ALÉ ladies Seamless Wool Baselayer

Larisa Chinces

Base layers have come on leaps and bounds in recent years and have become more and more popular. It’s not simply about keeping you warm, as the latest garments also manage moisture and provide useful compression and other technical features. We decided to take a look at innovative Italian brand ALÉ.The ladies base layer that I tested is a blend of man-made fibres and wool, which brings the benefits of both materials in a technical item of clothing.

Larisa wearing ALÉ wool base layer (click to enlarge)

Here’s the thing about base layers, with the regularity of bad weather and the fitness level of the average cyclist, we don’t just need them to keep the wind at bay and to be breathable; we also need them to move the sweat from the body – or more importantly, to move the sweat in such a way that your body benefits properly from the sweating, regulating and helping you to stay at the right temperature. Regulating temperature means we drink less and perform better – marginal gains remember.

Yes, the design of base layers has changed from simply being a pure woolen weave, to now drawing on the technical thinking for fabrics that was once reserved for one or two ‘out there brands’. Italian brand Alé likes to be at the cutting edge and these clever people from Verona have definitely taken the design of their long sleeved cold weather base layer up a notch. The materials have changed and they’ve even added carbon to the mix for extra strength.

Larisa wearing ALÉ wool base layer (click images to enlarge)

The weave has changed, now bringing in several different weaves within the one garment, to move the sweat away from one area in such a way that it benefits your whole body as it wicks, and ensuring that it doesn’t simply soak into the cloth in that one place. No, this Alé baselayer is technicity in action, performing as a true temperature controller.

We’ve tested both the ladies version in a Transylvania and the men’s version in North Yorkshire- both harsh winter environments. Thankfully our testing has been a joy so far. Robert has even used his carbon version on the rollers in the garage, doing his best to generate some personal moisture and to see how it worked. Thankfully though, the technicity within the material is designed to help capture the aroma produced by the hard working cyclist. Does it work … you’ll have to ask Roberts family, but here in Transylvania it’s certainly kept me comfortable and not wiffy. Remember, women don’t smell, we simply perspire a little.

On the roads of the Yorkshire Dales and here in the higher hills of Transylvania, where winters can be harsh, sometimes it snows and it’s really cold and tough, and sometimes the sun shines and even if it’s cold, the sun keeps you warm enough to go and pedal a bit. But even if the cold winds blow and bite at the rider, this well thought out ‘body-hugging’ baselayer from Alé has kept the cold at bay, with its high cut rounded collar and tightly woven cuffs at the sleeves. It caresses the body; yes … it truly does and makes you feel kind of special simply to be wearing it.

Larisa riding in Sibiu, Transylvania (click images to enlarge)

The material is soft, very stretchy and very strong, able to be pulled in all directions, ensuring movement isn’t restricted and yet feeling simply very nice underneath your winter jerseys and jackets as it touches and stays put. The rest is up to you on how good you look, but this baselayer is definitely made to hug. I’ve even used it for skiing over winter and it’s it did its job very well.

If you buy one base layer for colder rides, then this excellent garment from Alé ought to be on your list. It is composed of 45% wool which keeps the body warm enough is durable; resists wear and tear. It also repels moisture and the fibre sheds water. The fabric is comfortable in all seasons and keeps a layer of air next to the skin. It works across a varied spectrum of temperatures, from a warm winter day, to those with an icy chilling wind. On the style front, it’s typically Italian, being made from quality materials, all well cut and superbly sewn, with a simple design that oozes style and balances this with excellent body fitting comfort. As you know, style is important for me, and I think that this is in every lady’s concern.

It almost makes me want to ride my bikes in the snow … now calm down and don’t get carried away … I’ll go skiing instead!

Looking after your ALÉ Kit

Cycle clothing is made from techical fabrics and it’s vital that they are properly looked after, especially when washing.

This short video from ALÉ is a useful guide to help you to make the most of this great kit and to ensure that it keeps on performing long into the future. In particular, always read the labels and make sure that you don’t wash mixed colours. Don’t wash at too high a temperature and turn the garments inside out before placing them into the washing machine.