Merino Wool vs Pima Cotton

Merino Wool vs Pima Cotton

Wondering which is a better fabric between merino wool vs Pima cotton? The answer is that both are equally good. In some situations, merino wool is better and in some Pima cotton is a great choice. In this article, we’ll find out all the important points that you need to know about these two fabrics.

What is Merino Wool?

Merino wool is a natural and renewable fiber that is known for being super soft, cozy, and thin. Unlike other wools, merino wool is not heavy, itchy, or uncomfortable.

Merino wool comes from a breed of sheep called Merino. Merino sheep are known to withstand extreme temperatures, ranging from -10 degrees celsius to +35 degrees celsius (~14F to 95F). Thus, you can wear merino wool during the winter and summer as it helps in regulating body temperature.

The fine fibers of merino wool provide insulation and keep you warm when it is cold outside. However, during hot days, the light and breathable fabric will keep you cool and comfortable by transporting sweat away from the skin. Especially while traveling, this can be your best companion as it wicks moisture and absorbs odor molecules.

Properties of Merino Wool

1. Naturally Soft and Comfortable

The merino wool fiber feels super fine and soft on the skin. It is unlike other wool which can sometimes feel a little prickly on sensitive skin. Merino wool has a low micron count which in turn allows breathability and makes it extremely soft to touch.

2. Ideal for Warm and Cold Weather

Merino wool is a fabric that has absorbent properties. This in turn helps in stabilizing body temperature. It will keep you comfortable when the weather is warm by wicking moisture and allowing airflow. The porous fibers of the fabric will keep you dry and cool during hot sunny days.

In cold weather, the natural lofts of the fabric can efficiently help in retaining heat and keeping you warm. However, when it gets extremely cold you can put on warmer layers of clothing. Merino wool is lightweight so it will not feel bulky when you add additional layers.

3. Odor-resistant

One of the best properties of merino wool is that it absorbs all odor molecules and prevents the smell from building up. You will not have to worry about body odor even if you are sweating after that intense workout at the gym.

This property makes it great for long travel journeys, camping, hiking, exercises, and other outdoor activities.

4. Wrinkle-Resistant

The fine fibers of merino wool have wrinkle-resistant properties which means it needs little to no ironing. You can fold them, hang them, and sit for long hours while traveling without worrying about wrinkles.

5. Stylish and Durable

Merino wool is an amazing combination of style and comfort. The superior quality of this garment makes it durable and stronger than cotton. It also has UV and fire-resistant properties, making it an ultimate companion for outdoor adventures.

What is Pima Cotton?

Pima cotton is another premium quality fabric that is incredibly soft and strong. Similar to merino wool, Pima cotton is great for all skin types, especially sensitive skin as it has a super soft and satiny texture. This fabric also is highly durable and wrinkle resistant.

Facts About Pima Cotton

Pima cotton comes from a plant called Gossypium barbadense and is mostly grown in the Southwestern parts of the United States. It is also popularly known as American Pima.

Pima cotton is often compared to Egyptian cotton as both of them are from the same species of extra-long staple cotton. The only difference is Pima cotton is mainly grown in the United States and Egyptian cotton is grown in Egypt. However, both have similar properties and are luxuriously soft.

This fabric is perfect to wear in hot weather conditions. It has long and silky fibers that make it super light, breathable, and comfortable.

It is mostly used by premium brands for high-quality clothing. The rich texture of Pima cotton makes it lightweight, cozy, wrinkle-resistant, and durable.

Pima cotton is commonly used for casual clothing like T-shirts, shirts, innerwear, or dresses. Then it is used for luxury clothing such as dress shirts, bathrobes, and nightgowns too. Since the fabric has absorbent properties and feels ultra-soft on the skin it is also used for home essentials like bedsheets and towels.

Is Pima Cotton Better than Regular Cotton?

Merino Wool vs Pima Cotton

There are several varieties of cotton and the quality varies depending on the type.

