Where does Merino Wool come from?
Merino wool comes from Merino sheep, a specific breed of sheep that originated in Spain. Today, Merino sheep are raised in many parts of the world, including Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and South America. These sheep are prized for their high-quality wool. The wool is typically shorn from the sheep once or twice per year, depending on the climate and other factors, and then cleaned, spun, and processed into various products. Merino wool is considered to be a luxury material and is often more expensive than other types of wool.
The science behind the amazing material?
All science is in the unique properties of merino wool and they are aresult of the unique structure of the wool fibers themselves and the keratin proteins that make up the wool. This creates:
- Moisture-wicking: Merino wool fibers are naturally breathable and able to wick moisture away from the skin. This is due to the fibers' hydrophilic ("water-loving") and hydrophobic ("water-hating") properties, which allow moisture to be absorbed into the fibers' core and then released into the air as the fibers dry. This helps to regulate body temperature and prevent the buildup of sweat and bacteria that can lead to odor.
- Temperature regulation: Merino wool has excellent insulating properties, which help to regulate body temperature in both hot and cold weather. The fibers trap air between them, creating a natural layer of insulation that keeps you warm in cold temperatures and cool in hot temperatures.
- Odor resistance: Merino wool has natural antimicrobial properties that prevent the growth of odor-causing bacteria. This is due to the presence of lanolin, a waxy substance found in the fibers, which has antibacterial properties.
- Softness and comfort: Merino wool fibers are much finer than traditional wool fibers, making them soft and comfortable against the skin. This also makes them less itchy and scratchy than other types of wool.
- Durability: Merino wool is a strong and durable material that can withstand wear and tear, as well as resist pilling and shrinking.
Overall, the unique combination of moisture-wicking, temperature-regulating, odor-resistant, soft, and durable properties make merino wool a highly desirable material for clothing, especially for outdoor and athletic wear.
Why is it used in all outdoor sports?
Actually the answer is quite straight forward. Look at the science behind it (above) and it becomes clear. The moisture wicking makes you feel comfortable and smell less. The breathability creates a very nice insulation that helps with you feeling cool when it’s warm and warm when it’s cool. Pretty amazing stuff really.
Finally, the material has a very high durability which benefits the active tear and wear. It simply doesn’t break the way low quality materials would do.
We have written an article about the Merino Benefits of Our Fabric - you can read it here if you are curious.
Does blending boozt performance?
There are plenty of blends when it comes to Merino Wool and they most common reasons for doing them are below:
- Stretch: Adding e.g. spandex to merino wool can add the fabrics stretch and flexibility
- Texture and Aesthetics: Adding e.g. silk to the material can create a certain look & feel
- Durability: Some even stronger materials can be added to the blend to enhance durability.
Also, using e.g. more polyester in the blend will lower the cost but that’s not the purpose of the question.
How can we offer non blended 100 % Merino Wool and still get awesome performance?
So the above stretch, texture and durability challenges lied before us and we are proud to say that we overcame all of them. How? Together with our amazing partner in Italy we have constructed a fabric whose knitting style has created a texture that is very similar to what the old school high quality golf shirts used to feel like and maybe more importantly - we have created the most durable, softest and stretchiest material we have ever used.
In the prototype phase the shirts have been worn 100s of times with results that overperformed our best scenario. We are very proud of them.
100 % Ethically Sourced - What does it mean?
We only buy ZQ Merino certified material which in itself is mulesing free and with a production method that incorporates everything we need to live up to our corporate goals of being a good deeds company.