Merino Microclimate

Merino – a masterclass in microclimate management:

In the world of activewear and sport, Merino wool has you covered in many senses of the word – and across the spectrum of temperatures and conditions too. That’s because Merino is one of the most breathable of the common fabric types and is excellent at helping regulate the temperature of an athlete.
In contrast to synthetics, Merino is an active fibre that reacts to changes in the body’s temperature, keeping the wearer comfortable. If you think about it, Merino garments often feel much less clingy and far more comfortable when you are active than garments made from alternative fibres. It is actually down to the ability of the fibre to create a microclimate between the fabric and the skin. When worn next to the skin, wool works as a dynamic buffer in the micro-climate between the fabric and the body, smoothing out the humidity and temperature.

Second skin insulation

You could even go far as to say that wool performs like a second skin. How does it manage to do this?
Well, it’s all down to the make-up of the natural Merino fibres themselves. The inbuilt crimp of the wool fibre traps tiny pockets of still air. This, in turn, helps to create a buffer for the skin against the often cooler exterior environment. And ultimately it is this buffer that keeps you the athlete toasty, comfy and dry.
This clever fibre also lowers the rate of skin cooling and the gravity of post-exercise chill. As anyone who has experienced it will testify, this can range from the uncomfortable to the downright dangerous. After exercising in cold conditions, athletes can experience three times more chilling in synthetic garments than they do when wearing wool garments. This is due to wool fibre retaining – and only slowly releasing – moisture from within its structure, helping to maintain a higher skin temperature and bring about less rapid cooling.
In fact, Merino is able to conduct up to 35% of moisture before it begins to feel humid. In other words, a top in 100% merino wool can absorb moisture over a third of its own weight – without making you feel uncomfortable.

Sensitive skin salvation

For those of a sensitive nature in the skin department, there is more good news. Merino wool’s ability to regulate temperature and humidity, as well as its antibacterial properties, can help ease eczema and other skin problems. This again is all thanks to its natural ability to help create a healthy microclimate for your skin. As we hinted at the start, Merino really does have you covered.
Merino wool is peerless when it comes to performance: it is anti-bacterial, non-itchy, warm when it is cold and cooling when it is warm, recyclable and sustainable.

An advantage in the heat too

In warmer conditions, this same Merino microclimate can create a feeling of being up to two times cooler than synthetic fabrics. Again, it comes down to the fact the wool is such a good conductor – in this case carrying more heat away from the skin.
How does this work exactly? Wool keeps you cooler when it’s hot and dry by transferring moisture vapour away from the skin and allowing it to evaporate. Natural wool can move 25% more moisture away from the skin than polyester fabrics. This equates to an ambient temperature drop of around four degrees Celsius. Merino magic? Maybe – but it may reassure you to know that our own bodies do something similar when we overheat – we sweat to cool down.