For years, I have heard about Merino wool socks, but they have been one of those things that I haven’t got around to stocking up in any quantity. Well this year a friend sent me several pairs of Merino wool socks and I love them.
Merino wool comes from the merino sheep and is considered one of the best for warmth and wear. The following is what Wikipedia has to say about Merino wool.
- Merino is excellent at regulating body temperature, especially when worn against the skin. The wool provides some warmth, without overheating the wearer. It draws moisture (sweat) away from the skin, a phenomenon known as wicking. The fabric is slightly moisture repellent (keratin fibers are hydrophobic at one end and hydrophilic at the other), allowing the user to avoid the feeling of wetness.
- Like cotton, wool absorbs water (up to 1/3 its weight), but, unlike cotton, wool retains warmth when wet, thus helping wearers avoid hypothermia after strenuous workouts (climbs) or weather events.
- Like most wools, merino contains lanolin, which has antibacterial properties.
- Merino is one of the softest types of wool available, due to finer fibers and smaller scales.
- Merino has an excellent warmth-to-weight ratio compared to other wools, in part because the smaller fibers have microscopic cortices of dead air, trapping body heat similar to the way a sleeping bag warms its occupant.
I had always thought that Merino wool was very expensive, but following my friends advice, I found out that Costco carries them every fall. They are quite inexpensive, selling 4 pairs for $11.99. I now own about 20 pairs of them.
I looked on the Costco website and the mens are no longer available this year, but the Kirkland Signature Outdoor Trail Merino socks are still available on on Amazon but they are more than at Costco. Womens are still available from Costco, 4 pairs for $11.99. Mens may still be in stock at some stores.
If you want a good comfortable sock this is a good way to go, and I am going to try Merino wool in other clothing items.