For those who haven’t found wool and incorporated it into their daily, year-round life, we recommend making a change. The best part is, it’s never too late to start loving wool. Dubbed as “nature’s own tech fabric,” the wool comeback dates back to the last couple decades, dissolving any preconceived notions that wearing wool is nothing more than an itch-filled experience. Frankly, it’s time to forget about those sweaters your grandmother made for you.
Today, wool makers now dissolve the fabric with processes and techniques capable of removing the itchiness and scales of its cuticle cells. These techniques (referred to as super-washes) also keep pieces from shrinking into kids clothes, while maintaining all the properties that render wool such a luscious fabric. Due in part to these innovative techniques, a host of modern wool brands now offer this fabric in a variety of blends and styles. To help you put those itchy feelings of wool firmly in the rearview mirror, here’s a primer on the best forward-thinking wool brands on the market.
Smartwool — a brand from Steamboat Springs, Colorado — has been in the wool-making business for an astounding 23 years. Easily identified by its logo of a happy person wearing socks, its designs lend themselves to a broad customer base with wearable and almost lifestyle-driven styles. However, the company does produce more technical pieces, like Conrad Anker’s Ph.D. mountaineering socks, for hard-core users. Recently, it also started using wool as insulation rather than just a baselayer.
“We call it SmartLoft, and it’s a blend of mostly merino wool with polyester,” said Molly Cuffe, Smartwool director of Global Brand Marketing, to Digital Trends. “We have a 60-gram, lightest weight, and 120-gram, warmer weight, fill in a range of styles, including hoodies, pullovers, mid-layers, and vests.”
Most of its SmartLoft pieces combine Merino sleeves, which makes a great insulation option for questionable weather and stop-and-go activities. Its designs are also incredibly versatile to the point wearers have the ability to leave it on for both day and night activities.
“Merino wool works naturally with the body’s heating and cooling system, and that helps keep the core temperature more stable. The warmth-to-weight ratio is superb, offering excellent thermoregulation, even when wet,” said Cuffe.