merino wool: properties and benefits

Merino wool is a natural material with incredible performance.

But it is too often equated with classic wool and its shortcomings: "it's itchy, it's warm, it's thick".

It's just the opposite! It is ideal for summer and for travelling.


Well-known in outdoor sports for accompanying athletes in the mountains, we are now adopting it for the city.

Ideal for our timeless and technical wardrobe, it allows you to go to the office, even on your bike.

Here are all the secrets of merino wool...

1) Merino wool: what is it?

a) the queen of sheep's wool!

Merinos are a breed of sheep with abundant fleece, which produces extra fine woolThis is a rather rare occurrence.

A fibre is between 17 and 19 microns thick, while a normal wool is 40 microns thick and a hair 65 microns thick.

It has nothing to do with a classic wool. It is not itchy and does not keep warm.

Born in Spain in the 17th century, the breed was then developed in Europe to compete with English cotton.

Today, the majority of farms are located below the equator.

Australia accounts for 80 % of world production, followed by South Africa and New Zealand.


Raised in the wild, sheep develop a thick fleece that protects them from freezing nights and hot days.

merino wool ZQ merino Wolbe

b) extreme finesse

The more you choose a merino wool finethe better the feeling of softness and warmth, and the performance ! 


The fineness of the wool explains the names super 100's or super 130's for fabrics.

A super 100 fabric corresponds to a wool very fine -average diameter 18.75 microns-.

A super 130's will be woven with a wool superfine -17.25 microns-.

We use super 120 merino wool for our shirts and our sweaters- and super 130 for our city pants

c) we have chosen the ZQ merino label

We mainly use superfine wools with the following labels  ZQ Merino from New Zealand. 

Because their basic rule seemed obvious to us: a happy sheep produces the best wool

The sheep are raised in large open pastures, usually with more than one acre (0.4 hectares) each.


With so much space available and a hands-off approach, they are free to feed as they wish. Well-fed sheep are better able to cope with extreme weather conditions. In this environment, the health of the animal is a priority and the mulesing is prohibited.


Our partner, the Italian company RedaThis merino wool is combed and woven in Italy in the Biella region. This merino wool is combed and woven in Italy in the Biella region.

It is no coincidence that Reda is the first Italian textile company to be certified B corp!

merino wool ZQ merino Wolbe

2) from merino wool to fabric: what steps?

a) first mowing, sorting and washing

The mowing is essential for the well-being of the sheep, and it is strictly painless!

it is usually done once a year, either in the spring or autumn, or before lambing


The sorting is done right after

it allows the removal of soiled wool or the selection of colours


The washing is crucial

it removes all organic, mineral or vegetable residues from the wool

wool can lose up to 50% of its weight during this stage!

shearing and sorting of Wolbe merino wool

b) carding or combing?

these are two different, and often complementary, stages of the process


the carding will allow the wool to be aerated and stretched, to orient the fibres in the same direction.

this is a first "rough" step, but it can be definitive if you want a wool with a more "rough" feel

the combing consists of passing the wool through increasingly fine combs.

to homogenise the fibres (in length and thickness)


The rest of the process is very well explained here (Belgian wool industry)

c) the result ? yarns and fabrics

the wool will then be spun. 

merino wool yarn will be much finer and softer than conventional wool


depending on the part to be assembled, this wire can then be

knittedto make knitwear: jumpers, polo shirts

or woven to make fabrics: beautiful thick flannelss, the shirts very fine or jerseys expandable

3) the 4 major advantages of merino wool?

1) it does not "scratch" and wrinkles very little

No more preconceived ideas!


Thanks to its extreme fineness, and unlike conventional wool (> 40 microns), merino wool 

does not "itch".

does not "sting".

does not keep warm

is very fluid and soft


Sound natural elasticity allows it to stretch between 20 and 40%.

It will therefore wrinkle much less than cotton, for example.

2) it absorbs moisture perfectly

Merino wool absorbs up to 30% of its weightwhile looking dry.

It is 120 times more than polyester !

No wet feeling against the skin, so

3) it maintains a constant optimum temperature

it is called the thermoregulation !

and this is possible thanks to the physical structure of the merino wool fibre


The microscopic section -photo below- shows that it is provided withscaleslike a hair.

This structure traps the air in multiple pockets, slows its circulation and creates an insulating film.


It keeps cool in summer and warm in winter.

Polyester and cotton - with their totally threadlike structure - cannot compete.


Always at the right temperature, you sweat less. Really ideal in summer!


And because merino wool also dries 3 times faster than cotton, you never have the feeling of a shirt sticking to your skin.

anti-perspiration merino wool

4) it does not retain odours!

lastly, merino wool has an unrivalled performance in terms of non-absorption of odours.

it absorbs moisture without allowing malodorous bacteria to proliferate.

probably due to the lanolin it contains. 


It retains 66% less odour than polyester and 28% less than cotton.

study conducted by the University of Ghent in November 2014, shows that it performs better than any of its competitors in terms of non-absorption / evacuation of bacteria (analysis on T-shirts worn after a cycling session and 28 hours of rest).


that's why a merino wool garment quite never smells the odour of sweat. 


you can read here and there that you can wear a T-shirt or a merino wool shirt for 1 week without washing it.

It is indeed possible! And it saves the planet in terms of the water consumed for washing.

4) What kind of clothes should I think of made of merino wool then?

the revolutionary comfort of merino wool will be ideal for men who feel cramped in their classic city wardrobe, who travel, or cycle to the office!

Wolbe Royal Merino Oxford shirt
72 hour shirt Biella
Wolbe Gaston grey dry wool trousers
Gaston stretch city pant
Balthazar Wolbe light blue stretch merino long sleeve polo shirt
Balthazar stretch poloshirt
Frisian flannel trousers without clips grey Wolbe
Frison flannel city pant
merino and tencel jumper Men's button-down collar Amsterdam wolbe
Amsterdam button neck jumper
ultim suit in Wolbe wool combat
Ultim suit
Pyla stretch merino long sleeve polo shirt grey green Wolbe
Pyla stretch poloshirt
Gianni chalk stripe stretch jacket 100% merinos Wolbe
Gianni stretch blazer
Arguin lightweight merino wool polo shirt black Wolbe
Arguin short sleeve polo

These are all the secrets of merino wool!

I hope they have convinced you of the powers of this natural material,

and that they have made you want to discover more about our city coins.