The Best Base Layers for Football [2023 Buying Guide]

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With the summer sunshine long behind us, it can be quite the challenge for casual football players to motivate themselves to take part in pick up games amidst the chilly weather.

But that doesn’t have to be a problem!

Wearing a base layer as an undergarment will put your mind and body at ease, thereby allowing you to enjoy playing the beautiful game in these colder temperatures.

If you’re in a hurry, take a look down below for our curated list of the best base layer options for footballers:





Our #1 Rated

Under Armour Heatgear Compression Shirt

  • Sun ray protection

  • Net insert betters ventilation


Best Value

Niksa Men's Compression Top Base Layer

  • 85% polyester, 16% spandex

  • Moisture wicking


Best Budget 

MEETYOO Men's Compression Shirt Base Layer

  • High elastic fabric

  • Prevents body odor


The Pure Blue Sports Base Layer

  • Soft polyester and elastane fabric

  • Skin tight compression fit


adidas Men's Alphaskin Sport Long Sleeve Tee

  • Slim fitting

  • ClimaCool technology


AMZSPORT Men's Long Sleeve Compression Top

  • Gradient compression supports blood flow to muscles

  • 4 way stretching capacity for flexibility


My view on the topic of best football base layers is that the Under Armour Heatgear Compression Shirt ticks all the boxes when it comes to durability, breathability, elasticity and quick-drying capability.

In this article I’ll dig deeper into the topic, starting with individual reviews of the top base layer picks outlined above.

Let’s begin!


1. Under Armour Men’s Compression Shirt UA Heatgear Armour

Under Armour Heatgear Compression Shirt
  • HeatGear fabric, with all the benefits of UA Compression, comfortable enough to be worn all day
  • Stretch-mesh underarm panels deliver strategic ventilation
  • UPF 30+ protects your skin from the sun's harmful rays

This Under Armour Heatgear long sleeve base layer is said to provide supreme levels of comfort, elasticity and quick-drying capability.

It is a fairly tight-fitting product, but Under Armour are confident in their assessment that the shirt is comfortable enough to be worn all throughout the day.

They attribute this to the omni-directional stretchiness of the fabric which provides great freedom of movement when worn.

The shirt is also said to effectively draw sweat away from the body, and features strategic net inserts under the arm that provide extra ventilation for the wearer.

Additionally, the base layer boasts anti-odour technology which prevents the growth of bacteria in the garment, ultimately preventing unpleasant smells.


  • Durable product that ages well even after several washes with no contraction or distortion and retains its shape after months of wear
  • Good for use in both winter and summer months
  • The size charts for this product may not be accurate as some reviews suggest purchasing a size up for maximum comfort

Under Armour have certainly nurtured an impressive reputation for themselves in this area of the sports apparel market.

This is why I’m able to recommend another one of their products as an alternative – the Under Armour Coldgear Armour Mock Long Sleeve Shirt – as I and many others can attest to their quality.

This base layer is suited for winter sports and colder temperatures as opposed to all year-round wear, but it comes with similar functionality to the Heatgear model as it features anti-odour technology, a moisture transport system and a snug compression fit.


2. The Pure Blue Sports Base Layer

The Pure Blue Men's Sports Base Layer Long Sleeved Compression Vest
  • Introducing The Pure Blue long-sleeved compression tops for men [Small] – your new secret weapon for dominating the game, whether you're hitting the gym or the slopes. Crafted from a blend of polyester and elastane, it's tough enough to handle your toughest workouts while keeping you feeling smoother than silk and softer than a fresh shave.
  • Forget about bulky layers – our compression fit is like a second skin, sculpting your physique without the need for crash diets or miracle potions. It's like having a personal trainer wrapped around your core, providing the support you need to crush your goals and stay injury-free.
  • Moisture-wicking? You bet. Our special fabric pulls perspiration away from your body faster than you can break a sweat, keeping you cool in the summer and warm in the winter. And with anti-bacterial technology, you'll stay fresh even after the toughest workouts.

This Pure Blue compression vestis designed using polyester and elastane fabric that rests smoothly against one’s skin, thereby prevent itching, chafing or general discomfort.

In particular, the elasticity of the fabric makes this base layer suitable for casual football players as the vest doesn’t inhibit body movement.

It comes with multiple size and colour variations as well, with the latter being red, white, black, grey and blue.


