What is merino wool
Merino wool is known as wonder wool for its highest comfort and numerous benefits. Though people wear woolen cloth only in winter, clothes made from the merino wool can be worn any time of the year. If you want to stay warm during the wintertime and cool in the summertime you should consider Merino Wool. Anyone who wants to enjoy the benefits of traditional wool without issues like smelliness or discomfort can consider this material.
Merino wool provides features like moisture management and breathability. Fabrics made with merino wool are breathable and better at removing moisture in the area between the skin and the clothing. It can release heat from the body easily so that the wearer stays dry and comfy. In fact, Merino fibers can absorb/retain a maximum of 30% of its own weight while remaining dry to the touch. How does that sound?
There are some specific benefits of wool fibers. They can transport moisture from the skin. Even if the fabric’s surface area is very wet, your skin will stay dry. Merino wool can absorb over 4x more water since they can only absorb under 7%. So, if you’re looking for a fabric that can keep you dry and comfortable Merino Wool might be the best option for you.
What’s merino wool
You might be wondering what exactly Merino Wool is. I did some research and I was surprised to learn that humans’ use of wool actually dates back to 6000 BC. Since early human civilization wool has become one of the world’s most popular fabrics. It’s used for many types of clothing like sweaters, coats, and gloves. There are many reasons why it’s been popular but mostly due to wool being durable and versatile.
There are many types of blends and breeds of wool so which one should you pick? Merino has become one of the world’s most popular options. It all started in Spain where Merino sheep were first bred for their high-quality wool. European settlers first introduced the wool to Australia over two centuries ago in 1797. If you’re looking for an excellent wool I’d recommend Merino Wool.
What makes it a good choice?
The super-fine fibers are what makes it different from other types of wool. It’s the feature that makes the wool the softest blend available. It provides more flexibility in the clothing that can be made using the wool. The wool also has more elasticity so it keeps its shape better than the other types of wool.
Merino Wool is also a good choice as “green” wool. It’s made of keratin like human hair so it’s 100% biodegradable. So, when the wool breaks down it goes back into the soil like fertilizer.
How is the wool made?
It’s a complex process that highlights the powerful qualities found in Merino wool. Here’s how it works. Spinners, knitters, and weavers convert the fleece into yarn and fabrics using an important blend of old and new methods.
The fleece is first collected from Merino sheep on farms. It’s cleaned then a “carding” process is used to turn it into a continuous thread. Then the thread is spun into a strong yard. The fashion industry then uses the raw material in either a woolen spinning or worsted spinning method. This is based on the yarn thickness needed for various types of products.
A brief history of merino wool
The history of Merino Wool dates back several millennia to 6000 BC. Primitive humans wore clothing made from wild sheep’s wool skins. Then, Babylonia was the first society to breed sheep specifically for wool. The ancient Romans improved the process by using selecting breeding to get the better fleece. By the Middle Ages, wool had become much more popular in Europe. Another major development was the Industrial Revolution. In the late 1700s, some companies had started to produce wool in workshops and factories instead of homes.
The development of Merino Wool started in Spain where the sheep were bred for their high-quality wool. Then they were introduced in Australia over 2 centuries ago in 1797. The wool was from Spain’s Royal Merino Flocks. The sheep had been improved through selective breeding. This later resulted in Australian Merino wool, which was even better than the original Spanish version.
Since then, Australia’s Merino sheep had started playing a key role in global fashion. Until that time wool was mostly used for work-wear and uniforms due to its durability. However, wool became more mainstream in the fashion industry a decade after World War II. That’s when fashion designer Coco Chanel launched a dress made from high-quality wool. Since then, the game-changing design wool has been a popular fabric used in fashion.
Then, another fashion revolution happened after the end of World War II. That’s when Christian Dior launched The New Look. The style used big amounts of wool fabric used in fashion designs. It was a result to rations/shortages during WW2. Then in the 1950s wool clothing made history when it won first prizes in big fashion contests featuring wool dresses and coats.
The qualities of Merino Wool have benefited classic and contemporary fashion. They include dresses, suits, and jumpers. It’s created a timeless look. Wool growers and fashion designers around the world work with textile producers to make high-quality Merino wool.
What are the Benefits of using Merino Wool
I’ve done some research to learn there are many benefits of using Merino Wool including the following:
Unlike other wool Merino wool isn’t itchy. Thinner fibers result in less pressure when they’re pressed on the skin, which reduces the amount of itch that’s created.
