Best Thermal Shirts For Cold Weather

This research article helps you find the best thermal shirt for cold weather. That type of clothing is essential for icy conditions, and you need the best possible choice depending on your needs and budget. We all know that dressing up in layers is the most efficient way to remain at the right temperature depending on the weather. That, along with motion, keeps us warm under cold weather, but proper thermal clothing keeps us warm when we don’t move and rest.

Important factors like the material type, warmth capacity, quick-drying, compression, and anti-odor plus weight are the ones that you should consider.

We wore this gear and did this research to provide you with all the necessary information for the best thermal clothes for winter or if you prefer it, the best layering clothes for winter.

Best Thermal Shirts For Cold Weather

Here are five thermal shirts for cold weather for men and women; we find that you need to have in mind. Keep in mind that these are under clothes thermals.

Best Thermal Shirts for Men

Men’s thermal shirts differ from women’s since upper body structures differ. Materials are typically the same.

1. Under Armour Men’s ColdGear Armour Compression Mock Long-Sleeve T-Shirt

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A base layer that keeps you warm and dry without being bulky or riding up. Dual-layer fabric with an ultra-warm brushed interior & a smooth, fast-drying exterior.

The second-skin fit keeps you locked in. Material wicks sweat & dries really fast.

Materials87% Polyester, 13% Elastane
SizeX-Small to XX-Large
ColorAvailable in various colors
  • ‎4-way stretch
  • Lightweight
  • Flatlock seam construction
  • Soft and feels great against the skin
  • Stretch-mesh back
  • Ultra-tight, second-skin fit
  • Material wicks sweat & dries really fast
  • Ergonomic design keeps seams off of high abrasion areas
  • Anti-odor technology
  • Underarm panels for ventilation
  • Easy to move in
What We Like

It is one of these thermal shirts where it feels like not wearing at all when you wear the right size but still keeps you warm. We like the 4-way stretching capabilities that allow a full range of movement and make this thermal shirt like a second skin, along with the flatlock seams that reduce abrasion. The underarm panels and stretch-mesh back allow for ventilation without getting you cold.

What We Don’t Like

Not a negative thing exactly, but since it is in a tight form, make sure to measure your torso dimensions well, as the close fit may cause some biceps or shoulders discomfort.

  • Tight fit
  • 4-way stretch
  • Anti-odor
  • Ventilates well
  • Make sure you get the one for your size.

2. Carhartt Men’s Force Heavyweight Thermal Base Layer Long Sleeve

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This men’s heavyweight synthetic-wool thermal top is made of the perfect blend of waffle knit polyester and wool for easy-wearing warmth that wicks sweat and fights odor.

This thermal base layer top gives you the excellent range of motion and warmth you need when you battle unbearable cold weather days.

Materials80% Polyester, 20% Wool
SizeSmall to 4X-Large
ColorAvailable in various colors
  • ‎Heavyweight
  • Zip pocket on chest
  • Flatlock seams that reduce chafing
  • Concealed thumb loop
  • Hanging loop
  • Fast Drying
  • Sweat-wicking
  • Odor resistant
What We Like

When you are active outside, then -along with a jacket- it can perform well. It is not a tight fit but will work relatively well for cold conditions. However, it depends on how icy things are. The sleeve loops help avoid chaffing, but we are unsure if that is comfortable for a full range of movement.

What We Don’t Like

Doesn’t feel warm as a heavyweight. Make sure it is suitable for shallow temperatures.

  • Suitable for relatively cold weather conditions
  • Zip pocket
  • Odor resistant
  • It seems to perform more like a medium-weight shirt.

3. MERIWOOL Mens Base Layer – 100% Merino Wool Midweight Long Sleeve Thermal Shirt

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You can wear a 250g/m2 weight interlock-knit Merino wool as a base layer or mid-layer, but it won’t weigh you down. Meriwool clothing helps to keep you cool on warmer days and offers warmth without overheating during the winter months. As much as you love a cotton shirt, this merino wool thermal shirt is so light that it almost feels like you are wearing nothing! 

