You can’t fight the Welterweight fury of nature’s hot weather without arming yourself with lightweight fabrics, like Merino Wool, designed to help wick sweat and heat away from your body, with maximum efficiency.
Unlike like cotton, wool (specifically Merino wool) is very effective for use in hot and humid weather due to its ability to expel heat away from the body. Merino wool also absorbs moisture (and odors) incredibly well, ensuring you sweat/smell less.
But why exactly is Merino wool one of the best fabrics out there to wear in hot humid weather? And how does it actually work? Let’s get into it…
Is merino wool good for hot weather?
Merino wool is a “superhero” of a fibre in which it features two properties that make it an ideal fabric for hot weather. The first being that Merino wool is moisture-wicking, which equates to it’s “sponge-like” fibres being able to hold more moisture, ensuring you stay dryer for longer.
The second mutant property of this insane material is it’s odor resisting features that allow this fabric to trap odor molecules and other irregular scents within it’s core.
Does merino wool make you sweat?
Merino wool fabric will drastically reduce the amount you will sweat, thanks to its breathability and moisture-wicking properties (which also will help stave off body odor for much longer).
However, merino wool fabric will not “hide” your sweat, it will simply “help” manage it much more efficiently than other fabrics like cotton or polyester etc.
How does Merino wool actually work in hot weather?
We all probably know that wool makes for a good insulator, having been used by explorers and wanderers alike, in the millennia pre-dating the invention of synthetic fabrics.
But I imagine not all of us know of Merino wool’s capabilities – the same ones that make it “work” in the winter – can also be used to make it “work” in the summer too.
Merino wool’s mechanics in cold weather
In cold weather, the natural folds in wool fibers allow for pockets of trapped air to collect, and remain steadfast just atop the skin’s surface, ensuring insulation. This is one of two reasons essentially that make merino wool a perfect fit for winter weather.
Merino wool and its absorbent properties
Now before we can understand how this mechanic can also be favorably applied to use in warm weather (just as well as cold), first, we need to note that merino wool is absorbent as hell – which plays the second role vital to how merino wool is able to keep you warm and cool in every weather imaginable.
In it’s fabric, it posseses microscopic crimps, which ultiamtely makes the fiber as a whole more durable and resilient – however this feature in merino wool fabrics also allows for it’s fibers to trap surrounding still air from within (i.e. giving it the insulating characteristics merino wool is known for.)
All this magic means that merino wool can help keep you warm when its cold and cold when its hot…I KNOW!
Another cool thing about this fabric is that its fibers are capable of absorbing up to 35% of its own weight in moisture before “feeling” wet (making it great for all-weather, essentially).
The moisture retention in of itself from this fabric plays a large role in how it manages to retain heat within its surface, as well as the lack thereof (for wearers in hotter climates.)
This process is called “heat of sorption” – which “describes the amount of energy that is released when water vapor in the air is adsorbed onto the fiber surface” (according to Sciencedirect.com)
What merino wool is, is essentially is a giant wearable “smart sponge”, that not only wicks away moisture from the skin, but also in the process, manages to to generate heat as byproduct of retaining said moisture.
Merino wool mechanics in hot weather
This same process of retaining moisture can be used in hotter weather as well, as is with an “opposite” climate, an “opposite” result will occur.
In warmer weather, as merino wool releases the moisture from within it’s fibers, it absorbs heat in the process from the wearer itself (thanks to the tiny crimps already aforementioned.)
From there on out it’s smooth sailing, as the trapped heat & sweat can evaporate from the base layer (your merino wool shirt for example) as a newly formed vapor, providing a more efficient cooling system (in a process known as “evaporative cooling“), leaving you feeling cooler for longer, with the added benefit of leaving you feeling dry.
So really when what you’re left with is an adaptive fabric that works tangentially with your skin and bodily functions and the environment around it.
Differences between Merino wool and regular wool?
A lot of my friends when I asked them (specifically for this article), had never actually heard of Merino wool. And the differences between the two stem from within their subtle differences.
Merino wool is overall softer and less brutal on skin surfaces, compared to regualr ol wool, and is sought after fabric due to the warmthness of it can provide, relative to it’s weight.
So to put it simply, if you took 5 pounds of merino wool and 5 pounds of regualr wool and turned both into a single blanket, the merino wool would feel WAYYYY hotter to sleep in, compared to regular wool (even though they both weigh the same.)
And of course the last differende being that merino wool come from actual Merino sheep (orginating in Spain but now largely predominant in Australia.)
Reasons why merino wool is the best (for hot weather & more)
Merino wool comes straight from nature herself, or more specifically – Merino sheep. This means that merino wool, as a fabric, is “pre-made” in a sense, in order to handle nature at it’s best, under a plethora of climates.
This means playing host to a wide variety of wicked smart and forward-thinking inherent traits.
Reasons why Merino wool is awesome
What good is all the nature instilled “tech” if you ain’t even comfy wearing it? And that’s just what makes merino wool the best in terms of comfort.
And that’s because Merino wool is comprised of silk smooth fibers that also don’t itch, as opposed to regular wool – due to merino wool’s super thin fibers measuring between 10-24 microns. (For reference, a single human hair is around 100 microns!)
As mentioned, merino wool possesses individual fibers crimped with folds and layers between its fabric, ensuring insulation from the build-up of (warm) air pockets.
If you no one loves you due to your stink, then have no fear, cuz Merino wool will! I gripe, partially, however not about merino wool’s ability to help manage your stink.
Odor thrives in moisture (because of bacteria loves moisture), and without any, those lil pesky bacterial bastards won’t be able to multiply within your fabric (which means your stink won’t be able to multiply…at all!)
