If you’ve known us for a while, you know we use a lot of merino wool in our gear. From merino wool sweaters to tee shirts, socks, and underwear, there’s not much we haven’t rendered in this natural super fiber. So what is it about merino wool, in particular, that keeps us coming back, and why should you care?

Close up of The Portola Men's Bomber Jacket in Merino Wool

What is Merino Wool?

You probably already know that wool comes from the fleece of sheep, but merino wool comes from a particular group of breeds called—you guessed it—merino sheep. Merino sheep originated in Spain, where they were such a prized commodity that, up until the 18th century, it was illegal to export the breed to another nation. Eventually, Spain started gifting merino sheep to royalty and dignitaries from other countries, and merino wool began its slow takeover of the European wool industry.

Merino is much finer than standard wools, ranging from broad 24-micron wool fabrics down to 11.5-micron ultrafine examples. This makes merino a versatile fiber, suitable for everything from chunky knits to delicate shirting.

While it has developed a reputation as a luxury material, the real magic of merino is in its performance capabilities. Merino sheep happily hang out in temperatures ranging from 5 degrees to 95 degrees, so it makes sense that their coats are top-tier temperature regulators. Merino wool fibers are naturally hollow and crimped; this allows them to both insulate and disperse moisture while keeping weight to a minimum. Translated to clothing, merino wool textiles eliminate sweat in the form of vapor, so you never get that “soggy” feeling that less breathable knits can cause. Merino is also antimicrobial or “stink resistant,” so it’ll pass the sniff test even after long bouts of exertion.

Over the years, these features have led everyone from mountaineers to hikers to wilderness survival experts to reach for merino wool base layers when heading out for the wilds. So while merino wool may have produced some of the finest fancy knitwear out there, it has also bagged peaks, bushwhacked through the backwoods, and forded a few rivers to boot.

Model wearing the merino wool t-shirt in black

How We Use Merino

Our merino wool is sourced from suppliers certified by the Responsible Wool Standard (RWS) to ensure animal welfare, environmental responsibility, and social equity at every step of production—from the farm to the mill, to our shelves.

Merino Wool Socks & Underwear

Thanks to its ultra-soft feel against the skin, our merino wool socks and underwear are seriously comfortable basics that’ll keep you warm and dry through any activity.

Merino Wool T-Shirts

As much a technical base layer as they are a luxuriously soft staple, our merino tees are totally indispensable. We keep them on hand all year round.

Model wearing The Fisherman Shawl Merino Wool Sweater Cardigan

Merino Wool Sweaters

Our merino wool sweaters leverage the full potential of Merino, offering breathable insulation and sturdy performance that gets better with each season of wear.

Shop Merino Wool

Interested to learn more about our other fabrics? Check out the rest of our Fabric Stories:

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