10 Best Merino Wool Apparel (2023): Hoodies, Shirts, Pants, and Socks

Len Merino is a super fiber. Somehow, the Merino T-shirt can still stay comfortable in 95 degrees Fahrenheit, and the Merino hoodie will keep you warm well below freezing. Unlike petroleum-based synthetic fibers, Merino wool is natural and renewable. A sheep can grow 4-5 pounds of wool per year.

That’s because the merino woolly sheep drink only the purest water of the Alps and study the art of appeasement under the tutelage of the slightly stubborn Pashmina goats, which, let’s face it, Know a thing or two about the wonderful softness of pillows. Just kidding. Merino wool do comes from Merino sheep, a thinner, softer wool that makes Merino a lot more comfortable to wear on your skin. It is not clear if the Merino sheep got this idea from the Pashmina goat. What I do know is that Merino wool is a remarkable, overlooked fabric that has become the cornerstone of my winter wardrobe.

Merino sheep don’t just live in cold climates. Their wool has evolved to keep them comfortable in a wide range of temperatures and the same is true for clothing made from Merino wool. I wore a Merino T-shirt on 100-degree days and felt fine, although this is less true if you add high humidity to the mix — Merino sheep obviously don’t vacation in the tropics. Either way, wool’s versatility means there’s a bewildering array of blends and options to choose from. These are our favorite Merino wool products we’ve tested.

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Merino wool is very versatile, but I still think the best use case for it is as a lightweight, hoodie-like middle layer. It’s warm enough on its own for cool days, is surprisingly wind resistant, and can combine with the outer shell to form a great lightweight day hiking layering system. It’s also a good choice for the gym or around town.

The Icebreaker hoodie was my introduction to Merino wool and it remains my favorite jacket I’ve ever owned. Alas, after about 10 years, mine was attacked by caterpillars (see our care instructions below) and had to retire. Mine is not the exact style in the picture, but very close to it. This jacket is made from 100% merino and is incredibly warm, though not too thick. That makes it a great choice for days when the weather can change dramatically – it’s warm enough for a chilly morning but won’t weigh heavily in your backpack the rest of the time. during the day. This one’s a little tight, so if that’s not your thing (and it’s not mine), go up the next size.

If you don’t want to use 100% merino on your first purchase, that’s okay. There are so many blended garments on the market that take advantage of the many benefits of merino fabrics, with enough cotton or polyester to retain the softness many of us are used to. This hoodie by Ten Thousand is a prime example. It’s 76% polyester, 18% merino, and 6% elastane, giving it a soft, stretchy feel that’s ideal to wear when exercising, climbing, or any other outdoor activity where you need a shrink jacket. stretch and stretch with you.

Replace fleece with middle layer

I have nothing against synthetic fleece. It has its place, but I rarely wear it these days. I like hoodies as a top layer or a middle layer underneath. Merino is better at helping your body regulate its temperature, rather than just keeping you warm like fleece and other synthetics do.

Kora’s Yardang Jersey is designed as a mid-weight mid-layer. It’s probably the most versatile thing I have in my wardrobe. It’s enough on its own on a cool spring day but then thin enough to coat another layer on top when you need more. It is breathable and very soft. Yardang is a blend of 70% merino, complemented by 30% Himalayan yak wool. It’s the softest merino in my collection. If you like this blend, also a hat And awsome in the Yardang line.

If you are worried about using goose down As an insulation, merino wool is also a suitable substitute for synthetic insulation. Vests are like cheat code Layer if you want to keep your body warm but your arms are mobile or you want a little extra warmth without adding too much stuff. I (Adrienne) like to wear an Ibex Wool Aire vest underneath my usual wool coat if I’m going out at night or for a long time.

I’m old enough to remember when “background” was any cotton t-shirt you wore. If you get cold in there, put on a jacket. If you’re hot in there, you sweat. You have demand a special shirt for climbing? Are not. Just go for a long walk. That said, outdoor gear marketing or not, base classes are a thing. I’m starting to love some merino t-shirts, especially in the spring and fall. They don’t really feel much different from cotton, but they don’t smell after you’ve sweated in them all day, which is a big bonus for multi-day hikes or just plain wear. simply trips to the gym.

We love these long-sleeve Smartwool shirts because of how soft they are. The 87 percent merino wool blend with nylon means they’re incredibly comfortable. In the base layer guide, we say this shirt is “ideal weight”, with thick seams (meaning: sturdier, more durable) but not uncomfortably heavy. —the shirt lay flat and off the shoulders, as any half-baked foundation should.

However, the most expensive t-shirts I’ve ever owned are some of my favorites. They’re warm, but somehow cool, and surprisingly good at blocking the wind. These shirts do not have high humidity; for that, I would probably use a mix. Note that some Icebreaker t-shirts are mixed, so check the details on your favorite design before investing.

Don’t forget your feet! It never ceases to amaze me (Adrienne) how many people put multiple layers of insulation on their upper half and leave their feet alone. completely naked. Depending on the weather, I have a number of different weights of leggings that I can change. My favorite is the classic Icebreaker leggings, which have been around for almost a decade. However, the rest of my family (my spouse and two children) use REI’s domestic merino wool leggings and lining, which is a reasonably priced and non-irritating option for my son’s sensitive skin.

A few options exclusively for women

And now, a suitable word. Women aren’t the only ones whose bodies differ from the norm. But I (Adrienne) am 5′ 2″ tall and struggled to find clothing options that fit—especially those that fit my skin. Even though the foundation is high quality, it won’t keep me warm. you if it rolls up around your waist or sags below your hips.

Most major brands offer women’s versions of their foundations. However, if you’re having a hard time finding the right pair of pants, Kari Traa’s leggings have a very high waist that helps you stay in shape. The patterns are nice, too, for those of you who are opposed to marching around the motel in what looks like pajamas. Allbirds Leggings ($64) also uses a blend of Tencel and nylon for durability, with a high waist for a better fit.

Although merino wool is very soft, most products in this category are blends, often with some form of nylon. Darn Tough socks are a WIRED favorite. They’re great for skiing, hiking, climbing, and anything else you want to do. These blends vary by weight, but most of them are about 50% nylon and 50% merino, which helps them dry a bit faster than pure merino while still retaining a lot of warmth and comfort.

The weird thing about socks is that, as a warm-weather lover, I hate socks. Every day with socks is a kind of failure. That said, these Carhartts (gifted to me by a friend who was worried I’d be wandering in the snow in socks-less sandals) are really pretty. They are incredibly warm and soft, and they never smell. They might be my favorite socks—if I had my favorite socks.

Merino wool comes in a variety of weights that you’ll often see listed as “200 gsm” or similar. (“gsm” means grams per square meter.) What matters is the weight and location of your clothing. At the low end you get t-shirts and underwear, usually in 150 gsm, although we’ve seen some as low as 120 gsm. In general, anything under 200 gsm will be a good base coat. Between 200-300 gsm is your average-class, and anything over 300 is heavier clothing.

How to care for Merino wool?

Most merino products will have care instructions. Most likely it will be cold washed and air-dried. The latter is very important, as hanging the wool to dry will cause the wool to stretch (due to the weight of the water). While most merino labels will say that the garment can be machine washed, my experience is that hand washing merino will prolong its life. This is especially true for t-shirts and t-shirts with a very light merino backing (150 gsm).

I’ve never had a problem storing merino in my closet after every wear, but for long-term storage I recommend watching out for moths, which are notorious for eating holes in wool. I lost the merino clothes to the moth.


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