Thursday, January 21, 2021

Odlo Base and Outer Layers Winter 2021 Round Up Review

 Article by Dominique Winebaum, Adam Glueck, Jeff Valliere and Sam Winebaum


Sam: Odlo is a Swiss based brand with long time Norwegian ski and outdoor heritage. Catch the combination of Swiss engineering and Nordic weather and sport use. As such, Odlo creates truly spectacular performing apparel for all seasons with intricate and effective fabric technologies including body mapped ventilation, ceramic based cooling and warming features, and very robust anti stink properties, all styled modern and classy. Odlo outfits many national ski teams with base layers including of course the Swiss team. We were delighted with their summer Blackcomb Pro Tee and now bring you reviews from their long time speciality of winter base layers and apparel .The samples were provided at no charge for testing and there was no other compensation to RTR or testers.

Natural + Kinship Warm Baselayer ($100)

Style and Fit

Dominique: The Natural + Kinship Warm Baselayer from ODLO - Crew and Bottom is designed to keep you warm and dry in cold weather conditions with the added bonus of the luxurious feel of merino wool against your skin.  Natural thermoregulation from merino wool (52%) is enhanced with body-mapped ventilation zones.  In short, a high performance base layer with the perfect blend of natural fibers and fabric technology in a seamless design that is very form fitting. 

It may be difficult to select an ODLO baselayer when browsing the options as all combine excellent design, high performance, top quality, and with plenty of novelties to boot.  I selected the Natural + Kinship Warm Baselayer for its merino content and body mapping technology.  With slight differences in prices, the long sleeve top is available in three different options: crew, half-zip turtleneck, and with facemask. 

Attractive without frills, I have been wearing my long sleeve base layer top with running tights and hiking pants, and waiting anxiously for ski season to start so I can wear my ODLO baselayer (top and bottom) as a pair underneath my winter-ski clothing -- Downhill and Nordic.   The long sleeve crew top comes in two vivid colors: Charisma Melange and Submerged Melange as well as in Black, and the bottom in Submerged Melange and in Black.  

Jeff: Dominique provides a wonderful description of the Natural + Kinship Warm Baselayer.  This is far and away the very best base layer I have ever worn!  It is so soft to the touch and on the skin with no seams, no bunching or sliding and the pattern is very stylish.

Fit is precise, not the least bit loose/baggy, yet not at all constricting.  Fit is true to size, exactly what I expect in my normal size medium (5'9" / 145 lbs) and I never find it riding up or the sleeves sliding on me.


Dominique: Merino wool provides natural thermoregulation and feels soft to the touch creating a comfortable environment for your next-to-skin layer. Moisture management is inherent to merino, which is enhanced by ventilation zones stitched into the fibers, aka body-mapping technology.  This baselayer is designed to keep you warm and dry when working out in wintry conditions in a super comfortable way.

Seamless construction is a hallmark of a high-tech performance garment.  As a knitter and a sewer, I marvel at the seamless knitting technology that went into the making of my ODLO baselayer to help top both my comfort and performance.  Nothing is rubbing or bulging against  skin. 

The merino wool blend has natural anti-odor properties so no need to worry about smell when working out.  Also, you can break the habit of over washing clothes with merino - and most ODLO apparel - which will result in helping the environment, saving time and energy as well as extending the life of your garment.  

Jeff: The body mapping technology and thermoregulated zones do a wonderful job venting where venting is needed and it takes a lot for me to "sweat out" in this garment.  Even when I do get it soaked with sweat, it dries quickly and the majority Merino wool fabric composition means that I still stay relatively warm vs. the quick cooldown and chilly feel of other performance fabrics.  

Quality is top notch and as Dominique pointed out, the anti odor properties are excellent!  I have easily used this baselayer for 4-5 legitimate 60-90 minute runs before washing and I really only threw it in the wash because I was doing laundry anyways, not that it really even smelled (though it is key (for any garment) to not toss it in a pile on the floor, but spread it out on a drying rack).  

Less frequent wash cycles greatly extends the life of the garment and ensures that it is ready for all of my winter runs, which is perfect, because the Natural + Kinship Long Sleeve Baeslayer has essentially rendered all of my other winter baselayers obsolete!


