15 Best Merino Wool Brands of 2024

From Unbound Merino to Darn Tough, these top merino wool brands deliver the absolute best performance from this amazing fiber.

Merino wool has become very popular as a comfortable alternative to the usual scratchy and uncomfortable wool clothing. It’s also a naturally derived fabric, contributing to sustainability goals.

Another perk of merino wool fabric? It doesn’t wrinkle. The spring-like structure of merino wool fiber allows a great amount of elasticity, meaning your merino clothes will not crease or wrinkle (perfect for stuffing in a suitcase or backpack).

Plus, merino wool has antibacterial properties, which decreases the number of times you have to wash merino wool clothing (another sustainability win)!

As someone who has tried merino wool base layers, t-shirts, intimates, shoes, and more, I have a lot to say about these brands. These are the top 15 merino wool brands on the market today.

  • Our Top Picks
  • Best Overall Merino Wool Clothing Brand: Unbound Merino
  • Best Merino Wool Hiking Brand: Ibex
  • Best Merino Wool T-Shirts: Icebreaker
  • Best Merino Base Layers: Smartwool
  • Best Merino Wool Socks: Darn Tough
  • Best Merino Wool Shoes Brand: Allbirds
  • Best Merino Brand For Outdoor Sports: Thermowave
  • Best Merino Wool Beanies: Duckworth
  • Most Versatile Men's Merino Clothing Brand: Western Rise
  • Best Men's Merino Clothing Brand For City Living: Outlier
  • Best Men's Merino Dress Shirts: Wool & Prince
  • Best Women's Merino Brand For Everyday Wear: Wool&
  • Best Affordable Sustainable Merino Wool Brand: Woolly
  • Best Ultralight Merino Wool Clothing Brand: Minus33
  • Best Merino Brand For Outdoor Enthusiasts: WoolX

Unbound Merino: Best Overall Merino Wool Clothing Brand

Unbound Merino Wool

Unbound Merino is my top pick for comfortable, high-quality merino wool garments. Their clothing boasts superfine merino wool, which means their clothing is soft—not scratchy—and comfortable for daily wear.

Unbound Merino takes the #1 spot because of its continued performance, innovation, and garnered respect in the outdoor community. It excels in every category of quality, comfort, and durability.

Their garments are made of Woolmark certified Australian Merino, which is regarded as the softest and finest wool on the market today. You simply won’t find anything higher quality.

With the rise of consumerism, Unbound Merino aims to step away from fast fashion and create timeless, durable pieces that are produced with the highest care and quality. Their mission behind every one of their pieces is simplicity, versatility, and performance.

Their men’s and women’s Long Sleeve Merino Crew is one of the most versatile garments on the market. They’re temperature regulating and quick-drying, making them perfect for outdoor activities. They provide warmth, but prevent overheating. Best of all, you can dress them up for a day out, or wear them on your go-to weekend hike!

Another of my newer favorites from Unbound Merino is their Travel Pants for guys. These are a game-changer for traveling because the merino wool makes them ultralight and wrinkle-resistant. They have a more elevated look while maintaining the comfort of sweatpants—perfect for plane rides and road trips (they even have a secret pocket for your passport).


Ibex: Best Merino Wool Hiking Brand

Ibex Wool

Ibex is for the explorer and adventurer looking for good quality outdoor and hiking apparel. Ibex boasts an extensive range of outdoor pieces made of merino wool for all forms of activities, but they particularly excel in the hiking and trekking categories.

They have perfected the balance between packability, breathability, and warmth. Many of their best garments are incredibly lightweight for how durable they are, which is a game changer for hikers.

The brand was born out of the idea of modern migration—taking you on all your outdoor adventures regardless of the season, region, or activity. They’re really excelled in creating hiking garments that emphasize the need for multi-seasonal functionality.

Ibex takes great pride in the care of their merino sheep, ensuring ethical business practices for the health and wellbeing of their animals. They also take their sustainability practices very seriously and track the carbon footprint of their merino wool clothing.

One of the most unique products I’ve seen from Ibex is their Wool Aire Hoodie (also available in women’s sizes). Most puffy jackets use a down fill, but Ibex has done something entirely new and created a stylish jacket with merino wool fill, which helps to regulate your body temperature more evenly and absorb sweat at the same time. Weighing in at around 10oz, this ultra lightweight midlayer jacket is perfect for those shoulder-season hikes and adventures.

