Sunday, April 10, 2011

Why Smartwool is So Smart

Merino wool rules in this super comfortable Women's Channing Cycle Jersey in Carbon from Smartwool
This is the time of year that you're not sure how to dress.  It's even more difficult if you are going out to do some jogging or ride your bicycle.  I usually check things like humidity and wind speed before choosing my workout apparel for the day.  Fortunately, there is one fabric that can be worn every season of the year with only a few modifications.  That fabric is wool and it is a natural polymer.  Polymers consist of two monomers linked together but what makes them so cool is their ability to repel large droplets of water, i.e. rain yet allow smaller ones like sweat vapor to escape.  Silk and wool are examples of natural polymers.  Wool is the most adaptive of fabrics and the way Smartwool has designed the Channing Jersey maximizes this material's full potential.

Why Wool is the Natural Choice

Read the tag of Smartwool's Channing Jersey and you'll learn a lot about what a well made wool cycle jersey should be.  The Channing is made from Smartwool's new Technical Knit Merino which incorporates 75% Merino wool with 25% polyester.  It is naturally antimicrobial in part due to the fact that it does not allow moisture build up which is a key component of bacterial growth.  This jersey has extra porous panels on the sides and at the nape which allow an even higher transfer of moisture from your skin to the air.  The Channing has very comfortable cuffs that don't cut into your arms and a griping bottom hem that helps keep it in place while riding.  The front side invisible zipper pocket is genius and the back of the jersey has two rear open pouches.  Get ready to turn heads too.  This is a VERY smart wool jersey that looks fantastic both on and off the road.
Microweight Baselayer Zip-T by Smartwool
The cut of the jersey is comfortable, not skin-tight allowing you to wear a baselayer under it if you wish.

It's What's Underneath That Counts

An easy way to transition into the season is to wear this Microweight Baselayer Zip-T underneath on extra cool and windy days.  I'm talking about  50-55 degree weather with a slight wind.
The beauty of having an essential baselayer like the Microweight is that it can be used for all four seasons.  Wear it alone for high performance in the heat or under your cycling / running jersey when the weather is cooler.  No need for a jacket you'll only take off once you're warm.  Smartwool fibers maintain a more even temperature in all weather conditions, hot - cold or somewhere in between.  I've worn both the Baselayer and the Channing Jersey and was TOTALLY comfortable.  I even get itchy from cashmere so being able to wear wool next to my skin was a revelation.  It got warm... it got cool but I seemed to maintain an even comfort zone no matter what the weather was doing.  Wool is also naturally water repellent and fire resistant.  I've raised Finn sheep and know that lambswool is definitely God's miracle fiber!

Keep it Clean
Now sportswear is generally no good if it can't take a little rough treatment.  We've been testing Smartwool technical pieces and socks for several months and can tell you they can take a beating.  The socks don't bleed when washed and the clothing pieces can be tossed in the machine.  I recommend hand washing fine wool and silk fabrics with Sport Wash which maintains the fabric's natural wicking ability while completely removing any odors.  Sport Wash rinses completely and leaves your technical clothing soft and fresh. Add Sport Wash's Hair & Body Soap to your daily routine and you'll find your athletic wear staying much fresher longer and requiring fewer washings.  A win-win situation!
Use Sport Wash on all natural and synthetic pieces and Hair & Body Soap on yourself!

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