The Odlo Performance Light Bottoms are made for the athlete focused on year-round performance. Specially designed to breathe efficiently and wick moisture away from the body with quality Norwegian design and Swiss construction, it was clear these bottoms were worthy of our fast-paced activities. From trail runs to backcountry skiing, these are our go-to pair for breaking a sweat, especially in the shoulder seasons.Editor's Note: This review was updated on November 22, 2022, to include recommendations on other pairs of long underwear to consider.
Cons: Not as comfortable as merino fabric
Compare to Similar Products
Odlo Performance Light Bottoms - Women's
|Price||$65 List||$80 List||$60 List|
$59.99 at Amazon
$54.95 at REI
$39.95 at REI
|Pros||Very breathable, ultralight construction, quick drying, great snug fit||Excellent warmth, soft elastic waistband, odor-free, high waisted design for additional coverage||Great value, very warm, breathable, comfortable waistband, versatile fit||Smooth and silky fabric, easy to wear alone or when layered, cute and fitted style, affordable||Affordable, incredibly breathable, soft and stretchy fabric|
|Cons||Not as comfortable as merino fabric||Thicker fabric doesn't breathe as well in warm climates, fabric shows signs of wear after minimal use||Stretches out over time||Absorbs and holds moisture, fabric retains odor immediately||Waistband doesn't provide enough structure, lacks warmth, fit runs large|
|Bottom Line||A highly breathable layer that dries quickly, making it exceptional for intense cool to cold weather activity||These heavyweight 100% Merino wool long johns offer superior warmth and comfort at a fraction of the cost||A Merino wool pant that's warm, comfortable, and offers a great value, though they do stretch out the longer you wear them||This synthetic base layer option features a soft and stretchy polyester fabric that offers moderate levels of warmth and breathability for an affordable price||Lightweight, breathable, and highly affordable, these tights unfortunately lack warmth and require constant adjustment due to the stretchy fabric and wide waistband|
|Rating Categories||Odlo Performance Li...||Ridge Merino Invers...||Meriwool Merino 250...||REI Co-op Midweight...||REI Co-op Lightweig...|
|Comfort and Fit (30%)|
|Specs||Odlo Performance Li...||Ridge Merino Invers...||Meriwool Merino 250...||REI Co-op Midweight...||REI Co-op Lightweig...|
|Material||69% polyester, 27% polyamide, 4% elastane||100% Merino wool||100% Merino wool||92% polyester, 8% spandex||92% polyester, 8% spandex|
|Fabric Weight (g/m²)||Not disclosed||270 g/m²||250 g/m²||Not disclosed||Not disclosed|
|Measured Weight (size medium)||3.1 oz||7.9 oz||7.8 oz||6.4 oz||5.8 oz|
|Cuts Avaliable||Full length||Full length||Full length||Full length||Full length|
|Smelly Over Time?||No||No||No||Yes||Yes|
|Odor Control Fabric||N/A||Naturally odor resistant||Naturally odor resistant||N/A||N/A|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Odlo Performance Light Bottoms are designed to keep you warm during intense activity with features that include body-mapping ventilation that won't allow you to overheat and a fabric that dries quickly on the body. This synthetic pair consists of 69% polyester, 27% polyamide, and 4% elastane.
When considering this metric, we note the weight of each base layer, from lightweight models geared towards high output activity to heavyweight thermal fabric that will keep you warm while riding the chair lift. The layers that offered the most warmth while we were exposed to the elements received higher scores. Keep in mind that a high score in this category is not necessarily desired for high-output activity.
The Odlo Performance Light Bottoms are meant to keep you warm enough while moving without leaving you sweaty and, eventually, shivering. The heavily ventilated construction is not designed to be your warmest winter layer. It is designed to keep you warm during activities such as fall training runs and winter cross-country skiing by allowing the moisture to be wicked away from the body and released through extensive ventilation. As a synthetic layer, it hardly compares to the warmth of a lightweight merino wool layer. However, when pushing your heart rate during strenuous activity in cool to cold temps, we found the Odlo Performance Light to be a great option offering warmth by not allowing for sweat to build up beneath your layers.
