Reviews You Can Rely On

Ridge Merino Inversion Heavyweight Merino Leggings - Women's Review

These heavyweight 100% Merino wool bottoms offer superior warmth and comfort at a fraction of the cost
gearlab tested logo
Ridge Merino Inversion Heavyweight Merino Leggings - Women's Review (The perfect pair of long johns for everything from cold desert mornings in the fall to the base of your layering...)
The perfect pair of long johns for everything from cold desert mornings in the fall to the base of your layering system while skiing powder in the depths of winter.
Credit: Lindsey Fell
Price:  $80 List
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Manufacturer:   Ridge Merino
By Trish Matheny ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Apr 12, 2024
77
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#7 of 22
  • Warmth - 25% 9.5
  • Breathability - 20% 7.0
  • Comfort and Fit - 20% 7.5
  • Durability - 15% 7.0
  • Drying Speed - 10% 5.5
  • Layering Ability - 10% 8.0

Our Verdict

If you're looking for a high-performing heavyweight pair of long johns created with every winter outdoor activity in mind, look no further than the Ridge Merino Inversion Heavyweight Merino Leggings. These leggings are so soft and cozy next to the skin, thanks to their 100% Merino wool construction and flatlock seams. Complete with a high-waisted design that offers full coverage and a brushed elastic waistband that holds everything in place when layered beneath your pants. Our only complaint about these leggings is their heavyweight design prevents them from functioning year-round; however, when the temperatures drop, these are one of our favorites. Check out how it compares to the competition in our article on the best women's long underwear.
REASONS TO BUY
Excellent warmth
Soft elastic waistband
Odor-free
High-waisted design for additional coverage
REASONS TO AVOID
Thicker fabric doesn't breathe as well in warm climates
Fabric shows signs of wear after minimal use
Longer drying speed
Editor's Note: This review was updated to include buying recommendations on April 12, 2024.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards  Best Buy Award Best Buy Award  Best Buy Award 
Price $80 List$80 List
$79.99 at Amazon
$55 List
$38.39 at REI
$40 List
$27.89 at REI
$36 List
$32.39 at Amazon
Overall Score Sort Icon
77
80
71
70
66
Star Rating
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Bottom Line A heavyweight Merino wool bottom that's high-performing and naturally odor-freeThese bottoms offer a ton of warmth and substantial comfort at a more affordable priceThese lightweight tights feature a soft and stretchy fabric that is easy to layer and maintains substantial warmth when dryLightweight, breathable, and highly affordable, these tights unfortunately lack warmth and require constant adjustment due to the stretchy fabric and wide waistbandWhile these bottoms lack warmth for the coldest months of the year, they are a great option for those seeking a three-season stand-alone legging
Rating Categories Ridge Merino Invers... Minus33 Franconia M... REI Co-op Midweight... REI Co-op Lightweig... Baleaf Fleeced Line...
Warmth (25%)
9.5
9.0
7.0
6.0
4.0
Breathability (20%)
7.0
7.0
6.0
8.0
7.0
Comfort and Fit (20%)
7.5
9.0
8.0
7.0
8.0
Durability (15%)
7.0
8.0
7.0
5.0
7.0
Drying Speed (10%)
5.5
7.0
8.0
8.0
7.5
Layering Ability (10%)
8.0
6.0
7.0
9.0
8.0
Specs Ridge Merino Invers... Minus33 Franconia M... REI Co-op Midweight... REI Co-op Lightweig... Baleaf Fleeced Line...
Measured Weight (Size Small) 7.36 oz 7.52 oz 6.40 oz 5.44 oz 8.80 oz
Material 100% Merino wool 100% Merino wool 92% recycled polyester, 8% spandex 92% polyester, 8% spandex 87% polyester, 13% spandex
Insulation Weight Class Heavyweight Midwewight Midweight Lightweight Midwewight
Smelly Over Time? No No Yes Yes Yes
Odor Control Fabric Naturally odor resistant Naturally odor resistant No No No
Cuts Avaliable Full-length Full-length Full-length Full-length Full-length
Listed Fabric Weight (g/m²) 270 g/m² 235 g/m² Not disclosed Not disclosed Not disclosed

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Ridge Inversion Leggings are a heavyweight base layer that offers superior warmth and comfort at an affordable price point. One of the warmest and thickest layers that we tested, these long johns are designed with winter outdoor activities in mind. These leggings feature an excellent high-waisted fit and a full-length pant that extends to the ankle. A brushed, stretchy waistband increases comfort without being distracting, and the flatlock seams are minimal to prevent chafing.

