Merino Wool: Everything You Need to Know

Merino Wool is a sought-after material because it’s versatile. Not only is it excellent at absorbing moisture, but it’s also a fantastic insulator. Merino wool is expensive, but for a good reason. Today, this adaptable material is used for all sorts of clothing items.

Clothing made from Merino Wool will naturally move moisture away from your skin. This is referred to as moisture-wicking. When moisture such as sweat sits on the skin and soaks your clothing, it can lead to various problems. Dry skin is happy skin, and this material will help keep it that way. You won’t have to worry about common moisture problems like Athlete’s foot, chafing, and other fungal problems.

Merino Wool is very soft, and you frequently see it used in socks and base layers. While people who love adventuring outdoors swear by Merino Wool, is it really worth the investment? Let us take a look at the pluses and minuses of Merino Wool.

Is Merino Wool Right for You?

Ball of yarn Merino wool

More and more products are being constructed with Merino Wool because it has so much to offer. Many people wear shirts made of Merino Wool blends on a daily or weekly basis. There really is no wrong time to wear a piece of clothing made with Merino Wool.

Just like other fabrics, it will wear over time. Replacing a Merino Wool shirt, socks, or pants will cost more than replacing something made of cotton, and you may find you get about the same amount of wear out of it. Investing your money into a reputable brand will help ensure your Merino Wool products last as long as possible.

Whether you live in a cold climate, love to go on outdoor adventures, or simply want a super soft fabric for everyday wear, Merino Wool will be a great choice. It’s not hard to take care of, and it offers a plethora of advantages and only a few disadvantages.

7 Common Merino Wool Questions Answered

There is a lot of big talks that surround Merino Wool, and with that talk comes questions. Some people swear by it for a variety of clothing needs, while others will tell you it is itchy like all other wool types. We have done the research to answer the most pressing questions concerning Merino Wool.

What is Merino Wool?

Merino sheep grazing

Merino Wool is wool that comes from a specific breed of sheep. These sheep have very fine, soft, and crimped wool. Wool is measured in microns. When it comes to price, the lower the micron, the more expensive the material. Additionally, the smaller the micron, the finer and softer the material will be. When you think of itchy wool, it has a micron measurement of 40 or more.

Merino Wool usually sits between 15 and 24 microns. This is why those that say it feels like all wool is sadly mistaken. Merino Wool is so thin that it will not be rough or itchy. It feels fantastic and is also excellent at keeping you warm and dry. Merino sheep are now raised all over the world as this material has grown exponentially in popularity.

How durable is Merino Wool?

Durability is actually one of the few downfalls of Merino wool. This is especially true when you start to test lightweight Merino Wool pieces. You should only expect to get a couple of seasons out of your Merino Wool layers. If you don’t wear your Merino Wool base daily, you may get more than a couple of seasons out of them. The knees and elbows of your Merino pieces will wear faster than any other space. If you’re wearing heavyweight Merino items, they will hold up quite a while longer.

With that being said, the durability of Merino Wool socks is actually excellent. More often than not, these socks will be mixed with nylon, making them sturdier. Additionally, Merino Wool socks use high-density knitting, making them sturdier and more durable.

To improve the life span of your Merino Wool products, you should wash them in cold water. Additionally, regardless of if the tag says you can throw it in the dryer, you should not. Your Merino Wool items will hold up longer if line dried.

How does Merino Wool feel against the skin?

Knitting merino wool blanket

Pretty much everyone thinks of the same thing when they hear the word wool. You think of those warm yet terribly itchy sweaters and socks from times long since passed. Merino Wool is not that. The fibers are so small that they are incredibly soft, especially compared to standard wool. The feeling of Merino Wool is pleasant and makes it easy to wear it all day long.

