Orders over $60 Ship Free

6 Reasons Merino Wool Makes the Best Hiking and Running Socks


by Austin Campbell October 13, 2016

CloudLine Hiking Socks are Ready for All Your Summer Adventures. Shop Now!

Here's Why You'll Love Merino Wool Socks

6 Reasons Merino Wool Makes the Best Hiking and Running Socks - CloudLine Apparel  

Merino wool is an amazing natural fiber that comes from, you guessed it, Merino Sheep. If you're thinking to yourself, "yeah I've worn wool before and it was the itchiest experience of my life" then you had the misfortune of wearing a cheap pair of regular wool socks. Merino wool has extremely fine fibers compared to other breeds of sheep which makes merino incredibly soft and itch free in comparison. On top of being itch-free merino also has a long list of natural properties that truly make it a high-performance material.

 

Merino Wool Socks are Warm and Cool

6 Reasons Merino Wool Makes the Best Hiking and Running Socks - CloudLine Apparel

photo: @t.stal

Merino wool is great for regulating your body temperature while hiking, running or just hanging out. Think about it, merino sheep have to be able to adjust to hot and freezing temperatures without being able to remove a layer of clothing like we do, so their wool needs to adapt. 

Staying Warm

Merino wool fibers are naturally crimped and create more pockets of air than other fibers. And that trapped air insulates against the cold and keeps you feeling warmer, even when wet. 

Staying Cool

Merino wool fibers naturally store moisture. When the weather is warm, or you heat up from exertion the wool is warmed and that moisture begins to evaporate cooling your skin. Best of all, as you get warmer and produce more sweat the merino's evaporating effect increases to cool you even more (more on that in the next section).

Pro-Tip: Merino wool and synthetics both wick moisture, but only merino has the natural ability to move moisture away from your skin as vapor before it condenses. 

 

Merino Wool Socks Regulate Moisture

6 Reasons Merino Wool Makes the Best Hiking and Running Socks - CloudLine Apparel

photo: @wilderness_addict

Merino wool is a moisture management wonder. In fact, merino is so efficient at moisture regulation that it can absorb up to a third of its dry weight in moisture before feeling damp.

Breathable

Merino wool is one of the most breathable materials around. Breathability is important in a sock because it allows sweat to escape and keeps your skin dry and blister free. You might be thinking that is just because it is a woven fiber with plenty of room for vapor to escape, but merino possesses several unique qualities that enhance breathability. 

Wicking

When wearing a merino wool sock initial sweat can escape as vapor, but when sweat starts to build up or you step in a puddle the merino wool will wick moisture mechanically with a capillary action away from your skin. This keeps your socks drier and protects your skin from irritation and blisters. 

Quick Drying

Because merino wool is so breathable and wicks so efficiently your socks will dry quickly. This is especially nice on a multi-day backpacking trip because you can wash your extra pair of socks and let them dry on the outside of your pack while you hike. 

Water Repellent

We already mentioned merino wool's ability to absorb an incredible amount of moisture before feeling wet and that is because while the inner core of the fiber can absorb up to a third of its weight in moisture, the surface of the fiber actually repels moisture. Merino wool fibers naturally have a wax-like coating that repels water so that it beads and rolls off instead of soaking into your socks. And nature made merino's wax coating durable enough that it won't be removed by regular washing.

  

Merino Wool Socks are Naturally Anti-Microbial and Odor-Resistant

6 Reasons Merino Wool Makes the Best Hiking and Running Socks - CloudLine Apparel

photo: @elias_visuals

 

Fresh Feet

Merino wool naturally resists odors and bacteria thanks to the amazing moisture management properties we just discussed. Merino wool breathes, wicks, and dries quickly so odor causing bacteria are inhibited. That makes wearing merino wool socks a big plus for backpacking. 

Hypoallergenic

Most people don't realize that merino wool is hypoallergenic. The dust mites that irritate many allergy and asthma sufferers thrive in warm and humid materials, like cotton and synthetic fibers. Because merino dries quickly it is not an appealing environment for mites. It should be noted that there are rare cases of people being allergic to wool directly, but for the majority of allergy sufferers merino wool is hypoallergenic and a great choice.

 

Merino Wool Socks are Incredibly Soft

6 Reasons Merino Wool Makes the Best Hiking and Running Socks

photo: @eliotwoody

The itchy texture of traditional wool is due to larger diameter fibers. Large fibers are stiffer and coarser and that is what creates the itchy feeling on your skin. However, merino wool has very small diameter fiber that is flexible and smooth which results in an itch free and soft sock. As a comparison, a human hair is about 5 times thicker than a merino wool fiber. 

 

Merino Wool Socks are Durable

6 Reasons Merino Wool Makes the Best Hiking and Running Socks - CloudLine Apparel

photo: @t.stal

Merino sheep rely on their wool to protect them from everything mother nature can dish out. Because of this merino wool is naturally hard-wearing, durable, and resilient. Merino wool fibers are flexible, stretchy, strong so that your socks are not only super soft but also durable and long lasting. 

Fire-resistant

Merino wool is naturally flame retardant. When held to on open flame it will smolder, and self-extinguish rather than bursting into flames like cotton or melting like a synthetic fiber. This makes merino wool a safe choice for while camping.

Static Resistant

One of the reasons clothing fresh out of the dryer can be full of static electricity is because it is extremely dry. Because merino wool fibers naturally retain some moisture inside the fiber they resist static buildup, making merino wool socks and clothing great for avoiding static.

Stain Resistant

The same waxy coating that makes merino wool water repellent also makes it stain resistant, because spilled liquids bead off before they have a chance to absorb. 

UV Protection

Merino wool naturally protects you from the sun better than cotton or synthetic fibers. This makes merino wool socks and clothing perfect for outdoor adventures. 

 

Merino Wool is a Natural and Sustainable Fiber

6 Reasons Merino Wool Makes the Best Hiking and Running Socks - CloudLine Apparel

photo: @amorisw

Merino wool is a natural and renewable fiber that feels great and you can feel good about wearing. 

Animal Friendly

Merino sheep are primarily raised for wool and not for food, allowing the sheep to live long and happy lives. Each sheep grows a new fleece every year and harvesting the wool is no more bothersome than taking your dog to the groomer for a close-cropped summer haircut. 

Environmentally Responsible

The production of merino wool has minimal impact on the environment compared to cotton or synthetic fibers. Cotton requires the use of many chemicals and pesticides and most synthetic fibers are petroleum-based. Merino sheep can be raised with few chemicals or pesticides which make it a good choice for the environment. 

  

Bonus: CloudLine Hiking & Running Socks are Guaranteed for Life

6 Reasons Merino Wool Makes the Best Hiking and Running Socks - CloudLine Apparel

photo: @kkroo917

All CloudLine socks are proudly made in the USA with premium merino wool. We combine the best materials, trail tested designs, and American made quality to create socks so good we confidently back them with our 100% Lifetime Guarantee. 

Pin this Article



Austin Campbell
Austin Campbell

Author

Austin lives in the Pacific Northwest where he enjoys hiking and backpacking in the Olympic and Cascade mountains.






Leave a comment


Also in The CloudLine Hiking & Backpacking Blog

9 Practical Tips for Newbie Hikers
9 Practical Tips for Newbie Hikers

by Austin Campbell May 23, 2017

If you've never gone hiking or have never planned your own hike there are a few things you should know before hitting the trail. The last thing you want is to become a news story about an unprepared hiker who got lost or needed to be rescued. Luckily, preparing for a successful first hike is not rocket science. Just follow these tips and you will be on your way to a great first hike that is safe, fun and memorable. So keep reading, and then get out there and go hiking!

Read More

5 Moving Videos that Document Why We Need Public Lands, National Monuments, and Parks
5 Moving Videos that Document Why We Need Public Lands, National Monuments, and Parks

by Austin Campbell May 10, 2017

In our current political climate, National Parks, Monuments, and Public Lands that were once protected are now in danger of being opened to mining, drilling, logging, and development. These videos are a powerful reminder of the reasons we preserved these places. Watch them, share them, and most of all contact your elected officials and let them know how important these wild places are. 

Read More

How to Stay Safe While Hiking in Bear Country
How to Stay Safe While Hiking in Bear Country

by Austin Campbell April 20, 2017

Seeing a bear in the backcountry can be simultaneously breathtaking and terrifying. We are always hoping for a chance to see a bear from a distance while also hoping to avoid the danger of a close encounter. Over the years we've been given good and bad advice on what to do when we see a bear, like the time our Scout Master threw a rock towards a black bear and told us to drop our packs and run if it charged us (three things you should never do during a bear encounter). While bear attacks happen regularly, the number of attacks is very low in relation to the number of hikers, backpackers, and campers spending time in bear country every year. While it is impossible to completely eliminate bear danger in the backcountry, employing common sense and familiarizing yourself with these bear safety tips and resources will greatly reduce your risk. 

Read More