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Merino wool t-shirts men and women

Top merino wool t-shirts in 2019

Why do people love Merino wool t-shirts SOO much (even though the sticker price can make you wince)?

Well, it has a lot to do with experiences like this:

“The best t-shirts I have. I wore the same shirt every day for about 20 days while I travelled in Alaska, hiked in the Utah desert and rafted down the Green River. It kept me warm when I was cold, cool when I was hot and really didn’t smell at any point.”

In a hurry? Here’s a quick overview of the t-shirts I recommend as the two best merino wool t-shirts for everything from casual hiking to hardcore ultralight backpacking or wearing to work. You’ll find more recommendations further down below.

My wife is an avid minimalist traveller who swears by merino wool, so she gave me these two recommendations for women, and you will find the best merino wool tank tops here.

Below you’ll find a deeper review of our top selection as well as a review of 13 different merino wool t-shirts based on what type of activity you’re interested in and we help you navigate with a table of content

But first, if you are not sure yet of what are the advantages of a t-shirt in merino wool over synthetics or cotton ones, here is a summary:

Merino wool is a very high-performance fabric that is really comfortable and smooth to wear.

You might be thinking that wool should be itchy, and you’re right for most wools. Merino wool isn’t itchy because the fibers are incredibly fine (as low as 17 microns in some cases).

However, the real benefits of merino wool boil down to its antibacterial properties, its natural wicking, and insulating properties.

What are the Benefits for Hikers & Ultra-minimalist Travellers?

Merino wool t-shirts have achieved cult status amongst hikers, backpackers, and ultra-minimalist travels, because they pack down well, and their performance qualities mean that you can reuse them day after day without odor.

In fact, in extreme conditions, experts caution that “cotton kills”, and advise wool as a base layer.

Antibacterial Properties

We all hate stinking, don’t we? But when you have to go without a shower for days, it is highly unlikely that you won’t experience foul odours and pools of sweat. However, if you wearing a merino wool t-shirt, you don’t have to worry about the smell. You see, merino wool has a very high-resistance towards bacteria thanks to the lanolin wax in wool, which is antibacterial, allowing you to remain odour-free. So, even if you wear one shirt for a fortnight without washing it or taking a shower, it still won’t smell.

Highly Insulating

Ultra-fine merino wool is full of air pockets that trap air around your body. This insulating effect will keep you warm when it’s cold outside. On the flip side, however, it will also keep you cooler in warmer climates. This “regulating” effect even works when merino is wet. This has spawned the phrase in outdoors communities that “cotton kills”, as you’ll start to lose body heat if your cotton clothes get wet.

Natural Wicking

Merino wool doesn’t allow any kind of moisture to permeate the fabric and make its way towards your skin due to its natural wicking properties that come from certain fatty acids. Unlike synthetic fibers, merino wool doesn’t repel the water, it absorbs it from the fibers and swells up. Regardless of whether you’re sweating head-to-toe or it’s raining hard on the terrain, merino wool t-shirts will feel dry as they will protect your body against all kinds of moisture, which also allows them to be warm and comfy.

Baselayers made out of merino wool are particularly effective because the #1 job of a base layer is to keep you dry.

Biodegradable

Merino wool is a 100% natural fabric, and unlike most factory-produced fabrics, it is biodegradable, which basically means that it is derived from nature and it returns back to nature.

Cut and Style: The Features To Look For in Your Merino Wool T-Shirt

The Fit: typically, t-shirts can have a relaxed fit or a tighter body fit. The more relaxed the fit, the harder it is to layer it under an additional layer, while you can wear a very thin layer under several other layers.

Engineered Mesh Construction: often this can be side panels or on the back placed in high-sweat areas to help ventilation and breathability. This can be good for when training or hiking with a backpack.

Raglan Sleeve: for better mobility and less chafing while carrying a backpack.

The Neck Line: whether you prefer a crew neck, a V-neck or a boat neck, it mostly comes down to what is the most flattering for you and what is the most convenient when it comes to your layering strategy with the rest of your outfit.

Merino Wool Rocks T-shirts review

The Best Contemporary Everyday Merino Wool T-shirts for Men

These are perfect for wearing in your day-to-day life. The best you can pick out for your backpacking trips, sightseeing, and contemporary casual wear, or even for the office. These incredibly soft t-shirts feature a versatile design, with quality that is suitable for all kinds of activities and occasions.

  • Material: 78% merino wool, 22% Nylon
  • Wool weight: 17.5 micron (the lower, the softer)
  • Construction: 160 g/m²
  • Made for: Casual business wear
  • Fit: Slim, Regular
  • Care: machine washable, gentle cycle on cold
  • Price: $68

The only reason this one did not make it our top pick is because Wool&Prince did not fully crack the 100% merino wool tee as their model requires to be hand-washed only to be durable. So they came up with a unique technic to blend their wool with nylon to be truly durable and travel-worthiness. It exists in many colors as well as V-neck cut and is machine wash cold.

