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What is Merino Wool?

By Ashley Davidson on

TREW has been making the highest quality, most technical outerwear on the market for the past decade, and two years ago we decided we needed to get in the base layer game. As with any of our gear, we carefully select the highest quality materials, with the best performance benefits for you and your riding. So, what makes Merino wool the ideal choice for our base layers, as well as our Merino T's and other Merino wool Tops?

Origins of Merino

Merino wool is a very specific type of wool that comes from, you guessed it, Merino Sheep! The Merino sheep originated in Spain almost 1,000 years ago, while the majority of Merino wool is now produced in Australia and New Zealand. These sheep and their Merino wool were so badass that up until the 18th century, it was punishable by death if you tried to export any of the Merino sheep from Spain!

Nature’s Innovation

What makes Merino wool and these sheep so unique is they have thrived for hundreds of years in areas with extremely harsh climates, much too harsh for any other breed of sheep to operate. The majority of Merino sheep are found in the high altitude, mountainous areas of Spain, Australia and New Zealand, where temperatures range from below zero to over 100 degrees Fahrenheit! This has forced the Merino sheep to naturally adapt a fleece that keeps them cool and dry when its warm, and warm and dry when it’s cold. What this means for us who don’t have hundreds of years to develop a high tech natural fleece, is that we get to utilize this adaptation in the same way the sheep have used it; to keep us cool and dry on the single track in the summer, and warm and dry on the skin track in the winter!

Wool that’s soft AF?? Impossible!  

This ain’t your grandma’s itchy wool blanket. That’s because Merino wool is three times finer than the human hair, making it incredibly soft and perfect for our next to skin base layers and selection of Merino tees. Merino wool is also elastic, allowing it to move with you outing after outing.

  Who would win in a fight? Core Merino wool over traditional itchy wool, every time. Who would win in a fight? Core Merino wool over traditional itchy wool, every time. 

Mission Control… I mean Climate Control.

With Merino sheep acclimating to the fluctuating sweltering summers, and briskly cold winters, they had to develop a fleece that could adjust to both extremes. Merino wool is hydrophilic, meaning it likes to soak up moisture. On a microscopic level, the amino acids in Merino wool absorb moisture in the area between your skin and your clothes before it has the opportunity to turn into sweat, keeping you dry. Following this absorption, the insanely breathable Merino wool then goes through its extremely efficient desorption process. This entire micro process takes up heat in the Merino wool. What this means for you on the slopes is heat retention in your Merino wool base layer, keeping you dry and warm when it’s cold. In the summer, when you’re working up a sweat on your next hike, it takes the moisture away from your body, producing a cooling effect while keeping you dry.

You Smell Nice

Because Merino wool is so good at climate control and moisture management, it never gives order causing bacteria the moist environment it needs to develop. Odor causing bacteria are also more attracted to smooth, positively charged fibers, whereas Merino fibers are scaly and carry no charge, sending the stank packing. Look good, smell good. Yes, please. 

Easy Pick

The combination of these properties makes lightweight Merino wool TREWly a super fiber, making it the easy choice when deciding what materials to use in bringing to you our selection of base layers, Merino T-shirts and other Merino Wool Tops.

Itching for more Wool? Find out how we created the lightest merino shirt ever (we're pretty sure). 

Further Reading:

What is Backcountry Skiing

How to Layer for the Backcountry

Choosing the Best Waterproof/Breathable Fabrics


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  • SharanBasu Muttal on

    I am much interested in the Marino Wool out fittings like Sweaters, Shawls, Caps, Scarfs, Gloves & Other Accessories Kindly update with your products

  • Chris on

    Karen, we buy our wool from New Zealand and it sourced from 100% non-mulesed merino sheep. Certainly, you are entitled to buy man-made materials for all of your garments. But like all materials, there is a nuance to how the material is made or procured that makes it sustainable or ethical. There are many excellent sources of man-made fibers, just as there are excellent sources of wool. However, there are also sellers of man-made fibers with questionable social or environmental practices, just as there are problems in the wool supply chain too. Thanks for reading and thanks for your interest!

  • Karen Johnson on

    Let me see some under cover video of where your wool is procured. The hardships and torture sheep endure so you can make money is certainly not worth it. Stick with man made materials!

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