To test the level of breathability for each base layer, we take note of the fabric that made up the construction of the garment, whether or not the layer was merino wool or synthetic, and finally the level of thickness, from light to heavyweight. Next, we brave the elements to assess how well each base layer was able to breathe, wick away moisture, thereby keeping us warm and dry. We also note how quickly the layers are able to dry out after being soaked in sweat or moisture from the elements.
After taking one look at the Odlo Performance Light Bottoms, we knew they would breathe well due to the seamlessly integrated ventilation zones. The ventilation did not allow for much moisture to accumulate while we were out on our bike or running the trails. Sweat was wicked away from our skin remarkably effectively. The material is quite thin, somewhere in between pantyhose and a cotton legging, so best to stay in motion when wearing these leggings in colder weather conditions.
Comfort and Fit
Both breathability and warmth are crucial considerations as you decide on your base layers. However, if the layer does not fit appropriately and offers a low level of comfort, it doesn't matter how warm it is or how well it breathes. We test for comfort and fit by wearing each pair of long underwear for the day, from drinking coffee by the fire to performing during activity, then we recorded our experiences, giving the layers that were the most comfortable throughout the day higher scores.
We love the overall fit of the Odlo Performance Light Bottoms. While not as comfortable as a soft merino wool construction, we found they are comfortable enough to forget about when we were out exploring the trails. The fabric allows for freedom of movement, and the flatlock seams prevent chafing for an increased level of comfort. Don't be fooled by the European sizing, these bottoms are designed for a form-fitting and secure fit to increase their level of warmth and prevent excess airflow. During testing, we found these leggings to fit true to size; however, if you find that your measurements put you between sizes, consider sizing up.
For this metric, we record the daily wear and tear we experienced with each pair of long underwear during aerobic activity. After trusting these base layers to keep us warm during rock climbing adventures and cold trail runs during the change of season, we evaluate the impact of those activities on each pair of long underwear. We give higher scores to the layers that are able to keep up with us without stretching out, as well as the layers that displayed the highest level of quality and craftsmanship.
The Odlo Performance Light Bottoms feature a solid construction. However, the fabric is ultralight, requiring a level of care to make these leggings last. Odlo recommends always machine-washing these leggings with cold water and hanging them to dry which will prevent the material from being compromised by heat from the dryer.
Should You Buy the Odlo Performance Light Bottoms?
We're excited that this pair of synthetic long underwear is available for less than the cost of its Merino wool competitors. Features such as body mapping ventilation allow the material to breathe and dry quickly with the heat your body produces during activity. The flatlock seams increase overall comfort, making these bottoms even more worthy of their affordable price tag. At a featherweight 3.1 ounces for a size medium, these are an excellent addition to your lightweight base layer kit.
What Other Long Underwear Should You Consider?
If you prefer synthetic fabric and want to save even more bucks, the REI Co-op Midweight Tights are another great pair to consider, as is the REI Co-op Lightweight Base Layer Tights. Neither is quite as light as the Odlo Performance Light, but the price point is definitely appealing. Our very favorite synthetic pair, however, is the Patagonia Capilene Midweight Bottom. If you'd like to dip your toes in the world of Merino wool without emptying your pocketbook, the Ridge Merino Inversion Heavyweight Merino Leggings are our favorite.
— Trish Matheny
Ad-free. Influence-free. Powered by Testing.
GearLab is founded on the principle of honest, objective, reviews. Our experts test thousands of products each year using thoughtful test plans that bring out key performance differences between competing products. And, to assure complete independence, we buy all the products we test ourselves. No cherry-picked units sent by manufacturers. No sponsored content. No ads. Just real, honest, side-by-side testing and comparison.Learn More