Merino Wool: The Warmest Fabric

For several years I have relied on SmartWool’s Merino Wool layers to provide winter warmth.  I am not an avid winter sports girl, in fact, I can barely stand being outside for an hour in the dead of winter.  I am paralyzed due to a spinal cord injury.  One of the side effects of my injury is that I get cold easily.  In fact, I can be cold even when my body is truly warm.  I know it sounds like an oxymoron but you just have to live the life of someone with a high level spinal cord injury to understand.  Starting in October I count the months until April and cherish each warm day.  In September, I brace myself for the blowing of cold winds and prepare for the winter chill – even in my moderate southeastern U.S. climate.194

I’ve searched high and low for every kind of heater, warm weather gear and warmth gimmick, and I seriously don’t care much about the electric bills in the winter.  I’d rather sacrifice other things to keep warm.  Once the air dries out and the temperatures drop there is nearly a constant background noise in my head whispering, ” I’m cold”.  It can be a rather annoying.

I discovered my favorite find for cool weather clothing a few years ago when I read an article about how wool keeps you warmer than synthetics and why wool is such a great fabric.

smartwool micro

People say it’s itchy, but they haven’t experienced fine merino wool made by companies like SmartWool, Icebreaker and Ibex.

I wear wool all year.  In the heat of the summer I have a couple lightweight wool tee shirts that I use as the perfect shirt.  It keeps me comfortable in the air conditioner and cool outside in the heat.

The Pros and Cons of high quality merino wool

  1. Warm:  It is by far the best solution I have found to keep warm!  In the winter I always layer with a lightweight SmartWool or Icebreaker shirt and add a mid-weight merino wool top over that.  I consider these my base layer and then if needed I put on the sweater or shirt I plan to wear on the outside.  I don’t do well with coats because they are binding on my arms, so this is what I wear all day inside and out with the exception of adding a vest occasionally.
  2. Odor resistant: Whether you perspire or not, this fabric is extremely odor resistant and does not need to be laundered often.  I wear my shirts for a couple weeks at least…  And I mean I wear the shirt underneath whatever I’m wearing for two weeks straight without washing it!  It may sound gross, but I promise even if you perspire you will be surprised how long it takes before it smells!
  3. Soft: You’ll never know you’re wearing wool!  This fabric feels a lot like cotton with stretch.  It is very comfortable and soothing.  I’ve been known to wear my lightweight wool to bed in the summer!
  4. Durable: These pieces do not wear out quickly.  They are high quality and well made.  If you have a few, you can wear them every day for multiple winters!
  5. Requires minimal care: Like I said above, you don’t need to launder them often.  My recommendation is not to launder them unless needed.  Give them the sniff test.  They are machine washable and can go in the dryer!   Sometimes I don’t put mine in the dryer and they will hold up better with fewer washes!  I have, on occasion, taken a piece that is a couple years old to the cleaners to have them freshened up.  The dry cleaners have a way with wool and can remove any pilling.  For every day care I simply lay my shirts out at night!  They can be folded or hung up for storage.
  6. Worth mending: Because I wear one of three light weight shirts next to my skin all  winter I have taken a couple to the dry cleaners to mend an elbow hole.  I’m always leaning on my elbow!
  7. Temperature regulating:  Choose the right weight and they will keep you cool in the summer and warm in the winter.

 

Cons:

  1. Limited selection of color and styles.
  2. Price: Find a sale!  I buy most of my merino wool on sale.  At first I paid full price for a couple pieces, but now that I know I love the product, I buy on sale and clearance!  I often get it as gifts!  There is nothing like a great pair of warm wool socks for any cold nature friend!  Price is probably the reason every cold natured person doesn’t buy high quality merino wool.  Full-price for a lightweight item like a long sleeved shirt is $70-90.  A mid weight ¾ zip shirt can run $90-120.  A wonderful pair of socks can run $25-30.Smartwool Women's PhD Snowboard Medium Sock

If you are not convinced to make an investment in high quality merino wool clothing, treat yourself to a pair of SmartWool socks, then decide on your next piece.

Stay warm and share your tips for beating the cold below.

 

8 thoughts on “Merino Wool: The Warmest Fabric

  1. Interesting. I am currently reading Farmer Boy (a book about Almonzo Wilder) to Josiah. In the book it talks about the Merino sheep that they raise, shearing the wool, and his mom spinning the wool and making clothes out of it for them. He even talks about how his dad likes the Merino better even though the wool it shorter, it is much finer and softer.
    Glad you found something that helps you feel warm.

    • Hi Lydia,
      Sorry it took so long to reply. You are a great mom of children and animals. Glad you know about the Merino sheep. I will have to read Farmer Boy someday. Really would love to see you and the family sometime soon…it has been way too long.

      Love,
      Madge

  2. I also have a minor spinal cord injury from over 10yrs ago and am always feeling cold! Just like you, I can be sweating…yet feeling cold at the same time! Never thought it was due to my back injury…but thank you so much for this article and insight! I will go purchase some merinowool products tomorrow!!

    • Erik, snälla väx upp och slit dig ur dina tonÃ¥r. De enda som skapar osämja är det futÃgll¤ndisa IDIOTER som gÃ¥ng pÃ¥ gÃ¥ng agerar mot BlÃ¥vitts vilja och skapar enorma böter till föreningen genom att hÃ¥lla pÃ¥ och elda. Att du är sÃ¥ jävla pinsam och försöker snacka om att Frankie (!!!) skapar osämja visar ju att du tillhör det fÃ¥tala dÃ¥rar som tycker de är viktigare än allt vad kamratskap och IFK Göteborg heter och är.

    • Hooping outside in the sunshine! Eating plums! Going on more road trips! The beach house! Drinking beers outside at concerts! Swimming! No more dry itchy winter skin! My freckles appearing! Luxurious lounging in the sun!

  3. Hello,I read your blog named “Merino Wool: The Warmest Fabric” on a regular basis.Your writing style is awesome, keep up the good work! And you can look our website about love spells.

  4. I’m so inlove with merino wool! I bought a merino nightdress and it’s perfect for cold nights. I get chilly very easily so the nightdress keeps me warm. The dress was from a shop green-rose.uk.com and i highly recommend it for upcomming winter 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *