Meet the super fabric
What do you think of when you think of wool fabric? If your mind went to a thick sweater or a knit blanket, you’re not alone. Heavy knits are great, but they are not all wool has to offer.
Wool has many properties that make it incredibly versatile. Read on to learn about the 6 properties of wool that make it a great choice for outdoor clothing year-round.
Wool fibers can withstand being bent roughly 20,000 times before breaking. This is more than cotton, silk, and rayon fibers. Resistance to fiber breakage allows wool garments to retain their shape, keeping them in your rotation for longer.
Each wool fiber has a waxy coating made up of fatty acids. This coating makes wool resistant to growing mold, mildew, and bacteria. Working against the growth of bacteria means that wool is odor resistant. This is one of the key properties that make wool great for performance gear.
Most moisture-wicking fabrics are synthetics, but wool is considered the exception. Wool fibers absorb a very small amount of moisture through tiny pores, and they also let most of the moisture escape through openings in the fabric. This means that wool stays dry to the touch, similar to synthetic wicking fabrics.
It’s no surprise that wool fabric keeps you warm when it’s cold outside, but it also keeps you cool in warm temperatures. The wicking property of wool mentioned above pulls moisture off your skin, leaving the layer touching your body dry. This moisture regulation keeps you from freezing in the winter, but it’s also what helps your wool running shirt feel light and breathable in the summer.
There’s a reason why fishermen trust wool for their sweaters; it retains 80% of its insulation power when saturated with water. It also does not feel wet to the touch until it is saturated with 60% of its weight in water.
Perhaps the most compelling reason to wear wool is that wool blends feel good on your skin. If you think that wool is strictly itchy, you’ve got the wrong idea. Wool fibers such as Merino or Alpaca produce wools and wool blends widely sought for their softness and durability.