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A pioneer in the development of merino wool clothing amongst other sports brands, Smartwool has been keeping outdoor enthusiasts warm for the past 30 years. It is particularly well-known for its insulating, breathable and high-performance base layers (socks, tops, leggings, underwear, and more). This winter, the Colorado-based brand offers a new and improved Classic Thermal Merino range that is guaranteed to keep you warm and dry, whatever your size.
In this article, you will discover:
The main rule of staying warm and comfortable when playing outside during the winter? Layering! This consists of wearing several technical garments on top of each other and adjusting the layers based on the outside temperature and the intensity of your physical activity. This clothing system, which has proven itself time and time again, first requires a good base layer (a short-sleeved or long-sleeved top and long leggings). The purpose of this layer is to absorb sweat from your body, but to dry quickly enough to keep you warm.
Several types of fabric can be used to make base layers, but natural fibres are by far the most highly recommended components. Fibres such as merino wool, for example, which comes from New Zealand Merino sheep.
This material was chosen by Smartwool from its very beginning; the company now uses it in its entire range and in each one of its products.
If you’d like to know more about the layering system and how to choose your base layer, read our articles on the SAIL blog.
As your body warms up and cools down, merino wool works by keeping your body temperature at a comfortable level. This means the Smartwool Classic Thermal Merino range of base layers, formally known as the Merino 250 range, can provide both warmth and breathability at the same time, whatever your chosen cold weather activity. This past winter, it was reviewed and improved to offer even more advantages.
Why is merino wool so sought-after? Because it keeps your body at a stable temperature. In cold weather, the natural crimps in its fibres trap air, which provides added insulation. In warm weather, its porous fibres – as opposed to synthetic fibres, for example – wick away sweat quickly, keeping you cool and dry.
In addition, it is much more pleasant to wear than regular wool. Indeed, merino wool fibres are a third of the diameter of a human hair, which means merino wool is extremely soft and fine, and much more comfortable to wear directly on the skin.
Have you ever tested it? A merino wool sweater doesn’t smell bad at all (or almost doesn’t), even after an intense workout. Why is that? The wool traps bacteria and stops it from growing, which is what usually causes body odour. It is even preferable not to wash a merino wool garment too often to keep its fibers in good condition and maintain all its properties.
We’ve just seen that merino wool is porous and very fine. But what are its fibres made of? In short, proteins, which contain amino acids and other natural compounds. It is a natural, renewable fibre (one sheep produces anywhere from 1.8 kg to 2.2 kg of wool per year), and biodegradable as well. Merino wool completely decomposes into the soil after 12 months and turns into carbon and nutrients. Nothing is lost, everything is transformed!
The Smartwool team has worked hard to create more fitting, comfortable and appealing styles. As part of this process, the shoulder and side seams were strategically reviewed to better suit male and female bodies and to guarantee an aesthetic, athletic silhouette.
Particular attention was paid to the garments’ raglan sleeves, which extend in one piece fully to the collar thanks to a diagonal seal from underarm to collar bone. The modified design accommodates a wider variety of shoulder sizes without sacrificing style or comfort.
On the topic of body diversity, Smartwool has always considered inclusivity to be one of its core brand values. This is even more true today as sportswomen’s body shapes are evolving and lack of self-esteem is still a major barrier for women when it comes to outdoor activities.
Considering that the market for bigger sizes is growing twice as fast as the overall global clothing market, Smartwool now offers additional sizes (1X to 3X) as part of its Classic Thermal Merino range for women. And this is only the beginning.
Of course, these base layers meet the same quality standards as the usual range and offer all the benefits associated with merino wool. With this range, the brand’s main goals is to encourage more women to play outside, and to share its love of adventure with a beautiful and ever-growing community.