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Woolly Clothing is a Seattle-based clothing retailer, focusing on garments produced using 100% merino wool. What initially caught my eye about Woolly Clothing is that their prices are significantly lower than many of the other merino wool options on the market. I reached out to discuss the possibility of doing a product test. They happily offered to send a few items my way for a full evaluation. I’ve enjoyed their gear so much that I added it to my round-the-world packing list.
At this point, Woolly’s core items are men’s shirts. They sent me four sample shirts and two pairs of underwear to test and review. All of these items are made from 100% merino wool. You can purchase their clothes on the Woolly website or on Amazon.
Standard T-shirt – 190 gsm (Amazon)
This shirt is on the upper end of mid-weight t-shirts at a weight of 190 grams per square meter (gsm). The wool is very soft, and the weight of the fabric gives the shirt a nice drape. Woolly shirts have a fairly slim/athletic cut, with a taper in around the midsection. The fit is quite flattering if you have an athletic build.
I wore this shirt comfortably during the spring and early summer. I do find it to be a bit too warm for the 100+ degree, high humidity summer in Kansas City. This is the reason that I didn’t include this shirt in my packing list for our August round-the-world trip through the tropics. I will definitely be adding it back into the rotation for fall.
Ultralight T-shirt – 150 gsm (Amazon)
The Woolly Ultralight t-shirt is definitely lightweight at only 150 gsm. You will notice a distinct difference from the standard t-shirt I discussed above. The Ultralight tee fits and feels like a performance shirt. I’ve worn this tee shirt for many workouts and jogs in the summer heat. While I run, I can actually feel the air flowing through the shirt to keep me cooled down. This is definitely the shirt to keep cool and comfortable in the summer weather.
This shirt was my absolute go-to tee shirt during our trip around the world. We spent most of our time in hot, humid, tropical weather. Whether it was beating the 100-degree heat in Hawaii, climbing the Acropolis in Greece, kayaking in Thailand, or scuba diving in the Maldives, this shirt was fantastic! The lightweight construction and odor resistance really helped with repetitive, sweaty wear. After a day in the heat or on the water, I would simply rinse the shirt out and hang it to dry for the next day.
As I mentioned before, the 100% merino fibers on this shirt are extremely effective to reduce odor. To test this, I wore the same shirt to work out every day for a week. After each workout, I would toss the shirt over a chair to dry. In under an hour, it would be completely dry to the touch and odorless! Although the shirt never smelled, I decided to wash it after a week… because, well, hygiene or something.
The Woolly Tank Top simply takes the Ultralight t-shirt and removes the sleeves. It features the same lightweight 150 gsm merino wool. Just like the Ultralight, this is a great shirt for the gym, especially if you want to show off the guns! This tank will be a staple item on my beach trip packing lists going forward.
Sun’s out, guns out! When the heat really cranked up during our trip, I could put on the tank top and let my arms breathe a bit. This was fantastic on the various islands we visited, including Hawaii, the Maldives, Santorini, and Phuket!
The Woolly Henley is a stylish, long-sleeve shirt with the same slim/athletic cut of the t-shirts. It has been a joy to wear, due to the super-soft texture and temperature regulating qualities of the merino wool.
When we travel, we encounter a wide range of temperatures, from sweltering tropical islands to chilly airplane cabins. This Henley provides just the right amount of warmth to keep me comfortable on long-haul flights, without overheating like I do with a blanket. Sleeping is always difficult in an economy cabin, but it’s much easier when the temperature is right!
The Henley-style collar adds a bit of style to this shirt, making it appropriate to wear for a nice dinner. I wore this shirt for a couple very nice dinners – one at an upscale Thai restaurant at the Hilton Phuket, and another for steak & lobster at the Sheraton Maldives.
Boxers and Boxer Briefs – (Amazon)
Woolly offers two styles of underwear: boxers and boxer briefs. For our round the world trip, I packed three pairs – two boxers and one boxer brief. These undershorts take full advantage of the odor shield properties of merino wool. I was able to wear them for multiple days in the heat without any odor during our trip. Over the course of 30 days, I washed each pair only three times.
The boxers are more loose and flowy, and they are very comfortable with shorts. The boxer briefs have a more slim fit and worked very well with my Western Rise Slim Rivet pants.
Low Price ≠ Low Quality
Like I said, when I first encountered the Woolly brand, I was surprised at the price point. Their t-shirts sell for between $39 and $54, while brands like Outlier are selling merino T’s for $85-$110 each! The average price I’ve seen for merino wool tee shirts is around $65. When I saw that Woolly was selling their shirts for around half of the average, I had to investigate.
The standard assumption is that a higher price generally means higher quality. However, that is not always the case. With Woolly, I am impressed with the quality. For example, when I compare my $49 Woolly Ultralight Merino t-shirt to my $85 Outlier Runweight Merino t-shirt, I don’t see enough difference in quality to justify a nearly 2x price difference. Woolly’s shirt actually repels odor more effectively, since it is 100% Merino.
After a significant amount of wear and abuse of these shirts during travel, I have noticed some pretty significant “pilling.” Most 100% wool garments will experience this over time. This is only particularly noticeable up close, and mostly on the back and shoulders of the shirt, where my backpack rubs it.
If you’re thinking about taking the plunge and trying out merino wool for yourself, I definitely recommend Woolly. The low price point makes these shirts an excellent opportunity to test the benefits of this material for yourself. Be sure to take good care of your shirts, and they will last you a long time. Go grab a couple items for yourself at Woolly or on Amazon. Cheers!
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