This men’s thermal sweater comes with antibacterial & odor-resistant properties to keep you dry and comfortable. It has 100% all-natural superfine merino 18.5-micron that offers the utmost comfort and won’t itch or scratch.

MaterialsMerino Wool
SizeMedium to 3X-Large Big Tall
ColorAvailable in various colors
  • ‎Midweight
  • Wicks Away Odors
  • Quick Drying wicks away moisture
  • Great color variety
  • Soft and feels great against the skin
  • Naturally warm
  • Itch-free
  • Ultra-soft
  • Adaptive and versatile clothing
  • Stretch Material
What We Like

We love the soft merino wool as a material, and the design of this thermal shirt for cold weather makes it ideal for wearing both outdoors and casual clothing. It is a lovely fit and feels soft, carrying all the wool properties.

What We Don’t Like

Being a midweight shirt is not ideal for wearing in shallow temperatures. Performs well down to 5 degrees. It is snuggly but not a tight fit.

  • Ultra soft
  • Versatile and adaptive
  • Naturally warm
  • Not for shallow temperatures
  • Not a tight fit

Best Thermal Shirts for Women

We choose two thermal shirt options in the women’s category that we find very good for cold weather. Here they are.

4. DEVOPS Women’s 2 Pack Thermal Long Sleeve Shirts

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These two-pack long sleeve thermal shirts are made with micro-fleece fabric to give the much-needed warmth during the cold weather seasons. The thermal tech fleece fabric of the baselayer envelopes the skin naturally, providing maximum comfort and softness.

The added spandex brings extra stretch and shape retention, while the close-fitting style does better in retaining body heat to keep you warm. They are a perfect option for various indoor activities, outdoor excursions, and recreational activities.

Materials90% Polyester 10% Spandex
SizeX-Small to X-Large
ColorAvailable in various colors
  • ‎4-way stretch with elasticity, durability, and maximum mobility
  • Fleece lined
  • Quick-Dry
  • Moisture-Wicking
  • 4-Way Stretch
  • Ultra soft
  • Converts moisture to heat
What We Like

The 4-way stretch is ideal for feeling comfortable on top of its moisture-wicking and quick-dry performance. The fleece lining gives extra warmth. It performs well in cold weather.

What We Don’t Like

More compression would be better.

  • Snuggly fit
  • 4-way stretch for mobility
  • Fleece lined
  • More compression is needed.

5. Minus33 Merino Wool Ossipee Women’s Midweight Crew

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Minus33 Merino Wool regulates the amount of moisture on your skin by moving any moisture or sweat away from your body. This midweight base layer is made with no-itch super soft Merino wool. You can easily consider it a three-season merino wool crew neck thermal with relative versatility for your outdoor gear.

The wool will absorb up to 30% of its weight in moisture, leaving you with a feeling of being dry, and it also has a 50+ UPF rating.

Materials100% Merino Wool, Interlock Knit
18.5 Micron
SizeX-Small to 3X-Large
ColorVarious colors
  • ‎Midweight
  • Moisture-wicking
  • High Activity Temperatures: 0°F to 30°F
  • Quick Drying
  • Anti-Odor
  • Versatile
  • Soft and feels great against the skin
  • Great color variety
What We Like

We love Merino wool in women’s clothing too, and this one is a 3-seasons shirt, ideal for multiple activities. You can wear it as a more casual layer beyond the outdoors. That, along with various colors and 3-season layer logic (and merino properties), makes it an excellent option.

What We Don’t Like

Possibly the loose fit (although looking fine) may allow some chaffing.

  • Versatile
  • Soft and feeling good
  • Suitable for low temperatures
  • UPF 50+
  • The loose fit may cause some chaffing.

