Guide to Merino

From its moisture-wicking and antibacterial properties to its breathability, softness and warmth Merino wool is a fantastic material for keeping you cool when exerting energy, and warm when you’re not.

What is Merino Wool?

Merino wool is highly prized in the clothing industry for it’s fineness and the softness of the fabric it produces, creating a material that sits comfortably next to the skin. From our base layers to knitwear, we can’t shout enough about how great Merino is; whether you’re 2,000 metres up, emerging from frigid waters or find yourself on a windswept clifftop.

Inside or out

Wool has always been at the heart of our fabric story, and we use Merino in our range for a variety of different products. Form winter knitwear, to beanies, socks and base-layer, we’re constantly championing the benefits of this incredible natural fibre. As well as being incredibly soft and fine, Merino has all the benefits of wool that we love; from its antibacterial and anti-odour properties, meaning less washing, to its breathability and ability to wick moisture away from the body.

Natural, renewable and traceable, our Merino is produced sustainably with low environmental impact, all coming from guaranteed non-mulesed sheep.

Note: Mulesing is a painful process carried out on sheep to prevent Flystrike. It involves stripping the skin from a sheep’s backside to stop flies from laying eggs in the sheep’s wool. It is a painful process for the animal and in many cases the sheep still get Flystrike after being mulesed. We have always used non-mulesed wool for all of our Merino base layers and knitwear.

Years in development

We've spent years developing and refining our own blend for our Merino base layers and underwear. We tested and tweaked the formula for years, striving to get the perfect combination of super-soft Merino with enough strength to handle regular washing and retain its shape.

Starting with 100% Merino eight years ago, we found that over time the fabric could twist and ladder when worn and washed. To combat this we blended Merino with polyamide to improve strength and durability without affecting its softness. This blend worked extremely well and we stuck with it for years. But we’re constantly striving for better more sustainable product, so we wanted to give you the benefits of our Merino base layers, using only natural technical fibres.

We had hoped that Tencel® would be the answer; a cellulosic fibre sourced from sustainable eucalyptus farms. Whilst it performed well, it produced a lighter fabric, more suited as a summer layer than as a replacement for our hardy Merino base layers.

Our best Merino base layer blend

We’re always listening to feedback from our customers, and it’s especially hard to ignore when some of those customers also work in your office. After much consideration, we made the decision to get back to the 80% Merino blend that you told us performed best, which meant going back to including polyamide in the blend.

It’s a constant challenge to weigh up durability over our footprint and we continue our mission to create lasting products which have as little impact on the earth as possible. Sometimes nature’s designs just need a helping hand and we believe that wool, as wonderful as it is, gets even better when you add a bit of man-made. 

How to care for your Merino wool base layer

Our base layers retain their shape, are sustainable and odour resistant, lasting longer between washes so you save water and energy. Whilst Merino is antibacterial and can be washed less often, this is a base layer that goes next to your skin, not a jumper. It’s going to need washing. So, here are a few tips for keeping your Merino base layers in top shape.

• Wash at 30°C on a gentle wool cycle with similar colours, keep it on a low spin - max 400.

• Turn your Merino wool garment inside out when washing as this will help prevent it from pilling.

• Do not dry clean or tumble dry.

• Do not bleach or use fabric softener.

• Line dry only away from direct heat.

• Flat dry Merino jumpers as this will help to keep their shape.

• Use a cool iron only if you feel you need to.

• Avoid wringing any Merino wool garment as it will stretch and twist the fabric.

• Our blend does contain synthetic fibres to strengthen the material so, while we’re searching for better alternatives, you may want to invest in a guppy bag for now.