Debunking the high-price myth of merino wool garments

A typical sentence we tend to hear at Core Merino is that wool garments (not just our products) are expensive. Indeed, when you directly compare the price tags of a synthetic, viscose, or cotton t-shirt with a wool t-shirt, a wool version will most likely be on the higher end of the price spectrum. 

With this blog post, we want to explore why merino wool garments appear to have a higher price than garments made of other fibres and discuss if at the end of the day, wool garments are actually a good bargain. 

Why wool garments sell at higher prices

Let’s first look at what merino wool garments tend to sell at higher prices. 

Wool is a fibre grown by nature

As well known, wool is grown on the back of a sheep, a living animal. The quality and quantity of the wool grown by each individual sheep are highly dependent on natural conditions such as sunshine, rain, temperatures as well as the animal health condition, breed, and age of the sheep. For example, when a farm is hit by severe drought as was the case for many wool growers in South Africa over the past few years, additional feed had to be given to the sheep, and/or sheep had to be sold off. These kinds of circumstances mean additional costs for the wool grower, as he is doing the best possible to keep his sheep healthy and well-fed. But this also often means less volume in wool and a different quality of wool. 

In other words, in nature, the circumstances vary every year, and therefore wool production and the costs associated with growing wool varies for each farmer and each year as well. A constant variation in the quality and quantity of available wool in the market influences the price of wool sold at auction.

Synthetic fibres, on the other hand, are made from raw oil and chemicals derived from oil. Of course, oil prices also fluctuate over time, but the quantity and quality can be fully controlled as synthetic fibres are produced by machines in factories. Therefore, production is quite predictable and stable. 

Wool has a long supply chain

Another circumstance that is unique to wool, is its long supply chain. In order for raw wool shorn from the back of a sheep to be manufactured into a garment, it takes many steps. We have described the Core Merino supply chain here, if you want to learn more. 

The time and effort that goes into creating a wool garment, therefore, is a bit higher and therefore costs a bit more compared to creating synthetic clothes.

Wool is a niche fibre

Looking at the market share of all existing fibres, wool only has a market share of 1.2%. This means it is a small fibre compared to synthetics, cellulose, and cotton. In other words, wool is a niche fibre as there just is not that much available compared to other fibres. Lower availability of a product in the market is typically also reflected in higher prices – it’s a matter of supply and demand. 

Why wool garments are a good value for money

However, only comparing price tags is a short-sighted argument. So, let’s dive into the value and benefits of a wool garment, which then lets the price tag look like a bargain. 

More benefits from wool

We have already written several blog posts about the many benefits of wool such as breathability, moisture management, softness, durability, UV protection, biodegradability and more. You can read up on the different benefits of wool here and here. In summary, man-kind has tried many times to recreate a fibre such as wool from synthetic materials, but has never quite accomplished the whole set of benefits garments made of wool have to offer. This actually means that you get so many more benefits from a wool garment for a relatively higher price compared with garments made from other fibres. 

Wool garments last longer and are used longer 

One of wool’s benefits already mentioned above is durability. This means that garments made of wool last longer, and therefore you get more wears out of it. The longer you can use a product, the lower become its cost per use. A cheap t-shirt that you only wear twice as it then loses its shape has a higher cost than a slightly more expensive wool garment that you wear many times over. 

Lower social and environmental costs

Over the past decades, fashion consumption has been focusing a lot on quick and efficient mass production to drive costs down while increasing the number of garments we purchase, also known as fast fashion. This has also led to all of us being price sensitive and wanting constantly new and cheap clothes. What was, however, forgotten in this calculation, is the cost to society and our environment that comes with this high consumption of cheaply produced clothes. The more garments we buy, the more we use up scarce resources such as water and energy and pollute our environment through the high use of toxic chemicals and filling up landfills with garments no longer in use. In addition, the high number of synthetic clothes shed microplastics that end up in our waterways and have a negative impact on wildlife as well as our health. All of these negative side effects of cheap clothes cost us money as a society, which we pay for with taxes or charity, trying to reverse the negative impacts from our consumption.