Their Woolies Tech Long Sleeve Crew (also in women’s) is an incredible base layer designed for high aerobic activities. It packs light, wicks moisture, and prevents itching and chafing. I would definitely recommend packing this staple along on your next backpacking trip!


Icebreaker: Best Merino Wool T-Shirts

Icebreaker Wool

Icebreaker was founded back in 1995 when synthetic materials were exploding in popularity. 24-year-old Jeremy Moon wanted to step away from mass production and instead focus on sustainable, high-quality clothing items. And with that, Icebreaker was born.

The Icebreaker t-shirt was the product that started it all. Jeremy, after not being able to find the perfect shirt for his adventures, created it. He had his friends try it, and everyone was amazed by the quality and performance.

Since that first product, Icebreaker’s innovation has only grown, and they have the widest merino wool t-shirt selection on the market today.

For the past 27 years, Icebreaker has stayed true to its core purpose and ethics. They believe that nature has the solution to creating long-lasting and sustainable clothing.

They have an unbeatable selection of t-shirts, divided into easily navigable categories. From lightest to heaviest, they have Featherweight, Ultralight, and Lightweight. They also have t-shirts that cater to different purposes and are divided into: Tech Lite, Cool Lite, and Artist T-shirts.

Icebreaker’s Tech Lite T-shirt is their flagship product, and it comes in a large variety of designs for both men and women. It provides a classic fit with breathability and odor-resistance. This is one of my personal favorite tees to bring on those longer trips where you’ll need durable, versatile pieces.

Their ZoneKnit line of merino wool products is another great option for merino wool t-shirts, especially for those high-activity days. These merino wool products, both tanks and tees, offer Icebreaker’s most breathable and lightweight merino wool shirts.


Smartwool: Best Merino Base Layers

Smartwool Merino

Smartwool‘s core message has to do with feeling good. That is why apparel items like merino wool underwear, socks, and base layers take center stage as their main priorities.

Smartwool believes that these ‘foundational’ pieces are central to a person’s comfort and have an effect on both their confidence and performance. They have spent years perfecting their base layers that have become known as the best and warmest in the outdoor industry.

Their unique Base Layer Finder offers customers the convenience of easily finding the perfect garment. Set qualifications such as weight, warmth, style, SPF protection, and more to find the exact product you’ll need for your next adventure.

Their merino wool underwear is some of the best in the game. For guys, the Merino Sport Boxer Brief is a great pick, with a soft interior that prevents odor and chafing. For girls searching for merino underwear, the Merino Sport Seamless Bikini manages sweat and odor causing bacteria while providing mobility and comfort.

For those looking for versatility, their classic all-season merino base layers for both men and women are a great option. The smooth flatlock seams prevent chafing (something I’m sure almost all of us have unfortunately experienced on the trail), and their nylon core provides extra durability while still offering that merino-to-skin exterior.

Smartwool also has a 100% satisfaction guarantee, so if you’re unsatisfied within two years of your purchase, they will provide a replacement product! So, if you are looking for some new base layers that feel like a second skin, Smartwool is definitely a great option.


Darn Tough: Best Merino Wool Socks

Darn Tough Wool

We all have that go-to pair of socks in our drawer. No matter how many holes they might have or how stretched out they are, we still wear them anyway because of how comfortable they are.

Well, Darn Tough has created the perfect merino wool socks that you can wear day in and day out without getting those pesky holes or thinned out areas. These are the highest quality socks in the game.

Years of perfecting their merino wool socks led to their 100% guarantee. If their socks aren’t the longest lasting socks you’ve ever owned, you can return them, no receipt necessary, no questions asked, at any time. It’s difficult to find that anywhere else in the merino wool sock industry.

Their extensive range of socks caters to a wide demographic of people. Darn Tough has eight different categories of socks fit for different activities, ranging from skiing and snowboarding to running, and even work.

Their men’s and women’s Hiker Micro Crew Midweight Hiking Sock is a classic in the outdoor community. You’ve probably seen them while browsing the aisles at REI. They are so durable that they are the top choice for many PCT thru-hikers!

Merino wool is such a great fabric for socks because of its quick-drying and odor resistant qualities. If you’re looking to upgrade your workout socks, check out Darn Tough’s line of athletic socks, including their popular No Show Tab Lightweight Socks.


