As athleisure addicts, we are always on the hunt for the latest labels and unique styles. With every piece we buy, we’ve never stopped to take a second to look into the materials and production that goes into our purchases. Prior to this story, we assumed that all activewear was created equal–aren’t they just a mix containing lycra or spandex? After a conversation with The Woolmark Company, we realized that we couldn’t have been more wrong. We decided to take a deeper look into the activewear brands that use Merino wool in their blends (which include the likes of Adidas and Lululemon) to explore the impact of the fiber on their products and in the global conversation of sportswear.
With the emergence of the athleisure trend, new brands have proven that the standard synthetic spandex apparel is no longer the only option. Brands are looking to differentiate their product–and it turns out that products with Merino wool do stand apart. The use of this fine, luxury fiber in activewear may seem surprising–but actually wool is one of the most technically advanced fibers in the world, making a perfect material for use in this market. This performance comes from the fact that wool can absorb up to 35% percent of its dry weight in moisture vapor–so the pieces are breathable, even when you sweat. Adidas has even used the technology in their shoes as the fabric literally transfers moisture vapor away from the body–regulating temperature in doing so. No need to sweat about sweating though — Merino wool manages odor by trapping the molecules responsible, and releases them when washed!
Many brands are turning to Merino wool for its natural performance benefits, as well as for stylistic ones. Since the Merino breed of sheep produces the finest wool quality on the market, the products that use it are super soft. This property is a great benefit for next-to-skin tops and leggings. However, you can still find this fine wool in innovative sweater styles and outerwear. Layering is one of the most functional ways of dressing, and doing so with Merino wool enhances breathability, comfort and regulates your body temperature. Also responsible for the comfort of Merino wool is the fiber’s natural elasticity. The fabric stretches when you wear it, but is better at returning to, and maintaining its shape compared to other fabrics. It is clear that these natural benefits of Merino wool products are resonating with activewear brands, as all the top brands we included in this piece–from Kühl to SmartWool to New Balance, use it.
We wanted to document our findings in a visual way–to really show you how lush Merino wool can be. Luxury can be easy and effortless and most importantly, integrated into daily wear. You can catch us in these looks on our way to our workout, or just in our every life. We aren’t the only ones that feel this way–in the last few years there has been a general shift in how people approach dressing. They want something that is comfortable, great quality and appropriate for everything that life throws at them–Merino wool just might be your solution.
Text: Ava Donaldson
Model: Christina De Silva
Photographer: Ben Rosser
Creative Direction + Production: Ava Donaldson
Make Up + Hair: Samantha Jo Tobin
Sponsored by: The Woolmark Company