Dominique: I have reviewed ODLO summer apparel (running and biking) but this is my first introduction to their winter collection .  What a treat, especially as I have never owned a full pair of baselayers : what a difference in my level of comfort. A high performance baselayer blending both natural fibers and fiber technology for an amazing level of comfort in cool and wintry conditions. Priced at $100 for either the crew or the bottom, it's a purchase that is worth the "investment".  The long sleeve top comes in 3 different versions: crew (4100), half-zip turtleneck ($110), and with facemask ($115), offering different levels of protection around the neck and the head, which also means less skin exposed to the elements and fewer accessories when layering up.   

Jeff: The Natural + Kinship Warm Long-Sleeve Baselayer has set a new standard for my winter runs, with it's thermoregulated zones for efficient heat retention/dissipation, precise and comfortable fit, quick drying and especially it's anti odor properties essentially render the majority of my long sleeve Winter baselayers useless.

Men's Millennium Yakwarm Half Zip Long Sleeve Midlayer Top ($$140)

Style and Fit:  

Jeff: The Millennium Yakwarm Half Zip is a precise fitting midlayer with organic body mapping to provide excellent temperature regulation and unlimited freedom of movement.  Seamless construction and the stretchy weave make it very comfortable and pairs perfectly with the Natural + Kinship Warm Long Sleeve baselayer on those colder days, or simply with a tee when it is a bit warmer.  The Millennium Yakwarm Half Zip Long Sleeve features a blend of yak wool fibres and polyester to provide very good warmth, while maintaining breathability (48% polyester, 43% polyamide, 5% wool(Yak), 4% elastane).  As mentioned above, fit is somewhat snug, but the material stretches, is not at all confining and allows very good freedom of movement.


Jeff: It took me a few runs in varying temperatures to find it's sweet spot.  The overall look/weight and feel is deceptive and I easily found myself over dressing with various zip up hoodies as either a too warm outer layer or a second midlayer, but was soon stripping down to just the Millennium Yakwarm Half Zip with baselayer underneath on windless, sunny days with temps in the mid 20's.  

If cloudy, or any added wind or any precipitation, I would add a very thin shell to cut the elements, yet would remain quite warm.  Breathability is excellent and it  is quick drying.  The anti odor properties are outstanding, where I can easily get in 4-5 solid runs of 60-90 minutes without any stink.


Jeff:  The  Millennium Yakwarm Half Zip straddles the line between a midlayer and a shirt. I have found the sweet spot to be either as an added layer on really cold days, or as an outer midlayer (if that makes any sense?) when it is not windy or precipitating and the temps are in the 25 - 50 degree F range.  Any cooler and I will want a thin shell at least and any warmer would be too much.  

Quality is top notch, fit is great and is quick drying, breathable, comfortable and does not smell after multiple uses.  Another favorite from Odlo!

Odlo Blackcomb LS Baselayer ($90-$100)

Style and fit:  

Adam:  I first purchased one of these two years ago in the middle of a particularly cold nordic ski training camp in BC, Canada. The Blackcomb is a tight fitting baselayer, but so accommodating in stretch that it will fit differently sized and shaped people comfortably.  The fabric itself is thicker than most such base layers, and appears to hold a lot of air for insulation yet breathes very well.  The fabric is soft to the touch without any chafing seams of separate layers of fabric.  The fabric contains body mapped zones and ventilation, so the wearer’s core temperature stays warmer and the baselayer still wicks.  The patterns on the fabric are subtle but interesting, and I prefer it to having just a single color. 

Performance:  For cold conditions, especially below 25º, the Blackcomb baselayer is phenomenal.  Unlike most cold weather base layers, it can be worn comfortably in warmer conditions as well, or under jackets, thanks to its excellent breathability and wicking.  It’s similarly warm to a thick wool baselayer, but doesn’t get as wet after a long day of running or skiing.  The durability is exceptional, as I’ve worn these every week of winter for the past three years and they still look and feel good as new. 

Testing the blackcomb baselayer skiing in 2019


Conclusion:   I can not speak highly enough of the Blackcomb Baselayer. Consider them primarily if you live in colder climates,. It is comfortable, dependable, durable, and versatile.  I’ve worn it for ski races below 0ºF under my race suit, long runs in the rain, and mountain runs above treeline.  The fabric is  extremely stretchy with seamless transitions between different body mapped zones allowing for excellent wicking, quick drying, and warmth.  Especially when combined with a light shell jacket, the Blackcomb baselayers can create a warm air pocket that keeps you toasty even in very cold conditions.  If I could have one baselayer for winter running, this would be it.


