Have you ever wondered why merino wool is used so much in cycling?
We provide some answers:
Merino wool keeps you warm when the weather is cool, and cool when it's hot. She does the same thing for sheep in winter and summer.
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Merino wool fibers are very fine, crimped and wavy, with up to 40 plies per centimeter. This creates air pockets that trap body heat and form an insulating barrier against the cold.
Merino wool also offers an excellent moisture absorption rate, up to a third of its weight, which is very useful at low temperatures to keep the skin dry as the wool heats up by absorbing moisture. This heat is generated by an exothermic process during which water and wool molecules collide and release energy.
If wearing a merino wool outfit in summer seems counterintuitive, you need to understand that wool itself does not emit heat. The air pockets that insulate you from the cold in winter also insulate you from the heat in summer.
But does our body generate heat when we cycle? Yes, but two specific properties give merino wool excellent cooling capabilities:
Wool absorbs moisture from the body and stores it so the skin stays dry. Since wool is breathable, it wicks away moisture. When it is hot, the wool dries quickly, and the cooling effect is achieved because the body can continue to sweat.
Compared to synthetic fibers like polyester, merino wool is 30 times more breathable. This is because perspiration condenses in the fibers of the wool itself, allowing air to circulate normally, while with synthetic fibers it depends on the spacing of the pores.
Merino wool prevents the growth of bacteria in three ways:
- The “scaly” surface of the fiber prevents bacteria from attaching to it.
- Thanks to its excellent moisture absorption and breathability, it prevents the accumulation of sweat on the skin.
- Wool is a hair, so it is mainly composed of a fibrillar protein, keratin, which acts as a protective barrier against, among other things, microorganisms.
RESISTANCE TO ODORS AND WATER-REPELLENT PROPERTIES
Bacteria are the cause of bad odors. They like warm, humid environments. And as we have just seen, merino wool prevents their proliferation, absorbs moisture and, being breathable, dries quickly. There are therefore fewer bacteria and fewer bad odors for clothing and skin.
RESISTANCE AND DURABILITY
Merino wool is not perfect. It is not as strong as nylon, polyester or other synthetic fibers. But these are less breathable, absorb perspiration less well and do not offer the same resistance to odors. No fabric is perfect, which is why many garments often use blends of various fibers.
When it comes to sustainability, it's all about how well you take care of your clothes. But since merino wool clothes don't smell bad and don't need to be washed as frequently as synthetic fibers, they tend to last longer.
The thermoregulatory properties of merino wool allow you to use it all year round, whether it's hot or cold.
Combining merino wool with other fibers improves and increases the properties of cycling clothing, making them more versatile and suitable for different temperature ranges.
If you've ever put on a thermal base layer or jacket made from merino wool, then you know: the soft, light feel of its super-fine fibers against the skin produces unparalleled comfort.
GOOD FOR THE SKIN
Merino wool does not itch because it is extremely fine (between 17 and 23 microns). This is well below the limit at which the human body can experience itching (25 microns).
In terms of allergies, nothing to report. While low quality wools (usually non-merino) are known to cause irritation, there is no evidence that wool fibers are allergenic . On the contrary, it seems that the properties of merino wool that we have presented to you make it a natural treatment for eczema and reduce its symptoms .
Final advantage: depending on the density of the merino wool fabric, it can provide UV protection which can go up to 50 UPF.
AN ECO-FRIENDLY RAW MATERIAL
Let's be honest: all textile production leaves its mark on the planet. But some more than others. Synthetic fibers are made from hydrocarbon-based polymers and are responsible for 1.35% of global oil consumption .
Wool on the other hand comes from a sheep shorn once a year, whose fleece will then grow back: it is a renewable and biodegradable material.
Since merino wool is antibacterial and odor resistant, you don't need to wash it too often, saving you energy. Most importantly, it does not generate microplastics when washed, unlike synthetic fibers.
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