This is why so many people add Merino Wool shirts to their wardrobes and base layers for cold-weather activities. Merino is not only soft, but it’s also light. It’s lighter than cotton, even though it’s warmer and better at regulating your body temperature. When you talk to those who have worn Merino Wool items, they will tell you it’s hard to wear other materials after being spoiled with this one.

How does Merino Wool handle moisture, and is it breathable?

When you hear the phrase “moisture-wicking,” people are talking about a material’s ability to move moisture away from your skin. The moisture from your skin will move through the fabric, reaching the exterior and evaporating. Merino Wool is excellent at wicking moisture away from your skin because it can retain a lot of moisture. Wool naturally absorbs moisture effectively, which is a pretty significant benefit.

In terms of breathability, Merino Wool is one of the best. For the same reasons, it keeps you dry. It will also breathe well. It’s lightweight and thin so that air will pass through it quickly. The high level of breathability also means it will dry quickly. If you are working hard and sweating a lot, a heavyweight Merino Wool piece of clothing may feel stuffy. However, it’s still better than cotton or polyester materials.

Is it true that foul odors are not as noticeable with Merino Wool items?

Pile of new wool closeup

Merino Wool is a natural fiber, which means unpleasant smells will not build up as quickly. The way it absorbs moisture does not allow bacteria to grow easily, which helps to reduce odors. You can wear a Merino wool shirt for a few days before it starts to smell less than fresh or feels dirty. This is why so many like to wear Merino Wool shirts on outdoor adventures that last multiple days. If you’re into backpacking, hiking, skiing, or climbing, Merino Wool items can keep you feeling and smelling fresher than ever.

Is Merino Wool really worth the price?

If you have ever looked into Merino Wool items, you quickly realized that they are expensive. A simple pair of socks may cost you thirty dollars. A shirt could cost you upwards of one hundred. Many people shy away from this, not only because of the price but also because of durability problems. You can find high-quality pieces for half the price, but you’ll be sacrificing performance advantage.

If you lead an active lifestyle outdoors and you want real comfort, you will likely find that it’s well worth the investment. You can find some good deals on Merino Wool products, which can help the financial burden that they typically add. The only person who can truly decide if it’s worth it is you.

I keep hearing about Merino and Synthetic blends, what is that about?

Merino wool

As brands continue to try and improve the performance of their items, they experiment with material hybrids. Many of the top brands are making these hybrids with Merino Wool and Polyester. This mix of material is snug, stretchy, and quite durable. These hybrid pieces are typically more expensive than straight Merino Wool pieces. They will provide you with all of the benefits of Merino Wool. Plus, they will last longer and fit a bit more structured. While it gives you a structured fit, this blend is also exceptionally flexible. It moves with you easily.

There are other brands that mix Merino Wool fibers with nylon. This also leads to a high price tag, but the performance is truly impressive. They will hold up for a long time. You will, again, get all of the benefits that Merino Wool has to offer and all of the benefits of nylon. Having two solid materials working in tandem makes for excellent performance and an investment worth making.


Clothing made from Merino Wool will be a decent investment, depending on how often you want to wear them. Whether going with 100% Merino Wool or Merino Wool blends, you will have clothing options that are lightweight but also warm. When you’re working hard and sweating harder, Merino Wool will keep you cooler and more comfortable. Merino Wool pieces are made for every season, so fitting them into your lifestyle is a breeze.

If you are active outdoors, you really should give this material a try. Your bank account may not love you for it, but your body and mind sure will. If you’re trying to ensure you get decent durability out of your pricey Merino Wool pieces, you simply need to buy them in slightly heavier weights, wash them in cold water, and avoid putting them in the dryer.

While there is no guarantee you’ll fall in love with Merino Wool, we are confident that if you try it, you will. The best options are going to come from well-known brands as they will use the highest-quality Merino Wool and construction. If you decide to invest, research the brand first to ensure they know how to handle this elegant material. Many people go to Patagonia and Arc’teryx for their Merino Wool products. Both of these brands offer top quality options that are advanced in design and comfort.

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