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The Best Long Underwear for Layering This Winter

From Uniqlo to Sunspel, there are plenty of great pairs to keep you warm this winter.

collage of long underwear

When we focus on layering for warmth, it’s easy to get caught up in figuring out what great shirt and sweater you’ll pair under your peacoat. In our rush to figure out how much we can stack over our clothes, it can be easy to forget about what goes underneath them: our base layers.

The Benefits of Wear Long Underwear

Long underwear isn’t the sexiest to describe this type of base layer, but their benefits — keeping you warm and dry when it’s cold out by moderating your body temperature — abound and can make all the difference on a particularly frigid day.

Materials to Know

Merino Wool

Merino wool is the gold standard. Its fibers are naturally antimicrobial, which makes this material perfect for life underneath another layer. They won’t start to smell after a few repeat wears, and the fabric regulates your temperature, too, making it suitable for chilly days and cold ones alike. It also breathes well and wicks moisture.


Classic cotton underwear inherently isn’t the most performance-focused, but it is trustworthy. It’s an easy fabric to fall back on when your synthetics become too suffocating.


Synthetic materials are the value pick. While they tend to pick up a stench easier than merino wool, for example, they keep you warm and wick moisture away rather easily. Nowadays, plenty of synthetics are blended into natural weaves, and the combo is highly breathable.

The Best Long Underwear for Men

Bombas Cotton Modal Long Underwear

Bombas Cotton Modal Long Underwear

Bombas doesn't just make socks. The brand also sells T-shirts, boxers and leg-length underwear, too. This Cotton Modal pair mixes natural materials with stretchy spandex, creating a base layer that gives with you and stands up to frequent washes. These won't give at the knees or slowly lose their shape, and they're hard to really stink up, even if you're a serious sweater.

Patagonia Capilene Midweight Bottoms

Best Upgrade Long Underwear
Patagonia Capilene Midweight Bottoms

Patagonia’s Capilene material has long been one of the industry’s best polyesters, but this season’s iteration has some great features. Among them are a Polartec grid construction for comfort, better odor control and a touch spandex for flexibility.

Uniqlo Heattech Ultra Warm Long Johns

Best Affordable Long Underwear
Uniqlo HEATTECH Ultra Warm Tights

Muck like its excellent Ultra Light Down jackets, Uniqlo has made a name for itself with its quality Heattech products. The price for its long johns is easy to stomach; DJ and podcaster Jason Stewart, who endorses Heattech on the podcast he co-hosts with Chris Black, How Long Gone, often agrees: "I like Heattech because it's cheap and thin and easy to buy," he says. But at 6'9", it isn't quite long enough, he adds. "I don’t like that it’s too short for me."

L.L. Bean Double-Layer Underwear

L.L. Bean Double-Layer Underwear
$49.95 (37% off)

L.L. Bean's Double-Layer Underwear looks like, well, regular underwear made longer. It has the standard open-fold front fly, an elasticated waistband and long, non-compression legs. The cuffs at the bottom are sizable, though, which means they'll bunch up under your socks.

Smartwool Merino 250 Base Layer Bottom

SmartWool Classic Thermal Merino Base Layer

Made from ultra-warm merino wool, Smartwool’s 250 base layer bottom is the warmest that the brand offers, which means if you’re going to be spending a lot of time outdoors this winter, you should consider reaching for these. The brand certainly has an outdoor slant, but these work just as well on long city commutes.

Duluth Trading Co. Buck Naked Performance Base Layer Pants

Duluth Trading Co. Buck Naked Performance Base Layer Pants
$24.15 (30% off)

Duluth Trading Co.'s Buck Naked Performance Base Layer Pants fit tighter than L.L. Bean's, but that's because these are infused with performance fabrics: nylon and spandex. But these fabrics help these long johns protect against odors, wick moisture and dry fast. They're also one of the most streamlined options on this list, which means they could work even under super-thin dress pants.

Pact Layering Long John

Pact Layering Long John
$8.00 (43% off)

Pact's fair trade long johns are made from soft organic cotton, with a non-functional fly, seamless back and tagless internal waistband. You can pick from a few colors and four sizes, but be warned: shorter folks will find that these bunch up quite a bit at the bottom.

Tommy John SleekHeat Long John Bottom

Tommy John SleekHeat Long John Bottom

Tommy John’s smart SleekHeat fabric offers expert temperature regulation, keeping your body warm when you’re outside and helping you stay cool when you’re by the fire. It’s a super useful feature for holiday party hopping.

Mack Weldon Warmknit Long Underwear

Mack Weldon Warmknit Long Underwear

Want warmth? Obviously, right? That's the point of long johns, but these from Mack Weldon are exceptional at insulating, warming you with Thermolite technology. The technology, combined with the waffle knit, offers protection from the cold without excess weight.

Sunspel Active Merino Long Johns

Sunspel Active Merino Long Johns

Made for active individuals, Sunspel's antimicrobial merino wool jersey long johns can be worn several times over, stretched out without losing their shape and machine-washed, unlike most fine woolen fabrics.

Fruit of the Loom Recycled Premium Waffle Thermal Long Johns

Fruit of the Loom Recycled Premium Waffle Thermal Underwear Long Johns

If you want warmth at the bare minimum cost, it's okay to come back to Fruit of the Loom, a brand generations of men have trusted for undergarments of all shapes and sizes. These are made from recycled materials woven into a waffle knit for added warmth.

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