Kora Shola 230 Collection: Buttery Soft All-Season Performance Base Layers
I’ll just say it.are my favorite base layers EVER.
Constructed from incredibly soft, supple yak wool, Europan-based company Kora’s base layers are unlike any other base layer I’ve worn. From skiing, to snowshoeing, to biking, they provide unparalleled warmth and softness.
Let’s talk about Kora’s Original 230 collection; the world’s first 100 percent yak wool performance fabric. Inspired by a trek to the Eastern Himalayas, its founder Michael Kleinwort was taken by the ability of yak to withstand the harshest of conditions. Fascinated, he wanted to learn more about the properties of yak wool.
Because yaks graze at a higher altitude than sheep, they have evolved to survive harsher conditions brought by being at a higher elevation. Furthermore, yak wool, he learned, maintains a core temperature superior to that of merino wool or synthetic materials.
It took Kleinwort and his company 5 years to search for, modify, and create the perfect all natural performance fabric. The result? Superior base layers that adapt to a body’s needs, environment, and activity.
I was given the Shola 230 crewneck (MSRP $145) and the Shola 230 ¾ leggings (MSRP $135) to try. Soft and buttery like cashmere, once you put them on, you won’t want to take them off. There are simply no wool base layers comparable in softness.
Kora base layers aren’t season-specific; they can be used year-round. Their claim that their proprietary Hima-Layer Original 230 fabric has temperature-regulating properties is spot on. It kept me warm during cold weather pursuits and provided a cooling layer in warmer temperatures.
I first wore these skiing at Copper Mountain last February. The day began as a warmish bluebird morning, and ended cloudy and cold. Not once did I regret my decision for choosing the Koras over some thicker baselayers. I felt comfortable all day, and only added a down vest layer when it got super cold during my final runs.
I most recently wore my Kora base layers three weeks ago in late July, when I rode my road bike to the top of Mt. Evans (14,265 feet). It provided just enough comfort where I didn’t overheat on the ascent, but didn’t freeze on the summit and chilly descent.
Kora Shola 230 base layers are all about performance, as evidenced by their minimalist design and limited variety of styles (long and short sleeve crew neck, ¾ zip long sleeve top, and long and ¾ length leggings) and colors (Shale Black and Obsidian Blue).
They offer a snug fit without being compression (no bulges!), but not too tight where it restricts movement. Odor-resistant and moisture wicking, the all-natural fibers won’t leave you feeling icky and sweaty after a long day skiing or hiking.
My initial concerns (skin rash by natural fibers in winter conditions; longevity of product) about Kora base layers were unfounded. No itchy skin occurred, and after months of use in a variety of conditions and outdoor recreation activities, the base layers have maintained their shape and softness.I also appreciated that they were more breathable than traditional merino wool.
Kora’s Shola 230 base layers are well worth the higher asking price. Kora’s unique yak wool base layers are versatile, comfortable, offer superior performance, and will be the last pair of base layers you’ll ever purchase.
So taken am I with Kora’s Shola 230 line, that I’d like to eventually purchase a Shola 230 short sleeve crew for mountain biking and urban riding, and a pair of the Upside Down sock, for well, everything.
Kora Shola 230 Review
Bottom line? If you’re in the market for organic performance base layers that are luxuriously soft, try Kora. The Shola 230 line works all year, not just a season.