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Merino Wool Vs Synthetics

Merino wool combines the best performance qualities of traditional wool and synthetics without the plastic. So what is it that makes merino wool so special?


   Synthetics were developed to create a soft clothing layer against your skin, an area where traditional wool had fallen down because it was itchy to wear. The coarse fibres of traditional wool itch when the coarse fibres push into your skin. Merino wool fibres are so fine that they don't irritate your hair folicles so just like synthetics there is no itching or prickling when you wear merino wool. Icebreaker have used merino wool to produce a full merino clothing layering system that is super soft, non-itchy and really comfortable to wear starting with next to the skin layers including men's underwear, women's underwear and base layers for men, women and kids.  


In cold weather, merino wool uses moisture absorbed from the environment to generate heat, a process called "heat of sorption". This clever and natural quality of merino wool combined with the crimped fibres that contain millions of air pockets that lock in body head keep you warmer than synthetic materials can. 


Not only is merino wool able to keep you warm in cold weather, in warm weather merino wool is also able to keep your skin cool by transporting moisture vapour away from the skin to be evaporated. This evaporation of moisture vapour helps prevent your skin from feeling clammy which is something that can be felt when wearing synthetics. 


Merino wool pulls moisture vapour to the surface of the fabric where it evaporates before the vapour turns into sweat which helps to keep you dryer for longer. Merino wool can absorb up to 30% of its own weight in moisture before you even start to feel wet and if it does get wet it also dries fast. Whilst merino wool does dry quickly it doesn't dry quite as fast as synthetics.
Merino wool has an exceptionally high warmth-to-weight ratio meaning that the fine, lightweight fibres of merino wool clothing give you all of the warmth of a heavy sweater but without the bulk. This lightweight quality of Icebreaker merino clothing allows you to wear multiple layers of clothing without the bulk.
Synthetic fibres can sometimes feel clammy because moisture vapour can only escape through holes in the fabric, however with merino wool clothing the fibre itself, as well as the fabric, breathe to prevent you from overheating. 
Odour Resistant
Icebreaker merino wool clothing resists odour naturally and can be worn for days, even weeks, without washing. You have to try it to believe it. 

When you are outdoors around a campfire you need to think about the safety of the clothing you are wearing. Synthetic fibres can be flamable and can stick to your skin if they do catch on fire. Wool is the least flammable of fibres, and the safest to have next to your body. It’s self-extinguishing and, unlike synthetics, it won’t melt and stick to your skin. 


Merino wool clothing has a UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Rating) of at least 50. This is considered to be the ultimate in sun protection. A sun protection of UPF 50 is higher than cotton and most synthetics. For synthetics check the UPF rating on the label. 
Easy Care

Resilient Icebreaker merino is machine washable, dries quickly (on the line or on the back of a chair – not in a tumble dryer ) and bounces back into shape without ironing, which makes it ideal for travel

Anti Static

Clingy? Ugh. Comfy? Oh yeah. Icebreaker merino is resistant to static electricity build-up, which means it won’t cling or rustle

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