Note: Durability Matters is reader-supported. When you buy through affiliate links on our website, we’ll make a small commission, without impacting your price. Thank you. Learn more.
If it’s cold outside, you pull on a sweater; it’s as simple as that. But do you have a sweater in your wardrobe that will work for fall, winter, and spring, all while oozing style? Well, a Merino wool sweater will give you all of that.
No matter your size, shape, style, or gender, there is a Merino wool sweater out there for everyone. A simple addition to your clothing that will bring you style, warmth, durability, comfort, and breathability.
From the great outdoors to curling up by the fireplace with a good book, there is a cold-weather Merino wool sweater out there for you just waiting to be discovered.
Our Top Picks For Men
If you are looking for warmth when outdoors in the winter and want to maintain your style, Merino wool will give you that. Check out our list and find your new favorite cold-weather companion.
1. Unbound Merino Raglan Crew Sweatshirt
This Raglan Crew Sweatshirt brings warmth while also looking amazing. This is not a top layer for the winter months, more a base or middle layer that will trap the heat while also giving breathability. You can reach your destination looking and feeling fresh, take off your jacket, and ooze style and sophistication.
The Merino wool is light and comfortable, allowing you to wear this sweatshirt in warmer weather, too, without overheating. The look is seamless, so along with wearing it in the cold weather, it is suitable for more formal occasions. Being wrinkle-free, you don’t have to worry about how you look when you step into a room.
A great sweatshirt for looking your best and a great base layer in the colder months.
2. Allbirds Men’s Wool Jumper
This heavier sweater is made from 100% Merino wool, which means it is not as heavy as it looks. The wool is soft, so you can wear this as a base layer or on top of a t-shirt. There is also a defined shape that will last after multiple washes, leaving you looking styled and elegant.
The fit is classic with a crew neckline and long sleeves. A double knit structure has been used, along with thicker yarn, to give a sweater that has more bulk to it, perfect for the colder months, and the stitching pattern adds some texture to the sweater, creating an impact piece.
This is a warm sweater that can be worn as part of your attire in the colder months or as a standalone piece in the spring and fall.
3. Ibex Men’s Tranquil Crew
Another amazing Merino wool sweater, and this one has a real focus on moisture-wicking and breathability. There is the same great style and elegance that you expect from a Merino wool sweater, and the raglan sleeves offer you extra mobility and added breathability.
This thermo-regulating sweatshirt is thin and warm. It can be used as a base layer in the colder months and a top layer when the temperatures rise. It also has a sleek elegance that allows you to dress for an occasion effortlessly.
This is a sweatshirt that you are going to want to show off, so we recommend it for the cool months where you can wear this over a Merino t-shirt.
4. Smartwool Men’s Hudson Trail Fleece Half Zip Sweater
The perfect Merino wool sweater for the great outdoors, this garment is rough and rugged while still remaining soft and warm. There are multiple sizes and colors to choose from, so you are going to find the right one for the occasion.
The zipper on the front adds some flexibility, allowing you to easily put it on but also letting you wear the sweater when it gets warmer. Simply unzip, and you have more breathability. Beside that zipper is also a small zippered pocket, a perfect addition if you are out hiking and want your valuables or essentials close.
This is definitely a Merino sweater for the warmer weather and will lend you a rugged style when you are in the great outdoors.
5. Icebreaker Men’s Merino Shearer V Neck Sweater
If you want to stay warm outdoors or indoors and retain your style, then look no further than this sweater. As with the other sweaters on our list, it is crafted from 100% Merino wool, giving you a soft, comfortable, and breathable sweater, and this Merino sweater has a V-neck design for those who like a little more neck room.
The sleeves, neck, and bottom all have ribbed hems for added durability, adding strength to the spots that are most likely to fray, and it is a lighter sweater than some others on the list. This is a perfect sweater for indoor wear when you need something that will keep you warm while remaining comfortable.
Use this sweater as a base layer or pair it with more formal clothes for a relaxed yet stylish look.
6. Icebreaker Men’s Merino Hillock Funnel Neck Sweater
This funnel-neck Merino wool sweater is reminiscent of knitted Scandinavian sweaters, giving you rustic style, but, being Merino wool, it is extremely comfortable, light, and warm. The double-layer funnel-neck not only adds an aesthetic quality to the sweater but also keeps in the heat. The Merino wool will keep you warm, there is a ton of breathability, and the fitted neck adds some extra warmth.
The stylish knit draws the eye downwards, elongating your body and giving a sleek look, no matter your body shape, and there are plenty of sizes to choose from, along with a couple of different colors.
A perfect sweater for the great outdoors, and you will feel at home in this Merino wool sweater when you are boating or fishing.
Our Top Picks For Women
If you want to stay warm all through the winter while retaining your elegance, then there is nothing better than a Merino wool sweater. We have found six of the best.
1. Allbirds Women’s Wool Cardi
This wool cardigan creates a welcome balance between warmth, versatility, and style. The Merino wool has a double-knit structure with heavier yarn, adding bulk and warmth without additional weight. The button-up front means that you can pair the item with something underneath and unbutton when it gets too warm. We love the old-school look that it brings.
The structured shape and patterned knit also add focus to the garment. This is not just a cardigan; it is a statement. The wool is extremely soft, bringing ultimate comfort all while being durable and breathable. High-quality buttons also mean that there are no weak points in this cardigan.
A great addition to your wardrobe for the fall and beyond.
2. Ibex Women’s Tranquil Crew
The Tranquil Crew has raglan arms for easier movement and has a cropped length to create a layered look. Add a Merino wool t-shirt or tank underneath for a stylish look that can be worn throughout spring and fall. Of course, the crew also acts as a perfect base layer in the winter, and the cropped length means that it is not bulky when worn under layers.
