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How to Choose Thermal Underwear

How to Choose Thermal Underwear

You’re in the market for thermal underwear. You may be quite surprised by the many different options available. In fact, after looking at the different options, you may be a bit confused about the best way to choose the product that is best for you.

When choosing thermal underwear, there are a few things you’ll want to consider. In addition to basics like your size, the biggest things to consider when selecting the best items for you are function and fabric. Let’s take a look at how these two things affect your decision.


Function refers to how you will be using your thermal underwear. A great way to think about this is contemplating the reason you want to buy thermals in the first place. This will give you some guidance regarding your function and different considerations. For example, are you using it for physical activity such as running? Are you looking to stay insulated and warm? Identifying the function will help you choose the right kind.

If you are using thermals for warmth, you may want a slightly thicker choice of product as well as one that provides moisture wicking to promote retention of heat. If you are looking for something for physical activity, you probably want a more lightweight design that has good stretching properties.


Perhaps the most significant thing to consider when choosing thermal underwear is the type of fabric that it is made of. Each type of fabric has some distinct advantages and disadvantages. Considering these in relation to your ideal function will help you make the right choice.

Wool. This is one of the most popular fabrics because it has many benefits. It can get wet without losing thermal qualities. (After all, sheep stay warm in cold climates). It also tends to be fairly affordable and is generally widely available. However, if you purchase low quality products, it may be itchy.

Cotton. Cotton is a great budget product due to its affordability, especially if you aren’t outdoors in cold environments for long. However, it does shrink and tends to lose its thermal protective qualities when wet.

Silk. This is often quite comfortable and looks great as outer wear too. However, it is more a choice to make for style as it does not keep you as warm. It can also be quite a bit expensive.

Synthetic. This is probably the best choice for many purposes. Synthetic fabrics are great at wicking moisture, relatively easy to clean, and available at multiple price points. They also tend to have similar performance as wool. The one drawback is they may not be the best choice if you need to go a few days without showering, such as if you are camping.

Final Thoughts

Choosing the right kind of thermal underwear for your needs is not a difficult proposition. Considering the function you want the underwear to serve paired with the advantages and disadvantages of different materials will help you make the right choice.

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