In addition, sheep typically are reared in rural areas where there are large pastures for the sheep to roam freely. Sheep farming and wool growing, therefore, offers job opportunities in rural communities, allowing generations of families to stay connected to the land and continue making a living without having to move to large cities. 

In the near future, a price tag of a garment will also need to reflect the impact the garment has on the environment and society. Wool garments may then actually be an even better bargain for your benefit as well as planet earth and humankind.  

So, next time you look at the prices of our Core Merino products or any other wool products, change your perspective before making the judgment if the garment is too expensive by considering all the benefits and value it brings. 

 

Why wool performs in wet conditions

One of the most common misconceptions we hear and read about wool is to not let it get wet. Some say it because they think it will shrink, some say it because they think it will react like cotton and lose its thermal properties, and others are just afraid of smelling like a wet sheep. Fortunately, this isn’t the case, and one of the most ideal fibre types to wear during your favourite water-based sport is, in fact, Merino wool. So, before you head out on your next adventure, here are a two things to keep in mind:

1 Dress for the conditions – wind, water and air

The first thing to remember is to dress for the conditions in the area you will be in. This encompasses a number of factors including air and water temperature as well as the direction and strength of the wind as well as any tides or currents. The wind, tides, and strong currents will easily affect how rough the water is and how wet you are likely to get. Studies have shown that if it is windy or cold out, and you get wet, you’ll cool down up to 25 times faster than if you were dry.

2 Consider the water temperature

Whether you’re out paddling, SUPing or rowing, you’re dealing with two separate environments; the air and the water. It can be tempting to forget about the water temperature and just dress based on the temperature from your local weather forecast. The reality, though, is if you are surrounded by water, there is a good chance you are going to get at least a little wet. Tipping over and getting completely soaked is a possibility as well, even for those highly experienced.

Core Merino Neck Warmer - Why wool and water sports

Dress accordingly – with wool

So, keeping all this in mind, what should you wear for your next water-based adventure? Clothing for paddling and other water sports has similar requirements to other outdoor activities like hiking. You are looking for versatility, durability and comfort while you are on the move. You are also looking for protection for wet and sometimes cold conditions. In warmer conditions, your clothing choices become a little less important, but the key here is sun protection, which merino wool also excels in as it serves as an additional layer of protection against the harmful UV rays. Merino wool is ideal for active outdoor environments, including those on the water. It keeps you warm even when it gets wet. It is soft and comfortable next-to-skin and is naturally antibacterial, which actually helps to keep you from smelling like a sheep on your next paddle.

Here are our favourite items for water sports:

Learn how wool improves your sleep

More and more research shows how important sleep is for our overall health and wellbeing.
We, humans, spend one-third of our lives sleeping because it is vital for our body to repair itself and be fit for yet another day. Different studies have proven that good sleeping habits help maintain healthy body weight, prevent heart disease and let us recover faster from an illness. Even more so, when we are well-rested, we can perform better at our job, achieve more during our exercise routine, and are overall more pleasant to deal with. 

However, getting a good night’s sleep is not as easy as it seems as our busy lives, stress at work and our technical gadgets get in the way of getting a good rest. While regular sleeping habits are important such as going to bed at the same time, it is also worth looking at what we sleep in, on, and under. Over the past years, there have been several studies conducted to look at the effect of wool on our sleep. In this blog post, we have put together an overview of how wool lets us sleep better. 

How does wool work in bed?

There are several properties of wool that come into play when we sleep in wool.