Performance Comparison


ridge merino inversion heavyweight merino leggings for women - whether worn as a stand alone piece during crisp fall mornings in...
Whether worn as a stand alone piece during crisp fall mornings in the desert or layered below your ski bibs while riding the chairlift in winter, the Ridge Inversion leggings offer heavyweight performance at an affordable price.
Credit: Lindsey Fell

Warmth


Finally, a long underwear garment that lives up to its advertised weight — the Inversion Heavyweight Merino Leggings are exactly that, a heavyweight garment built for the coldest of winter adventures. These are hands down one of the warmest pairs of long underwear we've tested, thanks in part to the high rise of the waist for added warmth in addition to the 270 g/m² of thick and heavyweight Merino wool.

During our fall testing period, when the temperatures dropped, we remained warm and cozy while camping in the cold and dark. The smooth Merino wool of the Inversion Leggings increases their layering ability when paired with other pants over the top for added insulation. These leggings quickly became one of our go-to's for extra warmth around the campfire or for long trail runs in the shade. They are perfect for backcountry ski adventures when layered below your bibs, whether riding the lift or earning your turns in the backcountry during the coldest conditions.

The Inversion Leggings keep the fun Type 1 flowing thanks to the thicker fabric that kept us warm during the coldest months of the year.
Credit: Trish Matheny

Breathability


While the Ridge Inversion Leggings breathe decently for a heavyweight 100% Merino wool pair of long johns, they do not breathe as well as other light and midweight options tested in this review. The simple, stripped-down design also does not feature any ventilation panels for moisture to escape, except through the thick and tightly woven wool material. These leggings are designed with winter sports in mind and are far too thick and heavyweight to be considered functional for the entirety of the year. That said, the Merino wool fabric is so soft and cozy that they are perfect for those crisp fall evenings when you need a little extra insulation.

While the fit of this layer is neither super tight nor loose, it still allows air to flow through the fabric, thereby wicking moisture away from the skin to prevent any clamminess. Still, our testers noticed that the thick waistband often collected sweat that was difficult to release with other layers over the top. While not the highest performer in this metric, the Ridge Inversion offers effective moisture management in the colder conditions for which it is designed.

The minimalist design of these leggings doesn't include any ventilation panels for moisture to escape, so if you plan to wear them in the backcountry, either select them when the temperatures drop or plan to slow down your pace.
Credit: Trish Matheny

Comfort and Fit


Premium, 18.5-micron fibers in this 100% Merino wool fabric create next-level softness and increase next-to-skin comfort, making these leggings a great choice for rest days, cold nights in the tent, or pushing yourself in the mountains. The flatlock seams reduce chafing and prevent discomfort, while the brushed elastic waistband lays flat against your skin. Removable labels also enhance comfort, and the Merino wool design didn't itch or cause any irritation.

The fit of the Inversion is slim enough to retain body heat but loose enough to allow for a full range of motion, even when layered below your ski or puffy pants. The high-rise waist increases warmth and offers coverage around the waist with full-length pant legs extending just below the ankle. These leggings easily accommodate athletic calves without any constrictions. Our testers were impressed by the overall comfort and fit offered by these affordable Merino wool leggings, whether layered below an outer layer or worn on their own during a mellow rest day at home.

ridge merino inversion heavyweight merino leggings for women - the high-waisted fit, brushed elastic waistband, and ultra fine...
The high-waisted fit, brushed elastic waistband, and ultra fine Merino wool construction make these leggings extremely comfortable and easy to layer.
Credit: Claire Maurey

Durability


We're happy to report that after many weeks of rigorous testing, we noticed only minor fabric piling. These long johns held up rather nicely after many trail runs through sharp manzanita forests and cold fall camp nights. The 100% Merino wool fabric is naturally odor-free, even after many uses between washes.

