At home on the trail, road or track, the Inov-8 Base Elite Long Sleeve can be used as a base layer or running tee and balances good insulation and breathability…

This versatile technical running top is made for taking on the trails but it’s equally at home on the roads and track when the temperatures drop. It can be worn as a base layer or as a regular long sleeve running tee.   

Men’s Fitness verdict

Made from recycled PET bottles, the Base Elite’s welded-seam design and low weight make it a comfortable long-run option. We recommend trying before you buy or going for a size up.
  • Lightweight and breathable
  • Thumb hooks to secure sleeves
  • Decent insulation
  • Limited reflective detailing
  • Sizes come up a bit small
The Base Elite has perforated underarm panels to aid breathability

How we test running tops

Kieran Alger is a running fanatic and professional run-tester. He tested this running top, as well as those featured in our buyer’s guide, over a wide range of distances, terrains and even countries. One test took him to an Italian ultramarathon; while others were conducted on the towpaths of West London, where he lives.

Inov-8 Base Elite materials and fit

The Inov-8 Base Elite Long Sleeve is quite close fitting but not skin tight like some base layers. You’ll need to pay attention to sizing as it might come up small if you prefer a roomier fit. But the next-to-skin comfort of the fabric is good and there’s still a good range of motion. Breathability is excellent, thanks mainly to the light material. But the large, well-placed airflow panels under the arms really help, too.  

Speaking of underarms, the Base Elite uses an anti-bacterial treatment to help ward off the running stink. As a result you don’t have to wash it as much as untreated running tops, so that’s good for durability and for the environment. It’s also handy if you’re doing multi-day adventures where you’ve got no choice.  

Weight, design and details

The whole top weighs just 150g. That’s light for a long sleeve and helps make it nicely packable too. It’s also handy if your ultra runs have obligatory arm-covering kit requirements.   

What I love though is the attention to small details, like the inclusion of thumb loops to stop the sleeves riding up under a jacket and to help keep hands warm. A seamless hem and cuffs also help cut any unwanted rubbing and makes the top more long-run friendly. And there’s an inner rucksack band that makes carrying a pack more comfortable too. 

The Base Elite comes in four sizes, from small to XL, and if you like the look of this but want something better suited to hotter temperatures and summer runs, there’s a short sleeve version that offers similar performance minus the sleeves.