What is Merino Wool and Why is it So Great?


You’ve probably noticed by now that many of our socks are made with a Merino wool blend. We indicate which of our socks are made with this powerhouse material with a ‘+’ in the product name. But, you may be wondering, “Why Merino wool? What’s so great about it?” Well, we’re here to tell you all the wonderful things about Merino wool, and how it helps us make the best socks. 

So, what is Merino wool? Well, it’s simply a specific type of wool. The “Merino” in Merino wool represents the breed of sheep that the wool is harvested from, called - you guessed it - Merino sheep. Long before the Merino wool is woven into Stego socks, these sheep are putting it to the test. Merino sheep can endure extreme weather conditions due to the amazing nature of their woolIn the summer, Merino sheep coats help keep them cool in temperatures up to 80°F. And in the winter, Merino sheep develop a winter coat that protects them in temperatures below freezing! So maybe you’re thinking, “Hang on, what about the poor sheep that we’re shearing?!” Not to worry, the shearing process causes the sheep no pain and is only typically done twice a year once their coats are grown out to an appropriate length. 

The temperature regulating features of the Merino fibers are what make them so sought after as a performance material for products like our socks. Merino wool socks will keep you warm in the winter and cool in the summer, just like it does for the Merino sheep! It keeps you warm in colder temperatures by insulating your body, instead of trapping your body heat. The fibers themselves have a natural crimping pattern to them, which allows them to insulate your feet and act as a buffer between your skin and cold air or harsh conditions. In warmer temperatures, Merino fibers absorb moisture, like sweat, and pull it away from your skin, allowing your skin to cool itself down faster. Did you know that Merino wool can absorb up to 30% of its own weight without feeling wet?! This moisture absorption power ialso why we often blend Merino fibers with synthetic fibers that are super moisture-wicking and will help to pull that absorbed moisture out of the fabric and allow it to evaporate.  

Aside from temperature regulation, Merino wool is a great performance material because it’s breathable and antimicrobial. The breathability of the fabric makes you sweat less. And any sweat that does happen is no match for Merino wool! These fibers fight against bacteria that causes unwanted odor, which allows you to wash your socks less often. Say goodbye to stinky feet, all thanks to our friend Merino wool! 

If you’ve worn wool before, you know that it can sometimes be uncomfortable. Not with Merino wool! Merino wool fibers are finer and have a smaller diameter than other types of wools. When stitched into our socks, the fine nature of the fibers gives them the flexibility needeto bend when pressed against the skin – promoting softness and avoiding itchiness that is sometimes associated with wool garments. The flexibility and elasticity of the Merino wool fibers also allows socks to return to their original shape after wearing – so your socks will fit great, no more sagging and stretching! Plus, the fineness of the fibers allows socks made with Merino wool to be more lightweight and less bulky in your shoe. 

 

More Fun Facts About Merino Wool: 

  • It's naturally UV protecting, as it absorbs radiation produced by rays on the UV spectrum. 
  • It’s an anti-wrinkle, anti-static, stain resistant, and quick-drying fabric.  
  • It’s wait for it, flameproofWhaaaat?! (Please do not try to prove this at home – just take our word for it.) 
  • On its own, it’s biodegradable. However, we blend Merino wool with other, often synthetic fibers to increase performance. So, our PolyTec+ Fabric Formula and other Merino blend socks are nobiodegradable. 

 

Caring for Merino Wool 

Merino wool is pretty simple to care for - maybe even simpler than your other socks! Since Merino wool doesn’t trap bacteria or odors, you don’t need to wash your wool socks after every wear like socks made from other fibers. Instead, find a good place to air out your wool socks after each wear and spot-clean them as needed. 

When they’re due for a wash, flip each sock inside out and machine wash on warm, do not bleach. Once they’re sparkly clean, tumble dry on low or hang dry. Nothing fancy required - don’t iron (who irons socks, anyways?) and no trips to the dry cleaner, that would just be unnecessary. 

Merino wool is a super durable fabric, so with the proper care and storage techniques they could last you a lifetime. If you’re wearing your socks regularly, be sure to lay them flat in your sock drawer – balling up wool socks can distort the shape and ruin those Performance Fit Features that we worked so hard to create! For longer-term storage, lay your Merino wool socks flat in plastic bins or boxes. If you’re only pulling them out once a year for the colder seasons, be sure to air them out after long-term storage before wearing them again. 

 

Shop Merino Wool Styles 

 

StrideTec+ Merino Wool Crew Socks - Available in Cushioned and Ultra Light Weights

 

TrailTec+ Cushioned Merino Wool Crew Socks

 

Commuter+ Ultra Light Merino Wool Crew Socks

 

EnduroTec+ Merino Wool Socks - Available in 1/4 Crew, Micro Crew, Ultra Light Now Show, and Light No Show Lengths

 

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