We’ve gotten through the hecticness and craziness of the holiday season, and now we’re all bunkering down for the cold that is winter in Minnesota. The first week of January gave Minnesota, and the Midwest, a week or so of high temps that floated around -5° F, -10° F, and even -20° F. If you’re not from our neck of the woods, you’re probably wondering why we would choose to live in a place like this! (Have you ever been on a lake in Minnesota in the summer? It makes up for the bitterly cold winters.) So, how do we stay warm? Two words: Merino wool.
What comes to mind when you hear the word ‘wool?’
The blanket that’s in the back of my car in case of emergencies
These are just a few characteristics I came up with, but I’m sure you can agree! While wool can sometimes get a bad rep, we’re here to bring you to the temperature regulating, breathable, soft, lightweight side of Merino wool. Here at GoBros, we love Merino wool and all of its wonderful properties. But, if you’re new to the adventure, outdoor, and trekking sock/apparel game, we’re here to answer a few questions that you may have concerning this specific type of wool.
What is Merino Wool?
The difference lies in the thickness of the fibers. Merino wool, from Merino sheep found predominantly in Australia, is comprised of extremely fine fibers which lend aid to softness of the material. The larger fibers of wool account for the scratchy or itchiness that is often associated with wool. Because the fibers are so fine, this allows for greater elasticity or bendability; clothes made from Merino wool will hold their shape much longer than synthetic material. (Woolmark – About Wool)
What are the benefits?
Breathability – When your body heats up due to activity, you sweat. Merino wool absorbs the moisture and then releases it to the drier environment outside of the fabric. This keeps the wearer dry and comfortable. Merino wool can absorb and retain up to 30% of its own weight while still feeling dry to the touch!
Odor Resistance – While absorbing the moisture from sweat, it also will take in the odor molecules from sweat. No more stinky socks!
Strong and Resilient – Merino wool is made up of interlocking fibers of keratin. Keratin may sound familiar if you’ve seen commercials for shampoo that will “rebuild your hair,” as it is present in our own skin and hair. These fibers can stretch and bend in every direction and still retain their original shape.
Lightweight – You can stay warm without the bulk! The light weight of Merino wool allows the wearer to move and breathe without feeling weighed down by layers upon layers.
Natural Protection – Merino wool is naturally protective against the sun’s harmful rays. If it works for Merino sheep in the plains of Australia, it must be good! Additionally, Merino wool is naturally flame resistant. The chemical structure of wool makes it incredibly difficult to catch fire; the temperature would need to reach 1058 – 1112° Fahrenheit (570-600° Celsius).
Video Credit: The Woolmark Company
What can Merino wool be made into?
Where do we begin?! At GoBros, we have Merino wool products for socks, shirts, base-layer clothing, jackets, vests, gloves, mittens, hats, and scarves, just to name a few!
Does Merino wool have any renewable qualities?
Yes! Since Merino wool contains keratin, a natural protein, it is able to decompose in soil when disposed of in a matter of years. It releases valuable nitrogen-based nutrients back into the earth. Synthetic fibers are much slower to degrade, much much slower.
What kind of sheep make Merino wool?
A high percentage of the Merino sheep population can be found in Australia. The sheep produce new fleece every year. The Merino farmers work hard to protect the land on which the sheep graze. Natural resources help to maintain the efficiency of the land.
Here are a few of our favorite products made with Merino wool:
There you have it! Merino wool will keep you warm, dry, and fashionable during these cold months. But, just because the weather will get warmer eventually, it doesn’t mean that you have to put your wool away. Keep a look out for how to wear your Merino wool in the summer!
Want to see more? Head on over to GoBros.com to see all of the Merino wool socks and apparel we have to offer!