The Altura Merino 50 Unisex Baselayer’s thin merino build results in an impressively versatile base layer that’ll keep you extra toasty when the temperatures drop. After a brief break-in period, it’s become comfortable, but actually, there are very few quibbles.
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As you might have guessed by its name, the Altura Merino 50 uses a blend of merino fabric that’s been picked especially for its thermoregulation properties. It has a slim fit, flatlock seams for added comfort, and thumbholes that cover up any gaps between jackets, jerseys, and gloves.
I have the Merino 50 in a medium-size, and there are no complaints with its fit. Everything sits where it should, and in terms of sizing, it’s perfectly comfy. However, the base layer was quite itchy before a couple of washes; afterwards, it’s become a go-to garment.
That’s because it’s not just warm when things get chilly, but it thermoregulates so effectively. I’ve worn this down to just 3°C wearing only a jersey on top and remained warm while moving but also temperatures above 10°C, on rides where I was certain that the warmth would fluctuate without overheating.
However, the long sleeves and thumbholes are a bit of a niggle. In theory, it’s a great idea as it covers up any potential gaps and spreads some warms to the hands. In practice, when worn with gloves, the sleeves bunch up around the hands, which isn’t the most comfortable feeling in the world. When worn without thumbs through the holes, there’s excessive bunching around the wrists. The latter is far less of a problem but could have been avoided nonetheless.
At £50, the Merino 50 Baselayer isn’t the cheapest. Still, it’s definitely not the most expensive and for its performance, it’s not too harsh an asking price. The Madison Isoler Men’s Mesh LS baselayer comes in at half the price of Altura’s offering, but it fits small and tends to ride up, but it does thermoregulate rather well.
If we up the money a bit to £80, there's the GORE Windstopper Base Layer Thermo shirt that comes with the brand's fabled Windstopper tech.
Posing a real threat to the Merino 50 is the Nukeproof Merino Long Sleeve Baselayer, which will set you back £45. It gets a very similar build with a more relaxed fit, featuring flatlock seams and thumbholes, making the extra £5 for Altura's baselayer a little hard to justify.
If you're looking for a baselayer that regulates well, is comfortable after a wash or two, and fits well, the Altura Merino 50 Unisex Baselayer ticks all of the boxes. However, it doesn't come with anything unique against cheaper and remarkably similar competition.