After several days back to back ('scuse the pun) wear, including some intense rides both on the road and mountain bike, it smelt as fresh as the first time I put it on. Impressive! This is a natural effect of the merino wool itself, and it totally works.
On the cold, frosty mornings it kept me warm, but wicked the sweat away effectively when I started to heat up. I didn't feel at any point like I had wet, clammy material sticking to my back.
However, I did find it felt a bit too toasty on warmer days when the weather started going over 10 degrees - but I tend to run quite warm.
Cut longer at the back, it didn't ride up when cycling even when wearing a rucksack. It's also long enough to keep my lower back covered when leaning forward on the drops of my road bike. I'm 5 foot 8 and the hem sat just below hip level.
It comes up true to size; I'm generally a UK high street 12, and the size 12 base layer fitted well, which brings me to another good point about this top; it's available from size 8 to 18.
The sleeves are long, with the cuffs just covering the base of my palm when standing, and round my wrist when riding.
The shape of the Altura Merino base layer itself is actually pretty flattering, with a number of panels stitched together to give a cut that sits comfortably on the body. It's fitted without being tight, and the sleeves kept their shape and stretch even after I'd pulled them up over my elbows a couple of times. The scoop neckline won't be to everyone's taste, but I personally prefer that to having a tight or high collar.
Although this is a base layer and therefore looks shouldn't really matter, I have to say I did like the contrast purple stitching. The Altura logo at the neck however did start to crack and peel pretty quickly, which was a shame.
Itchiness is one of the concerns that a lot of people, myself included, have when it comes to merino wool base layers. I have to confess that this base layer did itch a bit, but after a few wears and washes, this disappeared. The flatlock stitching on the hems and seams didn't rub under my rucksack straps, either.
It has coped well with washing as per the instructions so far - it's been through three washes - and there's been a little bobbling but nothing above what I would expect. It's also kept its shape and stretch.
A great value-for-money base layer with a flattering cut and wicking fabric that remains pleasingly (for me and everyone around me!) odour-free. It did itch a little the first few wears, which is something to be aware of if you have sensitive skin. It washed well, and retained it shape and stretch. It's also available in a good range of sizes.
- Wicks well and remains odour free
- Great fitting shape
- Itchy at first
Price: RRP £39.99
Sizes: 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18
More info: Altura
What Altura say about the Women's Merino Long Sleeve:
This women’s specific Merino garment is excellent at regulating body temperature and naturally wicking away moisture during activity.