Records of the Merino sheep begin in the 12th Century in Spain. Even then, people recognized the advantages of merino wool, which is why merino sheep were rarely used for meat. Today the sheep has been cross bred with other varieties, and the modern breed has spread across the globe.
The majority of modern Merino Wool comes from Australia and New Zealand. At Giesswein, we source our yarns from spinning mills in Italy and Great Britain. One of the terms for our suppliers is that upon each product delivery, we must receive a confirmation of the wool's origin. This way, we know that our raw wool only comes from sheep breeders where the animals are not harmed.
Merino wool is a luxury fibre and with good reason! It is a 100% natural product and is therefore a limited resource. The sheep are only sheared once or twice a year. The wool is soft, non-irritant, water-resistant, odor-free and sustainable.
Both the production and processing of Merino wool require a significant amount of time and know-how. The end product is the highest quality, but that also means a high price. At Giesswein, not only do we ensure that our Merino wool is top quality, we are also cruelty-free. We only source from farmers who hold a Mulesing-free certification.
The fleece of the merino-sheep consists of light, thin hairs, that prove especially useful in the summer and make the heat bearable. In the winter months, the merino sheep grows a coat to ward off the cold. Particularly fine, curly fluffy hair that keeps the sheep warm. These are the same properties we need for warm clothing or shoes.
The structure and shape of the wool fibres naturally create air chambers that enclose the body and retain heat. The air chambers also decrease the contact between skin and material which increases the insulating effect.
Wool also cools. The air chambers that trap heat also restrict cool air from passing through, gain have an insulating effect. It is difficult for the warm air from outside to pass through. Thanks to these properties, wool is also good protection in the rain. It will absorb water vapour but repel moisture on the surface.
Outdoor enthusiasts love the flame retardant and non-static characteristics of the wool, and this combination of warmth, colling and waterproofing makes it an ideal trail shoe.
The very fine nature of the fibre makes Merino wool much softer against the skin and more luxurious to wear than traditional wool types.
Merino wool does not itch or irritate the skin. The wool fibres are very small and fine which makes them feel softer. By comparison these fibres are half as thick as ordinary wool and don’t need addition chemicals when they’re processed. It is ideally suited for those people who would normally suffer from allergic reactions.
Merino wool also has natural anti-microbial properties, which makes it odor-resistant.
Wool will absorb water on the outer surface but with the tightly woven fabrics that we use it will not penetrate and will dry quickly when out of the water. This is because the cells have a waxy coating, making wool water repellent. The structure still allows absorption of water vapour which gives its wicking properties. Wool garments are naturally shower-proof and also stain resistant because spills don’t soak in easily.
We do not need to add any other substances or chemicals to the wool, as in its natural state it comes with all its amazing properties. Merino wool is therefore completely biodegradable.
Merino Wool's natural nature combined with the useful properties of synthetic fabrics makes it a truly amazing fabric. It is also hard wearing, durable and naturally elastic. This makes it the perfect choice for our shoe uppers.