By Peter Ebro, GripGrab
The Norwegians have an old saying, “ull er gull,” which means wool is gold. Merino wool is one of nature’s most spectacular materials; it’s unique properties make it one of the best fabrics for winter cycling in cold weather.
The Merino sheep is one of the oldest and toughest breeds of sheep. They are able to survive the hot summers and freezing winters of New Zealand’s southern Alps with temperatures ranging from +35 degrees Celsius to -20 degrees Celsius in the winter.
Merino wool is, therefore, a 100% natural material, that is naturally grown year-round by sheeps that are consuming a blend of water, sunshine and grass. It is both renewable and biodegradable, with a minimum of environmental footprint.
Wool is one nature’s most practical materials and, so far, it has not been possible to artificially produce fibres with the same unique characteristics.
The curly shape of the individual fibres creates pockets of air that rest against the skin, trapping body heat and slowing its loss. This means that in cold weather conditions, wool is one of the most effective insulators.
In warmer weather, your body will heat up, and the moisture inside the fibres will start to evaporate, cooling the air between your skin and the fabric. The warmer you get, the more effective will the evaporation be and you'll have a larger cooling effect.
In other words; wool is able to automatically regulate its insulation, so you will always stay comfortable.
A very important property for materials used for sports clothing is its ability to breathe and transport moisture, so your skin stays dry.
Wool can absorb moisture both between and inside of its fibres, transferring the excess moisture away from your skin. It can absorb up to 30 percent of its own weight in water without feeling uncomfortable! Even more crucial, though, is the fact that Merino wool is one of the few materials that can insulate even when wet. Unlike cotton, which loses all insulative properties once you start to sweat, the curly shape of wool means that even when soaked, it still retains heat.
Wool has natural antibacterial and antimicrobial properties, meaning that it won’t start to smell when you get a bit sweaty the way synthetic fabrics do. Because of this, wool doesn’t need to be washed as often and is a great fabric for extended trips.
Less washing also means that your wool clothes last longer. A plus for you and the environment.
Ugly Christmas sweaters from the ‘70s have given wool a bad reputation. Our Merino wool is not your grandma’s sweater; it’s itch-free and soft against the skin.
If you’re looking for winter cycling clothes that are warm, comfortable, and can hold up to tough use, Merino wool is the way to go.
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