Wool and things made out of wool are cool

Lots of sheep and sheep images at the recent Outdoor Show—woollen socks are really big this year, evidenced by the number of stands that offered this product. British manufacturers (including a company that shares our name, Horizon…) are proposing all sorts of new designs and colour combinations to keep your feet warm in winter.

Wool filler proposed by UK manufacturer HD is also replacing polyester filling and down in jackets—important in the trend toward natural fabrics with anti-odor and breathability characteristics. Light wool t-shirts are even being proposed for summer by Norwegian manufacturer AClima, while Austrian company Löffler has developed merino bike shirts….but will they stand up to the heat in Italy or Spain?

The wool used in these garments comes from New Zealand or Tasmania, where conditions are optimal for sheep to develop high-grade fine merino wool. Why not Norway or the UK? Because the climate is too damp and there are brambles and bushes that sheep brush against, ruining the wool. The New Zealand company Icebreaker was one of the first to introduce light-weight merino products for active wear—it even offers a merino sports bra for ladies who prefer wool to spandex.

By Philippe Deleplace