  • Quality: Pima cotton is on the higher-end when it comes to quality as it is carefully harvested by hand. It has extra-long and super-strong fibers that ensure ultra-softness and lasting durability.
  • Softness: Regular cotton has shorter fibers which mean the quality is not as high as Pima cotton so it can feel a little coarse on the skin. Pima cotton is hypoallergenic and free from any harsh chemicals which means it is safe even for the sensitive skin of babies.
  • Durability: Regular cotton has around 50% less lifespan when compared to Pima cotton. It can be subjected to fading, tearing, and loss of fabric quality over a period of time whereas Pima cotton offers higher resistance towards general wear and tear. Additionally, it is resistant to pilling and does not produce lint.

Merino Wool vs Pima Cotton

When it comes to comparison, then both merino wool and Pima cotton are known for their luxurious softness and comfort. Merino wool can keep you warm in the winters and cool in the summers. Pima cotton is great for spring and summer.

Wool is hands down one of the best insulators when compared to cotton. Cotton is a light fabric that you can wear on hot summer days to stay cool. Then you must be wondering how merino wool is good for warm weather?

That’s because merino wool has moisture-wicking properties that make the fabric breathable. Its light and airy fibers will keep you dry even in moist environments as it allows quick evaporation. Cotton on the other end takes a longer time to dry and it can become damp and saggy in wet conditions.

Merino wool and Pima cotton are eco-friendly and biodegradable. Pima cotton comes from a plant. Every year, the Merino sheep can grow up to five pounds of wool. When you dispose of both of them back into the Earth, they can naturally decompose.

Thus these two fabrics are more sustainable and less impactful on the environment compared to regular cotton and wool.

Is Merino Wool More Breathable Than Cotton?

Cotton and wool are breathable fabrics that are both great at absorbing moisture. However, for intense workouts, hiking, fishing, trekking, jogging, and other outdoor activities merino wool is the one that you will need to grab.

While cotton dries gradually, merino wool allows evaporation and dries much faster. It does not stick to the skin, thus keeping you dry for a longer duration.

Merino Wool Socks or Pima Cotton Socks?

When it comes to socks, we all know the importance of wearing comfortable socks. As we have mentioned in the article both merino wool and Pima cotton are amazing fabrics. You can accordingly choose your favorite type based on the weather, the occasion, and your choice of comfort.

You can wear cotton socks for casual occasions, daily wear, and light activities. But, your feet can tend to sweat profusely while hiking, intense exercises, and long outdoor adventures. In this case, wearing merino wool socks will be a better alternative.

Cotton tends to absorb water and this can make your feet icky and also cause blisters. Whereas, the moisture-wicking property of merino wool encourages evaporation and will keep your feet dry during any outdoor activities.

Cushioned Merino Wool Socks

Ortis Men's Merino Wool Moisture Wicking Outdoor Hiking Cushion Crew Socks 4 Pack(Black L)
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You can wear merino wool socks even in the most extreme weather conditions to keep your feet warm and comfortable. You’ll also not have to worry about sweaty feet after those long strenuous treks. These socks are stretchable, extra cozy, and cushion-padded to provide utmost support comfort.

Merino Wool Long-Sleeved T-shirts Merino Wool Base Layer - Mens 100% Merino Wool Long Sleeve Midweight Thermal Shirts + Wool Hiking Socks (Medium, 250 Gray Heather)
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These T-shirts are made from 100% merino wool that you can wear in any climate. Be it for cycling, camping, or just daily wear, these soft and comfortable T-shirts will be a great addition to your wardrobe.

Merino Wool T-Shirt for Women Merino Wool T Shirt Women - 100% Merino Wool Base Layer Women Short Sleeve Tee + Wool Hiking Socks (Large, Deep Blue Crewneck)
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Merino Wool T-shirt (undershirt) for women is super soft and comfortable to wear all day long. It has moisture-wicking properties which prevents sweat from soiling your dress especially your under-arms areas. It is also odor resistant. It can be washed and dried in a dryer, but it may last longer with hand washing and air drying.


Investing in merino wool and Pima cotton will be a smart and stylish decision. You’ll love the unusual softness, coziness, and simple elegance of these fabrics. Both of them are versatile and require minimal care. So, think no more, a pair of merino wool socks and a simple white Pima cotton shirt are a must-have in your wardrobe.

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