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When you think of wool clothing, your mind probably jumps to itchy wool sweaters. In recent years, however, the wool industry has increasingly started to use a finer type of wool, the merino wool.
Merino is incredibly soft, and handles water well, drying quickly and insulating even when wet. It has become popular as a comfortable and practical textile for outdoor clothing. Nowadays merino is used in everything from coats to shoes to the classic sweater. If you are looking for clothing that uses natural materials but is still rugged enough to handle anything you throw at it, look to merino wool apparel.
When entering the world of merino wool, it can be daunting to sift through dozens of similar-looking brands, and the high prices of merino products can be intimidating. Here is our guide to help you navigate the merino market.
Best Merino Wool Clothing Brands
We have picked the best brands selling merino apparel for every aspect of your life.
1. Unbound Merino
Based in: Toronto, Canada | Founded: 2016 | For: Men, Women | Range of Products: T-shirts, polos, hoodies, socks, underwear, and more.
In addition to its practical benefits, merino is also comfortable and stylish to wear. Unbound Merino looks to take advantage of both sides of merino wool. They offer versatile clothing that you will never get tired of wearing.
Their clothes are great for travel, thanks to merino’s water-resilience and insulation. But if your travel takes you to a swanky restaurant or nightclub, the clothes fit in perfectly as fashion pieces too. They have a clean style without any logos or patches cluttering them up, unlike some activewear brands. You have the flexibility to wear this clothing on a hike or to the opera.
Merino masterfully balances high-performance with high-fashion.
2. Ridge Merino
Based in: Mammoth Lakes, California, USA | Founded: 2014 | For: Men, Women, Kids | Range of Products: Base layers, hoodies, shirts, tank tops, dresses, underwear, and more.
If you are looking for merino apparel without having to shell out big bucks, Ridge Merino offers a wide range of clothing options at prices you might expect to see on synthetic fiber clothes. In particular they have an impressive variety of underlayers: things like long underwear or thin hoodies for layering.
Ridge buys directly from the source to provide less expensive merino products without compromising on quality. They also ensure their wool is sourced sustainably, and they donate to environmental nonprofit groups regularly.
The products Ridge makes are designed to handle the coldest mountain temperatures in the world. When you need rugged-yet-adaptable clothes for outdoorsing and exercising, Ridge makes something just for you.
Based in: Auckland, New Zealand | Founded: 1995 | For: Men, Women, Kids | Range of Products: T-shirts, sweaters, hoodies, dresses, socks, underwear and more.
Icebreaker is a New Zealand-based brand, the same country most of the world’s merino sheep live in, so it should be no surprise that Icebreaker produces super high-quality merino clothes. Part of their credo is transparency, so it is easy to find details of their supply chain and how they treat their workers compared to other businesses.
As for the clothes themselves, they are perfect for outdoorsing. They take full advantage of merino’s breathability and insulation to provide a comfortable fit in any climate. Icebreaker also makes a full range of products, enough to fill an entire wardrobe on its own, from underwear up to hoodies. This also includes a number of business-casual shirts and graphic t-shirts, rarities in the merino wool world.
Based in: Bozeman, Montana, USA | Founded: 1898 | For: Men, Women | Range of Products: Shirts, bottoms, base layers, jackers, socks, and more.
Based out of Montana, Duckworth lays claim to being the world’s only single-origin merino wool brand. That means they only source merino from one ranch, which they operate themselves in the mountains of Montana.
Since they manage the wool source, Duckworth also manages where it goes. They grade all wool and only use the highest-quality batches for their clothing, using lower-quality merino for other purposes. The result is super soft, premium merino clothing.
Duckworth’s products are organized by weight, as in the thickness of the textile. They run six different collections of varying weights, so you have endless options to browse through, and you are guaranteed to find the perfect fit for you.
Based in: White River Junction, Vermont, USA | Founded: 1997 | For: Men, Women | Range of Products: First layers, mid layers, tops, bottoms, underwear, and more.