Style and fit:

Adam:  The Corviglia Kinship Midlayer top has a hard to pronounce name, but is also an intriguing garment.  The midlayer has a beautiful 3D quilted fleece pattern on the front that looks more at home in fashion than in technical outdoor apparel.   I’ve even worn this over a dress shirt as a formal sweater and it looked great.  However none of that would matter if it wasn’t an excellent technical baselayer.  While not as stretchy accommodating as the Blackcomb baselayer or ZW Warm Hybrid jacket, the Corviglia Kinship Midlayer is comfortable and flexible enough for running and nordic skiing. It features a chest pocket that can fit iPhone plus/Max models.  The quilted fleece fabric is not as soft as the other Odlo fabrics, but is still quite comfortable.  


Adam: I enjoy wearing this midlayer around the house, but I’ve also tested it skiing and running and it holds up quite well.  It’s very warm, almost as warm as the ZW warm hybrid jacket, and the close fit at the waist stops cold air from coming in.  It also wicks quite well. 


Adam: The Corviglia Kinship Midlayer’s main draw is that it looks stylish.  For running in the mountains, I’d be more inclined to wear a blackcomb baselayer and a more packable wind shell  jacket, but I don’t think that this is the intended purpose of this midlayer.  This is a midlayer that you could wear in places that you wouldn’t normally wear running clothes, but that would still be easily capable of running the White Mountains in winter.

Blackcomb Long-Sleeve Base Layer Top with Face Mask ($110)

Sam: The ultimate base layer? A slim fitting body mapped base layer that is highly breathable and moisture managing. It allows for unusually good freedom of movement and layers easily under outer jackets such as the Ceramiwarm Hybrid Running Jacket below.  It has a 3 way hood/mask ideal for all weather conditions: down, as mask only, as hood only or as hood and mask. I have  found it exceptionally versatile and comfortable in cold and even in milder fall conditions. 

Corviglia Kinship Midlayer Top – Full Zip with Hoody ($120) and Half Zip ($100)

A warm, comfortable, and stylish top, that can be worn both as a top layer in cool weather and as a mid layer in wintry conditions.  Extremely versatile and good looking, it has become my go-to top this fall and winter whatever the occasions/activities — grocery shopping, going on a walk or a hike, ridding my “Momentum” bike, to the outdoor tennis court, attending a socially distanced gathering, and even inside when I need an extra layer.  

Named after a ski resort in Switzerland that is connected to St-Moritz and which I was fortunate to travel to as a teen attending a ski camp, this Corviglia Kinship full-zip hoody, with its advanced thermoregulation and enhanced comfort, will be the perfect mid layer to wear under my ski jacket.  Engineered mid layer made with 3D quilted AIR TECH fleece to keep your warm without the bulk and with plenty of stretch to keep you moving comfortably. 

The AIR TECH fleece has a classy and stylish outer layer design with an embossed heritage design, and which is available in four different colors: Black, Diving Navy, Submerged, and Charisma.  There are two zippered side pockets and the full zip top has a well-fitted hoody that is super comfortable. 

It is easy to tuck my hands under the sleeves when cold as the they are pretty long.  Reasonably priced for a high performance mid layer that is so versatile. I am just loving my Corviglia Kinship as a top and mid layer. 

Zeroweight Warm Tight ($110)

Winter testing of the ZW Warm Hybrid Jacket and ZW Warm Tights

Style and fit:

Adam:  The Zeroweight warm tights are a simple, sleek, black tight.  They combine a warmer fleecy front of the tight with a lighter breathable back.  The fit is precise and extremely comfortable, and just like the other clothing I’ve tested from Odlo, they’re very flexible and reliable.  The look is simple and clean with minimal logos, seams, and no zippers.  I’m 6’ 180 lbs (183 cm 81.6 kg) and a size large is true to size.  


Most tights I’ve tested fall into one of two categories.  They are usually lightweight running or nordic skiing tights with minimal insulation and wind resistance (Korsa tights), or thermal tights, usually lined with soft, fleecy insulation (Sugoi Subzero or Salomon Agile Softshell tights).  The Zeroweight warm tight combines these two concepts by having a warmer more windproof front combined with a lighter, stretchier back.  I’ve seen this in premium shell pants before, but never in a tight.  The end result is an extremely comfortable tight that’s breathable to wear up to about 40º F running, but warm enough to wear down to 20º without an additional layer.  This versatility is incredible.  Despite the precise fit, the tights don’t feel like they restrict range of motion, or slip down at all when running. 


The Odlo Zeroweight Warm tights have quickly become my favorite warm tights (they’re aptly named).  The wind resistant front/stretch back gives them unmatched versatility for conditions on either side of freezing, and if you’re running in a cold climate and want a versatile, comfortable, and reliable tight, this is what you’re looking for.  

Zeroweight Warm Pants ($110)

Sam: I am very fussy about winter/cooler weather run bottoms. I find most tights overly constrictive and not always that warm as they get soaked. The Warm Running Pants have proven ideal for cooler to colder conditions as they are incredibly light, have windproof panels only above the knees in front, and have a highly articulated knee that opens to a stretch mesh layer below. 

The rest of the pant is a very light stretch breathable fabric and there are even laser cut holes behind the knees at that warm spot for ventilation. They have some reflectivity, zip ankles, a flat thin waistband (could be bit more substantial, and a zip rear key pocket. You will forget the cold and wind or that you are even wearing them. They are ideal for cold weather racing and training.

They are thinner, lighter and more breathable than say a Gore R5 Run Pant or a tight and not quite as warm but far more versatile in uses especially for those runs in near to above freezing temps or when faster paces are the order of the day in cold as you will forget you are wearing them.

Zero Weight Warm Hybrid Jacket ($140)

Testing in the White Mountains

Style and fit:

Adam:In a sea of dark colored jackets, I have to give Odlo credit for making this yellow.  I love the color and it makes the jacket more visible during the day.  The jacket itself is a two sided construction similar to the ZW warm tights.  

The front is a windproof, insulated layer, and the back and arms are a finely textured, stretchy, and breathable fabric.  There are two front zip pockets, large enough to fit a phone, hats, gloves, etc.  The stretchy back and arms means the jacket provides excellent mobility, and fits my shoulders well (a lot of running apparel is tight there for me).  I’d like to see a chest pocket and some more reflectivity, but the design on the jacket is really well thought out and comfortable.  The inside fabric is soft too and feels good on the arms over a t-shirt.


Adam: Similar to the ZW warm tights, this jacket’s windproof front and breathable arms and back makes it excellent for running, cycling, and nordic skiing. It doesn’t get sweaty and wet if layered correctly, and that flexibility means it works in a wide range of temperatures.  This jacket is not super warm on its own since the stretch back and arms aren’t as insulating as the front.  This does make it more useful in warmer temperatures since it breathes well while running, but limits its utility for colder conditions without layering more underneath.  


This is a great outer layer for moderately cold running and skiing.  I think it’s primary purpose is for layering with a good baselayer underneath.  When combined with a baselayer such as the Blackcomb Pro above, it helps create a pocket of warm air, allowing for insulation, wind protection, and excellent wicking and breathability.  The light weight, bright color, wind protection, and wicking of this jacket make it excellent for running and nordic skiing in 18ºF + temperatures.  While I wish it had more reflectivity for running at night, the stretchy arms/back and breathability make it one of the few jackets I really like running in.

Tester Profiles

Adam is a cross country ski racer from New Hampshire.   Along with skiing, he’s a big fan of endurance sports in general and does a lot of running.  He’s much faster at skiing, recently participating in the curtailed NCAA’s skiing for Dartmouth College, but can run a 4:43 mile (in trail shoes) and has won a few small trail races you’ve never heard of.  His mileage varies depending on how much snow is on the ground, but he trains about 700 hours a year including 1200 miles of running and 4000 miles of skiing and roller skiing.  You can follow him at his IG: @real_nordic_skier, his blog:, & on Strava

Sam is the Editor and Founder of Road Trail Run. He is 63 with a 2018 3:40 Boston qualifier. Sam has been running for over 48 years and has a 2:28 marathon PR. These days he runs halves in the just sub 1:40 range training 30-40 miles per week mostly at moderate paces on the roads and trails of New Hampshire and Utah. He is 5’9” tall and weighs about 164 lbs.

Dominique has run for over 40 years, consistently about 25 miles per week at paces between 10 and 11 minute miles. She races rarely, but always surprises more hard core runners in her age group when she does. She has a 1985 marathon PR of 3:16 in her second marathon which at the time put her on the top 10 Swiss women’s lists. She is the mother of two grown children, both runners post college, and enjoys nordic and alpine skiing, hiking and trekking, and gardening. 

Tested samples were provided at no charge for testing purposes. No other compensation was received. The opinions herein are entirely the authors.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I agree with the Blackcomb baselayer. Excellent in cold weather and also excellent for less athletic body shapes (like myself nowadays). I really hate wool baselayers for more intense activities, such as running and xc skiing. Once you start sweating it will keep all the moist in the fabric. Blackcomb is very superior in this aspect.