See on Wool & Prince


Also great:


  • Material: 100% Merino
  • Micron: 15.5 (the lower, the softer)
  • Fabric weight: 205g/m²
  • Care: machine washable – dry flat
  • Best for: Everyday urban wear
  • Price (estimate): $148

For one, it is made of 100% wool. And they have nailed it. In top of all the benefits of merino wool (of not stinking, drying fast etc), it also doesn’t pill, I haven’t made a whole in it while putting under intensive test over the last 6 months, and yet it is still machine washable!
If there is one thing to be noticed is the fact that at 205gsm, it is heavier than most t-shirt which gives it a drape effect looking luxurious. While I was concerned it might feel too hot above 25/75 degrees, this has not been the case.
Finally, the exceptionally low micron (15.5!) crowns it the best everyday merino wool t-shirt in our eyes.
It exists in black as well as in a few other colors.

See on Outlier


The Best Merino Wool T-shirts for Hiking, Sports and Outdoors for Men

These options are better suited for outdoor, sportswear and travelling. The material of these recommendations tends to be a blend of merino with some synthetic meaning that if you lose a little bit on the smell retention side, they tend to dry quicker and are lighter than our everyday recommendations above.

  • Material: 100% Merino Wool
  • Micron: 17.5 (the lower the softer)
  • Fabric weight: 170 g/m2, 186 grams
  • Construction: Tagless, Flat Lock Seams
  • Care: machine washable
  • Best for: Everyday Wear, Hiking
  • Price range (estimate): $55 – $75

The fit is very nice. I am fairly tall and I can appreciate the length.

However, ideally, you would want the length of the sleeve to be mid-bicep and lightly hug your arm. As you can see in the picture below, it is not the case for me. I have too much slack around my biceps.
On the plus side, it would offer a lot of protection when hiking in the sun. And note that you could always consider having a tailor slim the sleeves to fit your arms better if the rest fits you well. Minus33 is a great option if you’re on a budget, as they are very reasonably priced and are available in different colors.

Tom from Merino Wool Rocks wearing the Minus33 Merino Wool Algonquin t-shirt in sand color

Regarding quality, the fact that it has no tags and flatlock seams means that you can confidently bring it with you on hikes or other sports activities without risking scratching or chaffing.

It is one of the rare 100% wool t-shirts that can still be found out there, and being able to enjoy the full potential and benefit of the merino wool is amazing. On the downside, even if it is machine washable, you might want to give it some extra care and simply dry it flat. Remember that 100% merino wool can just literally be hung out in the sun after a few wears and it will be just as effective as washing them.

Minus33 is a great option if you’re on a budget, as they are very reasonably priced compared to pricier brands.

See on Minus33 | Check price on Amazon


The Best Merino Wool T-shirts for Women

  • Material: 100% Merino Wool
  • Micron: 17.5 (the lower, the softer)
  • Fabric weight: 160g/m²
  • Construction: Tagless, Flat Lock Seams
  • Care: machine washable
  • Best for: Run, Training, Travel
  • Price range (estimate): $39 – $59

Nice classic fit with a flattering round neck line. WoolX is a great option if you are not willing to compromise on the performance of the merino wool, as they are very reasonably priced.

Regarding quality, the fact that it has flatlock seams means that you can confidently bring it with you on hikes or other sports activities without risking rubbing or chaffing.

Keep in mind that even if it is machine washable, you might want to give it some extra care and simply dry it flat. Remember that 100% merino wool can just literally be hung out in the sun after a few wears and it will be just as effective as washing them.

See on WoolX | Check price on Amazon


Also great for women:


To see other short sleeves top for women, you can have a look at our merino wool tank selection here. Keep scrolling to the bottom of the page for long sleeves t-shirts for women.


Best Merino Wool men polo

  • Material: 78% merino wool, 22% Nylon
  • Wool weight: 17.5 micron (the lower, the softer)
  • Construction: 160 g/m²
  • Made for: Casual business wear
  • Fit: Slim, Regular
  • Care: machine washable, gentle cycle on cold
  • Price: $78

Similarly than for their t-shirts, Wool&Prince offers their polo in their 78/22 merino and nylon blend as well as in 100% merino wool if you are willing to wash it per hand and want zero compromises on the performance of the merino wool. Otherwise, as all clothing from Wool&Prince, the fit and cut of this polo are just perfect. You can wear it every day for work and no-one will notice you are wearing wool or something typically reserved for the outdoors or sports gear.

