ROW 1: IBEX SHAK FREESTAR ZIP-UP MID-LAYER; ICEBREAKER SPRITE RACERBACK TANK & HOT PANTS; SMARTWOOL NTS MID 250 PATTERN BOTTOM; ROW 2: ICEBREAKER OASIS LEGGINGS; PATAGONIA MERINO 3 MIDWEIGHT ZIP NECK; ICEBREAKER UNISEX POCKET HAT; ROW 3: SMARTWOOL PHD NTS LIGHT 195 WIND ZIP T; NIKE DRI-FIT WOOL V-NECK; ICEBREAKER UNISEX CORONET GLOVES
Merino wool is fast becoming the performance fabric of choice for many athletes and outdoor enthusiasts. It is a uniquely versatile fabric that keeps the athlete warm when its cold and cool when it’s hot — ideal for running, hiking, skiing, cycling, and any other outdoor sport.
Merino is regarded as being one of the finest and softest wools, consisting of a higher number of thread fibers than others. These fibers trap tiny pockets of air which act to insulate in cold weather, and at the same time wick moisture away to the surface, keeping the body cool when it’s heating up. Because the individual fibers stay dry this keeps the fabric odor-free, aided by the anti-bacterial lanolin naturally occurring in the wool. Few other single fabrics work so well in such a broad range of temperatures.
Whereas synthetic fabrics, essentially a blend of polyester and nylon, have been the popular choice for activewear in recent years, brands like Smartwool and Icebreaker have been toting the advantages of Merino wool for a while now, and using it exclusively in their sport apparel. Other major sport brands like Nike, Patagonia, Arc’Teryx and Lululemon, seeing the benefits, have recently added Merino based apparel to their product line. As a result, stylish Merino baselayers, performance tops and bottoms, hats, gloves and other accessories are now available in a wide variety styles and colors, designed to appeal to all kinds of athletes and sports enthusiasts.