Merino wool fabrics can dry just as fast as the high-end synthetic fabric that has a similar weight.
Many people know that wool is a good fabric for cold-weather garments like sweaters, jackets, and scarves. However, merino wool is, in fact, a 4-season fabric. A sheep can “wear” wool year-round and it’s comfortable whether the temperature is cold, warm, or rainy.
It might be surprising but merino wool has cooling properties. It’s good at storing moisture within its fibers. When the body’s temperature gets warmer the moisture stored inside the fiber evaporates, so it works like an air conditioner between the clothing and skin.
Since the merino wool can manage moisture well the bacteria don’t have the moisture that’s needed to survive. In fact, you can wear Merino Wool for a long time and not worry about bad odor.
Merino wool has static resistance due to its moisture retention. This prevents static electricity and its “spark.”
Merino wool has a complex structure that works a lot like people's skin. It can cool/heat when the body needs it to. Single wool fibers can be bent, stretched, and flexed in any direction 30,000+ times without any damage taking place. Wool fibers also have a curl that improves has elastic the fiber is.
- Breathability/Moisture Management
It’s one of the top fibers in terms of the ability to breathe and handle moisture. This makes it an excellent choice for several types of garments. Breathability is how well a fabric/fiber can move moisture/vapor from a high humidity area to a low humidity area. When the body heats up the wool fiber soaks up the moisture vapors and releases them to the area outside the fabric.
This gives off heat and keeps the wearer dry/comfy. Merino fibers can absorb/retain 30% of its own weight in the form of moisture. It still feels dry when someone touches the wool.
- Sun Protection
Merino Wool protect against the sun’s UV rays naturally. Many products have a 30+ UPF.
When people perspire faster than vapor can be transported the wool can then move liquid mechanically like synthetics. In fact, only wool can wick moisture away when it’s a vapor.
Where to use the Merino wool
Merino wool is not just a material which is used for making winter clothes. It has many uses and applications. You can pick merino wool for making any type of fashion clothes. Whether it be a workout cloth or designer party wear, merino wool fits everywhere. Here I am providing few uses and applications of merino wool in clothes.
- Outdoor Wear
It’s one of the best options for many types of outdoor wear including t-shirts, sweaters, jackets, and others. Merino wool is good for outdoor enthusiasts because it wicks away moisture insulates and has a UPF of 50+ based on the weave
- Workout/Active Wear
Merino has high elasticity. This allows it to bend then go back to its natural shape. This makes it a good material for people’s active lifestyle.
A sweater can be worn like a shirt that’s tucked in. It can be combined with a sports jacket or suit. It’s elegant and doesn’t pill and keeps its shape in the long-term.
- Hiking/Athletic Socks
Many athletes and hikers pick Merino wool socks. They help to the wearer’s feet cooler than other fabrics like cotton and also retain heat. The fabric also absorbs moisture well and insulate your feet.
How Do You Take Care of Merino?
You don’t have to put much effort into washing and maintaining the clothes made from merino. The merino wool is stretched free and odor resistant. So, you can wear it many times without washing and ironing. You don’t have to wash it after every wear. But you certainly have to take a little care if you want to use the stuff made from the merino wool for a long time. Here are some tips to care for Merino wool products properly:
- Lay it flat to dry
You should first put the wool clothing on a towel and roll it up so the extra water gets out. Then reshape the garment and lay it down flat so it doesn’t wrinkle in the drying process. Keep the item away from the heat so there’s no shrinking.
- Machine wash on low/medium heat
If you’re going to machine wash your Merino wool use low to medium heat using a cold cycle. Another option is a delicate cycle. Make sure to check the garment’s able so you’ll know which temperature setting to use when washing the Merino wool item.
- Wash wool inside-out
This is especially true if the clothing has a print. It will help to prevent bobbling.
- Don’t wash after every wear
Wool garments don’t have to be washed each time you wear them. You should also spot clean the Merino wool items when they require it. It’s a good idea to hand wash the fabric instead of following the tags’ instructions to just dry-clean the wool. Hand-washing is better because it prevents contact with strong chemicals and also saves you money in the process.
- Use a mild detergent
It’s a good idea to dissolve powdered detergent first to prevent big flecks from settling on fabric. This will prevent sticking and holes.
- Wash with like colors
It’s important to wash light/white items separate from dark/bright colors. This will help to avoid damage if any of the colors bleed during the washing process.
Why Is Merino So Expensive?
Well, it is one of the most frequently asked questions about merino wool. Merino wool is one of the most expensive wools. There are many reasons why it is so pricey. Here are some of the reasons why Merino wool has a very high price tag:
- High-quality wool
The fibers are ½ the thickness of other types of wool. This results in wool that smooth, beautiful, and non-itchy. It also has an effect on the price.
- Lengthy harvesting time
Merino wool is obtained from the specific type of sheep which are grown in some specific parts of the world. It requires a long-term maintenance and care to produce the finest merino wool. That is why merino wool is so expensive.
- Harvested from alpine sheep
As top quality merino wool is obtained from the alpine sheep, it increases the cost of real Merino wool. You can find cheap versions but they have lower price tags because they cut corners. It’s important to find out where wool is sourced to find the best wool.
- High demand, low supply
There’s a big demand for high-quality Merino wool. As a result, the amount is limited, which affects the price based on the laws of supply and demand. If you want genuine Merino wool products you should expect to pay higher prices due to the relatively low supply.
- It’s more expensive via ethical farming
If you’re interested in buying clothing made via ethical farming one of the drawbacks it increases the price of the products. It’s still probably worthwhile for you but you should expect to pay a higher price tag.
- Slow growth
As Merino wool grows super-slow rate, it takes a long time to make enough wool for one piece of clothing. Another issue is you need 4x more fibers for each square inch compared to other wools. This explains why it takes more time to make one piece of clothing and why the wool is so pricey.
Who Make Some Awesome Merino Travel Apparel?
Different world-class brands and companies make the finest apparel from merino wool. Here I am providing a short description of them.
- Darn Tough
Darn Tough is famous for making the woolen socks mostly from the merino wool. For durable, stylish, and most comfortable woolen sock, they are unbeatable in the market.
Ibex is one of the most trusted names for making the outdoor clothes which are used for traveling and long-term wearing purpose. The company is well known for making environment-friendly apparel with the merino wool.
Young and energetic Jeremy Moon has founded Icebreaker in 1995. Since then he has established this brand in the most exclusive way. You will find most sustainable and durable feature on their apparel which is designed and crafted by world-class designers.
- IO Merino
For the warmest and most comfortable outdoor wear, IO merino is one of the trustable names for years. Those who like adventure and want warm and durable clothes as a companion for their adventure can consider this brand.
Minus33 has over 100 years of experience in producing clothes from merino wool. Their main principle and objective are to provide high-quality garments to the customers.
Bold and beautiful is something you can call to the apparel made by Nau. Established by some young designers Nau is producing 100% organic products which are highly durable and comfortable to wear.
Abe and Tyler started Outlier back in 2008. They love experimenting with the products. Their motto is to manufacture functional garments which go well with the fashion too.
Patagonia has years of experience in designing and manufacturing the apparel for the climbers and sportsperson. The company is well known for producing 100% organic products mostly from the merino wool which is durable, tough, and comfortable.
To inspire the active people to become more active in the outdoor activities in life, QOR produces apparel for the outdoor activists. They don’t just knit the apparel but add different technical and functional features in it.
Rapha is well known for manufacturing and designing the clothes and accessories for the cyclists. It was founded by Simon Mottram and Luke Scheybeler in 2004. It produces great quality women and men’s wear which is made from the quality material. Merino wool is used to make extra durable and comfortable sportswear.
To get the quality product made from the merino wool using high-end technology, Smartwool is very popular in the apparel industry. It was founded 24 years ago in Colorado, US.
- Triple Aught Design
Triple Aught Design is situated in San Francisco. It is specialized in producing quality apparel suitable for mission and outdoor activities. They use merino wool to make their product extra durable and comfortable and non-itchy.
Unbound is a trustable name in the fashion industry for making different types of clothes from merino wool. For the adventurous journey, traveling, and doing outdoor activities, unbound is the best choice.
- Wool & Prince
Wool and Prince started their journey in 2013 to manufacture the apparel which is naturally long lasting, odor free and requires a little maintenance. They manufacture products using merino wool which makes their products extra durable and comfortable.
- Woolly Clothing Co
For comfortable and everyday use merino clothes, woolly is the best choice. They promise to make high-quality merino clothes at an affordable price.