Various materials and fabrics are used for thermal innerwear. Modern thermal clothing is made of plastic. Polyester is compressed with Lycra to maximize wearing comfort. Unlike cotton, plastic hardly absorbs moisture and wicks away sweat perfectly. Merino wool, a type of wool from New Zealand, is also a popular fabric. Merino wool is warm, does not itch, insulates perfectly and keeps the smell fresh. However, Women winter inner wear made of merino wool is more expensive to purchase. Thermal clothing: merino wool or synthetic?
A first layer to be chosen carefully
First of all, keep in mind that clothes do not heat the body: it is heated by the heat that it itself produces. Cotton does not help in retaining heat; wool and other more insulating synthetic materials yes.
The principle recognized and approved for a long time now is that of three layers (3 layers of overlapping clothes): 1 breathable and drying layer, 1 insulating and warming layer, 1 waterproof and, if possible, breathable layer.
Ask yourself in advance what you are going to do with the thermal innerwear. There are large price differences between thermal clothing, but that cheaper price does come from somewhere. For example, a cheaper variant can be less functional and have a different composition. If you are an active winter sports enthusiast who makes a lot of kilometers on the slopes, you opt for a high-quality and more technical set than if you only enjoy the sun on the terrace of a mountain restaurant. So don’t let the price guide you and choose the thermal innerwear that suits you.
Thermal innerwear is essential during mid-season and winter navigation, coastal or offshore sailing and in regattas. To understand the usefulness of thermal innerwear it is essential to understand the 3-layer system.
- The first layer, in contact with the skin, (thermal innerwear) must ensure good sweat evacuation and quick drying. In contact with the skin it must be as pleasant as a second skin.
- The second layer plays the role of thermal insulator. It retains body heat while evacuating perspiration. This layer can be more or less thick depending on the external temperature. In colder seasons you can wear fleece and softshell.
- The third layer must be waterproof, if possible breathable more or less often depending on the wind conditions and the temperature: this category includes oilskin and overalls.
In the autumn and winter months, merino wool sweaters – thanks to the wavy structure of the thin fibers that create a sort of air chamber and maintain few points of contact with the skin – limit the dispersion of heat. The result is perfect thermal insulation and adequate body temperature regulation.
In the spring and summer months, the hygroscopic qualities (ability to absorb atmospheric humidity) of the merino wool fibers allow the men’s thermal inner wear to be extremely pleasant. In fact, the moisture of the skin due to the heat is absorbed by the wool fibers and pushed outwards, allowing the skin to remain completely dry. But that is not all. With warm temperatures, the moisture retained by the merino wool fibers evaporates, giving a pleasant sensation of freshness.
Used since ancient times, merino wool is known to warm when it’s cold and cool when it’s hot. It is for this reason, combined with extraordinary softness, that in the field of intimate apparel, merino wool sweaters are widely appreciated at any time of the year.