Why is merino wool so popular?
Merino is a breed of sheep, prized for its wool as it is particularly fine and soft. Wool diameter is measured in microns and the lower the micron, the finer the wool and therefore the more expensive it is. The diameter of merino starts at around 24 micron, right down to 15 and even below, compared to the 40 or more micron of coarser regular wool. Merino wool can be costly, but it has many properties which make it so popular.
Temperate control and warmth
One of the major advantages of merino over other wools is its ability to regulate temperature and hold warmth. Despite its light weight. an Irish merino wool sweater is the perfect item of clothing to keep you warm through the winter. But it’s no wonder that merino is so popular, as merino is warm and offers insulation during cold winter months, but is just as wearable during milder weather due to its ability to regulate heat. Its versatility means it’s perfect for changeable weather, such as the unseasonably warm weather experienced in North-Eastern America in January!.
A natural property of merino wool is its ability to wick moisture away from the skin and absorb it into the woollen fibres. Moisture is moved through the fibres and can then evaporate from the surface. The benefit of this is that you are kept dry, so for any activity where you are likely to sweat or get wet, merino is perfect.
Another benefit of merino is that is has a natural odour prevention ability. Merino wool is able to hold moisture without the growth of bacteria in the fibres which leads to unpleasant odours. An Irish Merino wool sweater for example, can be worn over again without becoming smelly or sweaty. Of course, that’s not to say it’s impossible for merino wool to ever get smelly, but merino wool is a great choice for those who may get sweaty or who cannot change regularly such as backpackers, hikers, walkers, etc.
Many people associate wool with being itchy or uncomfortable, but this is not the case with merino wool, as it is light and soft due to the fine fibres. Merino is therefore ideal for clothes that sit next to the skin so is a popular choice for comfortable socks or base layers.