- Embers Merino Floe Zip base layer
- £52 (printed £55)
Much has been written about the impressive warmth, breathability and odour resistance of Merino wool. Much like Douglas Adams’s Babel Fish, it seems incredibly improbable that anything so mind-bogglingly useful could evolve purely by chance, but here it is growing on the backs of sheep in New Zealand.
Derbyshire-based Embers Merino specialises, as you might possibly have deduced, in Merino clothing. The Floe forms part of Embers’s baselayer range, which encompasses all possible combinations of sleeve length and presence (or otherwise) of zips – in this case, long sleeves and a not-quite half-length zip.
In accordance with Merino tradition, the Floe is soft to the touch and very cosy when it needs to be without getting overhot. It’s made from lightweight (185gsm) fabric, and Embers has included underarm panels for a bit more freedom of movement, and a high collar that keeps draughts out. Although described by Embers as “form fit”, the fit is on the “comfortable” side – if you’re looking for a baselayer to go under a traditionally-styled cycling jersey the Floe might not be the best option. It lends itself better than most to being worn on its own, though.
The garment pictured has the optional printed details – if you don’t particularly want some graphics down the arm the plain version is a little cheaper.
Ups and downs
Positives: Usual Merino benefits in a good-looking package
Negatives: On the pricey side, even for Merino
There’s a big choice of Merino baselayers these days. The Floe is a good choice if you’re after something to wear on its own or under a looser-fitting midlayer.