/ Merino Wool
never had a problem, it is a bit different feeling but I wouldn't say itchy, bear with it you will probably get used to it.
What can zing a bit is you wear merino in conjunction with a fleece mid layer when you take it off and the static charge arcs off onto your lug'ole
Sometimes I'll wear the one pair of merino wool underwear (made in NZ) continuously for a few days (2-4). It can itch for me on the sleeping pad hip contact point when I lay down to sleep if I'm sweaty. I think the zero breath-ability of the sleeping mat doesn't help. Not enough for me to care, other than to roll over and air out that hip point.
But you know, overall I find it the most comfortable against skin layer I've tried yet.
Maybe your skin just isn't suited to it?
I've read that it can help to wash them turned inside out along with some jeans, so some of the fibres which might itch get softened/worn away slightly to help lessen any itchyness.
It could be psychological but it might have helped with my cheaper merino top, I don't really know though.
Guess you've nothing to lose in trying it.
Can't say I've noticed
What Timmd says, apparently there are some loose fibre fragments .
Never felt it on icebreaker stuff, though it helped with Crane sports tops.
i have a set of howies merino tops (all brought as samples) and havent had problems. Know plenty of peeps who have had with others, dont know whether it is down to poor materials or some people being more sensitive to it than others (or both of the above).
Certainly dont seem to be ideal for everyone although i like mine.
Thanks for the advice
Whether it's merino IB or cheap stuff, any kind of wool itches for me. Don't notice it when I'm busy hiking/climbing, but a day in the office drives me mad with any kind of wool on bare skin.
I agree that it's probably a difference in sensitivity between people - we're unlucky!
Interesting. I'm normally very sensitive to woolen stuff itching, but have never had a problem with Icebreaker stuff. I've worn a 240 top as one of my main tops (around town, at work etc) for the last couple of years without noticing anything.
Same here, no itch for me from any Merino wool: Icebreaker or Smartwool.
But as others have said, that isn't universal.
The itchiness of wool that some people experience is related to fiber diameter. Finer fibers, such as pure Merino wool, give greater comfort. The comfort limit for garments worn next to the skin is 28 microns. Many people experience discomfort if more than 3 to 4 percent of the fibers are over 28 microns thick. Wool can be treated with chemicals or blended with other fibers to remove the itch factor. Some wools, such as SmartWool® are guaranteed not to itch.
I wish I'd read that first - will let you know the outcome
> I wish I'd read that first - will let you know the outcome
I know . It's expensive stuff, and often worth it.
I love the stuff and often rave about it. I like its feel, it's look and it's properties .
BUT... I was going to buy some for a friend as a present and luckily told her so.
She told me that she couldn't wear it next to her skin because it itched.
I was surprised; it is not meant to itch!
I'll do some more research, contact the major brands and ask why this is so.
All the best
Mick on a train and wearing merino
How they keep you warm but not to hot is amazing. Great for running at night. While they can be a bit annoying, while I'm running in them or climbing in them it's noticeable. The benefits of them definitely outweigh the slight itchiness.
Uni glo Heattech. Definitely the way forward IMO and so cheap. You should seriously check it out next time you are in a store. And a quarter of the price of Ice Breaker and lasts longer.
Merino wool tops are such a rip off
In that Smartwool may give you your money back if you find that it itches you.
The simple fact is that some people are more sensitive to wool than others.
I find that the MAPP merino used in the Blacks* own brand tops I bought a couple of years ago is usually okay (and is also used by many other firms such as Arc'teryx, Rapha, Chocolate Fish and Powderhorn), but sometimes it twinges a little in places, and needs a bit of a scratch.
*Blacks moved on to another supplier; obviously MAPP was too good for them...
> Merino wool tops are such a rip off
I live in merino wool, it doesn't itch (me), it keeps me warm if cold yet not too hot if warm, it doesn't get stinky, it's quick drying and i have yet to wear any of it out. Much better than other "outdoors" products which are so hard to keep from smelling and may feel artificial or static.
Also and as well, you can buy purpose-designed Merino wool base layer tops and bottoms for half the price of Icebreaker eg at Trespass or Mountain Warehouse. You can also pay ten times the price of the Jermyn Street v-neck for Merino v-neck jumper with a "designer" label - but I'd still not want to wear it on the hills in winter.
Inverse gear snobbery strikes me as being a bit sad, really.
I am reminded of this Guardian article:
He bemoaned the cost of a £300 waterproof, but then somewhat pissed on his own bonfire by linking to a cotton jumper costing £280...
"Different design considerations" -Its a long sleeve woolen jumper,
"different target market" - well, clearly you pay more for mountain clothes (?)
I was actually trying to give some sound advice about Ice Breaker gear being overpriced. I have owned some IB tops,and seen nothing in them to suggest the price and I don't think they last. Your suggesting the design is all important. Well I don't think that a long sleeve top has much "design" to it that justifies the huge premium because the merino wool selling point is not enough to justify the price (as proven by many merino products being far cheaper that are not outdoorsy). And it appears you somewhat agree with your assertion that cheaper products can be bought at Trespass and Mountain Warehouse
And, fwiw, you can buy a merino wool jumper in Jermyn street that is not a v neck that would be 98% as effective on your Cairngorm as an IB top ;-)
I have a slight sensitivity to wool but can wear merino, and have had no problems with my Howies, Icebreaker, Smartwool and various other brand tops and thermals, which have done me excellent service for several years now. I also have some very fine wool fashion tops - high neck, long in the sleeve and back - that I picked up new from a charity shop for £4 each; they are great and not at all itchy, although not specifially merino. My mum on the other hand can't tolerate wool at all, not even merino.
Re: outdoors brands v other stuff, I just tend to buy whatever I see that is reasonably priced (for me that means on the sale) and looks like it will do the job. My other half had two posh label merino jumpers that he got on the sale for a tenner each from a suit hire place and he found them fine for purpose when out on the hill in cold weather. He is currently using two other fahion label merino ones I picked up for him in TK Maxx that are a suitable length in back and arm and have a handy high neck with a deep zip to vent. On the other hand my icebreaker 150 is brilliant for running in, and I haven't come across a 'fashion' brand that is its equivalent. I like the stream lined cut of sport specific gear for layering etc, but other brands can get close enough to still have the same effect for me. Whatever suits you, really!
> I'll do some more research, contact the major brands and ask why this is so.
Not definitive by any means.... wool allergy is rare and the itch, or prickle factor, isn't an allergic reaction but due to fibre diameter as stated above (and fibre length) and there is variation amongst humans as to the prickle factor threshold.
Here is a good link: www.merrill.org/alabamaalpacas/library/WoolIndustry.pdf
I got in touch with Molly at SmartWool in the US....she sent me this from her phone so excuse the typos etc..
"Some people are indeed very sensitive to wool of any fiber, however in general the lower the micron the softer the feel. A 28 micron is very large and would not typically be used for clothing. For example we would use anything from 17 micron into the low 20s for our clothing depending on the garment. Most of our socks are around the 23 micron range.
In terms of the itch factor, we do work with our wool, including a Smartwash, that helps to reduce itch. I also have very sensitive, but find our clothing, especially the midweight base layers to be incredibly comfortable. I might recommend he try something from our line... And when it comes to Merino, much like a lot of other outdoor gear, you definitely get what you pay for. We use ZQ merino which offers us and our consumers higher quality fiber which results in a higher quality end product.
There is also some info here:
All the best,
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