Altura Thermocool Long Sleeve base layer review

Billed as Altura’s most technical base layer, the Thermocool boasts a boatload of performance technology

(Image credit: mike prior)
Cycling Weekly Verdict

The Thermocool is a technically excellent product. It’s breathable, comfortable and warm, but Altura hasn’t got the fit right. The arms are too short for those with longer limbs.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Tight fitting

  • +


  • +

    Minimal seams

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Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Doesn't fit long-armed people

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Pick up and put on Altura’s Thermocool base layer and the first thing you’ll notice is that’s tight. So tight, in fact, that it has a concave shape to its torso.

This is of course, deliberate. One of the many technical aspects of the Thermocool is its figure-hugging shape or, as Altura says, ‘performance fit’.

However, while it’s tight, it’s never uncomfortable – almost the opposite is true. When worn under other layers it becomes unnoticeable.

The Thermocool is mostly seamless which makes it very comfortable

This has a lot to do with the Thermocool’s largely seamless design. The only stitching on the item is around the neck and shoulders.

Instead of seams, the rest of the Thermocool is held together by Altura’s ‘Four Way Stretch Technology’, which definitely impacts for the better on how comfortable it is.

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Plus, thanks to its tight fit, there’s no opportunity for what small amount of stitching there is to move against your body. This results in a rub-free riding experience.

Watch: Buyer's guide to winter clothing

That said, I struggled with the Thermocool’s sizing. While the torso length was spot on, the arm length came up drastically short. Imagine three quarter length sleeves and you’re in the ballpark in terms of sizing.

Granted, I do have particularly long levers and speaking to a colleague who also tested the Thermocool revealed it fit his shorter arms fine.

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Stitching and fit aside, the base layer does its job admirably. Having worn this out in some seriously cold temperatures on the bike it’s kept me warm. Granted, I kept my fore arms warm through other means.

Heat retention is significantly aided by the elasticated cuffs and waistline that stopped any stray drafts getting in. Happily, it’s also breathable and was rarely damp after finishing rides.

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