The Sportful 2nd Skin long sleeve baselayer is incredibly comfortable and performs brilliantly in cold conditions, keeping you warm and dry when you're putting in a lot of effort on the bike.
The Italian company has used a Dryarn polypropylene and polyester material with a seamless construction. There isn't a uniform texture to the baselayer; instead, Sportful's body-mapped construction uses different fabrics in key areas to provide greater support, warmth and breathability.
A piqué weaving texture with raised patterns is used for the main body to boost warmth, and fabric with a higher loft structure is used in the shoulders and elbow inserts to increase insulation. A lighter mesh is used for the arm and back panels to raise the breathability factor.
When it comes to fit, boy, does it ever live up to its second skin name. Getting it on is a bit of a struggle, but once on it sucks into every curve and contour of your body, ensuring the material is flush with your skin. That's really how a baselayer should be, so the fabric can pull sweat away from your skin effectively.
It's a really good shape, and comfortable with it, the fabric providing enough stretch that it moves with you. A benefit of the close fit is that it slips under even a close-fitting jersey or jacket with ease.
Performance is impressive. It provides a really high level of insulation, such that I was able to tackle sub-zero rides with just a jacket over the top with no fear of hypothermia. Yet breathability was similarly impressive – I never overheated. I put it through some strenuous workouts and hill repeat sessions and it didn't get bogged down in sweat or ever feel like it was struggling to cope at all.
It's quite a lot of money for a baselayer but there is a lot of design evident, with all the strategically placed panels, and it compares favourably to other high-performance baselayers that use a similar approach. The fabric is lovely and soft next to the skin and stayed that way after a dozen washes.
Comfortable and performs brilliantly in cold conditions
road.cc test report
Make and model: Sportful 2nd Skin Long Sleeve Top
Size tested: Small
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Sportful says: "When you want to train hard but stay warm the Sportful 2nd Skin Long Sleeve Base Layer is here to help. Its light compressive fit ensures you get the most out of your ride and the polypropylene and polyester mix make sure you don't end up a sweaty mess.
"A stretch seamless construction enhances the fit, providing both comfort and support, while the body-mapped construction ensures excellent levels of breathability and moisture wicking.
"Lighter mesh arm and back inserts further enhance breathability, while Sportful's recommended temperature range of -0-5˚C shows the company's confidence in this base layer's winter credentials."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Light compression fit
Polypropylene and polyester - moisture wicking and fast drying
Stretch seamless construction for perfect fit
Body-mapped construction - strategically placed textures enhance breathability, support and warmth
Main body in piqué structure - increases warmth
Shoulder and elbow inserts in higher-loft structure for insulation
Lighter mesh arm and back inserts for enhanced breathability
2 different side inserts for increased support
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
No problems going through a normal wash.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Keeps you warm and dry even in sub-zero temps and hard efforts.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Tight fit and insulation.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
It's a bit tight to get into.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
You can certainly spend less on a baselayer but this one strikes that balance of insulation and breathability really well.
About the tester
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo-cross, commuting, touring, mountain biking
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.