Last Updated: February 13, 2024
Are you wondering if merino wool socks are worth the investment? Will they actually be any better than your regular cotton socks?
Globally, merino wool is known as one of the finest and softest wools on the market. There are several characteristics of merino that exceed its counterparts. To list just a few, the fibre has excellent moisture-wicking properties, it’s significantly more durable than cotton, and more porous than other wools.
Read on to find more details on the benefits of merino wool socks. Although, to keep things fair, I have also listed the disadvantages. You will get a good idea as to whether merino wool socks are a good choice for yourself.
Merino Wool Socks Benefits
Merino is extremely durable, in fact, 6 times more durable than cotton. The fabric fibres can be bent over 20,000 times before tearing. This natural wool can endure extreme temperatures at both ends of the scale; keeping you warm in temperatures as low as -10 degrees celsius, and keeping you cool up to +30 degrees celsius.
It’s naturally moisture-wicking, so when you break out a sweat, the merino wool is able to draw the perspiration away from the skin. Merino can take in 30% of its total weight in moisture, whilst still maintaining its ability to stay insulated.
Unlike most fabrics, merino wool won’t decrease your body temperature when it gets wet. Meaning it can be used as extra layers in watersports. To add an extra bonus, the fibres of the fabric are also very porous, therefore it’s fast-drying. Putting all of this together makes the chance of getting blisters significantly lower.
Merino sheep get sheared twice per year, after which their wool grows again. So since it’s a natural material, it is 100% sustainable. Merino wool is also environmentally friendly as the fabric is biodegradable and economical.
First of all, merino is less coarse and therefore feels softer on the skin compared to its conventional counterparts. Also adding to the overall comfort, merino fibres are comparatively thinner than regular wool, therefore making them lighter.
But perhaps the best part of all, merino can prevent the build-up of odor. Thanks to antimicrobials, merino can deter the bacteria responsible for causing unpleasant smells.
What Are the Disadvantages of Merino Wool?
First and foremost, merino is expensive. Unfortunately, all of these benefits come at a cost. You could buy one or two pairs of merino socks for the same price as a pack of five cotton socks.
Its price is mostly due to the fact that merino is considered a ‘luxury fibre’. That, and merino wool has more natural benefits and properties than synthetic wool. Its popularity is a testament to its quality.
It has been well established that shearing sheep is actually beneficial, as domestic sheep don’t naturally shed. Without being sheared, the wool would become too thick and too heavy for them to carry, until they struggle to move. Furthermore, shearing is crucial to the survival of lambs.
However, many sheep do not live in good conditions and aren’t treated well. Even during shearing, sheep can get injured if not done properly.
Another downside to merino wool is that it’s somewhat limited. Merino isn’t exactly ‘fashionable’. Although some companies have been trying to make colored wool using natural dyes, for the most part, 100% merino products lack color variety and patterns.
Lastly, although merino is undoubtedly durable, it should not be mistaken for being indestructible. Merino isn’t very stretchy, so in areas such as elbows or heels, it will eventually deteriorate. As with any fabric that is constantly in close proximity to the skin, it’s susceptible to wear and tear.
Are Merino Wool Socks Good for Everyday Use?
There is no reason why merino wool socks wouldn’t be suitable for everyday use. Merino is a favored fibre for versatility due to the fact that it keeps your feet warm in winter and cool in summer. With this being said, you should bear in mind that wearing merino socks every day will shorten their lifespan.
For example, if you work in an office or spend most of your working day sitting down, of course, you can wear your merino socks if you want to, but you don’t really need to. Since they’re more expensive it’s wise to save them for occasions where you require their benefit, and use cheaper socks for ordinary days.
Merino wool socks are perfect for jobs that are more physical. Other than this they’re ideal for hiking, extreme cold or hot temperatures, running, various sports, camping, farming, or any other manual activity.
Can You Wear Merino Wool Socks in Summer?
Since merino wool is very breathable, you can even wear merino socks in the peak summer months. As mentioned, you won’t need to worry about odor build-up from sweaty feet due to merino’s moisture-wicking ability. Although, to be sure you can even choose to go sockless.
How Do You Wash Merino Wool Socks?
Washing merino wool socks is fairly simple. They are washing machine safe, however, to ensure the long-lasting quality you should avoid settings with temperatures higher than 40 degrees. Following on from this, preferably, merino wool socks should be left to air dry rather than tumble-dried. If you do want to tumble-dry them, just make sure it’s on a low setting.
You should also avoid fabric softener or any detergent that has bleach. If possible, use a mild soap. If you have any doubts, read the item’s label for further instructions.
Should I Get Merino Wool Socks?
Now you should have a pretty good idea as to whether you want to buy merino wool socks or not. If you’re still undecided, it may be worth looking at some product reviews to see how other people feel about them.
Nonetheless, to sum up some pros as to why you should buy merino socks:
- They are hardy. Despite the fact that merino socks tend to be the more expensive choice, you do definitely get what you pay for.
- You can wear them all year round. It’s often assumed that merino socks are only suitable for winter, however, due to the wool’s breathability, they will also keep your feet cool in the summer.
- They are very adaptable. Merino wool socks are suitable for anyone who spends a lot of time outdoors. They can reduce the risk of blisters, stop your feet from getting cold when wet, and dry out again very quickly.
It’s clear that merino wool socks are not overrated. In fact, they deserve their popularity. There are so many benefits to this versatile fibre, which in turn means that they are suited to so many different people and activities.
They may cost more than the average pair of socks, but you’re assured to get more out of them.