The fabric is thick enough to be worn on its own, though if you purchase these in a light color, they will, unsurprisingly, stain more easily. The lighter colors can also pick up bits of darker fabrics worn over the top, often changing the color, if ever so subtle. Aesthetics aside, the Inversion Leggings are ready for cold outdoor pursuits, thanks to reinforced flatlock seams and the 270-gram Merino wool heavyweight fabric.

ridge merino inversion heavyweight merino leggings for women - here you can see the minor fabric piling in addition to the thick...
Here you can see the minor fabric piling in addition to the thick waistband that lays flat against the skin and finally the durable reinforced flatlock seams.
Credit: Claire Maurey

Drying Speed


To properly test this metric, we simulated washing and drying each layer in the backcountry for a multi-day adventure. We soaked each bottom in a local stream, wrung each pair out, tossed every one on a line to dry, and started our stopwatch. Unfortunately, the Inversion offered the slowest drying speed at 78 minutes, but they are also the thickest and considered the only true heavyweight fabric in our lineup.

After working up a sweat, we noticed that the lack of breathability in these thick and heavyweight bottoms also prevented a fast drying speed, requiring one hour to dry on the body post-ski. We don't recommend drying this layer in the dryer, which can often damage Merino wool due to high heat; rather, we recommend allowing it to dry fully overnight after washing in a machine.

ridge merino inversion heavyweight merino leggings for women - the ridge inversion heavyweight merino leggings is one of the...
The Ridge Inversion Heavyweight Merino Leggings is one of the thickest layers that we tested for this review. With that 100% Merino wool thickness also comes a longer drying time.
Credit: Trish Matheny

Layering Ability


Though one might suspect that the Inversion leggings would be difficult to layer due to their fabric thickness, our testing team couldn't help but notice the smooth interface of these leggings when paired beneath rain or puffy pants and our ski bibs. As long as the layer over the top isn't too slim-fitting, these leggings should easily layer underneath.

It's worth considering the thicker fabric of these heavyweight leggings based on the activity you select for the day. If your ski bibs run a little snug, the Inversion may not be the best choice and may prevent full range of motion due to limited space. If you're out winter camping and your puffy pants fit snugly around the waist, the Inversion may limit overall comfort, even with a waistband that sits above the natural waistline. That being said, these are great if layered within a system that leaves a little extra space for the 270 g/m² Merino wool fabric.

ridge merino inversion heavyweight merino leggings for women - though a heavyweight fabric, the merino wool of the ridge inversion...
Though a heavyweight fabric, the Merino wool of the Ridge Inversion is smooth, and the high rise fit reduces bulk around your natural waistline.
Credit: Trish Matheny

Should You Buy the Ridge Merino Inversion Leggings?


If you're looking for affordable, 100% Merino wool long underwear that doesn't sacrifice performance or comfort, the Inversion Leggings are a great option. Ultra-fine Merino wool traps heat and sheds moisture, keeping you warm and dry during the coldest months of the year. A naturally odor-free and durable design makes these worth much more than their modest price tag suggests.

ridge merino inversion heavyweight merino leggings for women - these heavyweight bottoms were some of the thickest tested for this...
These heavyweight bottoms were some of the thickest tested for this review, best for moderate activity during the coldest months of the year.
Credit: Trish Matheny

What Other Long Underwear Should You Consider?


If you're psyched on a 100% Merino wool design but prefer a lighter-weight bottom with less bulk, check out the Ortovox 185 Rock'N'Wool Short Pants. Another Merino wool design that isn't quite so thick is the Icebreaker 200 Oasis Leggings. Looking for a top-performing 100% Merino wool design that offers versatility for year-round use? Check out our favorite pair of long underwear bottoms, the Icebreaker 200 ZoneKnit Merino Thermal Leggings. And finally, if you're on a tight budget, check out the Minus33 Franconia Midweight Wool that features a looser fit with the softness of 100% Merino wool.

Trish Matheny