  • Cheaper product than the more recognisable brands
  • Provides a comfortable “second-skin” tight fit which makes it ideal for sports
  • Despite its description as long sleeve, multiple buyers indicate that they received short sleeve base layers from the seller
  • Stitching on these base layers appears prone to coming undone


3. Niksa Men’s Compression Top Base Layer Long Sleeve

Niksa Men's Compression Top Base Layer
  • Breathable compression tops for men. Made of polyester 88%,spandex 12%,good sewing stitched smooth&ultra-soft fabrics,skin-friendly and slim & tight fit
  • Long sleeve base layers mens keep you warm in autumn and winter. Ideal for daily exercise,bodybuilding,cycling,running,jogging,basketball,football
  • Quick drying and moisture wicking. Draws moisture away from the skin,a cool dry and comfortable gym wear sports tops set(3 pack sport t shirt mens)

The next base layer is from a brand called Niksa.

You would be forgiven for misreading their name as “Nike”!

All jokes aside, they have been able to manufacture a base layer that is of the highest quality.

Their Men's Compression Top base layer features the same quick-drying and high elasticity functionality of the other products that I have recommended so far, but they’ve gone the extra mile in two areas:

  1. Flat lock stitching – these are flat lock seams that prevent skin irritation and provide extra comfort for the wearer
  2. 85% polyester micro mesh fabric – this enhances the product’s ventilation and gives the wearer extra breathability


  • Sizing guidance is straightforward and accurate, as the company recommends selecting your normal size for a snug fit and going one size up for a looser fit
  • This base layer washes well, retains its shape and remains odour-free
  • The neck line on these base layers is fairly wide, which suggests poor design


4. MEETYOO Men’s Compression Shirt, Base Layer Top Long Sleeve

MEETYOO Men's Compression Shirt Base Layer
  • 1.Free movement & Preventing Strain: The long sleeve t shirt is designed with high elastic fabric offers excellent comfort and full range of movement to stretch your muscle. The sports t-shirt with super elasticity provide maximum balance between freedom of movement and muscles, keep you comfortable.
  • 2.Instantaneous absorption of sweat & Prevent Body Odor: The running top mens feature breathable and wicking polyester fabric which will absorb sweat from exercise instantly, stay away from unpleasant smells to keep you dry and cozy.
  • 3. Out Wear & Inner Wear for Daily Wear: This skins compression top men is ideal for outdoor and indoor sports like: gym training, running, cycling, hiking, fishing, jogging or dog walking in the morning. Also it is a gift for runner biker and other sports lover.

There is truly an abundance of well-designed base layers and this one is no different.

The MEETYOO Compression Shirt features a four-way stretching capacity that provides the base layer with great elasticity which is great for freedom of movement.

More so, the product is well crafted as their “four pin, six wire” stitching process prevents friction between the garment and the skin, thereby enhancing comfort for the wearer whilst they perform their workout.

Last but not least, the two-way air circulation design helps with moisture wicking and the absorption of sweat.


  • Great price point makes it suitable for those on a stricter budget
  • The material of the top is too thin compared to similar base layers, which drastically reduces its ability to wick away sweat
  • Doesn’t offer much compression around the lower area of the body


5. adidas Men’s Alphaskin Sport Long Sleeve Tee

Adidas Alphaskin Long Sleeve Tee
  • Compression fit supports the muscles
  • Crew neck
  • Breathable ClimaCool technology

Arguably, this post would not be complete without one of the big guns having one of their products featured in it.

Adidas have outdone themselves once more with this fantastic Alphaskin base layer product.

The material is comprised of 83% polyester and 17% elastane and the top comes with UPF50+ ultraviolet protection that shields the wearers skin from excessive sunlight in the warmer months.

In addition to this, it comes equipped with its proprietary ClimaCool technology which leads sweat away from the body thereby keeping it dry, whilst simultaneously allowing air to seep through the textile which serves to cool the skin.


  • It comes exactly as advertised in the sense that it’s so good at keeping the wearer cool because it adds little to no insulation
  • Fits very tight to the skin which some users may not be fully comfortable with


6. AMZSPORT Men’s Long Sleeve Compression Top

AMZSPORT Men's Long Sleeve Compression Top Base Layer
  • Compression support: Reduce muscle fatigue and risk of overuse injuries to improve performance for lasting longer movement.
  • Multi-directional Stretch: Superior knit structure with multidirectional stretch feature enable to have a flexible movement.
  • Breathable & Antibacterial: Moisture wicking fabric helps to keep you dry all day, and inhibit odor and germs.

Finally, to round up these product reviews we have the AMZSPORT base layer.

It comes with flat lock stitching to prevent skin irritation for the wearer and ensure chafe-free comfort.