If you are looking for an activewear brand but do not want to wear uncomfortable synthetic fibers, Ibex has just the clothes for you. They make merino wool clothing that is perfectly suited for exercising in, and is as unrestrictive and comfortable as cotton or synthetic apparel.
One of the big selling points is merino’s breathability, so that sweat can evaporate and avoid building up, which would lead to unpleasant odors. It also regulates heat well, so you can stay active in any environment.
Ibex works hard to guarantee an inclusive workplace and keep their manufacturing process ethically-sound. Instead of buying the typical activewear-brand clothes, consider a merino shirt when you next exercise.
Based in: Steamboat Springs, Colorado, USA | Founded: 1994 | For: Men, Women Kids | Range of Products: Shirts, hoodies, base layers, socks, underwear, and more.
Anyone who has peeled off their socks after a long hike knows how gross it can be to feel and smell the sweat coating your feet. Merino wool socks, such as those from Smartwool, can easily overcome this problem.
Merino’s breathability means your feet stay cool, and prevents them from getting clammy. This in turn prevents odors from building up. Smartwool offers dozens of designs, for everything from camo to fashion. They also have many lengths and thicknesses of socks, so you can find a pair perfect for any activity.
Since starting out making merino socks, Smartwool has expanded into merino activewear with a line of shirts, hoodies, pants, and more. The brand is a one-stop-shop for outdoor merino apparel.
7. Darn Tough Vermont
Based in: Northfield, Vermont, USA | Founded: 1978 | For: Men, Women, Kids | Range of Products: Socks
Most exercise-buffs have a pair or two of running socks. But how about ski socks? Bike socks? Why not grab a pair of Darn Tough socks, designed with merino wool to be used for any activity in any climate?
Darn Tough has every kind of sock imaginable. Whether you need compression socks for health conditions, flashy socks for date night, high socks, low socks, tactical socks, you can find what you are looking for here.
They also guarantee their socks for life and offer an unconditional trade-in if you do not like your socks. That is how confident Darn Tough is in their products. They also work hard to avoid material waste to help the environment.
8. Civic by Taylor Stitch
Based in: San Francisco, USA | Founded: 2007 | For: Men | Range of Products: T-shirts, shorts, denim, outerwear, footwear, and more.
The Civic collection by Taylor Stitch is their line of merino apparel. Their design combines simple, clean aesthetics with the ruggedness of merino. The result are clothes that you could spend all day lounging comfortably in, or you could take them jogging and have them work just as well.
One of Taylor Stitch’s core values is lowering their environmental impact. They have spent the last decade shifting their practices to help protect wildlife and improve their green footprint.
Based in: San Francisco, USA | Founded: 2014 | For: Men, Women | Range of Products: Shoes, T-shirts, jackets, underwear, and more.
Shoes are unfortunately one of those products where plastics and synthetic fibers are still the default. Allbirds is a brand that turns that assumption on its head, creating shoes from sustainable, natural materials, including merino wool.
The first shoe they launched, the Wool Runner, is made from merino wool. The properties of merino mean the running shoes are breathable while still insulating your feet, and wick sweat away. You can even throw these shoes in the washing machine to clean them off.
Allbirds is also committed to sustainable practices, keeping their manufacturing as eco-friendly as possible and partnering with groups that guarantee ethical treatment of their merino sheep. They have recently launched shoes made of wood fiber, as well as blended merino and wood fibers.
Based in: Pennsylvania, USA | Founded: 1830 | For: Men, Women, Kids | Range of Products: T-shirts, pullovers, pants, parkas, jackets, shoes, and more.
Woolrich is part of a 190-year-old legacy of wool craftspeople. Their brand is the founder of the iconic red-and-black Buffalo Check flannel pattern which is now seen everywhere around the globe. It is then almost fated that they are one of the most established wool brands.
Their merino line is mostly tops, like shirts and sweaters, and have a more modern, fashionable look than many other brands selling merino. Woolrich definitely emphasizes form over function, although you of course still get the practical advantages of merino.
Woolrich adheres to fair trade practices and guarantees its products are of the highest quality. They are also known for donating socks, blankets, and other supplies to US troops to help keep them safe and comfortable.
Based in: Portland, Oregon, USA | Founded: 1863 | For: Men, Women | Range of Products: Shirts, jackets, sweaters, dresses, vests, shoes, socks, blankets and more.
With over 100 years of experience as wool clothing manufacturers, Pendleton is a hallmark of high-quality merino products. They boast an impressive variety of merino clothes and accessories, including some that at a glance you would never guess were wool.
Aside from their line of classy everyday merino clothes, Pendleton also makes a number of beautifully patterned clothes, scarves, and blankets using designs inspired by Native American art. The result is the delectable softness of merino with gorgeous patterns that are sure to draw jealous stares.
Pendleton’s merino products are truly luxurious, and an excellent indulgence if you are looking for something cozy to treat yourself with.
Based in: New York, USA | Founded: 2012 | For: Men, Women | Range of Products: Shirts, hoodies, jackets, base layers, jackets, leggings, socks, and more.
The advantages of merino wool have never been clearer than with WoolX’s apparel. Their everyday clothes are robust enough to be taken on hikes and other outdoorsing activities, but are stylish and comfortable enough that you could wear them to a photoshoot or to the office and they would feel right at home.
If you want a playful style with lots of bright color options, WoolX is for you. They also have a range of practical activewear which layers wonderfully thanks to merino’s breathability. One of the best features of their products is that they can be repeatedly machine washed and dried without any damage.
Based in: Seattle, USA | Founded: N/A | For: Men, Women | Range of Products: and more.
Founded by a trio of outdoorsmen, Woolly started as an activewear company and has expanded to all sorts of apparel. Woolly set out to make merino affordable to help phase out synthetic fibers, looking to save the environment while delivering high-quality products.
Woolly makes a point that their clothes are multi-use. They have clothes that you can wear into a business meeting and also use when you go jogging.
This is also one of only a few brands selling merino loungewear, so if you want the comfort of sweatpants but not the sweat, Woolly is an excellent choice.
Based in: N/A | Founded: N/A | For: Women, Kids | Range of Products: Dresses, leggings, shorts, tops, tanks, rugs, and more.
For your new favorite dress, look no further than Wool&. Their line of merino wool dresses is made by dress wearers who know exactly what makes a dress great, from the look to the feel.
Taking full advantage of the comfort of merino wool, all the dresses are incredibly soft and airy, perfect for warm weather. You can also find dresses in every size, including plus sizes that are actually plus, unlike some other women’s clothing brands.
There are also other clothes available than dresses, such as tunics and leggings. Wool& is also associated with the men’s clothing brand Wool&Prince.
Based in: Ashland, New Hampshire, USA | Founded: 2001 | For: Men, Women | Range of Products: Tops, bottoms, underwear, base layers, mid layers, and more.
The goal Minus33 was striving for when they first started the brand was to make outdoor clothing that would be accessible to anyone with any level of experience outdoorsing. Pair that with a commitment to making merino affordable and you have a great line of merino apparel.
The range of Minus33’s clothes covers almost any outdoor activity. They have specific collections for hiking, camping, hunting, fishing, biking, snowsports, and much more.
Minus33’s products offer tons of options for layering, including things like neck gaiters, long underwear, and cozy blankets. If you are in love with the soft feel of merino and need to bundle up to go out in the cold, Minus33 has you covered.
Based in: Östersund, Sweden | Founded: 1969 | For: Men, Women | Range of Products: Tops, bottoms, socks, and more.
This Swedish brand knows a thing or two about making warm clothes, and has been designing merino apparel for 50 years. Woolpower carefully manages their entire supply chain to ensure ethical business practices and environmental sustainability.
Woolpower’s line ranges from simple, practical outerwear to colorful sportswear. They also have a nice kid’s collection, which is surprisingly hard to find from merino brands.
Included on their website is a handy guide on how to wear merino in different climates. They also sell clothing made from merino blended with synthetic fibers to combine insulation with long-lasting durability.