July 08, 2017

"Once you go wool you won’t go back.”  

Le Knicks design guru Jess (:-) gives her view on fabrics in this weeks blog

While I was still at University I attended a lecture about the benefits of wool as the choice fabric for active wear. The opening line being “once you go wool you won’t go back”, which might sound barmy, but once I tried working out in natural fibres only, specifically wool, I got it. Wool is an excellent moisture manager, soft, breathable, quick-drying and naturally regulates temperature.  Meaning it keeps you cool when it’s super hot and warm when it’s cold out. Nice.  Even better, the latest iteration, Sportwool, was developed right here in Australia - appropriate given the place of the sheep in our recent history!

To quote the scientists at CSIRO;

Sportwool® was developed to combine the physical performance attributes of synthetics with the comfort and breathability of a natural fibre. It is a lightweight, composite fabric consisting of a layer of machine-washable superfine Merino wool next to the skin and a layer of tough, easy-care polyester on the outside. As a result of this construction:

  • the wearer feels cooler more quickly and formation of liquid sweat is delayed
  • liquid sweat is carried away from the skin to the outside of the fabric, leaving the inside dry and resulting in less ‘clammy’ garment cling
  • the wearer stays cooler when exercising
  • ‘post-exercise chill’ is reduced.

In addition, Sportwool® is elastic, provides UV protection and does not retain odours.

Now contrary to popular belief, wool can be used in both the warmer and cooler months. Since the 1920’s sports enthusiasts have been using wool as their choice of fibre for active wear. Cool wool was around in the 60’s but slowly lost interest in the market as new technologies paved the way for clothing. However, wool has risen from the ashes in recent years with prominent brands such as Nike and Adidas using it as a main fibre in their summer collections. For cyclists it can be used in a range of layers from base, mid to outer and even just a basic jersey. Some of the greats from Gino Barali to Samuel Sánchez have been known to opt for the natural over synthetic. So if you don’t believe you might believe them.

With technology advancing more and more, natural fibres like wool are leveling the field in performance wear. Now natural fibres aren’t for everyone, however they are certainly one to consider next time you looking to buy new kit.  And with brands such as De Marchi and  Cafe Du Cycliste embracing the place of wool, we have tested it out thoroughly!


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