At Each One Unique we are fascinated by all things wool, not only because it’s fun, colourful, cuddly and fashionable but because the fibre itself has unique properties
which make it one of the most sought-after textiles in the world. In recent years, there has been a surge of interest in Merino wool, which is finer and thinner than some other varieties, making it suitable not just for outer-garments but especially for underwear.
We all wear cotton and it is great but did you know that, instead of wicking sweat away from the body, it simply soaks it up and then keeps it next to the skin? This means that when it’s cold, you feel colder than you should and equally, when it’s hot, you end up feeling hotter! This doesn’t happen with wool, which naturally wicks the sweat away, allowing you to feel at a much more balanced temperature.
This may not seem like much of a problem in daily life (actually it can - why would you want to feel extra-cold on a damp wintry day? Ugh!) but in more extreme conditions it can even mean the difference between life and death. Imagine being out for a hiking expedition in the hills when an unexpected storm hits. You might need all the help you can get just in order to stay alive in the freezing wet conditions.
This is why expert outdoors people are nowadays recommending the use of Merino undergarments for when you’re out and about. And we’re not just talking about woolly socks here (although they are extremely important, of course) but also briefs, shorts and T-shirts of various descriptions. Before we go any further: don’t go thinking that these items are like thick jumpers and balaclavas! Being made with thinner Merino wool (often combined with other fabrics for stretch and fit) they are sleek, modern and very stylish.
Predictably, interest in Merino wool goes up in winter months, with Google searches on the topic reaching a peak in December and January. This is partly because of Christmas but also because some brave souls carry on hiking, camping and sporting even in the coldest months!
Much of the Merino wool that is produced these days comes from Australia, so it’s not surprising that companies from Down Under are to the fore when it comes to the manufacture and export of these items. Having said that, there’s also a wide choice of other firms to choose from, ranging from Denmark to the USA.
You can, of course, also buy Merino wool itself with which to make your own items, online from places like Wool Warehouse or at your local wool shop.
As you would expect, Merino wool is more expensive than most other kinds (and it’s well worth the extra) but you needn’t stick to Merino if you prefer not to. Other kinds of wool have similar properties and, though the fibre may not be as thin, it’s still wonderful for keeping you warm and, given the right garment, even cool in the summer!