What You’re Wearing Part 2: Wool (Ep.62)


  • How climate affects wool quality (2:55)
  • The process: from herding sheep to the final fabric (9:03)
  • How & Why is wool blended with other fibers? (18:40)
  • Environmental benefits & drawbacks of wool (24:02)
  • Wool from other animals? (32:04)
  • Can wool be recycled? (36:13)
  • Why is wool odor resistant? (38:12)
  • Thermoregulation vs. Insulation (40:15)
  • Why is wool more commonly knit than woven? (43:53)
  • Icebreaker’s transparency report (45:03)
  • Two biggest misconceptions about wool (49:00)

Why are more and more companies making products out of wool?

In part two of our “What You’re Wearing” miniseries, we’re taking a closer look at the fabric that was once most associated with itchy old sweaters and fancy suits, but that’s now being used in some of the most comfortable and highest-performing apparel on the market. But how exactly does wool naturally suppress odor? How does the species of sheep affect the finished product? And is wool actually more environmentally friendly than other fibers?

To answer these questions and more, we’re talking with Josh Vaughan, head of Wholesale Sales at Icebreaker. We walk through every step of making wool garments (from sheep to shirt); discuss some exciting new uses for wool in apparel, and Josh provides some incredibly in-depth answers about the secrets behind wool’s unique natural properties.

Sam Shaheen talks to Icebreaker's Josh Vaughan about wool, its performance attributes, its environmental impact, and more on Blister's GEAR:30 podcast.
Icebreaker's Lindis Peak grower station.

4 comments on “What You’re Wearing Part 2: Wool (Ep.62)”

  1. On the environmental side, lanolin the oil from the wool is used, often in moisturising creams. Something more tricky is the transport. You need the space and alpine environment to get the wool quality at an acceptable price, but the major markets are a long way to go.

  2. I couldn’t help but point this out in the discussion on Mount Nicholas Station with 100,000 acres and 29,000 sheep. Josh states that works out to 3 sheep per acre and how good that is for the environment. In reality that should be 3 acres per sheep (every sheep has 3ish acres to itself in theory) so being even better for the environment than the podcast suggests. Thought it was worth noting.

  3. Listening to this episode on Spotify and noticed, that there is something wrong with the last 10 minutes or so – conversation about wool used as insulator gets into loop.

    • Apologies, Janis. We’ve had this issue once before with Spotify – we’ve let them know, so should just be a matter of time before they get it fixed. Thank you for the heads up.

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