You may have noticed more and more clothing being made from merino wool: base layers to insulated jackets, socks to casual shirts. The recent trend has led to more people thinking about the different properties of wool compared to synthetic materials and how they might be suited to different activities. Brands continue to experiment with different fabrics, develop new garments, and improve their designs to make things better for their customers, so there’s plenty of wooly ideas going around. We take a look at what makes merino wool so useful (or even ‘ewes-ful’!), and a few of the brands championing merino for your favourite pursuits and adventures.
Comfort and Performance
The first thing you’ll notice with a new merino baselayer is how the fabric is able to keep you comfortable in different conditions. Naturally temperature regulating, merino wool can keep you warm in cooler temperatures, while remaining breathable and cool when things get toasty. Of course this makes it the ideal material for outdoor activities where you may have to deal with changing temperatures and physical effort. It’s no surprise that merino is a top pick when you’re layering up for a hiking or other adventures in unpredictable weather.
It used to be common for wool garments to be feel itchy or rough but the latest merino collections are using finer grades of wool, meaning narrower fibres that feel smooth and comfortable against your skin. This means you’re really getting the best of both worlds – a garment that performs well for your ambitious adventures but is also soft and cosy for relaxing at home, or even wearing into the office. Some brands like super.natural even blend merino with synthetic fibres for an even softer and lighter feel.
Care and Washing
To add to the great list of benefits, merino wool is naturally anti-bacterial and odour resistant. You’ll stay fresh no matter how hard you’re working, and it can be worn for days without needing to be washed. Less water usage, less energy spent and less time faffing with laundry means… more time enjoying the great outdoors! Of course this makes it great for travelling, multi-day adventures and any occasion where you want to reduce your packing list. For those concerned with their impact on the environment some merino brand like Isobaa highlight the fact that 100% merino wool fabric is naturally biodegradeable, so once your garment is completely worn out.
Relatively new on the scene, Isobaa were inspired by their love of nature and getting outdoors to create great layers from 100% superfine merino. Their range embraces the versatility of merino and the vibrant, colourful designs mean you can comfortably go from the office to the mountain (and back!) with an easy style.
Isobaa is a favourite in the SportPursuit office for all-round comfort and style, with some innovative twists like their reclaimed merino insulation – creating a useful product from excess material in the production line.
Billed as “Merino Made Better”, super.natural create performance and lifestyle wear from blended merino fabrics, aiming for the best of both worlds by combining the natural benefits of merino with the durability and easy-care properties of synthetic fabrics.
Our team have been testing some of the latest baselayers from super.natural and especially recommend them for more high-output activities like trail running and ski touring.
Merino has reached the world of cycling, and SportPursuit members’ favourite Rivelo is one brand making the most of the versatile fabric for cycle-specific garments. In addition to baselayers, their merino cycling jerseys are a great choice for riding in changeable conditions, like long Autumn rides in the UK.
Cover image by @fuxogram on Instagram.
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