As you guys all know I am obsessed with merino wool clothing. For the past 2 years I have challenged myself to wear some article of merino wool clothing every single day. In this quest, I have ended up becoming quite a fan and aficionado of this natural fiber. In the process of learning more about merino wool clothing, I have tested a ton of products and wanted to share my finds with you here. Also, since the holidays are approaching I thought this would be a great time to convince you of the beauty of wool and why you should also start investing in this amazing clothing.
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What is Merino Wool?
I know many of you may be thinking “yeah yeah I have tried wool and hated it!”. Or maybe it’s along these lines – “I can’t handle those old fashioned itchy wool sweaters!” Or perhaps “I live in Southern California, what use do I have for wool?”
Merino wool is different. It is much finer and softer than the regular wool you may know from your childhood days. It is found on the Merino sheep in Australia and New Zealand. This breed of sheep has the softest and finest fleece. With modern technology, merino wool makes for amazingly durable fabrics that outperform cotton and synthetics.
Benefits of Merino Wool Clothing
Merino wool is unique in that it is antimicrobial. It absorbs odor caused by bacteria—trapping the smell and keeping the bacterial from building up.
Did you know that bacteria is actually what makes your clothes smell?
This means you can wear merino wool clothing for longer without having to worry about smelling. This is one of the reasons it is perfect for travel and for the outdoors. We have worn wool for days on end while backpacking and honestly did not smell even after 5 days without a shower!
Merino wool clothing is also temperature regulating. It keeps your body temperature cool when you are hot and warm when it is cold out. The breathing qualities of the fabric make it perfect for all-year-round clothing.
Non-Allergenic & UV Protectant
Merino wool is perfect for people sensitive skin. There is research that shows that wearing merino wool T-shirts or sweaters can reduce adult and infant eczema symptoms compared to other fabrics. For kids who struggle with sensory issues, merino fabrics are so soft and gentle they are bound to be happy.
Merino clothes also have a natural UV barrier to keep you safe from damaging UV radiation from the sun.
Merino wool garments are much more environmentally friendly than other fabrics and are biodegradable.
Synthetic fabrics and cotton demand a great amount of manipulation and processing using water and other materials. Merino wool, however, is a natural fiber harvested from merino sheep twice a year providing renewability.
Furthermore, merino wool fibers will naturally decompose back to the earth when it is disposed.
Why is Merino Wool Clothing Perfect for Travel?
Merino wool clothing is perfect for travel because you don’t have to wash it often due to the antimicrobial properties, it doesn’t wrinkle too much and like I mentioned above it is temperature regulating which means you will be comfortable no matter the weather.
In addition to not needing to be washed often, merino wool clothing is quick drying. When you get stuck in that unexpected downpour, don’t worry, your clothes will dry quickly and you won’t feel it as much as the fabric is moisture wicking. Need to do a quick wash at night before you head off the next day? No worries, your merino wool clothing will usually dry overnight!
When you do need to wash your merino wool clothing, it can be washed in the washing machine. This makes it super easy to travel with.
Given all of this above, it just made sense for me to give it a go. And you know where that has taken me. Obsession level. I truly love my merino wool clothes and find it to be the perfect travel garment. I now pack much lighter, don’t have to worry about doing laundry often and I know all of my clothes work together. My go to merino wool travel clothing includes a dress, leggings, merino wool underwear, wool socks and wool long sleeve shirts.
The Best Merino Wool Brands
Merino wool clothing has taken off in the past few years with a large number of brands now entering the market. While there are constantly new brands emerging, the brands listed in this post are the ones I have tried personally and know the quality of their clothing. One of my favorite merino brands is Wool&. This brand only has women’s and a few kids options, but they are my go to first resource for all things made of merino fiber. For men, their counterpart Wool&Prince is the go to.
Merino Wool Clothing for Her
My entry into the merino wool world began with a 100 day challenge issued by the company Wool&. Their challenge was – can you wear ONE dress for 100 days straight? If you can, and you document it, you will earn yourself a $100 gift credit to buy your next dress. I was intrigued by this and had to try. I ended up wearing my dress for 210 days straight before I got my reward dress and began switching things up. Now a year later I have 6 (eek!) dresses and almost a completely revamped wardrobe of merino clothes.
Merino Wool Dresses
Wool& is my preferred brand for all of my wool products. This is the brand that started it all and the one that I still go back to over and over. I have 6 of their dresses, wool leggings, pants, a cardigan and probably more. In general I am SO happy with this merino wool brand. They are always very quick to respond to inquiries, send your products with free shipping and provide free returns up to 30 days from purchase/delivery.
If you are just jumping into their clothes I would suggest sizing down at least on the things that are not form fitting as they are quite roomy. I typically wear a large in other clothes, but in Wool& I wear a medium.
Merino Wool Shirts
Smartwool is a well known outdoor clothing brand and one of the oldest in the merino wool world. They are also my go to for merino wool t-shirts. I LOVE my long sleeve 150 merino wool t-shirt from Smartwool. I wore it all summer backpacking to keep myself protected from the sun and warm at night. They also have a 250 blend that is a bit thicker for those of you in cooler climates. So far I have not needed anything thicker in SoCal, but I do look longingly at it when I see it at REI!
