Wool next your skin? You’re probably thinking I’m crazy but this was something of a revelation for me too.

I discovered merino wool in the Lake District a few years ago when I had a pair of thin walking trousers and was finding I couldn’t keep my legs warm. Rather than invest in another pair of expensive thicker lined walking trousers I found some merino longs. The shop assistant assured me that they would not irritate my skin. I was sceptical but they did feel very soft and smooth and so I left the shop with my very first merino garment, Smartwool merino longs.

Well, let’s just say they are now one of my most often worn winter items of clothing. I wear them all the time. They are far more comfortable than cotton tights, much warmer and don’t irritate my skin at all.

What is merino wool?

Merino wool comes from the merino sheep, not surprisingly, but it’s such magic stuff. The wool wicks sweat from the body but also keeps you very warm. It is a very fine quality and is brilliant to knit with (apparently).

It keeps you warm in winter and cool when you’re hot due to it’s superior wicking qualities so it’s a good option for sports men and women – far better than modern sports materials. Amazingly it doesn’t seem to smell, for ages! I have had this theory tested by someone who sweats more than me (I tend not to want to test how long I can wear a garment before it whiffs… but I know a man who can). For heavy exercise modern wicking garments do the job but they also smell pretty bad and need washing regularly. With merino wool, they just don’t seem to smell, for days!

It is pretty incredible how effective they are and how little they smell. You can buy merino socks, beanies, scarves, tops and even underpants. I think I draw the line at wicking underpants but never say never.

Can you be allergic to merino wool?

There is always a possibility that someone, somewhere might be allergic to anything but I can’t find any evidence of anybody having any irritation, sensitivity or allergies to merino wool. Does anyone reading this know differently?

Now I can’t get enough of merino wool; I own a couple of jumpers, a thermal vest, a beanie and they are made from 100% merino wool. The only problem is that it’s often quite expensive but there are some more affordable brands coming onto the market like EDZ; make sure you are buying 100% merino wool to get the full benefits although here are also some merino and silk mixes which also probably work well but I haven’t tried these personally.

It really is such a treat to be able to wear real wool. It does keep you so much warmer than a cotton jumper or a fleece. I honestly didn’t quite believe that I would ever wear wool against my skin, ever, but I do and it’s soft and comfy.

However the extra cost is well worth the expense. I LOVE my merino wool longs. I am wearing the now!


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