  • Insulation: The first wool property to mention is the most obvious. Wool is a good insulator. The wool fibre itself is wavy, which is also called ‘crimp’. This crimp creates lots of little air pockets that act as an insulator. In other words, wool keeps us warm at night.
  • Breathability: Many people feel too hot in bed, and this is where the second property comes into play. Wool is a very breathable fibre. This means that it can transport moisture vapour away from the body and release it into the air. So, once we start to get too hot, the moisture that our body creates gets absorbed by the wool and released so that we then don’t overheat.
  • Absorbs moisture: Another fabulous wool property is that wool can also absorb up to 30% of its weight before feeling wet. Once we start to sweat a bit more at night, wool will absorb the moisture but not feel clammy on our skin.
  • Fluffy texture: Another aspect of wool is its soft and fluffy texture that comes into play when we sleep on wool. This makes us feel more settled, and we have fewer pressure points on our bodies.
  • Antibacterial: Finally, bacteria and dust mites don’t like wool as an environment to thrive on. Therefore, wool bedding is also very suitable for anyone suffering from allergies.

 

Study results on sleep and wool

Over the years, several sleep studies have been conducted to prove how all the above-mentioned properties of wool actually impact our sleep. You can find a reference to the different sleep studies on this page. Here is a summary of the findings.

Fall faster asleep

Researchers found that wearing wool at night and sleeping in wool bedding helps us fall asleep faster. This was particularly significant in warm sleeping conditions of 29 °C.

Sleep longer

The same study that found out that we fall faster asleep also found that we tend to sleep longer in wool. On average, 7 minutes. This might not sound that much, but these minutes add up during a week, month and year. 

Wake up less often

Research participants who slept in wool also woke up less frequently during the night, especially during hot climate conditions of 29 °C. 

Sleep more settled

Research also found that adults, as well as children and babies, have a more settled sleep when sleeping on a wool mattress, mattress protector, or sheepskin. These products typically have soft and fluffy padding which reduces the pressure points on our body when we lie down. In other words, it makes it more comfortable to rest our body, and we have less of a need to flip, toss and turn our body during the night (postural activity) which lets us get more rest.

Higher sleep efficiency

All the above lead to better sleep efficiency. Falling faster asleep, sleeping longer, and waking up less often ensures a better sleep quality which lets us recover better during our sleep.

Feel like you have a better sleep quality

Sleep wool study participants also felt that they had a better sleep quality when sleeping in wool. So, while researchers could measure objectively the different aspects of high-quality sleep, the participants came to the same subjective conclusion of having slept better.

Help with skin health

Sleeping in wool can also help with skin health. Several studies have been conducted on adults and children suffering from atopic dermatitis. All participants who wore wool started to have better skin conditions over a short period of a couple of weeks. You can read more about this research here.

Wool is not an allergen

Researchers have also confirmed that wool is not an allergen and therefore wool is also a safe option for allergy sufferers. 

What to sleep in?

With the above, you now have an overview of how sleeping in wool lets you sleep better. The next question is, what to actually choose for your bed and for yourself. 

There is a wide range of wool duvets, mattress protections, and pillows to choose from with a quick online search. To start with, you can even just try your wool throw for a few nights to see how it makes a difference. 

While you can sleep on and under wool, you can also sleep completely in wool by wearing nightwear made from wool. When you choose nightwear, make sure it is made of super soft merino wool that feels soft on your skin. Our recommendation is also to choose a lightweight merino wool fabric over a heavy and thick fabric. This will prevent you to get too hot at night.

If you already own a wool t-shirt or leggings that you usually wear during your workout, you can try wearing them at night. At Core Merino, we have put together a few items that work particularly well to sleep in. You can check out our sleepwear bundle to get a good deal. 

Invest in your sleep just like you invest in your workout

Just like every workout and outdoor activity is good for your health and wellbeing, so is the time you spend in bed. While we often put a lot of emphasis on outdoor gear and equipment, we tend not to think that much about what we sleep in. With this blog post, we wanted to encourage you to put some effort into getting a better night’s sleep and try wool as one of the ways to get there.

