How Do I Choose the Best Ski Underwear?

Dan Cavallari

Ski underwear needs to be warm and comfortable, but more importantly, it needs to fit well and it needs to be moisture-wicking. These features can affect the overall price of the underwear set, so you will need to decide how much money you are comfortable spending on the underwear before you go shopping. Researching popular brands and reading customer reviews on the Internet is a good way to become familiar with the pros and cons of each type of underwear. When shopping for ski underwear, look for clothing made from synthetic fibers that are fast-drying and tight-fitting yet comfortable.

Ski underwear should be form fitting.
Ski underwear should be form fitting.

Some ski underwear sets are made from thin layers of cotton or wool. Cotton ski underwear should be avoided, as cotton tends to get wet quickly and stay wet for a long period of time, which means the wearer is likely to get cold. Wool is quite warm even when wet, but it can be extremely uncomfortable and itchy. Very often wool is combined with synthetic fibers to improve the comfort and drying capabilities of the garments, though this type of underwear is likely to be fairly expensive.

Thermal underwear is typically worn under ski suits.
Thermal underwear is typically worn under ski suits.

Synthetic fibers made from polypropylene or even polyester are the best choices for ski underwear offerings. These garments are lightweight, generally tight-fitting and comfortable, and moisture-wicking, which means they will pull moisture from sweat away from the body to keep the skin dry and comfortable throughout the day of skiing. These synthetics also tend to be quick-drying, so they can be worn for long periods of time comfortably. The downside to synthetics is the cost and the odor: these garments tend to collect body odor, and it can be difficult to remove even after repeated washings. This is usually not a problem during athletic activity, but it may be noticeable during downtime and rest periods.

Ski underwear should be moisture-wicking.
Ski underwear should be moisture-wicking.

Be sure to choose ski underwear that is durable and comfortable. Some versions of this type of underwear will come with padded or reinforced shins, since this part of the long underwear will be in constant contact with the ski boot. This can lead to discomfort on the legs, but also damage to the underwear or the liner of the boots themselves. Choose underwear with seams that do not interfere with the skin or any part of the boot, whenever possible. If seams are located in these areas, make sure they are low profile seams that will not end up chafing the skin.

The best type of ski underwear is dependent on what kind of temperatures a person expects to ski in.
The best type of ski underwear is dependent on what kind of temperatures a person expects to ski in.
For most people, the best type of winter underwear is thin enough to fit under several layers of clothing.
For most people, the best type of winter underwear is thin enough to fit under several layers of clothing.

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Discussion Comments


I think spending money on a pair of polypropylene pair of long underwear is worth it. In addition to skiing, I wear this any time I want some extra warmth.

I have a two piece set that fits nicely under my clothes. For the bottom piece, I wear these directly under my ski pants, and stay warm and dry all day long. They are also very comfortable and easy to move around in.

I always freeze in the winter, whether I am outside or inside. A good pair of ski long underwear is something I wear on and off the slopes.


@Mykol - That is really a matter of personal preference. If it were me, I would wait and see how you do on this first trip and then decide if you want to invest in something more expensive.

The first time I went skiing I had all kinds of mismatched clothing on, but I was warm and dry. That is the most important thing, or you will really be miserable.

Cotton underwear is not recommended because it is not moisture-wicking, and I find it very bulky. I don't sweat when I ski, so I had no trouble with this for warmth, but I didn't like how much extra bulk it added.

One thing I would do is make sure your socks will keep the moisture away though. My feet do sweat every time I ski, and if your socks don't absorb the moisture your feet will be freezing.


I am getting ready to go skiing for the first time and am wondering if it is worth spending the money on some expensive thermal underwear?

I have an old pair of cotton long underwear that I thought would work as an extra layer under my clothes. I don't want to spend a lot of money on ski clothing because I don't even know if this is something I am going to enjoy.

It seems expensive just what you have to pay for a lift ticket and to rent the equipment. I could easily spend another $200 in clothing if I wanted to.

I am trying to save a little bit of money and hope the pair of cotton underwear will work just fine.

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