Merino Wool Rocks helps you find the merino wool clothes you need, whether to conquer the outdoors or find premium daily wear.

Best merino wool underwear for women

When travelling around the world, I use to have a pair of ExOfficio Undies. While I really loved both the look and how practically dried it would come out of the wash machine, they were not the best at wicking sweat and moisture while in Thailand or the Caribbean island! And because merino wool is highly insulating, they are the best to keep you warm when it colds.

If you are already familiar with merino wool underwear and just need to pick up the best of 2018, jump directly to our recommendations. If you feel like you need to dig a bit more before to commit and need a bit more guidance to understand what matters when it comes to choose the right underwear, have a closer look to our FAQ section just below. And if you have more questions, just leave one in the comments. We will be happy to help.

What to consider when choosing your merino wool underwear:

The main advantages of merino wool over synthetics ones for underwear garnement are the natural odor-prevention and antibacterial properties of the wool.

One way to reduce your chances of developing vaginitis, including yeast infections, is to choose underwear made of natural fibers. Because merino wool is so breathable (it allows the transfer of air and moisture), it is a superior material against heat and moisture, compared to synthetic such as polyester and nylon, which are usually treated to provide antimicrobial properties but they will, however, get washed out over time.

Basically, the breathability of merino wool will add a feeling of freshness to your undies which is not a luxury when sweat is inevitable, especially during the summer.

This is particularly important for the layers that are the closest from the skin. It is crucial, especially for outdoor activities such as hiking or snowboarding, to avoid normal seams which tend to create some chafing and irritation of the skin by rubbing against it repeatedly. For example, we have carefully kept out of the selection panties which have vertical seams going down the middle as it will only be a matter of time before it starts irritating on either side.

As opposite to mid or top layers garnements, underwear, especially panties need to be wash often. So durability is important and even if the price might seem a bit high, the quality of the wool will make the difference on the mid to long term here.

Thanks to the natural antimicrobial qualities of the wool, it is possible to get merino underwear quite clean just by hand-washing and drying them. If you are planning on using them for daily wear on the other hand, make sure to pick on on the list that is machine-washable – most of the ones reviewed are.

For long top and bottom thermal underwear, resist to your natural habit of washing them often. There was no need and hanging them in the sun can be as efficient as washing them!

Underwears, especially when used for outdoors activities should be quick-drying. With merino wool, it is possible to wash your panties by hand in the evening and let them dry overnight. You basically only need 2 pairs if you go with the “wear one, wash one” principle.

There is always this statement than synthetic underwear dry faster than merino wool ones. We found than the difference is only of 60 to 90 minutes difference. The biggest advantage of the wool though is that you can wear it and it will dry on you very quickly without you feeling cold. Packing slightly wet synthetic underwears in you bag can have dramatic consequences in terms of smell and possible molding as the antimicrobial treatments will eventually get washed out.

This is wear the activity you are planning to wear these underwear for enters into account. While they should always feel comfortable, if you are planning high-impact activity or some hiking, make sure that they are snug-fitting to enhance thermal efficiency and avoid chafing as well as irritation. It might therefore make sense to avoid thongs and models which do not offer coverage for long outdoor activities as you won’t beneficiate from the fabulous insulating property that merino wool is known for.

We generally picked styles which are relatively “low-waisted” so it fits under your modern jeans. However high-waisted, even if less stylish are of great value and deliver at keeping you warm in Winter.

Best bottom underwear

When considering the cut to go for, think of activities you will be doing. I wouldn’t recommend a thong for hiking for example, as it is likely to create some irritation over time. If you are planning on wearing them everyday, keep in mind a low waist will suits your casual pants better. And while the price tag might seem high, durability is important when it comes to undies and they need regular wash. We were careful to pick the best wool quality here as it makes the difference on the long term so it will be worthwhile the investment.
Here is our pick:

  • Material: 72% Wool, 22% Nylon, 6% Spandex
  • Best for: Daily wear and Sports
  • Price range (estimate): $21 – $35

There are no seams neither on the side or under to prevent rubbing, and the top seam is flat, so it does not dig into the waist. This is a wool blend, which feels stretchy.
On the downside, Ibex is just announced to be closing down their business soon so jump on it while it lasts. Otherwise, we got you covered with our runner up just below.

No longer available on Ibex | Out of stock on Amazon

Also great:

Smartwool Women’s PhD Seamless Bikini

  • Material: 72% Wool, 22% Nylon, 6% Spandex
  • Best for: Daily wear and Outdoor activities
  • Care: Machine Wash Cold
  • Price range (estimate): $32 – $37

Made of the same fabric than our pick above. The main difference is that it offers even more coverage, including a higher rise at the front. The PhD line is Smartwool’s most sporty collection. This shows in the design which include knit ventilation areas to help breathability, a wide waistband to keep them in place and a seamless fit to prevent any irritation, however they have left a tag that you have to remove yourself, which is rather annoying.
Sidenote: a lot of people recommend ordering a size up.