Wear your merino wool garments for longer and still smell good

Body odour is a personal as well as social topic, as we want to feel fresh and clean and not be perceived by others as smelling bad. When we work out or travel in our clothes for a longer time, we may start to worry about sweating and developing body odour. With merino wool garments this worry can be easily eliminated because merino wool is naturally odour resistant. In this blog post we explain why merino wool is odour resistant and the benefits this brings along with it. 

How does body odour develop?

Everybody sweats differently depending on temperatures, activity level, situations, or even hormones. In the majority of cases, our body produces sweat with the goal to cool down our body. When moisture on our skin comes in contact with air, it has a cooling effect. Although we generally don’t like sweating, it does have a good purpose to keep us from overheating.  Interestingly, our sweat usually does not smell as such. Only when sweat gets broken down into acids by the bacteria on our skin or in our garments odour develops, and we start to smell. Taking a shower and washing our clothes then gets rid of the broken down sweat and the odour is removed. However, with merino wool it is a little different. 

Why is merino wool odour resistant?

Wool prevents the development of smell in two ways. First, wool helps the body manage body heat well, by absorbing moisture, moving it away from the skin, and releasing it into the air. This keeps the body dry and less sweat remains on the skin to develop odour. Second, any moisture that remains on the fabric itself gets absorbed and locked in by the fibre and only released during washing or airing. Therefore, there is no sweat for bacteria to break down that may cause odour. 

This is the theoretical explanation, but let’s have a look at what this means in everyday life.

No smell when you work out

Did you ever work out and afterward you had the feeling you could be smelled from a mile away? At least you desperately wanted to take off your clothes and hit the showers to freshen up. With merino wool, you will have a different experience. You will notice that even though you did sweat during your workout, you and your merino wool garments still don’t smell which will leave you feeling comfortable. 

Besides feeling more comfortable, what else can you do with this no smell effect? We have a few ideas.

Wear more times before washing

When our merino wool garments don’t smell after one workout, it means that we can wear them again during our next workout without washing. Why should we do that? Well, non-smell garments that need less washing will save you time spent on doing laundry in addition to saving water, energy, and washing detergent with every wash cycle saved. Instead of washing after every wear, we recommend airing the merino wool garment either in fresh air or in your bathroom, especially after taking a hot shower. This will freshen up your garment, and you can wear it again and again. Of course, eventually, also a merino wool garment will want to see the inside of a washing machine (wool cycle and wool detergent only).

Take fewer garments with you when you travel

Another benefit of no-smell merino wool garments is that we can travel more lightly. How does this work? Well, it is simple mathematics. If we can wear each garment several times during a trip or holiday, then we don’t need to bring along as many garments in the first place. This saves on luggage volume and weight to carry around with you. This can be particularly beneficial when you go on a longer hiking trip where you need to carry everything with you on your back and also don’t have many opportunities to wash and freshen up. 

Own fewer garments

Another benefit is that eventually, you can also own fewer garments overall. As you get more wears out of your merino wool items, you can downsize your wardrobe. Fewer items in your closet mean fewer resources used which is better for the environment. In addition, having to care for and maintain fewer clothes is also a time and space saver in your home. If you ever thought about becoming a minimalist, merino wool garments will help you become one more easily. 

There are of course many other benefits of wearing merino wool garments. Click here to learn more. 

Thinking about putting merino wool garments to the no-smell test? Take a look at our Core Merino collection here

 

Why Merino is essential for your next hiking trip?

