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Gear review: SmartWool Womens Microweight Bottoms

With gear, less can mean more, right? More comfort, more versatility, more value—if done right. Well, SmartWool’s Microweight Baselayer Bottoms are. And I’ve decided I’m a genius for having recently purchased the baselayer—an ultra thin Merino wool, next-to-skin pant clocking in at 150 g/m2 and 4.5 oz.

The Microweights have become a major player in my winter wardrobe because they’re that “just-right” layer for strenuous activity.

I picked them up to wear under my mountain bike shorts for winter rides, when the air’s painfully icy, but pushing the bike to the top still works up a sweat. The Microweight is the perfect solution: enough comfy skin-cover to stave off the chill, but not so thick that over-heating causes sweat, which later makes the body cold.

The Microweight is thin enough that bending the knee exposes a hint of skin beneath, yet the cold doesn’t make its way through. As pants, they go unnoticed while riding, allowing you to simply get after it.

And the comfort? Merino wool is recognized for its incredibly soft and cozy feel despite the fact that it’s wool. Therefore, SmartWool’s Next-to-Skin collections—“body-hugging” baselayers—are nothing to fear and everything to love. The science is: Typical wool’s larger, broader fibers are less flexible, which results in scratches against the skin when bent, causing the wool-itch. Merino wool’s fibers, however, are smaller in diameter, finer, and thus more flexible—no itch.

I’ve got them on. Below the kneepad, see?

Then there are the obvious reasons for choosing wool: Its incredible quick-drying qualities; its breathability and ability regulate body temp similar to that of skin’s (read: ideal for changing weather); and its natural SPF and awesome odor control.

The Microweight Bottoms are keenly versatile—a single purchase satisfying many pursuits. They’re great for snowboarding when just a tad bit more is needed beneath snowpants; and that translates to other activities. I can even wear these under tight-fitting jeans post-ride without looking bulky.

Two more selling points: SmartWool as a company has stellar ethics (read about them here), but also, I appreciate this: These bottoms are designed slightly longer to allow for slight shrinkage from the first wash.

How nice is that? The Microweight Bottoms for women are $65. Being able to ride year-round is… priceless.

Editor’s note: This product was purchased and reviewed before I signed on to be a brand ambassador for SmartWool. “A  what?” You say. That’s right. Brand. Ambassador. Meaning now I can live what I preach, or is it preach what I live? Does it matter? More to come!

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