Smartwool also makes a great short sleeve merino wool shirt that I have and adore. I now have two of these. Again, this is something I wore all summer long over my wool dresses while backpacking to help protect my shoulders from the sun and my backpack straps. They are amazing and very versatile.
Merino Wool Leggings
One of the issues you can have with wool clothes is static. This can be exacerbated when you have cotton clothes under the wool. I found this out the hard way in a very dry southern California climate with a lot of static electricity. The best way to combat this is to wear ALL wool! And thus began my voyage into wool leggings.
Woolx is another great brand for all things wool. I have a pair of their leggings which I wore all summer and on our backpacking trips. They are a bit thicker than regular leggings, but not overly hot even during hot temperatures. I also have tried their undies and love them.
There are a ton of brands and I am slowly trying them out. Another brand on my list to check out are SnagTights. They have legging type tights and regular tights that get rave reviews.
I have tried a variety of wool underwear in this past year. Some were a total bust and others were pretty great. The ones I love the most are Branwyn. They are a super small company with a really great return policy. Basically if you buy multiple pairs of something and open 1 and don’t like it, you can return the rest and keep the one for free.That for me is excellent customer service. I did buy the bra from them and didn’t love it so they let me keep it. I ended up buying more underwear just because they are so awesome. These are a little thicker than the synthetic ones I used to wear, but they stay in place, don’t stretch out over the course of the day and are comfortable.
I also have Woolx undies which are thin and more like my regular cotton undies. These are only in bikini size which can be a little small for some.
Lastly, Smartwool has some nice options for underwear. They are thin and feel more like cotton, which makes them great and easy to travel with.
Merino Wool Socks
I know most people love Smartwool socks and while I also like them, the best merino wool socks in my opinion are actually compression socks from Comrad. First I love that this company is based in LA where I live (which means I get my socks in the mail very quickly!) and I love the actual socks! I can wear the same pair for several days and still not get any smell or funkiness. I exclusively wore their no ankle wool socks (that they currently don’t have. WAH!) while hiking the John Muir Trail. They help keep my feet from hurting and swelling and all the while they are wool. If you like ankle socks, these are the ones for you. They now also have higher leg compression wool socks as well, so now you have more than one option.
If you want regular socks, I do love the variety of Smartwool and have a few pairs that I wear in the winter. My son LOVES his Darn Tough wool socks.
Yes, I even have managed to move into the world of wool shoes. I know. I am obsessed. Taos are adorable clogs and amazing wool quality. Love these. There are also wool shoes made by Allbird that people rave about. I am sure there are more coming out, but those are the wo that I currently know about.
Kids Wool Clothing
And you can bet that I have also gotten my son into the wool wagon. He was a little resistant at first, but he now pulls out his wool clothes more than anything else in his closet and is on a quest to wear some piece of wool for the entire year. Granted wool clothing is a bit expensive for kids so I can understand why not everyone makes the jump into this arena. However I will say that having a few basics like thermals, a couple of t-shirts and a sweater will go a long way. We also LOVE wool socks which are a must when backpacking. If buying new is too pricey for you, check out Poshmark or online wool groups as people are always selling their outgrown wool.
I love the long johns/pajamas from Iksplor (use this code for 20% off: NOBACKHOME20). We have the dark blue and they actually work well as just a regular long sleeve as well as a good base layer his other clothes or as pajamas. I love that they have thumb holes which helps with keeping his layers in place. If they had more options for kids, I would buy all my wool from Iksplor as their products are high quality and durable.
Shirts for Kids
My son wanted to wear more merino wool fabric in his day to day life, so I found Nui Organics which has a line of tencel and superfine merino wool shirts that are glorious. These shirts are seriously so thin, light and soft. He loves them so much it’s about all you see him in these days. He has 3 short sleeves and 3 long sleeves. Sadly, they are discontinuing this line for a bit, so stock up while you can! Again I wish they made more of these and with pictures on them too to mix things up as these really are the best travel clothes.
Another brand that we have recently come into is Chasing Windmills. My son LOVES his long sleeve hoodie shirt and his sweatshirt from them.
Even though we live in SoCal and hardly get the opportunity to wear sweaters, he does have one beautiful sweater from Nui Organics that I am constantly wishing for cool weather so he can wear! Great quality, beautiful colors and again soft and light fabric perfect for kids who might have sensory issues.
My son loves his Smartwool and Darn Tough socks equally. But a new pair we recently tried by Nui Organics has turned into the daily favorite. Again these can be worn for several days without any smell.
For the Men
We haven’t tried any men’s wool clothing (yet!), but my friend Eric has recently been obsessed with his wool from UnboundMerino. It looks very similar to the quality of what I’ve tried and worn, so given his love of it I would recommend it. I actually have their travel hoodie and have worn it constantly for 2 years and LOVE it. It is perfect for all temperatures and honestly I don’t notice a difference with it being for men not women!
Also Wool& has a men’s line at Wool& Prince. Again I haven’t tried it, but I will be ordering some for the holidays to check out.
So what do you think? Are you sold on why you should buy merino wool fabrics? Apart from reducing our carbon footprint and having a lower environmental impact, I really love the feel of my merino wool clothing and how easy it has been to use as a base for a capsule wardrobe.
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