Given the enormous amount of time, we have spent in our homes to help curb the spread of the coronavirus over the past year, it most certainly leaves us craving wide-open spaces and the fresh outdoors. For many South Africans, we are fortunate enough to have an abundance of mountains and trails to make the most of time spent outside. Hiking in the outdoors has been shown to boost both physical and mental health. But having the right gear for a day out is key to enjoying the very most the great outdoors have to offer. Here are a few reasons why your next hike should include Merino gear:

 

Temperature Regulation

In order to enjoy the outdoors most, our body must remain comfortable in all conditions. When it comes to temperature regulation, it is highly dependent on moisture between the skin and the clothing. The thermal conductivity of water is 25 times higher than the thermal conductivity of air which means that when you are wet, you lose body heat much quicker than when you are dry. Your body heat is actually transferred to wet and cold clothing. Merino wool clothing keeps thermal conductivity more or less the same as the thermal conductivity of air is, thus keeping you warm when wet and in cold conditions. Thus, merino wool gear helps you to stay comfortable in a range of hiking conditions.

 

Odour Resistance

Unfortunately, not all great hikes can be completed in one day. Many of the most bucket-list-worthy routes, such as the Camino de Santiago, are many days in length and take months if not years of planning. Packing smartly and minimally is an absolute must as you do not have many options to do laundry but at the same time, you do not want to be carrying too much luggage on your back. This makes merino clothing a must-have for the wool’s ability to remain bacteria-free and suppress body odours. Merino clothing is famous for being stink-free even after being worn in very sweaty conditions for days or even at a time.

 

Moisture Wicking

For those unfamiliar, moisture-wicking fabrics pull moisture away from your skin by absorbing it into the fibers. The moisture then moves through the fabric and evaporates through the exterior. Merino is touted as having high levels of moisture-wicking because of its ability to retain a lot of liquid relatives to its weight (much better than synthetics). Again, this is a natural property of the wool and another significant benefit to overall comfort.

If you are interested in trying out merino wool for hiking, then have a look at some of our suggested merino wool hiking items here.

Now, once you’ve stocked up on some amazing gear for your hike here are a few of our favourite hikes around South Africa to put your Core Merino to the test:

 

Go Baviaans Leopard Trail

The Leopard Trail is a 4-day and 3-night hike set in the magnificent Baviaanskloof World Heritage Site Wilderness Reserve.  This is a slack packing hike – each day the team at The Leopard Trail transports your bags and food from one overnight hut to the next, leaving you to walk with only a day pack. This is true wilderness hiking featuring a single-track path taking you through the inaccessible mountains of SA’s third-largest wilderness area.

 

With the Baviaanskloof hosting 7 of SA’s 8 biomes, the Leopard Trail offers an unparalleled diversity of landscapes. It is a moderately difficult hike with the longest day being 22 km. The route is designed for people of good hiking fitness. Click here to learn more or book your next adventure.

 

Rim of Africa

This demand is best suited for fit and experienced hikers, but it is certainly one for the bucket list. In its full, it is a traverse of the Cape Fold Mountains and is divided into 9 traverses, each varying between 7 and 10 days in duration and therefore can be done all at once or in segments. You will experience endless ridgelines, rock formations, crystal clear spring water, swimming in mountain pools, sleeping under the stars. The Rim of Africa happens once a year in springtime (Sept-Nov). Places on this experience are limited. To learn more click here.

 

Magoebaskloof Hiking Trail

Magoebaskloof Hiking Trail lies in the incredible Magoebaskloof forest near the small town of Hanaertsburg in Limpopo. The trails are laid out on the forestry estate, but most of the walking is through magnificent sub-tropical, indigenous forest, over craggy ravines, and alongside cascading waterfalls, pristine mountain streams, rivers, and dams. There are a number of huts available and thus one can hike anywhere from 1-5 days with a variety of routes. Although the trail can only be hiked in one direction, it can be made to be circular, so it is convenient to organise the same start & endpoint. Click here to learn more.

 

Get to know why wool is the all-natural performance fabric

For us at Core Merino, it is so obvious why we enjoy wearing wool in sports and why we create our outdoor and sports garments out of wool. However, whenever we get to meet our fellow outdoor sports enthusiasts, we very often get this question: Why should I wear wool when I do sports?

This is when it dawned on us, that it might not be so obvious to everyone.

So get ready for our answer to why you should run, bike, hike, climb or practice yoga in wool.

We perform and so do our clothes

The first element to understand when it comes to the clothes we wear when we are active outside is that garments influence how we perform. Our clothes have a direct impact on our body in regards to body temperature (are we too hot, too cold, or just right), moisture on our skin (does our skin feel dry or wet) as well as movement (can we move freely or are restricted). If any of these factors are not right, we will run slower, have to reduce the distance we can achieve, and may not reach the top of that mountain. In other words, if we want to perform well during our outdoor sports activity, then our garments need to perform as well.

Staying comfortable

When we are active two things happen in our body. 1 our body heats up and 2 we start to sweat as this is the way our body tries to cool us down. Both heat and sweat make us feel uncomfortable which influences our performance. Wool clothing worn next to skin has the ability to help us maintain a healthy body temperature and skin moisture level, in other words, wool lets us gain back that comfort we need to perform well. So let’s break things down, how wool actually regulates our body temperature and manages our skin moisture level.

Moisture and temperature management

There are two characteristics of wool fibre that play a role when it comes to regulating our body temperature and managing our sweaty skin. These are the insulation properties and breathability of wool.

Wool fibre and especially merino wool fibre has a natural crimp. This crimp offers many tiny pockets of air within each wool fibre. These pockets of air make wool a great insulator for cold weather, keeping you comfortably warm. The insulation capacity of wool is not doing the trick alone (as one could argue that with good insulation we would get eventually too hot). The secret weapon is wool’s ability to breathe. Wool can absorb large quantities of moisture vapour and then move it away to evaporate into the air. This keeps our skin dry and ensures excess heat is released away from our body. This breathing effect is also what helps us stay cooler in hot and dry climates. Wool conducts the heat as well as the moisture vapour away from our skin, which acts similar to a little air conditioning, keeping us cool and dry.

The insulation and breathability properties of wool have an additional benefit. When we stop exercising chances are high that we soon start to feel a post-exercise chill, especially when exercising in cold conditions during winter. Wool, however, releases the absorbed heat and moisture only slowly which ensures that we maintain higher skin temperature and less rapid cooling which avoids the post-exercise chill.

Wool feels drier for longer

When we talk about all the heat and moisture which wool can absorb away from the skin and then slowly release into the air, it may seem that the wool fabric would quickly feel very wet. However, wool can absorb up to 35% of its weight before feeling wet and starting to cling to our skin. This also helps us feel dry, warm, and comfortable in cold and damp weather conditions.

Odour resistance

We were talking a lot about sweating and moisture on our skin. There is one more aspect to sweating during exercising and that is the smell that comes with it. As you may know, it is not our sweat that stinks it is the bacteria that grow overtime on our skin and on the fabric where we sweated into. Wool garments, however, don’t start to smell, even if we wear our wool garments for a very long time. This is due to two things. The first one lets us return back to what we discussed earlier. Wool helps us manage our body temperature better, so we may sweat a little less. Once we do start to sweat, wool moves the moisture away from our skin, leaving our skin drier. Drier skin discourages the smelly bacteria to grow and therefore reducing the smell. Last but not least, wool can absorb and lock away odours where the bacteria cannot build up while we are wearing our wool garments. These odours are then only released when we wash or freshen up our garments in fresh air.

UV Protection

One more aspect we find important, especially when we are active outdoors, is protection from the sun. Compared to other textile fibres, wool absorbs UV-A and UV-B radiation and therefore protects our skin from the sun. Research shows that wool fabrics have a UPF factor of over 40. We still recommend protecting your skin with an additional sunscreen, but you can rest assured that your wool garments will protect your skin as well.

So these are the reasons why we think wool is an excellent fibre for our Core Merino garments. During a long run, you have enough work to do in keeping your breathing steady, keeping a good pace, watching out for any stones and roots to trip on. You should not need to worry if you are getting too hot or too cold or are beginning to annoy all your fellow running mates with your odour. When you are active in merino wool, you will stay comfortable and be able to perform at your best.