Allbirds: Best Merino Wool Shoes Brand

Allbirds Merino

It can be difficult to find durable, sustainably made shoes that you wouldn’t be a little embarrassed to walk out of the house wearing unless you’re hitting the trails.

Allbirds takes the #1 spot for merino wool shoes because they’re the most versatile in the industry. Wear them on a hike, a run, or a date, without sacrificing comfort, durability or style.

Allbirds combines the desire for sleek, comfortable shoes with the ever-growing need for sustainable manufacturing and optimal performance. They disclose their supply chain, names, and locations of their suppliers so you know exactly how and where your shoes were made.

Whether you’re in the market for everyday sneakers, running shoes, hiking shoes, or even sandals, Allbirds has a wide selection of merino wool shoes.

Their Wool Runners are one of their most popular shoes, perfect for casual adventures and everyday wear. Super soft and thermoregulating, these carbon neutral sneakers are also machine washable.

For those more intense hikes or runs, Allbirds also offers Trail Runners, which I think are also super sleek. They also provide great traction unlike a lot of other running shoes brands. Merino wool also provides that water-resistance that’s key for days ont the trail.

It is definitely amazing to see a company hold itself to such high standards when it comes to caring for the environment and playing its part in the world of fashion. If you’re looking for some high-quality shoes to pair with your wool socks, I highly recommend Allbirds!


Thermowave: Best Merino Brand For Outdoor Sports

Thermowave Merino

With 92 years of history and craftsmanship, Thermowave is a familiar name to nature lovers. With a mission of ensuring that their customers are well-prepared to experience and explore the outdoors, Thermowave produces top-quality garments for outdoor wear.

They have merino clothing that caters to every sort of outdoor activity possible, from winter sports, running, and even hunting and fishing. They truly rank superior over other brands in terms of their selection of garments for all kinds of outdoor recreation.

Every clothing piece you purchase will offer you the protection and comfort you need to enjoy your time in the great outdoors. If you’re someone like me who has multiple outdoor hobbies and sports throughout the year, then Thermowave is a great one-stop-shop for quality merino wool garments.

Thermowave’s Merino Arctic Long-Sleeve Shirt is an impressive base layer for winter sports. It blends 95% natural merino wool with 5% Elastane for maximum warmth and mobility on the mountain. This is one of the top recommended merino wool shirts for outdoor recreation!

Their Merino Gloves are another great staple product to add to your closet. These lightweight yet insulated gloves are perfect for your morning run, the trail, or other outdoor adventures. They are itch-free, breathable, and machine-washable, making them a top contender in comfort and easy care.


Duckworth: Best Merino Wool Beanies

Duckworth Merino

Duckworth prides itself as the world’s only single-origin merino wool brand. This means their wool is sourced from only one location that is managed and operated by the brand itself. With that amount of autonomy and control over their own materials and merino sheep, it is no wonder that they are able to produce such high-quality and durable merino wool clothes.

Duckworth’s ability to provide incredible warmth while avoiding a thick, bulky fit makes their beanies stand out. They are also superior to other brands in that their hats are truly one-size-fits-all-heads. Their merino wool provides a snug fit with plenty of stretch for a comfortable fit for all.

One of their noteworthy products is their merino wool beanies. They have 3 different styles: The Rigger, Watchman, and Homespun.

The Rigger is their most casual, stylish option, but it still offers a great deal of warmth. For a stretchier fit, try out their Watchman, which is made of elastic, ribbed natural fibers. And when it comes to versatility—being able to brace the more extreme cold weather and also look great while you’re grabbing a drink at the brewery—check out the Homespun hat.

There’s nothing worse than an itchy forehead after a long day of wearing a beanie, but Duckworth eliminates this problem by using only the finest merino wool fibers. Their hats are soft, breathable, and quick-drying, which is perfect for winter hikes.


Western Rise: Most Versatile Men's Merino Clothing Brand

Western Rise Merino

Western Rise offers the versatility to get you from work to play. The founders of Western Rise started the brand with the intent of creating fashion-forward merino wool clothes that were able to keep up with their active lifestyles. The entire brand is built around pieces that can serve multiple functions in your life.

Their clothing and apparel are classic and simple. They focus on three key elements when producing their clothing—premium performance, timeless designs, and sustainable manufacturing—making them extremely versatile.

