10 Reasons to Wear Merino Wool

10 Reasons to Wear Merino Wool

Humans have been wearing wool for thousands of years and merino made its debut somewhere around the Middle Ages. The origin of the merino sheep is disputed but the soft, fine characteristics of its wool are not. Prized since around the 12th century, it has stood the test of time and remains a stalwart fibre for luxurious knitwear. But its appeal goes beyond its softness. Here are just a few of the reasons to wear merino wool.

1. It protects you from UV

Merino wool has natural UV resistance. When tested alongside other fabrics such as nylon and viscose, merino wool passed all of the tests carried out during the study. While other fabrics may absorb some UV wavelengths, merino absorbs the whole UV spectrum, even when untreated, making it the perfect choice to keep your skin protected when out and about.

2. It helps regulates body temperature

Used for millennia to keep people warm, merino wool is known for being the go-to for cold days because the slightly crimped fibres trap warm air against the body, but it can keep you cool on hot days too. The fine, lightweight fibres draw moisture away from the skin, and this “evaporative cooling” of sorts is what keeps you from getting too hot. This moisture-wicking is important on cold days too because if the wind picks up against damp skin that will make you even colder. Merino is truly a natural multi-season all-rounder.

3. It’s odour resistant

Because merino wool is so effective at drawing moisture away from the skin – it can hold up to 35% of its own weight in liquid - it keeps you dry and doesn’t allow the bacterial growth that causes odour. Additionally, its natural structure ‘holds’ odour rather than releasing it, so while a synthetic top might get a little pongy while you’re wearing it when exercising, for instance, a merino wool top won’t. To top it off, odour-causing bacteria is more easily released during airing or washing so isn’t retained in the fibre. While oft-worn synthetics tend to build up odour over time, merino doesn’t.

4. It’s regenerative

Or at least, ours is! The merino we use for Untouched World collections is ZQ certified and sourced through the ZQRX regenerative sourcing programme. ZQRX is a ‘regenerative agriculture index’ which helps farmers work with nature. It’s designed to encourage farmers to rear wool in a way that continuously improves human, animal, and environmental outcomes. The certification goes beyond sustainability to regeneration, and farmers are educated to gain a deep understanding of the relationship between their livestock, the soil, climate, and the community.

5. It’s microplastic-free

Much of today’s knitwear is either made from or blended with synthetic fibres, which shed microplastics during wear and during the wash. Synthetic fibres from textiles are the biggest single source of microplastics in our oceans and up to 700,000 fibres can shed in a single wash. Merino wool, on the other hand, is completely natural and won’t shed a single microplastic fibre.

6. It's easy on the earth

If a merino wool garment does shed a (non-microplastic) fibre, it will naturally decompose in the soil, releasing valuable nutrients back into the earth. Because of this circular, reciprocal relationship with the environment, our merino pieces can be composted at the end of their life – after they’ve had decades of dedicated wear of course!

7. It has natural elasticity

The fine crimp of merino wool gives it natural elasticity, and can be safely stretched by around 30% of its fibre length without breaking, and by 20% without losing its shape. This natural elasticity is then enhanced by knitting as a knitted structure provides yet more stretch. All this lovely built-in stretch means ultimate comfort and ease of movement during wear.

8. It’s wrinkle resistant

The same crimped, coiled molecular structure that helps deal with odours helps merino wool bounce back into its natural shape. So while some fibres will bend and create creases, merino will simply snap back into shape, wrinkle-free. That’s a win for everyone who prefers to avoid ironing and a great fibre for travelling!

9. It’s easy to care for

Wool, especially merino, has a reputation for being difficult to care for. Of course, we highly recommend you always read the label and check the care instructions just in case a particular garment needs handwashing, but much of today’s merino is machine washable, making it easy to maintain. On our merino roster we have Total Easy Care Merino and Mountainsilk, both of which can be machine washed with no worries.

10. It's renewable

Merino wool – and wool in general - is a truly renewable fibre, which is defined as a fibre which can be regrown or replenished. Every year, the sheep grow a fleece and it is sheared during the warmer months both to keep the sheep comfortable and to make use of it as wool for fashion and textiles. By the new year, the sheep will have grown a new fleece and so the cycle naturally continues as it has done for as long as people have been wrapping up in wool.

With so many reasons to wear merino wool, it’s no wonder it's at the core of so many Untouched World collections.

Head to our dedicated merino page to learn more about all the different merino fibres we source. And for a peek behind the scenes, watch our short film about Glenthorne Station, where we source over 90% of our wonderful merino wool.