It’s no secret that merino wool has taken over the outdoor industry, because what’s not to love from a soft-to-touch material that breathes as well as it fights odour-buildup? The sought-after properties of this wondrous fibre are praised throughout the winter months, but what if you could benefit from these features year-round? From base layers and socks to casual tees and dress shirts, merino wool isn’t just for cold weather activities these days.

Can merino wool be worn in the summer?

Yes, absolutely! In fact, it’s an excellent idea, and we highly recommend it. The benefits are plentiful, and seasoned hikers, runners, campers, travellers, and cyclists all know it. Let’s dive into how it works.

Benefits of merino wool in summer

From lightweight base layers and fluffy socks, to T-shirts and short-sleeved polo shirts, merino wool is ideal for all kinds of activities, whatever the weather. Smartwool is the specialist among specialists and a brand whose products have been meeting the needs of outdoor enthusiasts in all seasons for years.

Summer top for paddleboarding

Why wear merino wool on warm days?

Some days, no matter how strong the breeze, it seems impossible to beat the stifling summer heat. That’s where merino wool comes in. Not only is it a favourite for winter activities, it’s just as well suited when the temperature starts to rise again.


As well as being extremely soft to the touch, merino wool has two other technical features that are particularly interesting in hot weather. Firstly, it’s a breathable fabric that wicks away body moisture. This keeps you cool and dry, even under the scorching sun.

Odour resistance

Another advantage of merino wool is that it’s antibacterial. So it naturally resists any unpleasant odours that may accompany a hot summer’s day spent bustling under the sun.

Smartwool running clothing

How does merino wool affect the body?

Merino wool is a remarkable material that excels at regulating body temperature. To understand this phenomenon, we need to look at wool’s structure, its unique properties, and the way it interacts with our bodies.

Thermal insulation

Merino comes from the sheep that bear its name, a breed particularly prized for its fine, soft wool. Its unique natural fibres make it ideal for garments with the ability to regulate body temperature. For starters, the merino wool fibre structure is hollow, enabling it to retain air inside. This ability to trap air acts as thermal insulation, keeping body heat inside the fabric when the outside temperature is cold.

So far, no surprises. Wool for warmth and comfort: we’re on familiar ground. But what about heat and summer?

Efficient moisture wicking

What makes merino wool truly exceptional is its ability to regulate temperature in both directions. When the body starts to warm up, be it as a result of physical activity or the ambient environment, merino wool acts as a natural regulator. The fibres absorb moisture from the body (sweat or vapour) and wick it away towards the surface of the fabric. This creates an evaporative cooling effect, similar to the way perspiration cools the body.

Merino wool’s ability to absorb moisture is distinctively high compared to other fibres such as cotton or polyester. In fact, merino wool can absorb up to 30% of its weight in water before it feels wet to the touch.  Merino wool has also been proven to manage moisture more effectively than most synthetic fibres, which helps maintain a more stable body temperature. In turn, this reduces the rate at which lactic acid builds up in your muscles, enabling you to maintain a lower heart rate during exercise.

Antibacterial properties

Merino wool also has natural antibacterial properties. The proteins present in wool absorb odorous compounds produced by bacteria, effectively reducing unwanted odours, even after prolonged use. This allows merino wool garments to stay fresh for longer between washes, making them a popular choice for outdoor activities and travel.

In a nutshell

Thanks to its moisture wicking abilities, merino wool regulates body temperature. If you sweat, moisture is trapped around the fibre. As your body warms up, this moisture begins to evaporate, cooling the air between the fabric and the skin. The more heat your body releases, the greater the evaporation, allowing the cooling effect to grow in proportion. All in all, wearing merino wool has many advantages that will ensure you feel cool all summer long.

Smartwool hiking socks

Merino summer essentials

Merino wool T-shirts

A lightweight merino wool T-shirt will be more effective at keeping you cool and dry than one made from synthetic fabric. And, since its fibres are odour-resistant, you can let the trail guide you straight to the terrace at the end of the day, without necessarily having to change. On long hikes or trips, you can even wear it for more than a day before needing to wash it. 

Merino socks for summer

In the summer, lightweight merino socks offer exceptional breathability and wick moisture away from the skin. Unlike other materials, merino wool keeps your feet cool and dry, even on the hottest days. Also, its natural antibacterial properties reduce odours.

Lightweight merino underwear

Summer weather can be unpredictable, with temperature variations throughout the day. These versatile underwear offer lightweight but effective protection, absorbing and wicking moisture, keeping you comfortably cool when the heat is overwhelming, and warm when the temperature drops in the evening. 

Smartwool merino wool collections to discover this summer

So now you’re convinced to make merino wool part of your summer wardrobe. Smartwool has a variety of stylish and functional collections to meet your needs. From the lightweight, breathable Ultralite collection designed for running, hiking and biking, to the classic all-season range, Smartwool has everything you need to feel comfortable in the sun, by the lake, on the trails or in town.

For runners and hikers constantly on the lookout for the perfect technical clothing for your next adventure, the Smartwool Performance collection is just what you need. From performance socks to ultralight jackets, enjoy the benefits of merino wool all year round, whatever the weather.