Bow looks at some Japanese technology to keep you shooting when the temperature drops.
A base layer is designed to be the piece of clothing closest to your skin and should keep warmth in and wick away sweat. Bow recommended a base layer made by a certain well-known upmarket cycling brand in the ‘Ultimate Gear’ roundup recently, as it turned out to be excellent for archery; adding confidence and support as well as cosiness, and flexing exceptionally well for shooting. As well as being easily washable, the other big plus to a base layer is the portability; they are a light and easily-squished addition to any outdoor kit.
The Japanese company Zerofit markets itself as the ‘World’s Warmest Baselayer’, Founded by a golf fanatic in Kobe, Japan back in 2005, the brand is now sold in Europe, with a focus on warmth. As they put it: “The ‘double-loop’ barrel fabric provides both heat insulation and ‘friction heating’ via extra-long bristles which ensure a layer of warm air is retained around the body; even a little movement of these bristles causes friction which creates heat and actually warms you up. The Superfit profile is tailored to your shape to give maximum comfort and heat performance with no restriction on movement.”
Zerofit sent over two of their products: Zerofit Move, with tiny polypropylene fibres, and Zerofit Ultimate, with a wider mix of fibres. The Move had a more woven, ‘matt’ finish and didn’t fit your editor as snugly as the Ultimate, which seemed designed for extra cold environments. (A golf website described the Ultimate as: “Imagine playing whilst wrapping yourself in your favourite fake fur rug and you’ll be somewhere near!”).
I enjoyed the lighter Move a little more and it seemed to look a little sharper on me too, although I can see where the Ultimate would come in handy on a frostbite or two – it really did warm me up almost instantly. Both had a high neck which wasn’t too tight, with a discreet designer-y ‘ZF’ logo.
I tested both of them on a British spring evening with the temperature hovering around 4-5°C. Both displayed impressive flexibility and were very easy to shoot in with no ‘riding’ up on the body.
The tops are available in six different unisex sizes – it’s possible larger archers may not be catered for, but snug is better than not – in black, red and grey. The technical fabrics, neutral styling, simple colours and lack of loud branding will be familiar to anyone who has shopped at Japanese stores such as Uniqlo.
At around £45, these are not the cheapest available but certainly do the job asked and the quality feels good. Zerofit also produce a Merino wool base layer at a significantly higher cost, as well as leggings, hoodies and sundry other things to warm you up. Archery in the UK has even less excuse to get back out there, whatever the weather.