We asked our friends at Icebreaker - renowned for their high performance New Zealand merino wool base layers and outdoor clothing – to tell us what’s so great about merino wool!

The Merino is a mountain sheep that thrives in high mountain areas, such as the Southern Alps of New Zealand, roaming freely up to 7,000 feet.

Merino sheep have a light, ultra-breathable coat that keeps them cool and protected from the scorching summer sun. When winter sets in, they grow an extra layer of wool over their base coat, so they can roam through fields of ice and snow in warmth and comfort.

Shop Icebreaker merino at Wiggle

The merino solution

Finally, a performance solution with none of the downsides! Merino has evolved over time to be super lightweight, soft, non-itchy, non-clammy, warm in the cold and cool in the heat, and has an incredible ability to resist odour. Plus, as it was made in the mountains rather than some petrochemical laboratory, it’s naturally renewable, recyclable and biodegradable.

Icebreaker have adapted merino wool into a system of lightweight layers that give you the freedom to explore your environment. Wear a next-to-skin layer in warmer weather, then layer up for insulation in the cold. When Icebreaker garments are layered together, air is trapped in between each fine layer to ramp up the warmth. Your layers lock together like a single lightweight garment.

Benefits of merino, nature’s performance fibre:

  • Thermo regulation - In warmer weather, merino captures the body’s moisture with its absorbing abilities and releases it as heat away from the skin for a naturally cooling effect.  In cooler conditions, merino’s crimped texture traps air in pockets, forming an insulating barrier.  This means you stay warmer in cold conditions and cooler in hot conditions.
  • Odour management - Merino outperforms other fibres with its ability to resist the build-up of unpleasant odours meaning you can wear merino for multiple days in the mountains.
  • Softness - Merino fibres are so fine that when in contact with the skin they simply bend, providing softness and comfort.

  • Moisture management - The merino fibre can actively manage moisture by absorbing it from the skin and then evaporating to the atmosphere, leaving you dryer and more comfortable. Merino has a much higher absorption rate than that of most synthetic fibres.
  • UV protection - Merino provides natural protection from UVA and UVB rays without extra fabric treatment. This makes it the perfect fabric to wear for long days in the sun.
  • Biodegradation - Many textiles are made from materials that do not biodegrade. Merino is a naturally biodegradable fibre; under the right conditions, it will readily biodegrade when buried in soil. Synthetic materials, on the other hand, will not readily biodegrade and can remain in the environment for many years.