The Pros and Cons of Merino and Synthetic Base Layers

Synthetic materials have secured a firm place in the sportswear industry, with many of our favourite labels choosing to use this cheaper yarn in their designs. However, can they really live up to real wool when it comes to their heating properties? We will find out more below.

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Synthetic Materials – The Good and the Bad

Synthetic materials are without a doubt a good replacement for wool, but do they offer the same level of quality?

Well, one of their standout properties is the fact that they have exceptional performance when it comes to moisture wicking. This means that if a runner is wearing a synthetic base layer top, then the sweat will quickly get away from their skin, allowing them to stay cool and dry.

Once it has soaked up this moisture, the fabric is then capable of drying very quickly thanks to body heat alone, so they are unlikely to feel soaked or weighty whilst a person is out for a run. Most importantly of all, however, is that items made with synthetic materials cost less.

This is all very well, but are they long-lasting?

Synthetic materials are able to put up with a lot, making them highly durable. In fact, their lifespan is usually far longer than some natural materials.

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The problem is, though, that even though they can last a lifetime if taken care of, they can become smelly. Yet, more worrying is how environmentally unfriendly they are. Synthetic base layers are made with oil, making them not biodegradable and thus not a sustainable fabric.

Merino Wool – Pros and Cons

When it comes to sportswear, like base layers for winter activities, you can’t go far wrong with a warming merino wool undergarment, similar to the traditional Aran sweaters in their make-up and properties. You can find Aran sweaters from a number of suppliers.

One of the main benefits of merino wool is that it is moisture-wicking yet odour-resistant, unlike synthetic materials. What’s more, it acts as an insulating, breathable, temperature-regulating and stretchy layer. And while it may cost a little more than a synthetic piece, surely comfort, longevity and sustainability are worth spending a few more pounds on?

The comfort of a merino wool base layer is unrivalled – it provides the best protection and comfort for those in the great outdoors!