When thinking of socks for performance and athletic pursuits, such as skiing, hiking, running, or any rigorous activity, wool socks may not be the first thing that comes to mind. But it certainly should be. Even though wool has the perception of being bulky, hot, or generally uncomfortable, the opposite is in fact true. Wool socks, especially Merino wool socks are actually some of the most comfortable and beneficial socks on the market- especially for sports, performance, or activity. For this reason, wool ski socks are an important investment for skiers. Merino wool socks keep feet warm and dry throughout your day on the slopes, or, alternatively, cool and dry on your runs through the forests. Let’s delve into why Merino wool yarn is the fiber of choice for performance socks and clothing.
What is Merino Wool?
Merino wool is a special variety of wool that is grown by Merino sheep. Merino wool is different than regular wool because it is thinner and more fine than regular wool, making it the most comfortable type of wool to wear. The shape of the irregular Merino wool fiber allows for it to trap air within it- meaning Merino wool socks are often highly insulating, yet breathable. This is why Merino wool works to thermoregulate the user - insulating in cooler temperatures and moisture-wicking for coolness and dryness in higher temperatures.
According SELF’s source from the nonprofit that represents Australian wool, the Woolmark Company, Merino Wool strands areabout three times finer than a human hair. This immense fineness is what makes Merino wool so undeniably soft. Thicker wool that we remember and associate with wool has historically been cheaper, so it was used moreoften. But now, Merino wool has been more accessible, allowing it to be woven into more accessories and clothing. Merino's increased availability and better fiber weaving technology allowed it to be more widely utilized in performance and athletic clothing.
Most importantly, Merino wool is natural fiber and renewable resource. The reason that Merino wool works so well for wool ski socks and general wool socks is because the benefits the natural fibers provide to the sheep, can also be felt by humans who wear Merino wool. Merino wool makes some of the best socks to keep feet warm or cool, depending on the climate.
Why Is Merino Wool Special?
Alex Kor, a fellow of the American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine and podiatrist at Johns Hopkins explained to GQ some of the unique benefits of the Merino wool fiber explaining, "Merino wool has some unique properties, in that it not only can absorb some moisture and wick that moisture away, but it then propels the moisture.” Meaning that Merino wool is highly suited for those participating in a physical activity, because the very nature of the fiber to keep you dry. This is why Merino wool socks are actually better than your average cotton sock. Merino wool socks, with the fiber’s unique wicking properties, are naturally conducive to staying dry.
The Benefits of Merino Wool
So we’ve covered why Merino wool socks are excellent because of their softness, moisture-wicking, and insulating properties, but there are ever more benefits to Merino wool in socks and activewear. The sweat-wicking properties of Merino wool are an added bonus (especially in wool ski socks) for obvious reasons, but also keeping you cool and dry could be a matter of health, trapped wetness in your extremities could increase your risk of hypothermia.
In addition, wool has anti-odor properties and because it effectively moves moisture away from the body, odor doesn’t have as much of a chance to build up. Also because of this (and depending on what activity you are doing) Merino wool items don’t need to be washed quite as frequently as other fibers that get saturated.
No matter the season, ensuring you have some quality wool ski socks, hiking socks, or running socks, could just be the best decision you can make for your feet and your performance. Merino wool offers such immense benefits that it’s definitely worth giving a try, according to Business Insider. Making an investment in some Merino wool socks will be one that you certainly won’t regret. See some of our favorite styles made with Merino wool yarn. From best-selling wool ski socks to keep feet warm to Merino wool socks for running, see all of our top picks.
Shop Pure Athlete's Picks for Merino Wool Ski Socks:
Shop Pure Athlete's Picks for Merino Wool Off the Slopes: