During his travels in the early ‘90s, Icebreaker founder Jeremy Mood had a revelation. Rather than focus on creating the latest and greatest technical fabric for its clothing, he discovered that such a fabric was already available and could be found on a breed of animal living in New Zealand’s Southern Alps—merino sheep. Because of its warmth in the cold and cooling breathability in the heat, Jeremy found that these sheep were easily able to survive the area’s harsh environment. It occurred to him that merino would also be an ideal material for performance clothing.
Merino was soft to the touch, comfortable against his skin, and easy to care for. He realized that it offered the quick-drying, lightweight benefits of synthetic materials couple with the natural warmth, breathability, and odor-resistance of standard wool. Altogether this meant that merino flew in the face of wool materials available at that time, and it continues to do the same to this day.
Since 1994, Icebreaker has been crafting this versatile fabric into hard-working technical clothes as well as sophisticated, high-performance urban apparel. Starting with underwear and baselayers and expanding to mid- and outer layers, Icebreaker outfits you for optimal four-season comfort. Whether you’re dressing for snow sports, hiking and backpacking, travel, running and fitness, or simply everyday activities, Icebreaker has you covered.
The bread-and-butter of the Icebreaker’s offerings is its line of baselayers, including leggings and tops for skiing or mountaineering in weights from ultra-lightweight to expedition-weight. Midweight pullovers and tops, either in merino knit or cozy merino RealFleece, offer excellent warmth without bulk. Of course, you’ll enjoy Icebreaker wool in the form of beanies, liner gloves, and socks that keep your extremities nice and warm. The good news is, you don’t have to wait until the weekend to experience the benefits of merino, since Icebreaker offers dresses, skirts, and sweaters for women, as well as polos, collared shirts, and sweaters for men.
And, as Icebreaker combines merino with other textiles to create new performance fabrics, merino is also put to work in new ways. For example, its wool-cotton blend shorts are both durable and highly breathable, and for outings in more extreme weather, Icebreaker offers jackets and vests that feature insulating merino backed with weather-resistant outer shells.
Icebreaker also invests a great deal of energy into supporting its commitment to environmental sustainability and responsible sourcing. To that end, it sets strict standards for environmental management and animal welfare from its growers, all of whom are contracted long-term to Icebreaker. Once harvested, wool is processed in facilities that strictly observe rigorous standards for environmental impact and human welfare. In fact, when you buy an Icebreaker product, you can use the “Baacode” tag on the inner seam to trace its production from start to finish. You can see the living conditions of the sheep, meet the growers who raised them, and follow the production process through to the finished garment. In addition to feeling good when you’re wearing an Icebreaker garment, you can feel good about where it came from.