NATURE MAKES IT BETTER
Merino Wool is the backbone of all of our collections as it is simply the best textile for multi-day brevets, bikepacking adventures or ultra events. This protein-based fiber, effectively superfine hair with a complex micro-structure, is grown by the merino sheep and it has the natural ability to protect sheep through both extreme mountain cold and harsh heat like that found on the Spanish plains. It was the Spanish who first bred the Merino sheep ages ago and since then explorers, athletes, and tailors have been using this world class textile because of these tremendous properties for both performance and comfort in all conditions. The complex natural structure of the fiber makes wool a unique performance textile possessing the following properties:
Reduced washing / antibacterial
The vast majority of the ecological impact of any garment is the energy used and waste water created during washing. So, the best way to reduce that impact is to wash less, wash cold, and line dry. Because wool is naturally antibacterial, stain and odor resistant it can go long periods without washing - until it really needs it. This isn't just beneficial on your adventures, it also helps lessen the impact on the planet.
Wool is a renewable resource. With grass to graze and responsible and respectful animal care we can sustainably use this natural textile well into the future. Wool effectively becomes a waste product of the merino sheep as for the best health and comfort of the animal the wool needs to be regularly shorn, just as you cut your hair, as merino sheep do not 'shed' their wool. From there, it will regrow and renew indefinitely.
Warm when wet
Wool is hygroscopic. Wool absorbs and releases moisture as the humidity around it increases and decreases whether that is sweat, rain or vapor. During this process a chemical reaction occurs within the fiber and the wool actually increases in temperature, thus reducing heat loss from the wearer when the garment is cold and wet unlike with cotton, nylon and polyester textiles. Instead the wool itself maintains core temperature stability and actually contributes to the evaporation of wetness and moisture.
Wool fibers have a highly crimped structure with an incredibly high surface area. This surface area and loft holds millions of tiny channels of air which maintain stable core temperature while facilitating the absorption and evaporation of up to 30% the weight in moisture without feeling damp. This allows wool to feel extremely comfortable next to skin, stabilizing temperature, reducing overheating of the wearer by evaporation.
Wool doesn't stink! The naturally occurring lanolin in wool (effectively the oils or grease in the hairs) create a hostile environment for bacteria, naturally reducing the growth of these smells. This in turn, prevents the need for harsh chemical-based textile finishes that fail to reduce odors as with many ‘odor resistant’ synthetics. Preventing the growth of bacteria also reduces the likelihood of infections like saddle sores.
Thanks to the natural hygroscopic abilities of wool, there is a constant reaction to changes in moisture, humidity and body temperature keeping the wearer comfortable in a wide range of conditions and temperatures. This makes wool ideal for minimalist, multi-day adventures or ultra-cycling which demands extra attention paid to choosing few, multi/purpose, and highly functional garments.
Wool is protein based and it will biodegrade quickly and completely leaving no trace behind. Plastics, or common synthetics like polyester, are made from petroleum and are designed to be stable and resistant to breaking down in order to slow an inevitable reversion to chemical sludge. The durability of plastics actually contributes to pollution problems in topsoil and the ocean as persistent micro-plastics are released when washed.
Compared to other common sportswear textiles of the same weight, merino wool has one of the highest recorded resistances to UV rays. This means that even if you use very thin and light constructions of merino wool you can be more safely protected from damaging UV rays and painful sunburns when riding for hours in the harsh sun. Ultralight synthetics which often feature mesh to make up for poor breathability often lead to high UV exposure and in more extreme cases nasty sunburns right through the textile.