And to top it all off, your merino needn’t be washed as frequently as other cotton and synthetic fabric garments, due once again to this fabrics incredible odor control properties.
I actually got the idea for this post awhile back when I wore a Merino. tech merino shirt (link to Amazon) for a wee trip down south of Thailand for a few days (unplanned), with nothing but the clothes on my persons (long story.)
Fast forward a few days and my shirt actually didn’t stink one bit (and I stuffed my face in there in disbelief trying to prove the branding wrong, too.) Disgusting? Maybe? Is the shirt worth it? Definitely.
Merino wool’s thin fibers exude a build comprised finely spun, lightweight fabric that does what all synthetic fabrics strive to do, which is try to dry rapidly – only Merino does it naturally.
Though don’t expect the fabric to cover your sweat when you inevitably DO sweat (especially in places like Asia). For masking sweat stains specifically, check out our article on the Top shirts for men in hot humid weather, or more specifically, our guide on the Best colors that mask sweat.
Durability/How strong is Merino wool?:
Merino wool is one tough cookie when it comes to handling herself under “duress” mainly thanks due to the crimps within the wool.
And to top it off, its elasticity is top-notch, allowing the fabric to bend and stretch rather than simply tear (unlike a lot of other fabrics out there.)
And merino wool is even made of human skin!.. Just kidding, but it is made of keratin (the same material that makes up your skin, nails, and pretty much everything else on you) – so same thing, really.
With the makeup of Merino wool being what it is and it’s a construction built upon as renowned “moisture wicking fabric”, it’s no surprise that Merino wool is one of the most breathable fabrics out there.
Like my advocation for French linen (another powerhouse of a fabric in it’s breathbility and abitliy to maintain it’s composure in the tropics), Merino wool also serves this purpose – but manages to take it one step further.
Its moisture “retention and release” system (what I call it) enables it to retain up to 30% of its weight in moisture before dispelling it all outwards – ensuring the fabric stays dry and cool (the latter part due to “evaporate cooling” when moisture is released into the air – take that French linen!)
(These last few points were taken from an article on smartwool.com which you can check out here. I have extrapolated and simplified the main info.)
Protects you against them pesky sun rays!:
If you’re out of sunblock, try an ounce squeeze of good ol merino wool to keep your skin safe. Merino guarantees ultraviolet protection against a rating of +20, which is a lot for a simple piece of Merino clothing.
For context, your typical white cotton T-shirt offers a meager UPF 5 rating. And according to Raywardapparel.com, anything less than UPF 15 isn’t even considered a protective fabric.
(Though please don’t actually use merino wool as a complete substitute for strong sunscreen, let’s not be silly now, lads.)
Merino wool comes from Merino sheep, which oringated in Spain, but now are bred predominantly in Australia & New Zealand.
And as with any “product” of nature, you better believe their wool comes with only the best climate and biological adaptive abilities – ensuring the wool of merino sheep can handle temperatures from 5 (-15 C) degrees to 95 (35 C) degrees (a good look for a “product” if there ever was one.)
The coolest thing about Merino wool, to me, is that it’s a fiber turned fabric that is completley natrual, with only a select few sheep being it’s proprietors of this fiber, no less.
Smartwool.com paints merino wool’s biodegradable clock at around 12 months, meaning if worst case your drop your merino product in a forest, don’t wait too long to go and find it – cuz nature will eat that natural fiber right up!
Merino wool has an absurdly high flame resistance (570-600 C according to iffmag.com), allowing its handsome user to much more protected in times of “heated” moments – wet or dry.
But wool in general is much more resistant than other popular used textiles like polyester, cotton, nylon etc.
Here is a chart I made of the most commonly used fabrics and their ignition points, when compared to Merino wool – you can see the difference.
Ingition Temp (C)
Ignition Temp (F)
Best’s men’s merino wool clothes for hot humid weather & more
So by now you should have a good understanding of Merino wool and the perks of its makeup and structure, you know it works in hot weather, but now for the real question – what are the best merino wool clothes that work and are stylish, too?
Because I will reiterate: What good is something useful if you’ll never wanna wear in the first place? You need something with a little spice. Below are my top picks for casual merino wool clothes for hot humid weather.
In addition to all the features mentioned below, all Merino wool clothing come with the standard perks of odor resistance, moisture wicking & being itch-free.
Our Favorite Merino Wool Shirts
Difference between regular Wool and Merino Wool
You’d be hard-pressed to find the average joe on the street who actually knows the difference between the two types of wool. Regular wool comes from animals like sheep and goats, whilst Merino wool is obtained from Merino sheep specifically, and is softer, finer & less itchy than regular wool.
Wool vs. Merino wool comparison table:
Natural fiber orginating from the fleece of fluffy animals such as sheep, goats, rabbits & more.
Natural loft fiber that traps and dispels heat incredibly well. Far superior in heat and moisture managment compared to any other natural or synthetic fiber of the same weight.
Not beholden to one particular animal, but rather a variety of animals.
Beholden to Merino sheep exclusively.
Less finer fabric resulting in lesser softness comapred to Merino wool.
Leagues above any other type of wool in terms of softness and fine felt material.
Can be highly itchy.
Due to the finess of it's fibers, the fibers themsevles cannot hold their own weight up, which results in no itchiness or scratchness at all.
“Complacency is the enemy of excellence.”
Quit settling for less in your vestiary efforts to dress more effectively in hotter climates. You deserve more – in the heat, and towards yourself – as a man in pursuit of reaching the upper echelon limit, of his own excellency.
So get to work.