Asking if Merino wool socks are good is like asking if Ferrari’s are fast.
Admittedly one is the pinnacle of craftsmanship where design and engineering meet to produce something wonderful and the other is a supercar, but you get the point.
Merino socks are the best not because we say so but because they’re the best and what’s more we can back it up with science!
Merino Wool Breathes
Because the Merino sheep can survive extremes in temperatures, its wool has some fairly unusual properties not found in many other places in nature, let alone in other sheep.
Coping with temperatures ranging between -10 and +30 degrees Celsius means that Merino wool, when spun into fibres and - in turn - made into a product like socks keeps you cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
This means they are perfect for those biting winter days whether you’re wandering around your home or wandering through the snow.
Better still, you get it better than the Merino as they have to go to the trouble of growing extra fleece for those harsh winter months. You get all year round comfort.
By the same method of blending the fibre types the wool the sock allows vastly superior comfort during hot weather without compromising on protection or durability. That’s pretty special stuff.
Merino Socks Don’t Smell
You show me a man and I’ll show you someone who thinks their feet smell. Harsh but true.
Us Kiwis are an active bunch so sweaty feet comes with the territory but that doesn’t mean we have to live with it, especially when nature has presented us with a very comfortable alternative.
All wool is naturally odour resistant. It’s no coincidence that outdoorsman and labourers the world over have opted for the trusty woolly jumper for decades. It keeps you warm, it’s tough as old boots and it doesn’t smell after a couple of days hard work in the yard.
A good woolly jumper is an excellent investment by any measure.
But what about socks?
Merino wool takes the odour eating properties of wool to the next level. Here’s the sciencey part.
Initially the exterior cuticle - the outside of the fibre - repels water but allows vapour - sweat - to pass through.
Within the fibre, packed around the microfibrils, is a matrix. That matrix is full of sulphur proteins which are very good at absorbing moisture.
These proteins are capable of rapidly absorbing a vast amount of moisture before becoming saturated. Impressively wool can hold 35% of its own weight in water without feeling wet.
To put that in terms that matter - Merino wool has an extraordinary ability to absorb and disperse moisture rapidly, helping to keep feet free of sweat and reducing any odour that may occur.
Merino Wool Socks are Tough
Like all wool clothing, Merino wool is incredibly tough and hard wearing. The exterior cuticle (yes, more science) of the wool fibre is very durable and it’s what protects the fibre from harm and day to day wear.
It’s also the part of the fibre that has the waxy water repellent coating which is where the water resistant quality comes from.
But it gets better! Within the fibre are cortical cells which have a spring like structure which gives wool its flexibility, elasticity and resilience.
That makes your Merino wool socks really hard wearing. Not in rough, uncomfortable and indestructible kind of way that standard issue army socks are.
They are mass produced, low cost, built to last forever and be uncomfortable for the wearer because hardship is part of the job.
Merino wool on the other hand is near artisan in its comfort whilst still having the hard wearing properties of a jumper or an old woolen itchy blanket. Throw in the odour prevention and it’s a wonder that anyone would buy anything else.
When you consider the unique properties of the wool, Merino socks are quite possibly one of the best investments you can make when it comes to looking after your feet. Especially if you lead an active lifestyle or your profession requires you to be on your feet all day.
The comfort and sweat absorption properties alone will make your day far more enjoyable. Imagine ending a day with your feet as comfortable and as fresh as when it started.
So to answer the question: are Merino wool socks good? No, not at all. They’re amazing!