Should you stock up on Uniqlo HEATTECH for the upcoming winter or ski trip?
The Uniqlo HEATTECH line has been around for decades at this point. They are affordable, practical and stylishly lightweight. Moreover, they come in many colors, cuts and styles. But just how warm are they?
Find out in this detailed Uniqlo HEATTECH review where we compare between the different sub categories in the HEATTECH range, their applications, and more!
What Is Uniqlo HEATTECH?
Uniqlo HEATTECH is Uniqlo’s line (in collaboration with Toray) of lightweight and comfortable innerwear/ clothing made of material that generates heat and absorbs any body moisture too. The anti-bacterial material has insulating properties to keep warm air between the fabric and your skin from escaping, keeping you warm in the process. Uniqlo HEATTECH comes in different ratings of warmth too.
Note: Toray is a global textile manufacturer
While traditional winter wear (including innerwear) looks bulky on its own and even more so when layered:
Uniqlo HEATTECH are slim and made to be snug fitting. At the same time, they do not restrict movement.
Depending on the warm rating you choose, you might not need to layer on as much clothing to keep warm too.
Wool and any acrylic wool or similar materials made of synthetic blends are prone to static. But Uniqlo HEATTECH apparel thankfully don’t suffer from the same issue.
They are actually made of a blend of 4 different materials – polyester, polyurethane, acrylic, and rayon. Mostly synthetic, with the exception of rayon.
Uniqlo HEATTECH Apparel
The Uniqlo HEATTECH line was first introduced in 2003. And since then, they have made over a 100 million sales all over the world (7 countries to be exact) from this line.
Moreover, the line extends to kids and babies too.
For adults, the HEATTECH range encompasses different apparel categories like:
- Long Johns
For women, the undershirts have several different cuts to suit different necklines – sometimes you don’t want the undershirt to show through your cute sweater!
Uniqlo HEATTECH Properties
All of the Uniqlo HEATTECH wear feature the following qualities:
- Absorbs heat
- Retains heat
- Comfortably soft
- Don’t restrict movement
- Dries quickly
We can honestly say that all of the above is true with some limits of course. They are warm, lightweight, comfortable, and don’t produce/ attract static.
You can wash them in the washing machine, and put them in the dryer too. Or hang them up to dry – the latter isn’t especially speedy but it is possible.
And while we have not experienced it ourselves, other users have said that they can get stinky if you don’t wash them after a few days.
Uniqlo HEATTECH Temperature Guide
To cater for different personal preferences, or accommodate shoulder seasons like spring or fall, and because winters in one country may not be as cold as another:
Uniqlo HEATTECH is available in 3 different ratings of warmth (or levels of heat retention as Uniqlo puts it):
1. Uniqlo HEATTECH Normal
In the store, these are the apparel that just state Uniqlo HEATTECH.
This is the original Uniqlo HEATTECH and the thinnest of the 3 heat retention levels. Unsurprisingly, Uniqlo HEATTECH has the widest range of different (but basic) styles and colors since it came out first.
And because it is thin, apparel with this label are exceptionally easy to layer underneath winterwear. They are also light enough for spring and fall.
Note: Careful not to snag them on anything, as the Uniqlo HEATTECH base layers are susceptible to tears.
2. Uniqlo HEATTECH Extra Warm
Uniqlo HEATTECH Extra Warm is 1.5 times warmer than the basic Uniqlo HEATTECH, thanks to a soft lining (100% cotton as of 2021) and increased thickness.
They are noticeably bulkier than the original Uniqlo HEATTECH.
Still, they are easy to layer (you can still tuck them under pants) and make a great base for layering under your clothes in peak winter.
For more temperate winters, you can even get away wearing them on their own (as we have personally done during the winter in New Zealand).
3. Uniqlo HEATTECH Ultra Warm
Uniqlo HEATTECH Ultra Warm takes it up a significant notch. Apparel items with this label are up to 2.25 times warmer than the original Uniqlo HEATTECH.
Despite their superior ability to retain heat, they are not that much bulkier than the other two Uniqlo HEATTECH sub-lines.
These are great for freezing winters with sub-zero temperatures while still retaining some semblance of your figure under all those bulky layers!
Uniqlo HEATTECH Ultra Warm Vs Extra Warm
But as a regular user, how would you know whether you need the Uniqlo HEATTECH Ultra Warm or Extra Warm?
First of, remember that the Uniqlo HEATTECH Ultra Warm is reserved for extremely cold climates (think Canadian winters). The Uniqlo HEATTECH Ultra Warm is 1.5 times warmer than the Extra Warm.
So if you’re going to be outdoors for long periods of time in the dead of winter, you may want to go with the Ultra Warm. Especially if you’re particularly sensitive to the cold!
Remember to keep your level of activity in mind (I.e. will you be hiking or moving a lot?) and that if it gets too warm, it’s not so easy to remove the HEATTECH when you’ve got all your layers on!