Our Selections for Men and Women

For outdoors only and related to cold weather, we find the Under Armour Men’s ColdGear Armour Compression Mock Long-Sleeve T-Shirt ideal. It is made specifically for outdoor activities, even if it is not the thermal shirt you would choose for casual clothing. The same brand has a women’s compression shirt similar in design to the men’s. That type of technical wear is typically the best for such clothing and cold weather.

Regarding women’s clothing for cold weather, we would choose the one above or the Minus33 Merino Wool Ossipee Women’s Midweight Crew as a more versatile solution due to its 3-season thermal layers.

Best Thermal Shirts For Cold Weather

What Is Thermal Underwear?

If you’re headed somewhere cold or used to a warmer day-to-day climate, you shouldn’t travel without thermal underwear. You might have heard them called longjohns or base layers or shortened to “thermals.” They consist of a skin-tight set of long-sleeve tops and bottoms that sit flush against your skin under your regular clothing. 

A great pair of thermal underwear is not just a way to keep warm. It can be an essential piece in the line of protection that prevents temperature-related illnesses and injuries.

The danger isn’t the temperature itself when it comes to cold weather. The actual threat is your body sweat. All sweat is moisture, and moisture can’t evaporate at a high rate when it’s frigid.

The most crucial safety tip for cold weather travel is to ensure that any sweat does not sit against your flesh or interact with the surrounding cold air. Bodies will sweat under exertion even in freezing temperatures. When that sweat evaporates, you’ll feel chilled and may be unable to raise your internal body temperature. 

That’s where thermal underwear comes in! Most thermal underwear is like a quick-drying, moisture-wicking second skin that prevents sweat from interacting with your flesh or the air around you. It’s a layer between your body and your outer clothing that catches your sweat and prevents it from affecting your body’s natural regulatory systems. 

Ideally, your thermal underwear should also be warm enough to keep you toasty during travels to cold or freezing places. 

What to Look For in the Best Thermal Underwear

There are a few features to look for when shopping for the ideal pair of thermal underwear for travel. Since thermals sit beneath your outer layers of clothing, you won’t need to consider aesthetics. It would be best to base your purchasing decisions on safety, practicality, and comfort. 

Factors to consider include:

  • Are they lightweight? 
  • Are they breathable? 
  • How quickly do they dry when wet?
  • How effectively do they wick moisture?
  • Are they naturally antibacterial?
  • Are they soft?
  • Are they generally warm?
  • Are they comfortable and flexible enough for sports? 
  • Is it easy to wash thermal underwear?

Always double-check the fit of your thermal underwear before you go out on your cold-weather excursion! Thermals should fit tightly against the skin without restricting blood flow or circulation.

If any part of them seems baggy or oversized, they are not the correct fit for you. Even if they technically fit, they will wear down quickly, making them a poorer investment than a truly well-fitting pair. Likewise, resist the temptation to “size down” and buy thermals that fit a bit too tight for comfort. 

Your best bet is to try on several pairs of thermals to see which materials and brands fit your body best.  

What Kind of Thermal Underwear Fabric Is Best?

The fabric is essential when shopping for a pair of thermal underwear for your trip. Only the warmest, moisture-wicking, fast-drying fabric will ensure that you’re safe, warm, comfortable, and can participate in everything from ice fishing to cross country skiing without a care in the world!

Our two recommendations for thermal fabric are merino wool and synthetic fabrics. 

Merino wool is organic and naturally antibacterial. Merino has an advantage over standard wool because it is more lightweight. It also tends to itch less, which is a massive advantage if you wear them for several hours at a time! 

Merino wool is second to none when wicking moisture and is often thicker than other materials. It retains thermal properties even when it gets wet. That’s a bonus safety feature courtesy of mother nature!

Synthetic thermals can keep the wearer very warm without any amount of itchiness. They also tend to dry very quickly, which is a significant advantage over materials like cotton and is less expensive. A synthetic base layer usually contains polyester or a polyester blend and other materials. 


Choosing a thermal shirt or layer for cold weather seems easy, but as you see, there are many factors to consider.

We believe we have helped you find the best solution and see all the options you can have with our research and data.

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