Ashmei's Merino baselayer is a dream to pull on. Merino wool is renowned for providing warmth without holding on to sweat, and 37.5 tech has impressed me time and time again in its ability to help maintain the optimum temperature. Ashmei's simple styling means I'm just as happy to wear this baselayer off the bike as I am on it. The only downside is the cost but there is a pleasure that comes attached to investing in a company whose values are aligned with your own.
Focus on sustainability
Ashmei is all about simple, quality kit that just works. The brand places a heavy focus on sustainability, as exemplified by its being part of the 1% for the Planet initiative, which means that one per cent of all revenue goes towards environmental charities. Letting actions do the talking, it has worked with Utenos to produce all of its Merino + Carbon fabric: the manufacturer was the first in the world to be certified by Greenpeace as complying with its environmental procurement standards.
Lovely as all that is, considered alone it doesn't tell you if you should buy this baselayer. The women's long sleeved merino baselayer from Ashmei uses the brand's Merino + Carbon fabric and is designed to keep the wearer's body temperature at the perfect 37.5ºc mark. It meets all its goals, in a beautifully comfortable package. The price tag is hard to swallow, which is really the only thing that lets it down.
See it here at Ashmei for £72
Ashmei women's long sleeve merino baselayer: construction
Whilst the baselayer's name refers just to Merino, what Ashmei actually provides is Merino + Carbon fabric with 37.5 Technology; the make-up is 65 per cent Merino (with a Woolmark Certified Wool Rich Blend) and 35 per cent Cocona 37.5 Polyester.
We already know that Merino is renowned for being quick-drying, insulating, and magically sidestepping odour build-up.
The newer innovation comes from the third-party 37.5 Technology, whose fabric has been used by a number of cycling and outdoor brands in recent years. The material aims to keep the wearer at 37.5ºC, which is reportedly the ideal core temperature for the human body. It does that by weaving in active particles - which when met with liquid (from sweat) become charged, speeding up the process of turning sweat to vapour and pushing it away from the skin. When no liquid - or sweat - is present, the particles take on the role of warming the body.
Ashmei claims that by using this technology it is able to achieve a twofold improvement on the drying time of solo Merino, making the wicking an impressive 10 times better.
The baselayer is styled so it can be worn as a top alone, though traditionally cyclists will be pairing it with a jersey. For those opting for the more casual look, there is a reflective logo on the hem, which is a nice touch, and all washing instructions are printed on the inside in gold lettering with no need for scratchy labels.
The fabric also boasts a 50+ UPF rating and the baselayer comes in sizes from XS to XL, and in green or black. I tested the size small, which came in at 122g.
Ashmei women's long sleeve merino baselayer: the ride
Ashmei's baselayer is extremely soft to the touch. It's been through the wash several times now and that statement remains true.
Out on the bike, it provides the warmth required on chilly mornings, without becoming heavy with sweat once the temperature begins to increase - there is no denying that Merino always has been excellent at this job, and the 37.5 tech adds to its prowess.
The baselayer is light so doesn't add bulk when paired with a mid-weight thermal long-sleeved jersey. I followed the fit guide to select a size small, and this was spot on across the body. If I'm being really picky (and for a baselayer priced at £72, I am), I found the sleeves a little short. Underneath a long-sleeved jersey that's no bother, but it would be if wearing this alone and reaching out for the handlebars, leaving exposed skin at the wrist.
'Loungewear' has been a popular sales category within the fashion industry during the Covid lockdown, and I will admit that as well as being a go-to choice for the bike, Ashmei's baselayer has become a firm favourite when milling around the house, or lounging, too. The relaxed fit means that's it's comfortable and warm enough to wear on its own, without being a layer too much when added underneath a jumper.
Ashmei women's long sleeve merino baselayer: value
Ashmei has attached a £72 price tag to this baselayer, and that's where this garment loses points.
Other brands have offered a Merino/37.5 fabric mix for far less, with Wiggle's in-house dhb being a prominent example - albeit with no stock currently available on the long sleeved option. The dhb Aeron Merino short sleeved baselayer with 37.5 tech costs £38 from Wiggle. The Megmeister baselayer I reviewed a year ago came in at £54.95 and whilst it was packed with a very different type of tech I still considered that expensive.
What you get from Ashmei, though, is a luxury aesthetic and the knowledge that you're buying from a company that puts sustainability at its heart - which is pretty cool.
See it here at Ashmei for £72
Michelle Arthurs-Brennan is Cycling Weekly's Tech Editor, and is responsible for managing the tech news and reviews both on the website and in Cycling Weekly magazine.
A traditional journalist by trade, Arthurs-Brennan began her career working for a local newspaper, before spending a few years at Evans Cycles, then combining writing and her love of bicycles first at Total Women's Cycling and then Cycling Weekly.
When not typing up reviews, news, and interviews Arthurs-Brennan is a road racer who also enjoys track riding and the occasional time trial, though dabbles in off-road riding too (either on a mountain bike, or a 'gravel bike'). She is passionate about supporting grassroots women's racing and founded the women's road race team 190rt.
She rides bikes of all kinds, but favourites include a custom carbon Werking road bike as well as the Specialized Tarmac SL6.
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