If you will be going in and out of buildings (where there is heating), it can get uncomfortably warm if you have the Ultra Warm HEATTECH under your other winterwear.
Uniqlo HEATTECH Extra Warm Review
Our personal opinion is that the Uniqlo HEATTECH Extra Warm is the most forgiving of the Uniqlo HEATTECH line for wintry climates.
Sometimes, the weather isn’t consistent and there are days in winter months that are much warmer (or colder) than others.
Then you can either wear the Uniqlo HEATTECH Extra Warm on its own, or layer up accordingly.
It’s thick enough to provide more warmth (there’s a fuzzy lining on the inside compared to the regular Uniqlo HEATTECH) but still thin enough to lie inconspicuously under bulkier items of clothing.
As far as longevity goes:
We wore ours almost daily during the cooler months (~3 seasons) for a year (rotating around 2-3 pieces per person) and after several washes in the washing machine, they do have some bobbling (I.e. piling) going on.
Which is more obvious in at the hems (or anywhere that sees a lot of friction) and for darker colors.
Uniqlo HEATTECH Ultra Warm Review
The Uniqlo HEATTECH Ultra Warm is still soft, stretchy, and comfortable despite its higher warmth rating.
They are noticeably heavier and thicker than the regular and Extra Warm Uniqlo HEATTECH. And are suitable for negative temperatures (e.g. -17C°).
However, the Ultra Warm Uniqlo HEATTECH is still much thinner than you would expect. Which is great if you’re short of packing space!
However, like the rest of the line, the Uniqlo HEATTECH Ultra Warm is not invincible against cold winds.
And you will feel any cold drafts heading your way if you don’t have a windproof layer (see our review on the Uniqlo BlockTech Parka) on top to prevent the wind from seeping in.
Like the rest of the line, we also do wish the sleeves on the undershirts were longer. And there is a tendency for the Ultra Warm HEATTECH wear to shrink a little in the dryer.
Uniqlo HEATTECH Pricing
Generally, HEATTECH apparel is priced according to their respective sub-categories (I.e. how well they retain heat).
The price increases as you go from base to Ultra Warm.
For adults, HEATTECH base layers are typically priced around $20. While Extra Warm base layers can cost ~$25.
Lastly, Ultra Warm costs the most at around ~$30.
On the other hand, hats, shirts, and gloves will set you back for around ~$15. While kidswear and babywear under the HEATTECH line are usually between $4 to $20.
So all-in-all, the entire range is quite affordable.
Uniqlo HEATTECH Vs Merino
Despite all the good things we have to say about the Uniqlo HEATTECH (I.e. warm but lightweight):
Make no mistake, merino is still better than Uniqlo HEATTECH for the simple fact that it wicks moisture better and hence, it will not get as stinky as quickly as the Uniqlo HEATTECH wear.
So unless you don’t have the budget for merino wool, you can look into the Uniqlo HEATTECH wear as a cheaper alternative.
Provided that you will have access to a washing machine to take advantage of the Uniqlo HEATTECH’s machine-washable perk.
Frequently Asked Questions
Again wool is preferable if you are going on a multi-day skiing trip and will not have access to a washing machine but both the regular and Extra Warm Uniqlo HEATTECH is comfortable and warm enough for skiing based on our own personal experience.
They are admittedly better for loungewear or sleeping than as activewear but if you’re not in the financial position to invest in quality ski wear, they will do the job decently and for cheap.
Yes, Uniqlo HEATTECH wear is actually warm and they will keep you warm as you sleep too.
However, they can feel even warmer depending on how much you move. It is easy to feel overheated in them.
Yes, Uniqlo HEATTECH is good for winter. They are made for cooler seasons and you can wear them in spring, fall and winter.
Opt for a higher warmth rating if you know you will be spending a lot of time outdoors and not moving much (e.g., camping or photography).
Likewise, choose a lower warmth rating than you think you will need if you will be using them for activewear in winter.
We personally find the Extra Warm Uniqlo HEATTECH a bit warm in the midst of a hike around 2 to 4°C. And thus, it would be really helpful if you have outer layers you can peel off easily throughout the hike.
Sure, you can wear HEATTECH in the summer if you stay in Australia and New Zealand where winters are actually during the conventional summer months.
But jokes aside, you probably don’t need to wear HEATTECH (base, extra warm or ultra warm) in warmer climates (anything higher than 16°C) if you’re a healthy individual.
And you can probably wear regular HEATTECH base layers if you’re going to be in an air-conditioned environment.
Other than that, we don’t really see why you would need to wear HEATTECH in the summer.
So what’s the scoop on the Uniqlo HEATTECH wear? This Uniqlo HEATTECH review covers the differences between the regular, Extra Warm and Ultra Warm Uniqlo HEATTECH.
As well as their properties like wearability, longevity, but most importantly their insulative ability. There are also certain situations where you would want an Extra Warm over the regular HEATTECH and vice versa.