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Published on February 10th, 2011 | by ziggy

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I Heart Wool Socks: Why Wool Clothing is So Lovely & Warm

12/365 - warm toesies

These recent winter days, temperatures are hovering in the low teens, and nighttime temperatures plummet to 0º or below. This is the first winter I got a hold of some wool socks, and boy oh boy, I can easily claim they have revolutionized my winter comfort. I will never go back to wearing socks other than wool on these frigid winter days.

There are plenty of times when I go outside to chop wood wearing nothing on my feet but a single pair of wool socks and sandals. And with a thermal shirt and wool sweater over my top, I am more comfortable at lower temperatures than I would be wearing clothes made with other materials.

Wool is one of the best natural insulators, and wool clothing is some of the warmest clothing you can choose to wear on a cold, wintry day.

Why are wool socks so warm?

Wool fibers have built-in crimp, and the fibers naturally repel each other, keeping dead air space between them. Dead air space is the key to insulation, and hence, warmth. But that’s not everything…

Wool’s complex cellular structure also enables it to absorb moisture vapor, but repel liquids. Because of its natural absorbent abilities, when the air is cool and damp, wool absorbs moisture and keeps a layer of dry insulating air next to the skin. When it is warm, that same absorption capacity takes up perspiration and keeps insulating dry air next to the skin, making the body’s natural cooling system work better.

That means that even when wool is cool and wet, it will still keep you warm! And just the opposite is true, too: when it is warm, wool clothing can help to keep you cool. It is an all-around excellent insulator.

Best of all, wool is a natural material (duh), and it is extremely durable and resistant to wear and tear because the fibers are so elastic.

For cheap wool clothing, check your local thrift store: I recently found two 100% wool sweaters (one is even merino wool, which is especially fine and not itchy — extremely comfortable!) for $3 each! They were in perfect shape, too.

Just remember: when you’re looking to stay warm, wool is the best natural choice for clothing.

Sources: [1] and [2].

If you’re looking for organic wool clothing and household items, we’ve got ‘em: socks, sweaters, coats, dresses, blankets, and more…

Image credit: flickr via jypsygen



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About the Author

I'm a 26-year-old currently living at Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage in northeast Missouri, an intentional community devoted to sustainable living and culture change. Things you might find me doing here (other than blogging) are building with natural materials, gardening, beekeeping, making cheese, candlemaking, and above all else, living simply. You can read about my on-going natural building projects at: http://www.small-scale.net/yearofmud



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