La Niña must be snoozing this week because the summer heat has finally hit! Perfect timing to dive into why wearing wool is the most comfortable way to get through the hottest days of the year, counterintuitive as that may seem.
With a heritage stretching all the way back to 10,000 BC, wool is a fibre that has withstood the test of time – but not all wool is created equal. The difference is night and day between the heavy, itchy wool of grandma’s winter sweaters and our luxuriously lightweight Superfine (17.5 micron) Merino wool which is comfortable year round no matter where you live.
WHAT’S SO COOL ABOUT WOOL?
“Wool fabrics can move 25% more moisture away from your skin than polyester, equivalent to an ambient temperature drop of up to 4° Celsius.” - Woolmark
The Merino is one of the world’s most ancient breeds of sheep with a fleece built for to withstand extreme temperatures from -15°C all the way through 35°C. The magical performance of Merino as a fabric comes down to a quirk of evolutionary engineering that allows it to deal with heat and moisture in a unique way.
Think of it like Mother Nature’s aircon.
When it comes to keeping cool (or warm for the matter), thermo-regulation is key and the natural curl of the Merino fibre – also known as the ‘3D crimp’ – makes it act like a second skin creating a pocket of air between your skin and the fabric, helping to regulate your body temperature.
Even if you don't understand the mechanics, we’ve all experienced this air pocket keeping us warmer in winter. Counterintuitively it also helps to keep you cooler in summer by letting vapour to pass through the microscopic pores of the fibre, thus conducting heat away from your skin.
It's like the fabric version of your insulated Keep Cup which nails both a flat white and an iced latte – keeping both at just the right temperature.
It’s this buffer – really a micro-(micro-)climate – between the fabric and the skin which works to stabilise not just temperature but humidity as well. Merino clothing is also more breathable than other fibre types, absorbing and releasing twice as much moisture vapour as cotton and up to 30 times as much as polyester!
Merino can even absorb and retain up to 30% of its own weight in moisture and still feel dry to the touch. And according the Woolmark, "Wool fabrics can move 25% more moisture away from your skin than polyester, equivalent to an ambient temperature drop of up to 4° Celsius".
In fact, the hotter and wetter it gets outside, the cooler and better you feel when wearing wool. We know this sounds crazy but it's true, and the ultimate reason that Merino is ideal for the humid afternoons of an Aussie summer.
“Merino can absorb (and release) twice as much moisture vapour as cotton and up to 30 times as much as polyester!” - Woolmark
If all that wasn’t enough, Merino is also naturally anti-microbial and odour resistant. The fibres’ unique chemical structure is able to absorb and lock odours in wear after wear.
This is equal parts socially acceptable and also environmentally friendly because it means less washing than other fibres like cotton. And in a feat of engineering even Elon would applaud, the captured odours are only released through the process of washing. Yes, really!
If you’ve read this far, you’ll understand that we’re just a little bit in love with nature’s wearable HVAC system. Which is why we’ve launched two of our fave summer colours in Merino for the first time ever - Goji and Deep Teal.
The bright, ripe red with a cool blue base that your summer wardrobe has been waiting for – a confident yet classic colour certain to go into high-rotation.
DEEP TEAL MERINO
The lovechild of a vibrant warm blue and a revitalising cool green – the perfect statement colour for the warmer months.