I’ve been trying to start using gear that’s much more friendly to the environment and so when Isobaa, a British brand producing merino wool clothing, got in touch about trying some of their gear I thought it was quite fitting.
When the parcel arrived I was immediately thrilled to see that 100% of their packaging was recyclable and no plastic anywhere in sight. It arrived in a thick brown paper bag and each top was in it’s own card box. The tops themselves were wrapped in tissue and it was really a very lovely experience to unwrap.
But first, lets just look at the benefits of merino wool in your clothing:
Merino keeps you warm when it’s cold and breathes well when it’s warm, keeping you comfortable whatever the weather. It’s also quick drying, naturally odour resistant and sustainable.
This statement taken from Isobaa’s website definitely needed proving so over the few months I’ve been testing these three tops, I had in mind all points made above. Would it be comfortable? Would it be warm when cold and comfortable when I’m warm? Would it smell?
The tops themselves are delightfully soft and feel very lovely on the skin. At a time when comfy clothes are really very necessary in all aspects of life – not just when you go outdoors – they were put straight on. The tops are pretty heavy weight at 180, which means they’re nice and warm. I’ve had a couple of merino tops in the past that have been much thinner and I do feel nervous about tearing them so, for me, a 180 weight was ideal.
The first top I tried out was a lovely short sleeve base later but it was a fairly cold time of year so I’ve not had a chance to test this much as a standalone top but it certainly helps to keep you warm under extra layers.
- Brand: Isobaa
- Website: isobaa.com
- Price: £75
- Details: long sleeve crew top, fairly long in the body
- Material: 180gm 18.5 micron Superfine 100% Merino wool
- Material weight: 180gm
- Pattern: stripes
My favourite top out of the three I’ve been trying out is the long sleeve base layer. From the start I’ve felt really good in this top. Not only is it very comfortable to wear but it looks great. It’s a fairly long body so great for those who have a longer torso, or for those who don’t it’s ideal for tucking in at cooler times of the year to maximise warmth.
It was this top that I’ve had great fun doing a more rigorous test of as I’ve found it much more versatile over the cooler months.
Like I did when I was trying out the BAM bamboo tee, I saw how long I could wear it while using it pretty hard before it started to smell/ feel like it needed to go in the wash. It performed pretty damn well for this and I wore it for at least five days, which included a PT session in the gym, walking the dog every day and mountain biking with the dog.
It performed really very well and each day I put it on it didn’t get a grimy vibe (which was delightful) and looked forward to putting it on. It was in the gym I was most nervous about wearing it as I get pretty hot throughout my PT session. But it wicked very well and I felt comfortable the whole way through.
Now the long sleeve base layer has stick-on labelling, which as you can see, didn’t do very well in the wash. While this is not a very big issue for me, it was disappointing that it didn’t even last one wash. The label that peels off is on the inside on the top, at the back of the neck, where chaffing may be a problem with a normal label or embroidered logo. So, like I said, for me it’s not a huge problem as people can still see the lovely embroidered logo on the sleeve cuff.
- Brand: Isobaa
- Website: isobaa.com
- Price: £80
- Details: long sleeve 1/4 zip pull over.
- Material: 200gm 18.5 micron Superfine 100% Merino wool
- Material weight: 200gm
- Pattern: Plain blue
The long sleeve pull over is a slightly heavier weight again and feels like a substantial layer when you put it on. Once again, it’s super soft and fits really nicely as a second layer, snug but not tight. The zip has a chin guard on the very top to prevent any agitation and the ‘storm guard’ behind the zip stops any cold air coming through. It just feels very well put together and I would feel comfortable turning up to the pub in this after a long day in the hills.
By this point, I am very convinced of just how good merino wool is for tops. It’s a more expensive option and you do need to be careful when it comes to washing but it really does perform very well and means no micro plastics are flushed down the drain when you do come to wash your gear. While you still want to remain hygienic, there’s often no need to wash clothes as often as we’re conditioned to do. Cutting down on washing will reduce water usage as well as make your clothes last longer. Obviously, along with being careful of your hygiene, washing is necessary if your clothes are dirty, such as being covered in mud.
These tops were gifted but these are my honest thoughts. I’ve loved Icebreaker but now there’s a British brand on the market producing really very lovely clothing, I’m converted.