The tale of the “smart” fibre

If I were to describe Merino wool in one word, I’d choose the word “smart”. Smart is a word normally associated with high-tech, man-made materials and reflects their ability to react to the environment. That’s exactly what Merino does only it’s natural.

It’s a clever combination of highly-functional properties which makes the Merino fibre look like it was meticulously fine-tuned by a team of top engineers, rather than simply grown on the backs of sheep.

XTM Merino wool comes from sheep living in Australia. The southern hemisphere is not only the cleaner part of the world, but it is arguably more relaxed.

So, instead of a bunch of brainy tech geeks spending hours in a lab creating this amazing fiber,  it was thousands of years of feeding on fertile highland pastures, in diverse weather, that helped these sheep develop the ideal protection against the elements.

Merino warms you up when you’re cold, cools you down when you’re hot, drains moisture away from the skin, absorbs UV radiation, repels dust (the main cause of allergies and asthma), and lets the skin breathe.

The fibre is elastic, strong, itch-free, fire-resistant, odour-repellent, and antibacterial – just to name a few of the many reasons to wear it.

The Smart Mechanism

It is the peculiar waviness in the merino fibre – experts call it “crimp” – which is responsible for most of the unique properties. When the climate is cold, Merino will stop the chill from penetrating the skin’s surface. The millions of little air pockets in the crimp create a buffer zone against the cold air.

When it’s hot, the fibre releases moisture that it had previously locked in, which cools the air between your skin and the fabric.

Keeping Sweat and Odour at Bay

The sophisticated moisture-management system within the Merino wool fibre is also responsible for its ability to protect you from smelling bad when you sweat.

By pulling moisture away from the skin to the outer layer where it evaporates, the fibre stops sweat from degrading and creates a dry, bacteria-unfriendly environment. This means you can wear your Merino for many weeks without it needing a wash.

Merino wool has become increasingly popular with shoemakers who like to cushion sneakers and slippers with it.

Dry Within Minutes And Perfect for Travel

When you eventually do decide to wash your merino outfit – you can machine wash it, but you can also just rinse it in a natural source such as a stream or a river – because it dries very quickly, which makes it the perfect garment for travel and expeditions.

It is super lightweight, and easy to pack and carry around. The fibre is only one-tenth the size of a human hair in diameter – and so it is incredibly flexible.

Warm, Even When Wet

If you get caught in a sudden shower, or have sweated a lot during your outdoor activity, you don’t need to worry about feeling clammy and cold later on. Merino can absorb up to 40% of its weight in moisture before starting to feel wet to the touch-  and it’s the best material to maintain body heat when wet.