Thinking of refreshing your fitness wardrobe? Learn all about the hottest (and coolest) form of active wear, merino wool.
Active wear is synonymous with being shiny, stretchy and, let’s be honest, quite stinky.
Wool may not be the first thing to spring to mind when shopping for workout gear, but the ultra-fine and ultra-functional fibres of merino wool may just change your mind.
The merino wool available in most garments comes from the hardy Merino sheep in New Zealand and Australia. The extreme changes in climate mean that the sheep need a coat that’s warm and toasty in the icy winters, yet light and cool in the baking summers.
Every sheep grows a new fleece every year, making merino one of the world’s most sustainable natural resources. Once discarded, the fibres in merino biodegrade in a matter of years, slowly releasing proteins back into the soil. (Let’s not talk about how long synthetic fibres take to break down.)
These happy chaps are raised free range and looked after in an environmentally sensitive and ethical way, so your conscience can rest easy.
The fibres in merino wool are very fine and crimped, which means that they are full of natural air pockets for insulation and breathability. The natural air pockets mean that it also packs a punch in the warm stakes, keeping you toasty without the bulk.
Merino wool can absorb 35 percent of its weight in moisture, meaning that it wicks away the sweat from your body quickly, leaving you feeling dry and fresh. As an added bonus for you fitness freaks, merino wool is odour resistant, so you can work twice as hard and still smell great. Indeed, some say it can even be worn for weeks without washing.
Merino fibres are teeny-tiny. They are so fine that you won’t feel the annoying itchy-scratchiness that usual wool can cause.
Under a microscope, merino fibres resemble mini Slinkys, and they return to their shape in just the same way. So you can run, squat, and lunge without the fear of saggy knees.
Merino wool offers the ultimate in sun protection. At SPF 50, it is higher than most cottons and synthetic fabrics.