Properties of sheep's wool
WOOL IS ODOR NEUTRALIZING
WOOL IS MOISTURE REGULATING
WOOL IS TEMPERATURE REGULATING
WOOL IS SOFT
WOOL IS EASY TO CARE FOR
WOOL IS SUSTAINABLE
WOOL PROVIDES UV PROTECTION
Although Australia and Tasmania are particularly exposed to harmful UV radiation due to a hole in the ozone layer, not once has a sheep suffered from sunburn. Why is that? It’s because of their wool, of course – it simply absorbs some of the UV radiation and keeps it away from the skin.
To fully understand how this works, you have to know what UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) means. The abbreviation looks a bit like a term you might recognize from your sun cream (SPF = Sun Protection Factor). The similarity is no coincidence, because UPF is a value that indicates how much UV radiation is blocked. Here are a couple of examples: A T-shirt with UPF 10 (the average for a white cotton T-shirt) allows ten percent of UV radiation to pass through to the skin. Factor 15 is the minimum value required to comply with the Australian standard for basic protection. UPF 40 indicates excellent protection, blocking 97.5 to 97.6% of all UV radiation from the skin.
When we apply these values to the most common textiles, we see three groups emerging: Polyester has the highest integrated UPF, followed by wool, polyamide and silk. Cotton, viscose and linen have the lowest level of protection.
But other factors also influence the UPF, such as the construction of the material, the color (dark colors provide more protection than light ones, with bright red and green providing the best protection of all) or the fit (whether the shirt is a close or a loose fit). The condition of the product also plays a role, as the UPF decreases considerably when the fabric is wet. When choosing a new ORTOVOX product, you should also make sure you choose the right fit and color if you want to get the best possible protection against UV radiation. ORTOVOX shirts, for example, have a UPF of between 20 and 50+ depending on the density of the fabric and the color.
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The features of merino wool compared to other alternatives on the market
A 100% natural fiber, merino wool has several highly functional features. Of these, some of the most important are that it doesn’t stink when you sweat and that it still warms you when it’s wet. Only the finest merino wool, which doesn’t itch, is used for t-shirts, underwear, etc. For this reason, products made from merino wool are slightly more expensive than the alternatives, but they often last longer.
Even when wool is wet from sweat, it still warms you. This is thanks to an exothermic process: The proteins in the fibers warm up as soon as they become wet.
Wool is comfortable at a broad range of temperatures and does not feel stuffy, even when it’s really warm. This is thanks to small air chambers between the crimped wool fibers.
Wool can absorb up to 35% of its own weight in moisture without feeling wet to the touch. The body’s natural method of cooling itself with sweat is not hampered by the wool.
Merino wool has an anti-bacterial effect because the surface of the fiber is scaled. This means that it is difficult for nasty odors to form.
Merino wool makes use of natural resources, regrows regularly and does not require any ingredients other than water, fresh air, sun and grass. It is also up to 100% biodegradable and does not require any chemicals.
A multi-functional and sustainable alternative to synthetics. A bit more expensive but longer-lasting and, above all, less likely to emit odor – so you need fewer changes of clothes on long tours.
Products made from the synthetic fibers polyamide or polyester are often cheap(er), soft, robust and quick drying. Some manufacturers are already using recycled polyester.
Synthetic fibers do not absorb moisture. However, certain features of the yarn ensure that sweat is quickly wicked away from the body.
It depends upon whether the product is designed to be breathable or to retain heat.
Synthetic fibers do not absorb moisture, but wick it away towards the outside where it quickly evaporates. This means the body does not feel as if it is sweating.
Synthetic fibers are smooth, which means bacteria are able to hang around for longer and create nasty odors.
Because the fibers are synthetic, chemical processes are required to “construct” them. This creates particularly functional yarns. Some companies are increasingly using recycled materials to make new products.
Synthetic fibers are very soft and fine, which means that people with sensitive skin in particular prefer these products. The products are very tear-resistant and quick drying. However, the advantages and disadvantages must be weighed up and depend upon the area of use.
Cotton is extremely skin-friendly, long-lasting and tough – even multiple washes do not affect the fibers.
Unfortunately, cotton becomes saturated with moisture relatively quickly when you sweat. It also takes longer for a cotton t-shirt to dry compared to other materials.
When dry, cotton very quickly reaches the same temperature as the skin. However, if it becomes wet due to sweat or rain, it quickly becomes saturated with moisture, cools down and becomes heavy.
At some point, cotton will start to smell, particularly under the armpits. When this happens, washing often no longer helps because bacteria have taken root in the material. These break down the sweat and discharge foul-smelling secretions.
When wet, cotton is even more tear-resistant than when dry. It is also extremely flexible and flame retardant.
The guidelines of organic farming are adhered to in the production of organic cotton in particular. This means that the use of chemical pesticides, insecticides and chemical fertilizers is taboo.
The wear comfort is (almost) unbeatable. But as soon as you start to move and sweat a lot, cotton is not functional enough and is, for example, not breathable.
The benefits of wool are obvious.