Merino wool is derived from merino sheep, whose habitat varies significantly in temperature throughout the year. While merino sheep originated in Spain, the mountains of New Zealand have become one of the most common areas for their habitation. This region experiences cold, wet winters and hot, dry summers. This climate has forced the merino sheep to be able to adapt to both warm and cool weather, making their wool an exceptional fiber. In warm weather, merino wool absorbs sweat and draws it away from the skin, ultimately allowing it to evaporate. Similar to how humans sweat, this evaporation process releases heat and cools the skin. In cool weather, the merino wool promotes warmth by trapping body heat in the natural crimps of the fibers. These properties make merino wool an excellent fiber to use in knitting dress socks, and enable merino wool dress socks to be comfortably worn year-round.
The beautiful mountains of New Zealand, home to merino sheep
Have you ever stepped in a puddle and sloshed around in wet socks for the rest of the day? Wearing wet socks can be quite uncomfortable, and those with sweaty feet are all too familiar with this feeling. Fortunately, merino wool naturally helps manage moisture, making it an excellent material to use in socks. As mentioned in our first point, merino wool transports moisture away from the skin. Amazingly, merino wool can absorb up to 30% of its weight in moisture while still feeling dry to the touch. As a result, merino wool dress socks are able to keep your feet dry and comfortable.
In large part due to its breathability and ability to manage moisture, merino wool is able to eliminate odors. Odor-causing bacteria needs a damp environment to grow, and merino’s ability to pull out moisture prevents this from happening. Merino fibers also contain a coating that make them naturally antibacterial. These are all additional properties that make merino wool dress socks a staple for your wardrobe.
A key point of contention here is that we are talking about merino wool, not “regular” wool. While old wool blankets and garments manufactured with traditional wool can be itchy and scratchy, this is not the case with merino. The softness of wool fibers is determined by their thickness, better known in the yarn industry by the technical term “micron.” Micron is the system of measurement used to classify the thickness of wool, where the smaller the number, the finer the wool. Merino wool fibers are smaller than 24 microns in diameter, making them incredibly thin. This allows true merino wool dress socks to be quite soft and smooth against your skin.
A close-up of a sheep's wool coat, typically sheared twice a year.
Merino wool is a hardy fiber whose construction enables it to be bent and twisted an incredible number of times before breaking. Comparatively speaking, merino wool fibers are said to be able to bend without breaking thousands of times more than cotton fibers. In addition to the natural durability of merino that is inherent in our merino wool dress socks, we further prolong the life of our products by reinforcing the heel and toe sections of the socks with an additional layer of yarn.
In the contemporary age, many fibers found in apparel are synthetic and developed in laboratories; however, merino wool is a naturally occurring fiber. Merino wool is harvested from merino sheep once or twice per year through a shearing process that does not cause the sheep any pain. Merino wool is built with natural proteins that fully break down after approximately 12 months in the ground.
In conclusion, we highly recommend wearing merino wool dress socks. Their natural ability to help maintain your comfort throughout the day make them an excellent component of your wardrobe.
What are your thoughts on merino wool dress socks? If you have any questions or comments, we would love to hear them below.
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The Boardroom Memo is a blog where the Boardroom Socks team shares care instructions, style tips, buying guides and more.