November 10, 2021 4 min read
WaJust because the temperatures begin to dip, that doesn’t dampen our desire to explore the great outdoors. So whether you are looking to take a quick spin around the ice skating rink or hit the slopes for a day of fun, Merino Wool is your go-to garment.
What is Merino Wool?
Merino Wool is ultra-fine wool produced by Merino Sheep. Although these sheep originated from Spain, they are now primarily found in Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, and parts of North and South America.
The Soft Factor
If you haven’t been exposed to the plush feeling of a Merino wool garment, you might be wondering what all the fuss is about. The fine threads of Merino Wool are a fraction of the diameter of other wools, making it a superior thread. Let us break it down for you a little more about what we mean about measuring the diameter. Wool diameter is measured in microns. A micron is a millionth of a meter—the finer the thread, the lower the micron number. Since the Merino threads can be as low as 11 microns compared to up to 25 microns of standard wool, this accounts for the softness of the fabric. The super-fine fibers of Merino Wool bend with your body compared to that of coarser wool which does not. The softness allows this type of base layer to be worn against bare skin without the fear of it becoming itchy and uncomfortable.
Why Merino Wool Rocks in the Winter
Let’s be honest, depending on where you live, winter temperatures can get pretty extreme. But, unlike other fabrics on the market, Merino Wool traps in heat, keeping you warmer. Also, since the fibers naturally have a bend, this helps trap air between them, keeping you warmer longer and regulating your body temperature.
Did you know that Merino Wool can protect you from hypothermia even when wet? This is one of the more fantastic features of this fiber, but we need to get a little technical to explain it. As a wool garment dries, the fibers generate heat. Remember chemistry and learning the symbol for water is H20? The hydrogen bonds in the water begin to break down within the fabric, and this chemical reaction results in heat. Of course, we do not recommend testing this theory during your next Polar Plunge, but it is nice to know that Merino Wool is ready to help if you should ever need it.
Wicks Away Moisture
If you have ever experienced the feeling of a wet garment clinging to your body after a day on the slopes or a challenging workout, then you understand how uncomfortable that can be. Unfortunately, a wet garment can also make you cold, or at least it does for me. Merino wool does a tremendous job of wicking away moisture. Merino Wool fibers are porous, which means they have lots of holes. This allows moisture and heat to pass through, keeping the threads feeling dry. Synthetic fibers do not have this make-up, and the liquid becomes trapped inside them, creating wetness.
Due to the slender profile of the thread, Merino Wool garments are not bulky making them ideal for adding layers. In addition, as we discussed earlier, the Merino Wool fibers are very porous and trap heat before sweat happens. Therefore, wearing multiple Merino Wool layers can pull the excessive heat entirely outside the last layer, keeping you comfortable.
At a recent football game for my alma mater, it was pretty chilly at kickoff and downright cold during the fourth quarter, but luckily I wore my Roman Trail Outfitters Baselayer. So I was able to stay warm and comfortably add layers without looking and feeling like the Michelin Man.
Want to learn more? Check out our Merino wool 101 article.
Is Merino Wool Itchy?
No, Merino Wool is not itchy. Due to the softness and coiled structure of the thread, the fibers bend with your body.
Is Merino Warmer than Cotton?
Merino is warmer than cotton because it can trap air between the fibers helping keep your body temperature more regulated.
Is Merino Only for the Winter?
No, Merino is a great fabric option year-round due to its ability to regulate body temperature and sweat-wicking properties.
Is Merino Wool Good for Skiing?
Yes, it is great for skiing. Let us help you select the right one with our base layer skiing guide.
The Bottom Line
Wherever your adventures take you in the winter, Merino Wool will keep you more comfortable and help make the experience more enjoyable.
Katie is the creator of MT Girl Fitness and a freelance writer with a passion for the health and wellness industry. She has been a certified health and fitness professional for almost twenty years. She currently holds ten certifications and looks forward to sharing her passion for health and wellness with you.
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