Gear Review: Icebreaker Anatomica Short Sleeve Crewe and Boxers

There's really no beating this set of merino base layers

Underwear is an absolute. It’s a necessity, and though easy to overlook, is hugely important whether you're a professional trainer or arm chair athlete. No amount of fancy gear will make up for a material failure of the first layer—especially midsummer when the heat unavoidable. When it comes to natural breathability, moisture management, and odor control, there’s no better material than merino, making it an obvious choice for high performing under garments.

We’ve long relied on merino for warmth during winter missions, but have less experience with merino in everyday, warm weather settings, so we jumped at the opportunity to test the Anatomica Short Sleeve Crewe and Anatomica Boxers from Icebreaker.

Testing the Anatomica set proved the perfect chance for us to beat New York's infamous summer heat and turn off the computer to hit Brooklyn Boulders climbing gym for a mid day session. The required mix of slow, sustained movement with bursts of energy and tests of strength involved in bouldering put the two pieces to the test. And we weren’t disappointed.

Flatlock seams prevented chafing, and the trim, updated fit allowed for plenty of mobility without any extra fabric getting in the way. And perhaps best of all, the natural odor-resistance of merino saved us from stinking up the gym—if only the rest of climbers were wearing merino too.

Useful “features” aside, if you’re still apprehensive about covering your most sensitive areas with wool, we understand the sentiment. But you’ve got it wrong. Icebreaker’s super fine merino isn’t your grandfather’s wool, or even your father’s—it’s all soft comfort with no scratching, bunching, or bulk. And with the Anatomica Crew and Boxers specifically, the corespun construction greatly increases longevity and durability—by wrapping sturdy nylon fibers in natural merino wool, then adding a 5% Lycra boost for extra ease of movement—so you know the kit won't wear out on you after only a few sessions.

It’s surprisingly tech stuff for underwear, we’ll admit. But after a few days of doing everything from sitting in an office chair for 18 hours straight (welcome to the reality of how we make this corner of the Internet) to cycling around the city and bouldering at the climbing gym, we can say the effort of Icebreaker’s engineers—and their family wool growers—seriously shows.

the Anatomica Crewe and Anatomica Boxers sell for $70 and $40, respectively, from Icebreaker

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