To find out more about all characteristics and benefits of merino wool click here.

The International Wool Textile Organisation has some more details about how wool improves our body’s wellness.

5 reasons to wear merino wool underwear all year round

With the days warming up you may have started to pack away some of your Merino garments in place of cotton and linen summertime alternatives. But there should at least be one Merino style that does not get packed away no matter the time of year, your wool undies. At Core Merino, we get asked a lot – why Merino wool underwear?

All of the same great benefits you get from your other Merino apparel apply to our underwear styles. Wool doesn’t hold onto moisture, so it dries quickly. If you’re looking for underwear that may not feel as sweaty in warmer temperatures or while you exercise, merino wool underwear will keep you drier than cotton. Now, there’s no way to sugarcoat it, wool undies are more expensive than those made of cotton or synthetics but have been made to be long-lasting and durable. The South African Merino wool used in our products is extremely fine and soft, so it won’t itch. It is hypoallergenic and it is an environmentally sustainable material. And because they are so lightweight, quick-drying and easy to clean, they are great for packing them for summer trips.

 

Here are five reasons why Merino underwear is worth the cost:

Wicks well: It is a strong, natural material that performs well in terms of wicking moisture away from your body, keeping your skin dry and chafe-free.

Climate control: Merino wool is very insulating for its weight. That means it feels very thin, yet it insulates you better than thick cotton would. As a result, you’ll feel warmer in colder conditions (even if the fabric is wet). Conversely, in warmer climates, you won’t feel as hot.

Odour free: Wool is naturally resistant to odour-causing bacteria, which helps keep it odour free even after consecutive days of wear. Normal fabrics such as cotton or synthetics will start to smell bad after you sweat into them.

Long-lasting: Merino wool is almost seven times as durable as cotton. Your wool underwear will stay with you long after your cotton undies have fallen apart.

Comfort: Our underwear styles have been designed with your comfort in mind and put to the test to make sure they are completely itch-free. They are made of the very best superfine South African Merino wool to ensure they are the most comfortable pair of briefs you own. 

 

Go ahead and try something new – you won’t regret it. And if you’re really ready to take the plunge check out our Brief Underwear Bundles for Men and our Bikini Brief Bundle for Women.

 

Merino Wool Briefs Bundle Men

 

 

 

7 benefits of wearing merino wool during your next yoga practice

Every yoga beginner notices quickly the importance of wearing the right clothes during yoga practice. In order to fully concentrate on your body and mind, you need to ensure that your clothes make you feel comfortable. More so, your clothes should become one with your body and not distract you in any way. This means that your clothes need to help you maintain the right body temperature and lets you move freely. Last but not least, no seam should feel too tight, nothing should push up or down your leg or upper body, and no strap should fall off your shoulder.

Two things to consider: Style and material

To find the most suitable garments for your yoga practice, you need to consider two elements: style of the garment and material.

You will notice quickly certain commonalities in yoga wear which is a combination of loose fit while also staying put. A yoga top for example should be loose enough for movement and comfort but yet not fall over your head when you arrive into a downward dog pose.

The other element to consider is material, which means having a closer look at what the garment’s fabric is made of. You will find a large variety from natural fibres such as cotton or linen as well as synthetic fibres such as polyester or nylon. Each fibre has different benefits as well as disadvantages to consider for yourself. Cotton for example is cool and soft on your skin, however, when you do hot yoga, it will get too wet, heavy and eventually leave you cold at the end of your practice. Synthetic fibres might have better moisture-wicking properties but can start to smell and shed microplastics. However, there might be one fibre that has not yet been on your mind when it comes to yoga wear which may tick all the right boxes for you. You guessed it! Merino wool.

