Cons: Thicker fabric doesn't breathe as well in warm climates, fabric shows signs of wear after minimal use
Manufacturer: Ridge Merino
Compare to Similar Products
|Price||$80 List||$60 List|
$59.99 at Amazon
|$65 List||$55 List|
$54.95 at REI
$39.95 at REI
|Pros||Excellent warmth, soft elastic waistband, odor-free, high waisted design for additional coverage||Great value, very warm, breathable, comfortable waistband, versatile fit||Very breathable, ultralight construction, quick drying, great snug 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||Thicker fabric doesn't breathe as well in warm climates, fabric shows signs of wear after minimal use||Stretches out over time||Not as comfortable as merino fabric||Absorbs and holds moisture, fabric retains odor immediately||Waistband doesn't provide enough structure, lacks warmth, fit runs large|
|Bottom Line||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||A highly breathable layer that dries quickly, making it exceptional for intense cool to cold weather activity||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||Ridge Merino Invers...||Meriwool Merino 250...||Odlo Performance Li...||REI Co-op Midweight...||REI Co-op Lightweig...|
|Comfort and Fit (30%)|
|Specs||Ridge Merino Invers...||Meriwool Merino 250...||Odlo Performance Li...||REI Co-op Midweight...||REI Co-op Lightweig...|
|Material||100% Merino wool||100% Merino wool||69% polyester, 27% polyamide, 4% elastane||92% polyester, 8% spandex||92% polyester, 8% spandex|
|Fabric Weight (g/m²)||270 g/m²||250 g/m²||Not disclosed||Not disclosed||Not disclosed|
|Measured Weight (size medium)||7.9 oz||7.8 oz||3.1 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||Naturally odor resistant||Naturally odor resistant||N/A||N/A||N/A|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Ridge Inversion Leggings are a heavyweight base layer that offers superior warmth and comfort for a decently affordable price. One of the warmest and thickest layers that we tested, these long johns are designed with winter outdoor activities in mind. Though they breathe well in colder temperatures, sweat pooled in the waistband when tested in warmer and humid climates. These leggings feature an excellent high-waisted fit and a full-length pant that extends to the ankle. A brushed and stretchy elastic waistband increases comfort without being distracting, and the flatlock seams are minimal to prevent chafing. Our only durability complaint with the Inversion is the minor piling in the fabric after minimal washes. But overall, this layer is perfect for staying warm and cozy during any cold-weather adventure.
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.
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.
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 full range of motion, even when layered below your ski or puffy pants. The high-rise waist increases warmth and offers more coverage around the waist with full-length pant legs that extend 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.
We're happy to report we noticed only minor fabric piling after many weeks of rigorous testing. After many trail runs through sharp manzanita forests and cold fall camp nights, these long johns held up rather nicely. 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.
Should You Buy the Ridge Merino Inversion Leggings?
If you're looking for an affordable 100% Merino wool long john that doesn't sacrifice performance or comfort, these are a great option. Ultrafine Merino wool traps heat and sheds moisture during the coldest months of the year. A naturally odor-free and durable design makes these more than worth their modest price tag.
What Other Long Underwear Should You Consider?
If you're psyched on a 100% Merino wool design but prefer a lighter weight and want to reduce excess bulk in your ski and snowboard boots, check out the Ortovox 185 Rock'N'Wool Short Pants. Or, if you want to invest in a superior Merino wool design that offers a few more bells and whistles, consider the Icebreaker BodyfitZone Merino 260 Zone Thermal Leggings.
— Trish Matheny
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