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Merino Wool, the Wonder Fabric


There are over 200 breeds of sheep, but merino has come out on top as the most versatile and comfortable for next to skin clothing. While merino sheep can be found in select locations worldwide, the New Zealand merino is a common source, where mulesing practices are not encouraged. These little cuties are well treated and wool is ethically sheered. 

There are many reasons folks love merino wool, and it’s not only the fact it is a sustainable fabric. Its fibers make a superiorly soft wool that is well used in active wear, travel clothing, and accessories. Here are a list of reasons merino wool is simply the best: 

Moisture wicking- Quick dry fabrics are great for evaporating moisture quickly, but not all fabrics wick moisture to the outside of the fabric like merino wool. This means there is still wet fabric against your skin until the garment dries (which could be awhile in a pair of Gore-Tex boots). Wicking moisture to the outside of the fabric moves moisture from next to skin, prevents blisters caused by damp friction, and keeps you feeling dry and comfortable. Smartwool is a fan favorite around here, especially for footwear.  After wearing just one pair our team is hard pressed to recommend another wicking sock product 

No stink- Merino wool is naturally antimicrobial. This means the merino fiber naturally prohibits the growth of bacteria that causes stinky odors. This makes merino wool the perfect multi day travel or adventure piece. 

Minimal itch- Merino wool is known for its no itch properties, unlike the itchy wool your grandpa wore.  Those traditional wools have stiff, wide strands which do not bend when pressed against the skin, creating stiff fibers that make many itch.  Merino wool has smaller strands which are more flexible allowing them to flex and bend giving a softer touch and feel. Smartwool takes this a step further and puts its fibers through further processing to create a smoother, itch free fiber. That’s not to say merino is itch free for everyone, but it’s pretty darn close! 

Durable- While many manufactures will blend merino fibers with synthetic fibers to increase durability, the merino wool is naturally long making for a stronger fiber. This is important as too many short fibers would make the fabric prone to holing. Any synthetics woven into this wool fiber will only increase its durability! 

Cool when hot, warm when cold-merino wool has a natural crimp which increases its stretch and resiliency. It also increases its loft and insulating properties. Alternately, merino is also known for regulating temperatures when it’s warm! This is accomplished with its wicking properties.

 Smart travel choice- When travelling, merino products are so easy to wash and wear there is little need to pack heavy. You can choose to pack a couple of pairs or sock to wash and dry overnight (very humid climates being the exception) or to wear through the duration with no washing needed.

 A variety of vendors focus on merino wool, such as Smartwool, while others blend it into products to make them softer, increase their wicking capabilities, and help resist odor buildup.

 Some merino wool products we can’t live without:  

Smartwool Smartloft 150 Hoody Smartwool Hike Light Socks Buff  Merino Wool Neck Warmer