Merino wool does not scratch, protects from heat and warms when it gets damp

Sportswear made of merino wool is increasingly becoming a natural alternative to functional clothing made of synthetic fibers. Whether for hiking gear or as a base layer shirt for alpine skiing, merino wool is becoming more and more popular. Recently, many manufacturers also offer running shirts or cycling jerseys made of merino wool.

Over the years, it has become increasingly evident which advantages merino wool really has for sportswear.

Why a bicycle shirt made of merino wool?

Lycra is ugly and sometimes smells, so some cyclists switch to the noble fabric merino wool. The natural material protects against the cold and cools in the heat. Above all, it looks stunningly Retro.

Merino wool protects from cold and also from heat.

Merino has several advantages: It doesn’t have that cheap plastic look. Instead, it looks more like cotton. Unlike artificial fibers, wool fibers absorb sweat and thus prevent unpleasant odors. Skiing and hiking underwear made of this natural material have long been available.

The fabric is so thin and delicate that, like a functional shirt, you can rinse the tops by hand in the evening and hang them up – they’ll be dry the following day. The fine wool jerseys also score with their thermal properties. They keep you warm in the cold and protect you from heat and UV radiation. That’s exactly what makes merino so interesting for cyclists.

On a flat road in blazing sun it can be very hot while on mountainous stages in the shade can be significantly cooler.

*sponsored by ©️Isadore
*sponsored by ©️Isadore
*sponsored by ©️Isadore

Do Not Miss The Trend…

Don’t some hobby cyclists really make an embarrassing figure? Although the times of his ideal weight are long gone, he squeezes himself into a super-tight Lycra shirt to give the image of a rolling advertising pillar. To promote a Tour-de-France team that no longer exists or whose best performances have long been overshadowed by doping scandals.

Thank goodness that doesn’t have to be that way. Various sports jerseys manufacturers have rediscovered a long-forgotten material: Wool, or more precisely, the wonderful fine merino wool. It comes from the merino sheep and, compared to conventional wool, merino wool does not scratch on the skin. Merino wool does not absorb odors and protects against UV rays.

Retro merino wool jerseys – also a popular choice for hipsters

The merino wool jerseys do not only feel comfortable on the skin. Because of their elegant look and understated colors, you can also wear them to the coffeehouse.

In some PR photos, manufacturers sometimes show bearded bike nerds and young women flaunting their road bikes like fashion accessories.

Yes, merino wool is also being marketed as a hipster eco-material – and it’s working incredibly well in the UK and the US, where cycling has recently become a statement of cool.

To be honest, though, sports jerseys can hardly do without synthetic fibers.

Manufacturers usually mix 95 percent merino wool with five percent elastic synthetic fiber like Lycra to make sports shirts fit tight and be more flexible. For thicker jerseys, the mix is usually already 80 to 20 – then, you can easily machine wash them. They dry faster and are even more robust.

However, some manufacturers also offer pure merino fabric – these jerseys require a little more care when washing. Ideally, you wear a thin base layer shirt made of merino on the bike and the thicker jersey over it.

Daily washing is then usually only necessary for the base layer shirts.

Advantages of a merino wool bicycle shirt

  • Breathable

Merino wool sportswear is natural and breathable. Tiny air pockets in the crevices created by the fine wool’s natural crimping provide the perfect insulation, moisture, and temperature regulation. Merino wool can absorb a particularly large amount of moisture and contribute to a good body climate and high breathability.

  • Does not absorb perspiration odor

A unique feature and a great advantage of merino wool compared to synthetic fabrics is that it is odorless for a long time. Wool has a natural antibacterial effect, which means that wool clothing starts to stink much later than sportswear made of synthetic fibers.

  • Does not absorb perspiration odor

A unique feature and a great advantage of merino wool compared to synthetic fabrics is that it is odorless for a long time. Wool has a natural antibacterial effect, which means that wool clothing starts to stink much later than sportswear made of synthetic fibers.

  • Heat and moisture regulating

As already described, merino wool is naturally highly crimped, which leads to many small air chambers in the fabric and makes for a super insulating layer. Merino wool can absorb up to 35% of its weight in moisture and feels dry on the fabric’s surface for a long time.

  • Super soft

The scratchiness of rough wool fibers does not exist in merino wool! Fabrics made of merino wool are soft, which is again due to this unique natural fiber’s fine structure. Fibers of merino wool are extremely thin (about 18 microns), almost half of a human hair.

  • Natural

Merino wool sportswear finally seems to be a functional alternative to synthetics. Most fabrics for sportswear are made of synthetic fibers based on the finite raw material petroleum. Synthetic fibers are not non-biodegradable and are problematic when it comes to disposal.

  • Sustainable

Merino wool is a natural “renewable resource.” When the sportswear made of merino wool is no longer usable, you can calmly “throw it on the compost,” unlike functional underwear made of synthetic fibers, which are primarily made from petroleum and not naturally degraded.

  • Natural UV protection

Merino wool has a natural UV protection factor of up to 40+. Synthetic fibers and even other natural fibers cannot provide equal UV protection. Even sunscreens can only achieve this factor with the addition of ingredients that pose a health risk.

*sponsored by ©️ashmei
*sponsored by ©️ashmei
*sponsored by ©️ashmei

There is only one place where merino will probably not prevail: in cycling shorts. Sitting on the saddle for several hours puts so much strain on the material that wool would not last long. Lycra in particularly sensitive areas still has a few advantages.



Merino wool has experienced a real boom in recent years. No wonder that now also bike jerseys made of exquisite merino wool are so popular. It scores with its properties and soft touch, making it an excellent choice for sports enthusiasts, as well as for people who simply value high-quality clothing – even when cycling.

If you also decide to buy a merino bike shirt, we hope you will have a lot of fun riding your bike.

Categories: WoolMerino

Marco Heitner

Marco is the author and creator of the World’ and holds the "Wool Fibre Science" certification. He founded this website because of his love for nature, tradition and exquisite all-natural fibers like merino wool, cashmere, and alpaca. The way local communities interact with their environment and produce valuable, irreplaceable natural resources such as wool is inspiring.


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