The PureKit Blog

Friday, 14 January 2011

Icebreaker only uses Merino wool, but what’s the big deal?

Icebreaker clothing was formed after the chance discovery of the properties of Merino wool by the entrepreneur, Jeremy Moon. The Icebreaker founder was introduced to a New Zealand sheep farmer called Brian, who spent his days on a small island with only his family and his flock.  To pass the time, and to keep warm in the wet, windy and often cold New Zealand weather, Brian had fashioned a pair of merino wool underpants and was keen to show them off to Jeremy. Impressed with the farmers pants and how soft and warm the fabric was, thoughts were set in motion about how good Merino wool would be in performance clothing. From this chance encounter, Icebreaker clothing was formed, and there has been no looking back ever since.

What Jeremy Moon realised was that whilst wool was well known for its insulating properties and comfort, the fibres of most wools can be scratchy and uncomfortable. Merino wool however is incredibly soft, and perfect for wearing directly against the skin. The fibres are fine, with short staples, which means that can be weaved tightly to produce a strong yet lightweight fabric, and the properties of the wool far outperform synthetics. The wool can absorb moisture quickly, and can hold up to ten times the volume of modern synthetics, and will keep insulating the body even when wet.  Moisture is wicked away from the body fast, and the escape of warm moist air is facilitated, whilst heat is trapped between the fibres to give exceptional insulation.

For performance clothing when sweating is unavoidable, the merino wool in Icebreaker clothing keeps the body cool and dry, getting it away fast. The comfort against the skin makes it perfect as a base layer, and the fine weave and cut of the clothing makes it a great choice as underwear or outer wear, for maximum versatility. The clothing will even keep the body cool in summer, and is perfect as a soft and comfortable base layer in winter.
The quality of Merino wool is so high, that it is often blended with silk and cashmere for fashionable wear, however for pure performance, as with Icebreaker clothing, its best to go the whole hog and have 100% merino. If you thought all wool was the same, Icebreaker clothing will certainly change your mind.

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