Uniqueness of Merino Wool
Merino wool, the ultra soft fabric most commonly found in performance baselayers and socks, is one of the most sought-after materials in the outdoor gear world. But is it worth the hype? Below we break down the pros and cons of merino wool, including next-to-skin comfort, warmth, moisture wicking capability, stink prevention, and more. To tip you off on our conclusions: merino undoubtedly is expensive but worth it for those who value the comfort or need the performance.
Merino turns the notion that wool is itchy and uncomfortable completely on its head. Merino fibers are much finer and softer than standard wool and easy to wear all day. We commonly wear merino shirts as daily pieces, but they’re also our articles of choice for long-distance activities like backpacking or marathon running. A high-end merino shirt feels softer and lighter than cotton while outperforming it in warmth, moisture wicking, and temperature regulation. As a next-to-skin layer, merino wool is hard to beat.
Warmth and Temperature Regulation
One of the reasons that merino wool is so popular is its warmth relative to weight. The fabric has a natural loft that traps heat very efficiently between the fibers, making it warmer than a synthetic of the same weight. But it’s also good in the heat as merino regulates your body temperature really well. Arguably, it’s just as good of a summertime material as it is winter. We consistently wear
range of temperatures. In the morning, it’ll keep you reasonably insulated, but you’ll be cool, dry, and ventilated once you start working up a sweat.
Another benefit is merino wool’s ability to insulate when wet. If you step in a creek and get your hiking socks wet, it won’t compromise their ability to keep
merino wool for running, hiking, and mountain biking for its comfort across a you comfortable. The same goes for your baselayer if you’re sweating heavily: the shirt won’t pin the cold, wet material against your body like cotton. Instead, it will keep you at a comfortable temperature and retain its soft feel.
Moisture Wicking and Breathability
For those unfamiliar, moisture wicking fabrics pull moisture away from your skin by absorbing it into the fibers. The moisture then moves through the fabric and evaporates through the exterior. Merino is touted as a having high levels of moisture wicking because of its ability to retain a lot of liquid relative to its weight (better than synthetic). Again, this is a natural property of the wool and another significant benefit to overall comfort.