWife kind of scoffed and told me she would believe it when she didn’t smell anything and few rather unflattering words about how bad I can make things smell after I have sweat.

Expect the next part of this review in a couple of weeks and to see how the Icebreaker base layer is working for me.

Initial Observations

The Icebreaker base layer that tops and bottoms that I received are “high-end” performance wear and went through my initial testing flawlessly. I am to say the least very impressed with the Icebreaker base layer so far.
Full Disclosure:  I was provided with a base layer top, bottoms and gloves to wear test in exchange for an honest evaluation of the Icebreaker base layer clothing on my blog(s). The fact that the product was given to me, does not influence my review of these products. My review will be based upon my personal experience with and use of these products.

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