rapha souplesse

It can be tempting to forgo the extra fabric of a base layer when the weather heats up. However, base layers serve multiple purposes that are just as valid in summer as in winter.

Designed to help you regulate your body temperature, a base layer wicks sweat away from your skin, keeping you dry.

This also means that should you get hot and sweaty on a climb, you'll not have the uncomfortable experience of feeling damp fabric against your rapidly cooling skin.

Furthermore, should you be unfortunate enough to take a tumble on your ride, a base layer serves as a second layer, which could save you from road rash.

If you're warm blooded, rest assured that the fabric is designed to be cooling, and not insulating - there are even a few special designs which are as light as a string vest (really). Here are some of the best base layers for summer riding...

DHB base layer

This dhb base layer uses 'lite fit' fabric and is designed for tough rides in hot temperatures. It's breathable and features an open mesh back for optimum ventilation, with an anti-odour treatment to prevent nasty bacteria from building up.

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Flatlock stitching prevents chafing and this one is currently reduced by whopping 74%, making it £6.50 at Wiggle.

2xu base layer

Available in red, blue, or plain black, this t-shirt base layer creates a flattering shape and has a redesigned neckline which makes it feel less like a vest and more like a stand alone piece of clothing.

Flexible fabric and circular knit technology with 360 degree stretch create a compression garment that aids power and can quicken recovery after activity.

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Endurance Invista Lycra means that the high level elasticity is long lasting and durable. There is an anti-odour treatment, plus UPF 50+ sun protection. Sweat is taken care of with a lower denier yarn on the outside, which draws moisture through from the high denier yarn on the inside.

We found this one at Wiggle for £25.

cafe du cycliste

This top end base layer is not just beautifully elegant - it mixes understated style with more technical features than you could imagine.

Mesh composition creates a layer of warm air around you when it's chilly, that then works as a ventilation layer to keep you dry when it's hot.

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The fabric is fast drying, and flatlock stitching material meets soft fabric for ultimate comfort. At £42, it's not cheap - but you should get plenty of wear out of it to make it worthwhile!

castelli core

If you simply can't face the idea of adding a solid extra layer to your summer riding gear, then this mesh vest might be for you.

The mesh serves to keep your jersey off your skin, giving you a layer of air between you and any fabric, which helps you to maintain a constant body temperature.

A long cut means the base layer can be tucked into waist shorts if you're not into bibs, giving you full coverage.

We found this one for £34.99 at Evans Cycles.


Available in black or white, the Souplesse Base Layer is a new addition to the range and is designed for high-effort riding and racing.

Using the same fabric as the base layer worn by Team Sky, this is a performance piece of kit, with a women's cut. The mesh is breathable, and it's cut to be worn when riding in an aggressive position.

Flatlock stitching will keep chafing at bay, and the fabric has had an anti-bacterial treatment.

See it here for £45.

northwave bse layer

This Northwave base layer is ideal if you're likely to be unzipping a bit and don't want your base layer poking from the top of your jersey - which is often the case, because they don't stay white forever!

The layer features dry plus fabric - which is created to be breathable and light. It wicks away sweat, leaving the skin dry and regulating body temperature.


This base layer, created using natural bamboo material, is ideal if you're after something you can wear all year. The light fabric will keep you warm in winter, and cool in summer.

You've got UV protection, non-abrasive seams and anti-odour properties, too - making this a versatile piece of kit with a great price tag, at £22.

Craft Women's Cool Seamless Short Sleeve Base Layer

Available in pink or blue, and currently just £15.99, this seamless t-shirt is designed to promote cooling thanks to moisture transport and Coolmax fibres.

It's soft and stretchy, with optimal body-mapping for comfort - check it out at Wiggle, currently reduced by 53%.

There are plenty of great summer jerseys with UV protection that will work well with these base layers - we've rounded up some of the best here.