Merino Wool Yoga Wear Benefits

At Core Merino, we introduced our Yoga Collection two years ago and since then the collection has found more and more fans. The reason for the success is that merino wool has several benefits to offer for Yoga practice. Have a look:

Elastic

Merino wool has a natural elasticity which ensures that yoga garments made out of merino wool stretch with you, yet return to their original shape afterward. This ensures free body movement without any limits due to your clothes. It also means your clothes still look great after your stretching.

Grip

The grip of a fabric is something we seldomly think about, however for some yoga poses such as the Crow and Tree pose, the grip is essential to the success of holding and completing the pose. If the fabric is too sleek and slippery, your feet or knees will slide off your clothes and make it harder to stay in a certain pose. Merino wool has a wonderful soft touch with the right amount of grip to ensure slip-free poses.

Breathable

One important function of the clothes we wear during yoga is breathability. Wool has a natural ability to breathe by being able to absorb large quantities of moisture vapour and then move it away to evaporate into the air. This keeps your skin dry and ensures excess heat is released away from your body. Good breathability of your yoga wear contributes to you staying comfortable and able to focus only on your body and mind.

Temperature regulating

When you practice yoga, you also need to manage the temperature of your body well, meaning, you don’t want to get too hot and sweaty (with the exception of hot yoga) and also don’t want to get too cold, especially during your yoga meditation for example. Merino wool helps you regulate your body temperature without getting too hot or too cold. This property comes down to merino wool’s natural crimp. The crimp offers many tiny pockets of air within each wool fibre. These pockets of air make wool a great insulator for cold weather, keeping you comfortably warm.

The insulation and breathability properties of wool have an additional benefit. When you stop exercising chances are high that you soon will start to feel a post-exercise chill, especially when exercising in cold conditions during winter. Wool, however, releases the absorbed heat and moisture only slowly which ensures that we maintain higher skin temperature and less rapid cooling which avoids the post-exercise chill.

Odour resistance

With a few exceptions, yoga practice is a low sweat form of exercise. However, over time, also yoga wear will start to smell. As you may know, it is not our sweat that stinks, it is the bacteria that begin to grow overtime on our skin and on the fabric. Wool garments, however, don’t start to smell, even if you wear your wool yoga gear for several sessions. Wool can absorb and lock away odours where the bacteria cannot build up while we are wearing our wool garment. These odours are then only released when we wash or freshen up our garment in fresh air.

Natural, regenerative and biodegradable

One important element of yoga are the Yamas, the right living or ethical rules within Yoga, such as Ahimsa – nonviolence and Astheya – not stealing. This also reflects on how we treat our planet by not doing any harm to it and not stealing from it. Merino wool is in harmony with not doing any harm to the planet. Grown year-round by merino sheep, wool is 100% natural. Sheep grow wool by consuming a simple blend of water, air, sunshine and grass. In South Africa, for example, the sheep and wool industry have implemented a very high set of animal welfare standards, which ensure a happy life for the sheep and doing sheep no harm. Being a natural fibre, merino wool sheds no microplastic fibres but instead readily biodegrades once a yoga garment is no longer needed.

UV Protection

One more aspect that is important if you like to practice yoga outdoors is protection from the sun. Compared to other textile fibres, wool absorbs UV-A and UV-B radiation and therefore protects our skin from the sun. Research shows that wool fabrics have a UPF factor of over 40. We would still recommend protecting your skin with an additional sunscreen, but you can rest assured that your wool garments will protect your skin as well when you enjoy your piece of mind in the beautiful sunshine.

Try merino wool to help you find your inner calm

These are the seven of many more reasons why we recommend and love wearing merino wool for yoga practice. Yoga is all about practicing to focus on your body and mind. The fewer distractions the easier we find our inner calm. Merino wool yoga wear will definitely let you move freely and take care of your body, so you only need to focus on your practice. Best is to try it for yourself. We offer a special yoga wear bundle at a 20% discount, if you are curious.