Marks and Spencer Heatgen review: We dressed heat-to-toe to test thermals

Dianne Bourne

Dianne Bourne tested out the thermals (Image: MEN)

When temperatures dropped this month, many households were racking their brains for ways to keep warm while keeping the heating off as energy bills skyrocketed.

One such way to avoid using the heating is to layer up, with Martin Lewis suggesting “heat the human, not the home” as a way to keep costs down while keeping warm.

But can any amount of thermal wear really stop you needing to turn on the heating? 

Shoppers have been raving about Marks and Spencer’s range of thermal wear, with some saying they “don’t need the heating on” when they are wearing them.

In particular, M&S’s range of Heatgen technology clothing has been a hit with shoppers.

The Japanese Heatgen technology fabric is said to “lock in” warmth when you wear it.

It features a “brushed” material on the inside which is said to “keep you extra warm when the weather gets chilly”.

The range has a string of five-star reviews, with one customer writing: “Save on heating costs. Been buying Heatgens for years. Wash well and dry quickly. Wouldn’t be without them.”

Another said: “Once your body warms up with them, they form a lovely cosy layer, perfect for working from home without the heating on!

“Good amount of warmth for me but you may need a thicker pair if you prefer to be very warm.

“Lightweight and very comfortable so also easy to wear under a number of layers if wished.”

Thermal Heatgen Plus top and thermal leggings

Thermal Heatgen Plus top and thermal leggings from M&S (Image: MEN)

Dianne Bourne, of The Manchester Evening News decided to put the thermal range to the test, here is how she got on.

She wrote: “I headed along to the huge M&S on Market Street in Manchester to buy up its full range of thermals for women – although it seems the whole of Manchester had the same idea.

“When I headed there the shelves had been stripped rather bare of most of the thermals range – and there were only limited sizes remaining in store of selected items on my visit (although the range is available in sizes 6 to 22 if you order online).

“However in the womenswear range, I managed to pick up some of the different Thermal Heatgen™ Plus options in my size which boast an “extra warmth” tag on them, which you can also buy online here in a range of sizes and colours.

“This included a long-sleeved thermal top for £16 and thermal leggings for £16 and there is also a range of tops and long john thermals for men online and in stores too.

“M&S is also doing a range of thermal “extra warmth” ankle socks this year with a pack of three pairs for £10.

“I also picked up a pair of their traditional thermal leggings for £12.50 and a two-pack of thermal turtleneck tops for £25.


M&S’ ‘extra warmth’ ankle socks (Image: MEN)

“I particularly liked the Heatgen long-sleeved top which came in a sparkly black colour option.

“It was so snazzy you could actually wear this as a going out top – and was a refreshing change from the old stereotypes of thermals as holy cream vests and long johns.

“I also thought the turtleneck two-pack was good value for money – I bought mine in two different colours of black and a black and beige stripe – and working out at £12.50 per top.

“Both were smart enough for workwear when worn on their own, or as decent base layers for when you need to wear extra layers.

“The socks are also a welcome addition as they’re smart enough to wear as “work socks” but with added fluffiness to warm up your toes.

“But the biggest hit for me was the Thermal Heatgen™ Plus leggings.

“These were like a normal comfy legging, but with a soft brushed inside which kept me super warm and cosy throughout the day and I felt that I benefitted from going a size up than what I would normally wear in these to make them a less tighter fit and more useful for everyday lounging.

“While the more traditional thermal leggings, with knitted stripes, would be best worn under trousers, I felt with the Heatgen leggings I would happily wear these out just as they are as they were so thick and warm.

“In fact, I need to buy another pair because I literally don’t want to take them off now they’re just so flipping warm and comfy.


Dianne was impressed by the range (Image: MEN)

“As I tend to feel the cold in my old house, I wasn’t convinced that even with the thermals’ toasty warm qualities they’d help me resist hitting the heating button though.

“I dressed myself head to toe with the thermal top, leggings and thermal socks and starting work at 9am decided to see how long before I would feel the cold.

“The temperature was 9C outside, and I managed to continue working until 2pm before I started to feel the cold inside a bit without any heating.

“I added an extra jumper layer, but I caved in by 2.30pm and put the heating on for an hour to warm things up a bit.

“The main problem I found was the part left uncovered by the thermal wear – eg my hands – which started to get cold as I typed away while the rest of me was staying pretty warm in the layers.

“But overall, the thermal layers, underneath a fleecy jumper, did keep me really nice and warm.

“I’ve seen in other thermal ranges the addition of a “thumb hole” on thermal tops to give a bit of extra warmth to hands, and this would have been a welcome addition to the M&S range I felt.

“But overall, I was pretty impressed with the M&S range – particularly the Heatgen items with their super cosy fleecy interior. All of the items I felt offered a reasonably-priced way to try and keep yourself warm this winter.

“They are all really easy to wash in a standard washing machine, and as they’re created with stretch they are also particularly comfortable and practicable items to have at hand.

“The real test will be if and when the temperatures plummet back to below zero again like they did earlier this month.

“But at least I feel a bit more prepared to layer myself up for a cold snap now.”

You can shop M&S’ full range of thermal wear here.

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