Merino specialist Smartwool’s new Merino Sport 150 Graphic Tees seem like a bit of a departure for the brand. The new tees, complete with graphic prints, are actually made from a blend of 56% merino wool and 44% polyester rather than pure merino wool.
Why the hybrid fabric? In simple terms, it works like this: merino is a brilliant, comfortable fabric for steady, relatively low-level activities, but struggles to cope with high levels of sweat at which point it becomes somewhat soggy and heavy and takes time to dry out. It’s also less durable than synthetic alternatives.
By contrast, Polyester isn’t as comfortable, but performs better when it comes to wicking sweat away and drying fast. The idea of the hybrd fabric is that it combines the best of both fabrics, faster wicking and drying from synthetic fibres combined with the comfort and anti-odour properties of merino wool.
Our experience with other hybrid fabrics is that the result is that they work pretty much as promised. Not quite as good at handling moisture as pure synthetics, but with the bonus of merino-like qualities being the pay-off. It also tends to be more durable than pure wool, which doesn’t deal well with extended wear particularly with pack use thrown in.
In addition, the Smartwool fabric uses ethically produced ZQ merino fibre from the New Zealand Merino Wool company which, it says ‘ensures environmental, social and economic sustainability and safeguards animal welfare’.
And for better performance, seams are flat-locked to reduce friction in active use like running when conventional seams can rub uncomfortably.
The Sport 150 Graphic Tees are available in both men’s and women’s designs and are priced at £55.
More information: www.smartwool.com