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Merino Wool

Nature’s performance fiber, Merino wool is one of the most versatile textiles in our lineup. Luxurious in feel, refined in appearance and unmatched in both warm and cold weather utility, it’s become the go-to choice for active layering. But as with any product sourced from animals, its use comes with ethical responsibilities.

What makes Merino wool such a good choice? In this FAQ, we explore how Nau creates high-performance wool products while upholding our commitments to environmental responsibility and animal welfare.

What is Merino wool?

Merino wool is fine micron wool from Merino sheep—a breed renowned for having the finest, softest wool of any sheep. Warm in winter and breathable in summer, Merino wool’s natural insulation and moisture-management properties are comfortable year round, and the small fiber diameter of our fine micron Merino wool provides a soft, smooth feel next to skin.

How is Merino wool different from ordinary wool?

Merino wool’s essential difference is in the fineness of the wool fibers. Our wool's small fiber diameter reduces skin irritation, and its natural ability to manage moisture keeps you comfortable in any environment. Merino wool is also naturally odor resistant—a big advantage compared to synthetic fibers that require frequent washing.

So Merino wool isn’t scratchy?

By selecting high quality, fine micron Merino wool, we ensure that the next-to-skin Merino layers in our line are smooth, soft—and never scratchy. At Nau we frequently combine Merino wool with recycled polyester fibers to create an even softer, moisture-wicking fabric for even greater comfort. You can find these kinds of Merino blends in our Randygoat and Randygoat Lite collections.

Where does Nau source Merino wool?

Our merino wool is sourced through responsible, long-term partners in New Zealand, Australia and South Africa.

How do you ensure the welfare of Merino sheep?

We work with a small, reputable mill base to ensure transparency in our Merino wool sourcing.

What is Nau’s stance on mulesing?

Nau prohibits mulesing in our Merino wool supply chain. Mulesing is a gruesome procedure in which huge chunks of skin are cut from an animal’s backside—most often without painkillers—to prevent flystrike. Our practice is to take non-mulesed declarations or certificates from fabric suppliers to ensure that our standards on animal welfare are upheld.

What is the Responsible Wool Standard?

A newly created independent standard for the textile industry, the Responsible Wool Standard (RWS) ensures that sheep are treated with respect and ensures best practices in the management and protection of the land. Covering a broader scope of animal welfare and land management than current standards, it’s the next step in living up to our responsibilities. While we at present focus on ensuring non-mulsed sourcing, Nau supports the RWS and, as fabric sources become approved by the new standard, plan to integrate it into our wool-sourcing platform.

What are Merino wool’s care requirements?

Unless otherwise noted, most of the Merino wool we use in next-to-skin layers is machine washable. Exceptions include Italian wools, boiled wools and suiting used in outerwear. However, we typically recommend you lay your Merino clothing flat to air dry to avoid any potential for shrinkage or warping in the dryer. For specific instructions, please refer to the care label in your Nau garment.

Shop the Merino Wool Collection here.