This base layer fits snugly by way of its ergonomic design, as it is tailored to the wearer’s body shape.

Made of 90% polyester and 10% spandex, this base layer also comes with antibacterial ingredients that are embedded within the fabric to prevent natural body odour from surfacing and to restrain bacterial growth.


  • The fabric is durable and doesn’t shrink after washes
  • The perforated back does a great job of keeping the wearer cool and preventing sweat build up
  • Doesn’t hold up well quality wise when compared against some cheaper brands (Crane) as well as its premium competitor in Under Armour
  • Under arm patches are not perforated unlike the back of the top, which makes it easier for sweat to build under the arm pits
  • The neckline is a little too low for a base layer top


Earlier on in the article I promised to talk about the very basics of base layers for the beginners.

So, here goes!


What is a base layer?

The international sportswear brand – Tresspass – provide us with a succinct definition:

A base layer is the layer closest to your skin and should act as a constant ‘second skin’ throughout your day. Base layers provide a layer of warmth while absorbing and evaporating your sweat to keep you feeling warm and comfortable.

Here’s an amateur take on one of my very own Nike base layers that I bought a few years ago:

Looks good right?

Vests function in almost the same way as base layers, in that they keep the wearer warm.

However, from my own experience of playing sports whilst wearing a vest underneath my t-shirt, I can tell you that it’s not very comfortable!

This is because whilst vests provide warmth, they are not as effective at evaporating the sweat which builds as one participates in physical activity.

In fact, their inability to soak up the sweat effectively can cause the wearer to feel cold instead of warm, from a combination of excess moisture coming into contact with the skin and the colder outdoor temperature.

This point naturally leads me on to the advantages of wearing base layers…


The benefits of wearing a base layer

There are quite a few good reasons to invest in an authentic base layer or two:

  1. Unlike cotton wear, base layers wick moisture away from your skin instead of absorbing it, which allows the moisture to move from the inside of the fabric to the surface, after which it evaporates, ultimately keeping the wearer warm.
  2. Base layers compress your muscles to limit movement whilst you play, which helps prevent the wastage of energy and reduces the potential for muscle trauma or injury as a result of the muscle oscillation that occurs as one engages in physical activity.
  3. They provide comfort as their skin-tight construction significantly reduces chafing which can irritate the wearer and prevent them from performing at their physical and mental best


What fabrics are base layers made from?

Base layers are typically made from two different types of fabric:



This fabric will largely be made from polyester and polyester blends and base layers made from these are said to keep the wearer warm up to temperatures of -10 degrees when combined with proper outerwear.

Synthetic base layers are also lightweight and quick to dry, making them suitable for use in action heavy sports such as football where fluid movement is required.


Merino Wool

Unlike sheep’s wool that is really only suitable for cold temperatures, merino wool keeps the wearer cool at high temperatures in addition to providing warmth at cooler ones.

This fabric is also antibacterial which means it doesn’t retain the smell of body odour.

On the downside, this fabric takes longer to dry than its synthetic counterpart and is traditionally higher priced.

Here’s a very informative video which helps conceptualise the above in a clearer way:


Frequently asked questions

With all that said, there are a few questions about base layers that I would like to address as I wrap up this product round up.


Can you wear a base layer on its own?

The answer to this question very much depends on the weather!

On hot days, a base layer can be worn on its own as its lightweight nature makes it ideal for excursions like hiking, walking and climbing.

However, on colder days, I would suggest using the base layer as an undergarment by wearing a short or long sleeve shirt on top of it, so as to better insulate yourself from the cooler temperatures.


Can you wear two base layers?

In a practical sense, yes you can!

Although there is certainly a bit of a compromise to be made.

When it comes to your mobility, when wearing one layer on top of another may hinder your full range of movement when you exercise or perform a sporting activity.

As a result, wearing two base layers might only be best served for the very cold days.


Is silk or wool a better base layer?

Silk offers great performance due to the fact that it absorbs up to 30% of its own weight in moisture, which is a similar percentage to that of merino wool.

The downside comes in the pricing, and with it yet to gain popularity among hikers and other sports people, I would personally suggest going with a merino wool fabric, at least until the prices of silk-made ones reach comparable levels.


Final thoughts

My top recommendation for a base layer is none other than Under Armour’s Heatgear Compression Shirt.

It’s a widely recognisable brand in the sports apparel market that has delivered a product that is not only ideal for use in the summer months, but also in the winter months as well.

To add onto that, its durability is top notch, with the base layer able to retain its compressed shape even after multiple washes and months of wear.

Samuel Waihenya
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