Fabric made from Merino wool is often used in the production of high-end outdoor aerobic clothing, and contrary to popular belief, it is neither itchy nor overly hot. It does provide some warmth, though one of its renowned elements is its wicking abilities — it draws sweat away from the skin and retains the moisture, though the clothing still feels dry to the touch. The athlete is then able to avoid hypothermia while wearing wool, as opposed to another material, such as cotton.
Due to its uniquely thin fibers, this type of wool does not retain odors — bacteria cannot find a solid surface to grow on, making it anti-microbial, as well. It also is hypoallergenic, as is most wool. The fabric will shrink when washed or dried, but not much more than would a similar cotton garment, and it can often easily be stretched back to its original shape.
Merino wool can also be blended with possum fur or polyester, as well as cashmere and silk. When combined with the latter fabrics, the ultrafine wool makes for a smooth and soft garment. Popular garments made from this material include lightweight knits and base athletic layers, sweaters, and socks. Buyers should be sure to check the garment tag, as some wool should only be dry-cleaned or hand-washed.