How Do I Choose the Best Insulated Underwear?

If thermal underwear is too loose, then cool air can seep through.
Merino wool provides a lightweight, popular insulation for underwear.
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  • Written By: Dee Jones
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 24 July 2014
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Whether you intend to hike up a snow-covered mountain or just want to be comfortable when you go outside during the winter months, insulated underwear can help you stay warm in even the coldest temperatures. When choosing insulated underwear, you should choose undergarments that are neither too loose nor too tight and restrictive. Wool thermal underwear, the traditional choice, can keep you warm even when it gets wet. Thermal underwear made from synthetic fabrics also has its advantages, including the fact that it dries out quickly after getting wet.

You should try to choose insulated underwear that fits comfortably and snugly but is neither too loose nor too tight. Thermal underwear that is too loose can let cold air seep through, which can defeat the purpose of wearing insulated underwear. On the other hand, choosing winter underwear that is too tight and restrictive can be very uncomfortable and can make it very difficult to move around freely, which can be a problem if you plan to wear the underwear while playing sports. You also should consider thickness and heaviness of the thermal underwear. If you intend to spend a lot of time outside in very cold weather, you might require thermal underwear that’s thicker and heavier than someone buying winter underwear to keep them warm as they travel to work on chilly winter mornings.


Wool has long been the traditional choice when it comes to insulated underwear, which has many advantages. Wool holds in heat while keeping out cold, it doesn’t absorb as much moisture as other fabrics can, it retains its insulating properties even when wet, and it stays relatively odorless even after long wear. Still, despite its many advantages, wearing wool also has many disadvantages — it can be heavy and bulky, and some people have found it to be too irritating to wear against the skin. Newer lightweight wools, such as Merino wool, have all of the advantages of traditional wools without most of the disadvantages.

People who are looking for an alternative to wool can also consider insulated underwear made of synthetic fabrics, such as fleece or pile. Many of the synthetic fabrics used to make warm winter underwear are made from recycled plastics. These synthetic fabrics have many of the same advantages as wool, including exceptional insulation properties and a resistance to absorbing water. When these fabrics get wet, they don’t lose their insulating abilities, and they also tend to dry out very quickly. Although some synthetic fabrics can be as heavy and bulky as old-fashioned wool, fabrics such as microfleece can be very thin and lightweight, making them comfortable to wear.


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