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Merino isn't your daddy's wool

The merino is one of the world’s most ancient breeds of sheep. And one of the toughest.

Very different to a regular sheep who chews grass in the lowlands, Icebreaker merino live in the extremes of New Zealand’s Southern Alps. Regular sheep would freeze to death up there.

But the merino’s fleece is built for extremes – breathable in summer, insulating in winter, yet exceptionally soft and lightweight.

Icebreaker has pioneered the use of merino wool in the wilderness since 1994, and now they’ve fused nature and technology to create merino layers for the outdoors, for performance sports, and for the city.

  • In summer, the merino’s thin, light, super-breathable coat keeps him cool in temperatures that hit +35 °C (+95 °F)
  • In winter, he grows an extra layer of wool over his base coat as protection against temperatures that plummet to -20 °C (-4 °F)

In the 1970s, synthetics such as polyester took over. While artificial fibres are lightweight, easy care and usually non-itch, they’re also clammy, stinky, poorly insulating and highly flammable – and they’re all petroleum-based. You could choose cotton instead, but you’ll freeze to death when you get wet in the cold.

So What’s the solution? A performance fibre invented by nature and engineered for people.

Our merino combines the best qualities of traditional wool, synthetics and cotton. It’s soft and non-itch, it’s warm in the cold and cool in the heat, it breathes to prevent clamminess, and it has a miraculous ability to warn off stinkiness – you can run a marathon and still smell as sweet as if you’ve spent the day on the sofa.

And because it was made in the mountains, rather than a lab, merino wool is renewable, recyclable and biodegradable.




Thick fibres make it warm, but heavy, itchy and slow to dry. Plastic fibres make it lightweight and fast drying, but clammy, stinky and highly flammable. Thin, natural fibres make it warm in cold weather, cool in warm weather, light, breathable, easy care, no stink and no itch. And did we mention renewable and biodegradable? That’s because it’s made from grass, water and sunshine, rather than petrochemicals.

The Best Merino in the Biz

Is all merino created equal? Nope. Icebreaker buys the world’s best merino wool from the Southern Alps of New Zealand.

New Zealand produces the longest, strongest, purest, whitest merino fibre on the planet, which means it’s more durable, stays softer for longer and is less likely to pill.

Their long-term contracts with the world’s best merino growers create a win/win situation. The contracts allow us to take responsibility for every step of the process, from the quality of the wool to how the animals are treated. And growers can lock in long-term price security, which gives them a certain future.

The three-year-contracts with growers are the biggest long-term merino contracts by a single brand in the world.

When you’re in Icebreaker merino, you know the sheep felt as good making it as you do wearing it.


Traditional wool is itchy to wear because its coarse fibres push into your skin. But Icebreaker merino fibres are so ultra fine that they don’t irritate your hair follicles - so no itching or prickling.


In cold weather, our merino uses moisture absorbed from the environment to generate heat (a process called “heat of sorption”). Its crimped (wavy) fibres also contain millions of air pockets that lock in body heat to keep you toasty.


In warm weather, Icebreaker merino keeps your skin cool by transporting moisture vapour away from the skin to be evaporated. And because Icebreaker merino breathes beautifully, moisture vapour escapes without making you feel clammy.

Merino Wool v. Synthetics



Icebreaker merino pulls moisture vapour to the surface of the fabric, where it evaporates before the vapour turns into sweat. It can absorb up to 30% of its own weight in moisture before you even start to feel wet, and it dries fast. (Not quite as fast as synthetics, but the world isn’t perfect...) Synthetic fibres feel clammy because moisture vapour can escape only through holes in the fabric. But with Icebreaker merino, the fibre as well as the fabric breathes to prevent you overheating



Our merino has an exceptionally high warmth-to-weight ratio. The fine, lightweight fibres give you all the warmth of a heavy sweater – without the bulk Icebreaker merino resists odour naturally, and can be worn for days — even weeks — without washing.

Merino v. Fire



Wool is the least flammable of fibres, and the safest to have next to your body. It’s self-extinguishing and, unlike synthetics, it won’t melt and stick to your skin – so it’ll keep you safe around the campfire Resilient Icebreaker merino is machine washable, dries quickly (on the line or on the back of a chair – not in a tumble dryer ) and bounces back into shape without ironing, which makes it ideal for travel



Icebreaker merino has a UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Rating) of at least 50, which is considered the ultimate in sun protection. That’s higher than cotton and most synthetics Clingy? Ugh. Comfy? Oh yeah. Icebreaker merino is resistant to static electricity build-up, which means it won’t cling or rustle





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Winnipeg MB R3T3Y6