See on Smartwool | Check price on Amazon

Best merino wool boyshort: Icebreaker Merino Women’s Sprite Hot Pants

  • Material: 83% Merino Wool, 12% Nylon, 5% LYCRA
  • Fabric Weight: 150g/m (Ultralight)
  • Construction: Offset seams
  • Best for: Daily wear
  • Care: Machine Wash
  • Price range (estimate): $25 – $40

If you want more coverage or generally finds that panties tend to ride up for you, this shape will suit you better. They look very sporty with the wide band. It is nice to make sure they don’t roll up and look flattering but think twice if you are also intend to wear another long baseyers in top of it with a similar wide waistband. They have moved the “normal” side seam forward for comfort, but there are still seam!

See on Icebreaker | Check price on Amazon

Best merino wool thong: Icebreaker Merino Siren Thong

  • Material: 83% Merino Wool, 12% Nylon, 5% LYCRA
  • Fabric Weight: 150g/m (Ultralight)
  • Construction: Offset seams
  • Best For: Daily wear, workout
  • Care: Machine Wash
  • Price range (estimate): $28

Thongs such as this one aren’t good for any long outdoor activities as you won’t beneficiate from the insulating property of the merino wool, but it will eventually end up to be irritating. That said this is the best cut if you want to keep your underwear invisible and therefore it is a very popular model for daily wear, casual travel or workout under a tight leggings or short.

See on Icebreaker | Check price on Amazon

Best bra

The real advantage for a merino wool bra’s no matter if it is to work out or to travel is that you can go a couple of days without washing it.

  • Material: 92% Wool, 8% Lycra
  • Construction: flatlock seams, Set-on band for extra support
  • Best for: Daily wear, workout, travel
  • Care: Machine Wash
  • Price range (estimate): $11 – $50

The fact that it is sooo odor resistant is amazing. I just literally hang it out in the sun after training and it is just as effective as washing them. I am a D and I find it good enough for my CrossFit training which typically include some running and weightlifting even if there is no elastic or support infrastructure as such. That fact means it wicks really well.
It is not as elastic as non merino wool bra though, which feels unusual to put on and off, and the shape can cause what some call a sports-bra-monoboob as there is no separation in the middle.
What made it a perfect travel bra was the fact that it could be used as a swimsuit if necessary as it not see through at all. The wool is fairly thick but I have never overheated in it.

Check price and sizes left on Amazon

Also great:

Unfortunately, it seems that Icebreaker doesn’t produce it at the moment, in which case we recommend the SmartWool Women’s Phd Seamless Racerback Elite Fit Bra as a good sports bra alternative. On the plus side, it is more flattering than the Rush Bra. What we don’t like is the fact that there is a outer shell, made of synthetic which prevents from proper wicking.
See on Smartwool | Check price and size on Amazon

Everyday bra: Icebreaker Merino Women’s Siren Bra

  • Material: 83% Merino Wool, 12% Nylon, 5% LYCRA
  • Fabric Weight: 150g/m (Ultralight)
  • Construction: No side seam construction, Adjustable straps
  • Best for: Daily wear, workout, A-B cup
  • Care: Machine Wash
  • Price range (estimate): $34.56 – $50.00

It looks more like a normal bra, minus the underwire. It is probably not good enough for running or burpees, especially for size C and above, but it is comfortable enough for daily wear and yoga type of activity. It comes with removable cups (if you don’t want nipples to show through) and adjustable straps which can be a plus for some.

See on Icebreaker | Check price on Amazon

Best long underwear bottoms

Best Merino Wool Tights: Wolford’s Merino Wool Tights

  • Material: 49% virgin wool, 49% nylon, 2% elastane (in waistband)
  • Fabric Weight: 150g/m (Ultralight)
  • Construction: Flat seams, reinforcement on the sole
  • Care: Machine Wash, 30°C on a gentle cycle
  • Price range (estimate): $55 – $80.00

Very high quality tights with flat seams and some reinforcement under the foot, both at the toe and heel. Available in several colours.

See on Wolford | Check price on Amazon

If you are looking for a pair of long bottom baselayer, read our in-depth review of 15 pairs of merino wool leggings here, ordered based on fabric weight and activity type. We can also check our recommendation for undershirts and camisoles here.

2 responses to “Best merino wool underwear for women

  1. Sadly Ibex went out of business leaving many fans of their balance briefs bereft. I finally found a comfortable, well made panty and now I can’t find it in my size anymore.
    A number of online reviewers commented that Smartwool’s Phd’s ride up into wedgies.
    What’s a gal to do?

    1. Try bamboo undies, we love the Boody range available online in a variety of shapes and sizes and in three colour options. I’m a size 12 or M being 96cm bust, 78 cm waist and 98 cm hips and I buy the medium from Boody though the midi briefs are a little large around the leg opening and aren’t as comfy as the classic bikini brief of which I own several, likewise I think I’m between sizes in the full brief as my legs are quite slim, so the leg opening is a little large but the full brief is still comfy I could probably go down a size. I wash the Boody underwear in a liquid detergent which is safe for woollens and safer for the environment and they look as if they are new. I never tumble dry them, just line dry.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *