Merino wool is already a cold weather staple for athletes, reputed for its breathability and helping pull moisture away from the body, thus keeping us dry and warm! However, the association with “wool” is so strong that it is surprising to learn that the qualities that contribute to its success in cold conditions also make it an excellent choice in hot weather.
If we had to focus on THE characteristic that made merino wool famous, it would undoubtedly be its ability to naturally regulate body temperature. Merino wool acts like a second skin, allowing the body to maintain a stable temperature regardless of changes in mercury, and more effectively than other fabrics.
Comfortable Body Temperature - With less Effort
In winter, we appreciate the efficiency with which merino wool wicks moisture away from the body. Nothing is more unpleasant than wet clothes in the biting cold! Another plus: its fibers manage to capture a layer of air, which acts as an insulating layer. In summer, it is this same sweat, heat and moisture wicking function of merino wool that helps maintain a comfortable body temperature. While training in a heat wave, it is to our advantage that this ventilation is effective!
So, merino wool is a “breathable fiber” because it provides optimal air circulation. The fibers of merino wool are porous, so they can wick away sweat and moisture directly from the vapor state. Conversely, synthetic fiber fabrics are not porous: the body must therefore increase its temperature for the sweat (in a liquid state) to finally evaporate. Thus, wearing a merino wool garment makes life a little easier on the body; by limiting its cooling efforts, the body can concentrate on other things.
Unique Softness and Comfort
Merino wool is also sought after for its incomparable softness, which is due to its long and ultra-fine fibers that hug the skin. Imagine: each fiber is barely a third the diameter of a human hair. We are very far from the stiff, slightly abrasive fibers of the old wool sweaters! Merino wool is also much lighter, contributing to its comfort.
Merino wool fabrics also don't retain odors, making them comfortable on the nose too! The fibers trap bacteria and interfere with their reproduction, making it antibacterial.
A Sustainable Choice
Finally, merino wool is a renewable fiber (the sheep produce it, year after year!) Of course, merino wool fiber is also 100% natural: it comes from the merino sheep, which themselves have been able to adapt to ensure survival at temperatures varying between -15 C and 35 C. Sheep are shorn every year, and their fleece is collected to produce quality clothing.
Merino wool is also biodegradable. In 12 months (more or less), a merino wool fiber decomposes completely in the soil to leave no trace.
A comfortable body, a light conscience… wearing a merino wool shirt is a good option no matter the weather! Merino quality comes with a higher price, but one that is well worth the investment in properties whose impact is felt on all levels.