The moisture-wicking fibers are perfect for the great outdoors. You don’t need to let the weather hold you back, and when you do work up a sweat, the fabric will wick the moisture away; great for long hikes.
A perfect crew for getting back to nature or camping in style.
3. Smartwool Women’s Shadow Pine Colorblock Sweater
This Colorblock sweater is for those who are looking for something big and warm to see them through the winter months. The sweater is oversized, perfect as a base layer when you are out in the extreme cold, but breathable enough to be worn inside as you read by the window and watch the snow fall outside.
The sweater is like no other when it comes to design, with stripes of color that run diagonally across the front. There are also a variety of colors to choose from. Being a larger sweater, it also works as a top layer in cold weather, and you can apply many layers underneath and go outside in style.
Perfect for the fashion-conscious who are looking for a sweater for all occasions.
4. Smartwool Women’s Hudson Trail Full Zip Fleece Sweater
Something a little different with a zipped fleece. If you have worn a fleece before, especially as a base layer, you know that the material can irritate skin and become itchy, but that is not the case with Merino wool. Wearing this fleece is like wearing a cloud. The fit is comfortable, allowing you to wear layers under and over.
We like that some of the Merino wool in the fleece is repurposed, reclaimed, or recycled, though the percentage of recycled wool will vary from fleece to fleece. Having a zipper on the front gives more options, and you will like the thumb holes on the hem of the sleeves, along with the zippered pockets for valuables.
This is definitely a garment for the great outdoors and one that is warm and functional.
5. Icebreaker Women’s Merino Shearer V Neck Sweater
A V-neck Merino sweater that is elegant and sleek. Of course, being Merino wool, it will keep you warm in the cold, especially when worn as a layer, but it is also thin enough to be beneficial in the warmer weather too. A lightweight sweater that is breathable and moisture-wicking.
The fine knit of the Merino wool is extremely comfortable and also creates a flawless, sleek look. The cuffs, neck, and bottom hem are also ribbed for extra durability, strengthening the weak points, and it is obvious that this is a sweater that is built to last.
A great Merino sweater for wearing on its own when it is warm, and a wonderful addition as a base layer when it gets cold.
6. Icebreaker Women’s Merino Hillock Funnel Neck Sweater
This funnel-neck Merino sweater is not what you would expect, and that is to its advantage. The slimline look and vertical ribbing create a look that draws the eye, elongating your body. The funnel neck also seals in the warmth, making it a great Merino sweater for the extreme cold, as long as you pair it with other layers.
Funnel necks can be off-putting, especially if you do not like to have fabric around your neck, but the Merino wool creates a softness that you will not notice is there. The knitted pattern also adds durability while creating a pattern that is a notch above a sheer sweater.
The perfect sweater for getting outside when others are hiding from the cold.
What To Know Before Buying a Merino Wool Sweater?
Merino wool is becoming more and more popular, so it is beneficial to know what to look for when you are in the market for a Merino wool sweater.
Cut and Style
Before we get to the ins and outs of Merino wool, you should know what kind of sweater you are looking for, and what the terms mean.
Cardigans are the halfway point between a sweater and a jacket. They look and feel like a sweater but are open at the front with some type of fastener, usually buttons.
A poncho (or no-sleeve sweater) is exactly that. Looks like a sweater with no sleeves and is usually baggier than a typical sweater.
A wrap is like a poncho but open at the front, so kind of like a cardigan too. They give an extremely relaxed fit that is easy to get on and off.
A turtle neck (or funnel neck) has a higher neck that adds extra warmth.
Thumbholes are holes in the hem of the sleeve that you can stick your thumb through. This helps the sleeves to act partly as gloves, keeping your hands warm, and also keeps the sweater in place when you are taking off outer layers.
Half Zip is a front zipper that runs partway down from the neck and offers a sporty look while also allowing you to cool down without removing the sweater.
Durability and Care
Merino wool is already durable, but it becomes even more durable due to the infrequency of washing. The fibers wick away moisture, and that stops the material from smelling as quickly as your other clothes. Because you need to wash it less, you are not going to wear down the fibers as quickly.
Essentially, this already durable material does not have a lot working against it.
So, how do you wash it when you need to?
Here are some tips:
- Use natural or mild detergent.
- Never use bleach.
- Forget about fabric softener. It can stick to the fabric and take away the antibacterial and moisture-wicking properties. The material is already soft enough as it is.
- Use a gentle cycle and cold or warm water.
- Keep the garments out of the dryer and hang to dry instead.
Pro tip: take care of pilling when you see it to avoid the problem getting worse. You can easily remove pills with a pilling comb or fabric shaver.
What Makes Merino So Popular?
There are many reasons. Let’s take a look at some of the most common benefits of Merino wool:
- Merino wool is super-soft, and you will notice the difference when you first wear it. The weave is tight, and the fibers are tiny, and that means less irritation and itching.
- It stays dry all day. Merino does not soak up moisture and is great at wicking it away. That leaves you dry and comfortable.
- Because moisture is wicked away, you can say goodbye to sweat patches and the odor that comes with them.
- Merino is light, and that means it is comfortable to wear, but it also makes it perfect for travel. You can pack light and still take a lot with you.
- Merino wool is temperature regulating. It keeps you cool in summer and warm in winter.
- Merino wool is wrinkle-free. Throw it in your backpack, and don’t worry about having to iron it when you get to your destination.
- Merino wool is extremely durable. Because of the strength and tight weave, the material is not as prone to holes and tears when compared to other materials.
- The material looks amazing in all settings. You can wear the same shirt for hiking as you can for a formal meeting. Maybe change in between, though, just in case.