Tuesday, July 28, 2009




July 23rd, 9:30AM

Words, Images Judith Ecochard

Merino wool has been a favorite textile of outdoorsy types for years because of its inherent moisture management abilities, breath-ability and comfort…and yes, theoretically, ‘it’s’ sustainability.

SmartWool has merino wool in its DNA…and it’s a brand that is celebrating its 15th anniversary…with new socks and apparel to join its original claim to fame, ped coverings for hiking.

For the base layers in the Sport Collection that are silky smooth to the touch…a new Technical Knit Merino (TMK) fabric…a technically souped up polyester that “enhances structure and fit” – gets major play in the cycle wear.

Special touch: jersey knit and mesh eyelet mesh placed in strategic areas for passive venting- in the Cottonwood and Farewell Jerseys for gals ($95), and the Flagstaff and Betasso Jerseys for guys ($110).

Other Details: a zippered secure pocket with media port and three drop-in-back pockets,..in bold colors like Electric Blue, Limelight and Orange.

Cycling shorts (Men’s Batasso, Women’s Cottonwood –both MSRP $150) boast 50% recycled stretch woven polyester outer short material and a bias-cut back yoke.

Added Plus: Gender specific padded liners made from Italian chamois covered in SmartWool that allows for maximum airflow and comfort.

A new SportStyle lifestyle line of well-made graphic laden tees and tanks- is made from a new fabric called “Casuwool™.” Unbelievably soft, this Merino knit 17.5 micron yarn is a year round textile, easily layered under or over all the tees/tanks we own...or worn all on its own! (W-$75, M-($70)

Also new for S/S 2010 are the PhD Ultra Light cycling sock in ¾, mini and micro lengths. Really ultralight-courtesy of a 200 point needle count that renders it the thinnest sock SmartWool ever made. Technical bells and whistles still include the acclaimed 4 degree fit system (2 arch bands, one ankle, and one underneath)…that insure a perfect fit-reduces abrasion, and reduces shock on high impact areas. (M/W-$16.95)

Men also get a Lightweight Collection that’s crew length. Good for everyday wear, the socks are lightweight, breathable, and have micro-cushioning. They’re available in dapper Simple Stripe, Simple Plaid and Tequila Stripe patterns…the latter perfect for after-work Happy Hours. ($19.95).

SmartWool also carries its usual suspects for on the job, work boot style attire. Again, compression fit and specific cushioning for lace-ups are built in.

Ladies runners (us) get new socks too –the Spring Bull’s Eye in snazzy shades like Surf heather. Made with WOW Technology™…the ped coverings have a supportive arch brace. ($14.95)

This company was new to us…but once we saw the Don Quixote-ish logo…we had a lightbulb moment…as we have seen SmartWool’s socks at outdoor stores everywhere.

FYI: New Zealand Sourced! ...and cool scarves!