It’s true that you can find less expensive Merino baselayers than Findra’s Leithen, but I’d challenge you to find one more versatile.
The relaxed cut meant I was as happy to pull it on to wear with jeans on the bike – in fact, I’m slightly embarrassed to admit that’s exactly what I did most days, riding or not, and it didn’t often see the inside of a washing machine either.
The anti-odour qualities of Merino are well-documented of course, and after three days in Scotland, where it was worn almost 24 hours a day, I can confirm that the Leithen lives up to Merino’s reputation.
With the weather not cold enough to add a mid-layer during testing, I just wore the Leithen under a jacket – either a soft-shell hybrid or full waterproof, depending on the conditions of the day. On chilly mornings it has a reassuring warmth but, as you’d expect from Merino, it doesn’t let you get too hot. The fine quality of the knit seems to dry faster than most wool baselayers, too.
I’m not usually a fan of thumb loops, because they can pull sleeves down and make them tight over your shoulders, but the generous length of the Leithen’s arms allows the cuffs to comfortably slouch down over the hands, thumbs in place, even on a bike.
An additional, well thought through detail is the textured stitch feature at points of wear on the cuff and elbow. They work too. I own a Leithen that I have worn constantly for over a year (it’s become my default clothing choice three seasons out of four) and comparing it to this year’s test model there’s little difference between them, making the investment look like it’s very good value for money.
The versatility, wearability and performance qualities mean that there’s no reason to own more than one Leithen baselayer, however it’s so comfortable and looks so good you’ll probably tell yourself that you need at least another colour – and you’d be right.
How we tested
This baselayer was tested as part of a grouptest of long-sleeve baselayers.
Baselayers also on test:
- Endura BaaBaa Blend
- Gore M Windstopper
- Helly Hansen H1 Pro LIFA seamless 1/2 zip
- Patagonia Capilene Midweight