Wool is one of the fibres people use to make clothes, and they mostly prefer it because of its warmth and breathability. Gotten from animals like sheep, llamas, bison, rabbits, and other animals, there are different wool categories.
The categories depend on the species and breed of the animal plus the fibre diameter. Sheep are the most common source of wool but are different types of sheep producing various kinds of wool. Merino wool is one of the leading wool categories, taken from merino sheep.
While the sheep have existed for a long time, recent technologies have allowed people to develop higher-quality products using merino wool than normal wool. However, before choosing which one between merino and regular wool is the best, you need to understand the advantages and disadvantages of each.
Merino Wool Pros
Merino wool has finer fibre than wool produced by other sheep and animals, which is one of the main reasons people love to use it as a base layer in clothing. The merino wool base layer with finer fibres is lightweight, comfortable to the skin, and not as itchy as other coarse and thick fibres.
Breathability and moisture-wicking
While all types of wool are breathable and capable of absorbing moisture, for example, sweat, merino wool’s capability surpasses that of other fibres. The merino wool interior is hydrophilic, meaning that it absorbs water.
It can absorb water up to its weight, meaning that if you are sweaty, it will absorb the water instead of sticking to your body.
The Merino wool’s exterior is hydrophobic, meaning it repels water. This ensures it keeps you warm even in wet conditions, provided the water is not more than the cloth’s weight.
Merino wool is also more breathable because its finer fibres allow air permeability better than other wools with coarse and thick fibres. These characteristics make a merino base layer, like a merino wool t-shirt, the best in any weather conditions.
Because of its breathability and higher moisture-wicking properties, merino wool is better at preventing bad smells and preventing your skin from infections or dryness.
You can wear clothes made of merino wool in hot and cold weather. Despite its lightweight, it has a loft that effectively traps and maintains heat between the fibres, making it warmer than other materials. It also keeps you cool during hot temperatures thanks to its evaporate cooling.
As the moisture the wool captures from your body evaporates, the fabric cools down than the outside temperature.
Merino wool fibres are more flexible than those of other wools, making it easier to adapt to your movement and body contour. This is why many manufacturers use merino wool to make socks.
Although all types of wool are highly absorbent and have moisture-wicking properties, wools with coarse fibres soak up more water than the thin-fibered merino wool. This way, merino wool dries faster.
Merino wool takes longer to grow because it grows long and thick over the winter and thin over the summer. It also has additional benefits than regular wool. Therefore, clothes made from merino wool are more expensive than those made using regular wool.
Merino wool clothes are more prone to holes and tears than those made using normal wool because of the fine fibres.
Normal Wool Pros
Normal wool is cheaper than merino wool because it’s easier to get a larger amount from different types of sheep.
Because of the thick fibres in the normal fibre, it is easy to stretch and fold the material without experiencing any tears or holes for a long time.
Uncomfortable against the skin
While regular wool also helps absorb moisture from the skin and regulate body temperature in different seasons, its thick and coarse fibres make it itchy and scratchy on the skin.