There are baselayers, and then there are baselayers that look so good you want to show the world. Icebreaker’s LS Sprint Zip, from their GT Technical series, is that kind of gear. The Euro-Nordic flare of the trim, athletic styling, the clever use of red for contrast, the cut and stitching—it all adds up to the best looking base layer on the market. It exudes style and quality that blows the other baselayers away we’ve tested lately.
But how does it perform? Can it live up to the hype, or is it just good looks?
Honestly, this thing performs every bit as good as it looks. Icebreaker uses high quality Merino wool (and in the case of the GT line, just a dash of lycra) to create these amazingly warm, breathable baselayers. The feel against your skin is soft and natural, and the wool’s inherent warmth and breathability mean that the Icebreakers don’t need fancy areas to wick sweat. The whole thing is fancy—courtesy of nature’s own sheep producing a very fine product as well.
I’ve worn the Sprint for its intended baselayer purpose in a variety of temperatures, and I never overheated or got clammy. The long zipper makes ventilation a breeze, but honestly, it breathed so well, I didn’t have any trouble. And even if you do sweat it up, the Merino wool is naturally antimicrobial, so it won’t stink.
I also have worn it extensively as one darn good-looking shirt. It’s classy enough for a date, technical enough for the slopes or a long hike. Wear it skiing in the afternoon and then to dinner in the warm lodge.
But it isn’t all roses and Nordic-god sex appeal. The LS Sprint Zip retails for $110, which is high for a base layer—or any other shirt, for that matter. The leggings are no better at $100. Contrast that against a $35 discount for Columbia’s synthetic Omni-Heat baselayers, which we’ve also reviewed, and Icebreaker must make a strong case for the Merino’s natural fibers, sustainability, and green appeal to go along with amazing good looks.
Do they make the case for value-conscious Benosh? I’m afraid I’m sold—take me to New Zealand! If you want a shirt that can do it all, and can make you look amazing doing it, I strongly suggest considering the LS Sprint Zip and Leggings—just skimp on the rest to save room in the budget for becoming a Nordic ski god.