They’re just around the corner. Those dark, cold nights at training. Those frosty mornings . Those windswept, boggy, Saturday afternoons in the driving sleet where going to ground is nothing short of an ordeal. It may be that, at this time of year, you may be thinking of treating yourself to a new set of base layers to help offset the bite of winter.
As with most pieces of kit there is a broad spectrum of market possibilities and compression wear is no different. From the eye-wateringly expensive ‘top-end’ ranges which would, quite frankly, do you for playing rugby in the Arctic Circle to the ‘cheap-n-cheerful’ base layers found in wire baskets in the likes of Aldi and Lidl (other budget supermarkets are available…)the options are wide and varied.
Small, British based company Thorogood Sports (base-layers.com) are pitching their price towards the lower end but aiming quality towards the middle/top. To achieve this they are cutting out the middle man (retailers) and offering consumers a single route to market through their online shop. It’s not a hugely innovative business model but anything that keeps the cost down is a good thing right?
Can base layers be worn in Rugby? What’s the kit like? First impression was that the material was a bit thin and I had concerns over the ability of the garments to stand up to the rigours of rugby. I then played a full game (Prop Plays Full 80 minutes shocker!) in one of the Hyperfusion long sleeved tops and a pair of the Total Compression Carbonforce Pro shorts. Both lasted the distance and were comfortable and breathable. Being that we’re in the midst of an Indian Summer I can’t comment on the potential warmth of the products but I didn’t find them noticeably insulating and would therefore question their ability to do a job in February or November. They do however do a thermal range that may be worth a look. I also used a different pair of the shorts (honest) as compression/recovery wear post-game and they also seemed to do the basic job but in all honesty felt a world away from some specialist compression garments in terms of quality.
All in all these are a perfectly acceptable mid-range baselayer product. Perfect for training, gym work, cardio, etc but potentially not to be relied on for those big games. At less than £15 a garment with free delivery they hold a decent range and ultimately offer good value for money.