One of the things that I find makes the biggest difference between a great late fall/winter run and a terrible one is proper layering. In the summer it is easy to throw on shorts and a top and go, while in the cooler temps I focus much more on what I am going to wear. In this planning, I have found the base layer can be the easiest to get wrong, and layering is something where you get it all right, or you pay the price! Its easy to cheap out on base layers – no one sees them, they’re not exposed to the elements so why would I care to spend extra money on something like this? Running in a higher end base layer like The North Face FlashDry Warm Zip Neck top was a great reminder that a good base layer is as valuable as any other piece of clothing I run in.
The FlashDry fabric is ideal for a base layer – soft and smooth against the skin. I found that it did a great job of maoving moisture away from my body, and never felt cold or heavy while I was running. The seams on the shirt were well designed and manufactured. I didn’t have any issues with rubbing or chafing against the skin. I was also happy to see that The North Face left out any embroidered logos on the chest which can cause problems if they rub against the skin. I really liked the ¼ length zipper as it made the shirt a bit more versatile once I got going and warmed up. The difference between having it fully zipped, and fully open was signficant and allows great ventilation and temperature control. The high collar was also nice to seal in the warmth, but also to prevent my rougher outer layers from rubbing on my neck.
I liked the cut of this shirt. The main torso was fitted but with enough room to comfortably wear another tight layer under it on really cold days without any bunching. It was a great length to provide adequate coverage without hanging out of the bottom of the outer shell. The sleeves were awesome – perfect length for me, and nice and snug to keep them out of the way when putting other layers on top.
Another thing I noticed after using this shirt a few times was that it doesn’t retain odor as fast as some base layers I use. I’ll have to see if this changes with age, but its definitely nice to be able to wear it more than once between washes. I should note that as a pure base layer this shirt does not have any pockets to stow things like gels or keys. It is designed to be worn close to the body, and is a very basic piece. This kind of versatile base layer with should be standard for anyone who likes working hard outside in the winter, and The North Face Warm Zip Neck top is an ideal choice.