Icebreaker: everything you need to know about sustainable merino wool


November 25, 2022


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icebreaker sustainable merino wool

Getting dressed to face just about any weather isn’t an easy task, whether you are going on a sports outing or on a trip. Icebreaker has a sustainable solution to this predicament, thanks to merino wool. Durable, high performance, comfortable and versatile, this material offers many advantages.


In this article, you will discover:

  1. Why choose merino wool?
  2. The advantages of merino wool
  3. Merino wool garments available
  4. Versatile travel clothes
  5. Icebreaker’s sustainability efforts

Why choose merino wool?

You’ve probably wondered a few times what material you should choose for your next sports apparel. Wonder no more! Merino wool fulfills all your comfort and sustainability requirements. This particular type of wool, extracted from merino sheep, is thinner and softer than traditional wool and adapts to all kinds of weather conditions.

The advantages of merino wool

You’ll never again have to come back shivering or soaking wet from an outing, thanks to its breathable, temperature-regulating and sweat-wicking properties. Whatever the season, your clothes will keep smelling good and remain comfortable even after being worn over and over again. Let’s have a look at all the advantages of this durable material.

A 100% natural and biodegradable fibre

Did you know that sheep can produce up to five pounds of wool per year? Merino wool is therefore a renewable resource, and 100% natural too! It has evolved through the centuries as sheep had to adapt to survive in different environments, and it remains a great choice in any climate. What’s more, as it doesn’t contain synthetic fibres, merino wool biodegrades entirely within twelve months. Turned into clothing, it retains those eco properties, which means its carbon footprint just disappears into the ground!

Body temperature regulation

Sheep’s wool protects them from the cold, but also lets them feel cool and comfortable in high temperatures. Someone taking part in an active sport has the same needs. Wool is well known for its insulating properties, thanks to its fibres’ curved shape, which traps air. This means your body temperature remains stable, whether it is summer or winter.

Staying dry and sweat-free on your adventures

As mentioned above, the porous nature of the wool allows it to trap perspiration as it steams off your skin. Moisture is therefore kept away from your body before it even has time to turn into droplets and get into the inner cells of the garment, leaving you dry. Even if your Merino clothes were to become wet due to rain or snow, they would continue to keep you warm, just like wool keeps sheep dry as they stand in a field in the pouring rain!

A good layering option

When it comes to getting dressed, you are probably aware of the clothes layering technique. By starting with thin layers and adding mid-layers on top, you can quickly and easily dress warmer, or undress to cool down at any time. By layering merino wool garments, you retain those moisture wicking properties from one layer to the next! Learn more about the layering technique by reading this article.

Wool that is both soft and odour resistant

One of the benefits of merino wool that is most appreciated by hikers, sports enthusiasts, and even travellers: its odour absorbing properties. Thanks to this material, which stops the growth of bacteria, you can say goodbye to bad smells. Furthermore, merino wool is soft, fine, and doesn’t irritate the skin as other types of wool might.

Protection against UV rays… and flames!

You’ll spend a lot of time by the campfire or a heat source when cooking outside. A fire can happen fast, but fortunately merino wool doesn’t catch fire or melt in the heat. Which gives you another layer of protection in case of unexpected accidents!

Merino wool garments available

Icebreaker merino wool vestOur stores’ shelves are filled with products made using natural fibres. From ultra-practical Icebreaker merino wool socks to warm vests, you will find the right garment, whatever your favourite sports activity. Opt for an everyday t-shirt you can put on again and again, or a few outfits to wear while taking part in your favourite sport. Put on warm merino wool sweaters on cooler autumn or spring days, or wear comfortable underwear that is easy to wash while on the road. Some of these technical garments also come in a heated version. Discover them here.

Versatile travel clothes

Travellers dread having too much luggage, both for the additional fees it incurs when travelling by plane and for the extra weight it generates while on the road. The same can be said of backpackers!

Versatile travel clothes are therefore at the top of the list of things to buy for any trip, and merino wool clothing is in that category. Natural fibre garments will keep you warm without being bulky; they are easy to carry and don’t take up much room. The fact that they don’t acquire bad odours means you can wear them for several days in a row, eliminating the need for extra luggage. You also won’t have to spend time standing over a sink to wash your clothes. Easy to care for and versatile, merino wool clothing stays nice for longer and has proven itself as a durable and eco-friendly option. In addition, its softness, its sheen and the fact that it doesn’t crease (even after being left at the bottom of a bag for a while) makes it a perfect choice anywhere; in the city, on a bike, on top of a mountain or at the restaurant!

Icebreaker’s sustainability efforts

Icebreaker merino wool people walkingFounded in 1995 by Jeremy Moon, Icebreaker’s popularity has never stopped growing since. Its products are now available in 38 countries around the world. This impressive growth hasn’t stopped the company’s leaders from focusing on sustainability by choosing natural and renewable fibres, such as merino wool. Here is how Icebreaker challenges itself to constantly improve its manufacturing practices.

Using renewable principles to get back to nature

Icebreaker’s objective is to use renewable materials from sustainable sources. Concretely, this means adhering to biodiversity principles, refining wastewater disposal and soil usage processes, reducing carbon emissions and overall working closely with nature as part of a consistent effort to continuously improve sustainability practices. Through the XQRZ program, signed by every single one of Icebreaker’s farming partners, the company ensures this objective remains at the forefront of everything they do. Think pasture rotation, sustainable practices training, and don’t forget the workers behind the product!

Natural alternatives

Icebreaker has awarded itself the mission to completely remove plastic from its production line. While the company continues to work towards its 100% plastic-free goal, Icebreaker is proud to announce that so far, 95% of the fibres used in its products are either plant-based, or merino wool (which accounts for 89.7% of the materials used). A pioneer in the development of merino wool clothing, Icebreaker has been able to constantly refine its processes over the years, optimizing the quality of its products by weaving close relationships with its producers, implementing a traceability system, and making natural alternatives a priority.

Full transparency

Icebreaker promotes full transparency as part of its daily operations, by having open and honest relationships with its suppliers and by reiterating its environmental focus through everything it does. By ensuring the traceability of its products, the company ensures the continuous improvement of its processes and provides complete documentation for its product components, so both consumers and partners can check their origins.

Supply chain

You may have noticed how crucial durability and healthy resource management are for Icebreaker and the clothes it offers.
These values are applied throughout the entire supply chain thanks to a verification and training program aimed at implementing best practices, increasing energy efficiency and reducing the environmental footprint of suppliers’ facilities.
Icebreaker looks into every step of its supply chain, from wastewater treatment to finding even more durable materials, and it is also supporting the fight for human rights for the workers who work hard to provide you with quality clothing.


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