Their Limitless Merino Button Down Shirt has a fitted, classic look without the stiffness of many other button downs. Moisture wicking and wrinkle resistant, this merino shirt is perfect for a day in the office, or for throwing in your bag for your weekend trip.

For a go-to closet staple, try out their StrongCore Merino Long Sleeve Tee. Offered in black and olive, this basic elevates the look of a classic long sleeve. Best for outdoor travel or everyday wear, this incredibly soft tee will have all your friends asking, “Whoa, where did you get this shirt?”


Outlier: Best Men's Merino Clothing Brand For City Living

Outlier Merino

Outlier’s well-designed and innovative clothing items are meant to maximize comfort, practicality, and design. Based in NYC, this more luxury merino brand puts an emphasis on style and simplicity.

If there’s anything I know to be true about NYC, it’s that you can get just as sweaty on your walk to Trader Joe’s as you would on a hike up Bull Hill. Wearing merino in the city can often be just as beneficial as in the outdoors.

Outlier understood the need for durable, sweat-resistant clothing made for city dwellers. Their modern design comes out on top of other merino wool brands that tend to focus on a more casual, outdoorsy aesthetic.

The Nylistic Merino Highdarts are a sleek pant that offers what Outlier refers to as “rugged elegance.” The merino wool and nylon blend creates an elevated look with strong durability. Wear these to work, at the bar, or on a date.

One of my favorite city staples for men is button down short sleeve t-shirts. Outlier outperforms so many other men’s clothing brands because of their merino wool based fabric and sleek design. Their S140 Merino Shortsleeve button down is lightweight, wrinkle-resistant, and naturally soft.

For those that have difficulties pairing their clothes or can’t find pieces that match, Outlier has curated sets of pants and t-shirts perfect for easy everyday wear. You no longer have to worry about whether your top and pants go together.


Wool & Prince: Best Men's Merino Dress Shirts

best selling blues

Wool & Prince started off as a small kickstarter project in 2013. Since then, they have gained massive popularity for producing high-quality button downs and merino dress shirts.

They offer a large selection of button downs in a range of styles, colors, and patterns. The finer fibers make these some of the highest quality dress shirts on the market. They are ultrasoft and the elasticity of merino offers flexibility that other fabrics can’t compete with.

Proof that their dress shirts are the best in the game? Their founder wore one for 100 days straight to showcase the shirt’s durability, odor-resistance, and versatility.

Their lightest, most popular product is the 130 Button-Down Shirt. This flagship product is what gained Wool & Prince their popularity, and has been raved about in over 150 publications to date.

These resemble your classic, everyday work shirt, but offer superior breathability for year-round wear. And the best part? They are machine washable. No more going to the dry cleaners every week to wash your dress shirts!

If you’re looking for a more casual fit, 210 Button-Down Shirt is a great option. Wool & Prince created this shirt to offer more durability and versatility, and it is best for those who want to go straight from the office to their everyday activities.


Wool&: Best Women's Merino Brand For Everyday Wear

Wooland Merino

Wool& designs women’s clothing and has an extensive line of well-designed merino wool dresses. Wool& aims to be their customers’ clothing of choice when they open their wardrobes.

Unlike many outdoor clothing brands, Wool& caters to an incredibly wide range of body shapes and sizes. This inclusivity makes them stand out among other women’s brands that often lack inclusive sizing.

They have been creating garments specifically for women for nearly a decade and have perfected the balance between comfort and style that many other brands haven’t.

Wool&’s dresses come in a full range of colors and styles. You will most definitely find something that suits you. Their dresses have received worldwide recognition for being trendy yet high-quality and extremely comfortable to wear.

If you’re more of a t-shirt and jeans kind of gal, their tops are a stand-out in the merino wool clothing industry as well! They have a wide selection of tops, from sleeveless to long sleeve tees, and even cardigans!

The Everett Merino Wool Hoodie Tunic is my personal favorite style! It combines the feel of a dress with the functionality of a hoodie, which makes it perfect for chilly hikes, or even just lounging on the couch. I’ve seen this style coming into trend lately, and I definitely recommend Wool&’s take on this classic tunic style!


Woolly: Best Affordable Sustainable Merino Wool Brand

Woolly Merino

Woolly was created by three outdoor junkies with a mission to create a sustainable brand that stayed away from synthetic fibers and their negative impacts on the environment.

They noticed that there were few brands producing high-quality clothing made from sustainable material at a relatively affordable price. Since then, Wolly’s business has been exploding in popularity.

Wooly stands out for their persistent effort to keep their price marks lower than other sustainable merino wool brands. They make sustainability an attainable goal for those who can’t afford to spend an arm and a leg on one pair of shorts or a t-shirt.

Some of their top sellers include their Men’s Henley Long Sleeve, Women’s Pro-Knit Zip Hoodie, Women’s Cropped Tank, and Men’s Pro-Knit Joggers.

The Women’s Ultralight Cropped Tank is a perfect versatile staple for all of your activities, and can be dressed up or down! With the rise of athleisure, The Men’s Mid Weight Joggers is a perfect addition to any guy’s closet. It’s great of everyday activities, or can also be paired under a shell base layer for your adventures.


Minus33: Best Ultralight Merino Wool Clothing Brand

Minus33 Merino

If you are looking for some lighter weight merino wool pieces at a great price point, then Minus33 is a shop you should definitely check out. Similar to Woolly, Minus33 started out with a mission to provide customers with affordable merino clothes. Today, Minus33 has built a reputation as one of the best ultralight merino wool outdoor clothing brands that offer affordable prices.

They have a product classification called Micro Wool that rivals every other ultralight merino brand. This featherlike material provides a thin, weather-resistant base layer that outperforms thicker ones in the industry.

The Men’s Wool ¼ Zip is a great option for those who want a full-coverage layer with the option to unzip when it’s hot. The mock neck is perfect for hikes because it acts as a barrier to keep bugs away from your skin!

The Women’s Wool ¼ Zip Sun Hoodie provides even more protection with its built in hood! With the unpredictable weather that the mountains bring, having an ultralight layer to protect you from the sun, wind, heat, and cold is a must.

Minus33 clothing covers almost every type of outdoor activity you can think of, from hiking to fishing and snow sports. So, based on your outdoor activity of choice, you can then search for clothing items that best suit your needs and preferences.


WoolX: Best Merino Brand For Outdoor Enthusiasts

Woolx Merino

Made by and for outdoor enthusiasts, WoolX is the perfect place to shop for your next outdoor adventure. Developed by Hanks Clothing and based in New York, WoolX offers high-quality clothing made out of Australian merino wool.

The founders of WoolX understood the struggle of finding great outdoor clothing, so they created a brand with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If you try your garments out on your next adventure and aren’t in love with them, you can return them for a refund.

I know sometimes I buy gear or clothing last minute before a trip and hope for the best, and with WoolX I don’t have the anxiety of whether or not the product will be a perfect fit for me. If I don’t absolutely love it after my adventure, I can return it and try something else.

Their Low Impact Luna Bralette is a great stable for all your outdoor adventures. Nothing beats a sports bra that is moisture-wicking, anti-bacterial, and odor-resistant! And don’t worry about bulky pads or chafing—their great design is simple, sleek, and comfortable!

For premium men’s leggings, check out their Backcountry Leggings. These basics offer warmth and comfort on those longer, colder hikes—without the bulk. These leggings will last you a long weekend, or several wears throughout the week for various activities. And when they need to be washed, just throw them in the washing machine and tumble dry low!

Merino Wool Brands FAQs

What is the least itchy merino wool brand?

Unbound Merino is the best choice for comfortable, itch-free merino wool clothing.

Which country makes the best merino wool?

Australia is the world’s top exporter of high-quality merino wool.

Is all merino wool the same quality?

No, some brands use finer, higher-quality merino wool than others.

Is merino wool better than Smartwool?

Smartwool is a brand that specializes in clothing made out of merino wool fibers. So they’re really the same!

Which is itchier merino or cashmere?

Cashmere is ultra-soft and less itchy than merino wool. It’s a great choice for anyone with sensitive skin.

About the Author

Jeremy Scott Foster

Jeremy Scott Foster is an adventure-junkie, gear expert and travel photographer based in Southern California. Previously nomadic, he’s been to ~50 countries and loves spending time outdoors. You can usually find him on the trail, on the road, jumping from bridges or hustling on his laptop working to produce the best travel and outdoors content today.
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