See on Wool&Prince


Also great for men:

WoolX Men’s Summit Polo in grey

WoolX Men’s Summit Polo

  • Material: 83% merino wool – 12% nylon – 5% spandex
  • Fabric weight: 180 g/m2 (lightweight)
  • Fiber size: 17.5 microns (ultrafine)
  • Features: raglan sleeves, flatlock seams, machine washable, tagless

More sporty look thanks to the ranglan sleeves which allow for better shoulder mobility and reduce chaffind if you are carrying a backpack.

See on WoolX | Check price on Amazon

Long Sleeve Merino Wool T-Shirts for Men and Women

  • Material: 100% Merino
  • Micron: 18.5 (the lower, the softer)
  • Fabric weight: 250g/m² (mid-weight)
  • Best for: Everyday wear Spring to Fall, Multipurpose base layer in Winter
  • Construction: raglan cut to prevent chaffing while carrying a backpack, flatlocked seams
  • Fit: Hip Length, Relaxed Fit so it is easy to layer and gives you room to breathe
  • Care: Machine Wash Cold
  • Price range (estimate): $60

The round crew neck offers good coverage to keep you warm. It exists in black as well as other plain colors. Beware that the black might catch some dust. The material feels very durable compared to other merino I have.

See on Meriwool’s website | Check price on Amazon


Also great for men:

Ticonderoga Men’s Lightweight Wool Crew by Minus33

  • Material: 100% merino wool
  • Fabric weight: 170 g/m2 (lightweight)
  • Fiber size: 17.5 microns (ultrafine)
  • Features: flatlock seams, machine washable, tagless

This long-sleeved t-shirt from Minus33 is a great choice for outdoors and hiking. A little lighter than the option above, it will work great by itself in the Summer in chillier morning conditions or mostly as a baselayer in Winter. Minus33 products tend to come with more technical features such as flatlock seams, tagless construction and regular fit. Side note that Minus33 also offers a heavier 230g/m2 version called Chocourua, which can be worn as pull-over in moderate conditions that is also very popular.

See on Minus33 | Check price on Amazon


To see other long sleeve t-shirt options for men, you can have a look at our baselayer selection here.


  • Material: 84% Merino, 16% Nylon
  • Micron: 18.5 (the lower, the softer)
  • Fabric weight: 180g/m² (mid-weight)
  • Best for: Snow baselayers, Running, Hiking, Multipurpose first layer, Fall to Sring seasons
  • Construction: raglan cut to prevent chaffing while carrying a backpack, flatlocked seams
  • Features: Discrete thumbholes just when you need it – helpful to layer and keep your hands warm
  • Fit: Hip Length, Relaxed Fit so it is easy to layer and gives you room to breathe
  • Care: Machine Wash Warm (40° C)
  • Price range (estimate): $70

This is the new version replacing their popular 100% merino Inversion modal. Even if the Aspect is made of 16% Nylon construction, it has never smelled (I have tried really hard!).

Very soft, I have been pretty much wearing it all Winter around the house. This relaxed fit top has been the perfect top to keep me warm in the cold gym where I train, as well as through the days I got the flu with body temperature rising up and down.

The round crew neck offers good coverage to keep you warm. It exists in black as well as other plain colors. Beware that the black might catch some dust. The material feels very durable compared to other merino I have.

They get a plus point for the raglan sleeves. Not only good to prevent chafing, it also help with shoulder mobility which been a great thing when doing Ski Erg during my last CrossFit competition!

Merino wool rocks ridge

See on Ridge’s website | Check price on Amazon


  • Material: 100% Merino wool
  • Fabric weight: 200g/m²
  • Best for: All year long baselayers, top layer in Summer, Everyday Wear
  • Construction: raglan cut to prevent chaffing while carrying a backpack, flatlocked seams
  • Fit: Scoop/boat style Neck and Slim fit so it can be worn with a variety of tops
  • Care: Machine Wash Warm (40° C)
  • Price range (estimate): $90

I have bought my first Oasis Long Sleeve Scoop t-shirt back in 2015 and it has been one of my preferred basic ever since. In terms of durability, I am currently wearing my 3rd one. It gets a whole after one year of heavy wearing which I think is okay for a classic I wear all the time.

It is a thin top that will keep you warm in the Winter. The scoop neck, as well as the slim fit, makes it easier to wear under another top compared to a crew neck or regular fit t-shirt.

The cut is so flattering, even though it does get a bit looser after a few days of wear, that you wouldn’t know that it is a thermal clothing. It just looks like a normal top.

See on Icebreaker’s website | Check price on Amazon

5 responses to “Top merino wool t-shirts in 2019

  1. I am having trouble deciding on two shirts for minimalist travel. I am looking for something in black that is a t shirt and can be worn all year round. I don’t want a sports “ tech” looking shirt because that’s just does not fit in city life but I want it to be versatile.

    1. Go with the Outlier ULTRAFINE MERINO T-SHIRT (they do it in black). Tom has been wearing it constantly for the last 6 months. He finds it to be a good mix of performance and style with exceptional high quality material.

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