Active Travel Adventure Travel

Smartwool Merino Wool Review: A Surprisingly Ideal Fabric for Winter and Summer

Smartwool was originally founded to create a warm sock for skiers, but its creators quickly realized that merino wool is actually one of the best performance fabrics out there. It’s soft, moisture-wicking, thermoregulating (meaning the fabric is warm when it’s cold, and cool when it’s warm), sustainable, and odor-neutralizing, knocking synthetic fabrics out of the park. I tested a few of the brand’s activewear pieces for women and won’t be going back to other athleisure brands when I need high-quality and top-performing gear.

Another huge bonus is the fabric’s sustainability. Smartwool as a company makes sure that the “sheep that produce our wool are treated humanely, the wool growers are treated fairly, and the farms work to minimize their impact on the environment.” It also uses recycled wool fiber in some of its garments and continuously evaluates the efficiency of its supply chain.

Smartwool Merino Wool Review: 

Price and Where to Buy: Styles start at $14 (socks) and go up to $180 (jackets) on Smartwool’s website or on Amazon.

Smartwool Gear I Tested:

Women's merino 150 base layer micro stripe short sleeve.
Women’s Merino 150 Base Layer Micro Stripe Short Sleeve
Women's merino sport 150 tank.
Women’s Merino Sport 150 Tank
Women's merino sport short sleeve dress.
Women’s Merino Sport Short Sleeve Dress

How Smartwool Merino Wool Rates:

  • Usefulness: 9/10. Whether you’re going on a mountain summit or your family’s ski vacation, merino wool is an ideal fabric to travel with. I find a lot of the garments to be multifunctional as well so you can pack less. For example, I used the sport short sleeve dress as a bathing suit cover-up and also wore it with slip-ons to a casual dinner.
  • Value: 8/10. While some of the apparel items are a little more on the expensive side, Smartwool’s price range is that of other activewear brands. Personally, I don’t mind spending a little bit more on activewear that I know will hold up over time and that is made sustainably and ethically. The thermoregulating property of the wool also makes each piece trans-seasonal so you can wear the base layers in both summer and winter.
  • Portability & Durability: 10/10. Smartwool’s styles are lightweight due to the nature of the fabric and don’t take up much packing space. Plus, most of the pieces can be worn after multiple uses if needed since the fabric is moisture-wicking.
  • Cool Factor: 9/10. Smartwools stylish and sustainable gear is a win-win for active travelers.

Smartwool Gear on my Wishlist:


Women's low cut socks.
Women’s PhD® Cycle Ultra Light Low Cut Socks
Women's everyday exploration slub long sleeve shirt.
Women’s Everyday Exploration Slub Long Sleeve
Women's merino sport ultra light anorak pullover.
Women’s Merino Sport Ultra Light Anorak Pullover

More from SmarterTravel:

Editor’s Note: Reviews are based on usefulness, portability, durability, value, and “cool factor.” Some review products are sent to us free of charge and with no incentive to offer a favorable review. We offer our unbiased opinions, positive and negative, and will never accept compensation to review a product. If you have any questions or comments concerning our reviews or would like to suggest a product for review, please email us at

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By Ashley Rossi

Ashley Rossi is always ready for her next trip. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram for travel tips, destination ideas, and off the beaten path spots.

After interning at SmarterTravel, Ashley joined the team full time in 2015. She's lived on three continents, but still never knows where her next adventure will take her. She's always searching for upcoming destination hotspots, secluded retreats, and hidden gems to share with the world.

Ashley's stories have been featured online on USA Today, Business Insider, TripAdvisor, Huffington Post, Jetsetter, and Yahoo! Travel, as well as other publications.

The Handy Item I Always Pack: "A reusable filtered water bottle—it saves you money, keeps you hydrated, and eliminates waste—win-win."

Ultimate Bucket List Experience: "A week in a bamboo beach hut on India's Andaman Islands."

Travel Motto: "Travel light, often, and in good company."

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