What is Merino Wool?
Thriving in scorching summers and freezing winters, Merino Sheep are one of the oldest and toughest breeds around. Now bred mainly in New Zealand and Australia, Merino Sheep produce the finest and smoothest fibers of all wool. Perfected over centuries of selective breeding, and better than anything built in a lab, natural Merino Wool is the perfect performance fabric for the 21st Century.
Stay Warm When it’s Cold, and Cool When it’s Hot
Merino wool is the ultimate insulator. Providing exceptional warmth in extreme cold conditions, wool kept early explorers warm and safe long before synthetic fabrics were invented. But lightweight wool can also keep you cool on a hot day. How can one fiber do so much?
Merino Wool is naturally able to absorb and release moisture. As wool absorbs moisture from the atmosphere a chemical process in the wool releases heat, warming the wearer. In cold weather the crimp in wool fibers creates tiny pockets of trapped warm air that act as insulators, holding in heat next to the body. And unlike other fabrics wool retains much of its insulating properties when wet, a lifesaving feature in some scenarios. This same process has a cooling effect in warm weather, as wool releases moisture it absorbs heat from the wearer and traps cool air next to the skin. As wool pulls moisture away from your skin to evaporate you feel cool and dry even in hot weather.
Keeps You Dry and Fresh
Nothing will keep you dry and comfortable in moist or sweaty conditions like merino wool. But how does wool wick moisture away from the wearer without relying on the chemicals used in synthetic fabrics?
Merino wool fibers are naturally hydrophilic. As wool absorbs water molecules it pulls moisture away from the skin to the surface of the fabric where it evaporates. Not only can wool wick sweat from the wearer, wool can move water vapor before it even turns to sweat. Merino wool’s ability to absorb and release moisture from the air makes it one of the most breathable materials available. Merino wool can absorb up to 30% of its weight in water and still feel dry to the touch. With merino wool you won’t end up with clammy, damp fabric clinging to your skin.
Wool is the best fabric to keep you smelling good after a long hike or a hot day out in the sun, you can even wear a wool garment day after day without developing a serious stink. What is it about wool that deters odor so well?
The lanolin present in all sheep’s wool has antimicrobial properties that kill the bacteria in sweat that creates odors. And because wool manages moisture so well surviving bacteria don’t have the damp environment they need to thrive. Without the buildup of odor causing bacteria wool garments not only smell better at the end of the day, they don’t develop a permanent stink that can’t be washed away like so many synthetic fabrics.
Natural Sun Protection
Merino wool is the ultimate performance fabric year round. Merino wool even provides natural protection from the sun. But how will your Woolx gear help keep you safe on a sunny day?
Natural wool absorbs radiation even when completely untreated by chemical processes. Different weight wool fabrics provide different amounts of UPF protection. A UPF rating of 25 indicates the fabric of a garment will allow 1/25th (roughly 4 percent) of available UV radiation to pass through it. A garment rated UPF 50 permits only 1/50th (roughly 2 percent) UV transmission. All 230g and 400g weight 100% merino wool knits, like our Woolx mid and heavyweights, provide UPF 50 protection. And our thinner 160g lightweight knits provide UPF 25 protection.
Durable and Long Lasting
We all know wool garments are durable and hold their shape far longer than other fabrics, but what is it about wool that resists wear and tear so well?
Merino wool fibers are primarily made of an interlocking structure of Keratin molecules that allow wool to bend and stretch in multiple directions tens of thousands of times without causing damage. By comparison silk and cotton can only withstand fewer than 5,000 bends without breaking, and nylon only 75. The natural curl of wool fibers also adds to the elasticity of wool garments. They can be worn and washed many times without losing their shape.
Merino Wool is one of the softest materials available, as comfortable and luxurious as cashmere. But how can any wool, a fabric long known for being itchy, be so soft?
The smaller and smoother the fiber, the softer the fabric. Traditional wool came from sheep with course coats whose wool fibers were thick and rigid, causing itching and irritation. The smooth fibers in wool from Merino Sheep are considerably different. Superfine Merino Wool fibers, like the kind we use to make Woolx (18.5 microns for our heavyweights and an even softer 17.5 Micron wool for our midweights and lightweights) won’t poke or scratch. These incredibly fine and smooth fibers bend easily at the lightest touch, creating a fabric that is soft, smooth, and comfortable enough to wear right next to the skin.
The inherent properties of Merino Wool create an all-natural material that performs as well as any technical synthetic fabric. Woolx Merino Wool – Flawless, comfort, performance, and design.