According to me, the most underrated summer essential has to be the merino wool shirt.
It is light, it is comfortable, and it keeps you cool; yet I don’t see a lot of people wearing them in the streets. Heck, most people are not even aware that merino wool shirts exist. They hear merino wool and their mind instantly pictures thick sweaters perfect for the winter.
But in this guide, I will try to examine merino wool shirts objectively by taking a look at their pros and cons. In the end, I will provide you with a definite answer about whether you need merino shirts in your closet or not.
But if you don’t have time, here’s the short answer.
Are merino wool shirts worth it?
Merino wool shirts are definitely worth it. They are durable, quick-drying, and great for the summer season. You also don’t need to wash them after every wear. The longevity of merino shirts also makes them a smart investment.
In the rest of this guide, I will be talking in much more detail about the pros and cons of merino shirts so that you can make an informed decision for your wardrobe.
Pros Of Merino Wool Shirts
They are very durable
Compared to other summer staples such as linen shirts and cotton shirts, merino wool shirts are extremely durable.
Merino wool is a thicker material compared to these fabrics and thus manages to last quite often. You may be scared by seeing the up-front cost of a merino wool shirt, but in the long run, they often end up being cheaper than cotton due to their longevity.
In fact, I have personal experience with this. About 4 or 5 years ago, I bought a merino shirt from Smartwool. It’s been the workhorse of my summer wardrobe for a long time now. Yet it still looks like it has been bought yesterday.
They don’t need to be washed often
One of the biggest reasons that people go for merino wool shirts is that they don’t stink if not washed. You can go about 4-7 wears without anyone really noticing or smelling anything.
Now, this is great if you are going camping or hiking and won’t have access to a washing machine, but it’s also great if you are just a lazy guy. I am not big on camping or the outdoors in general, but even I don’t wash my merino shirts until I have worn them at least 3 times.
Merino wool shirts are great for the summer season
Although most people are unaware of this, merino wool is as good a fabric in the summers as it is in the winters.
The fibers of merino wool have such a structure that they can easily regulate the body temperature of a person. What this basically means that in cold weather, merino would make you feel warm, and in warm weather, it will keep you cool.
Merino wool is also very lightweight and thus is the perfect fabric for summer shirts.
Merino wool shirts are quick drying
Another great reason for buying a merino shirt is that they dry extremely quickly. And they don’t stick to your body when wet.
Merino wool shirts take about an hour to dry under a ceiling fan, and a couple of hours if they are hang dried. But of course, all these numbers depend a lot on the weight of the fabric.
And if it’s a blend, it will usually take even lesser time to completely dry itself. I have gotten the most success with a merino wool-polyester blend in this regard.
Cons Of Merino Wool Shirts
Merino wool t-shirts can shrink
This is not exactly a con, because merino wool t-shirts can only shrink if you don’t wash them in the right manner, but still for the sake of transparency I decided to include it.
You should always wash merino wool shirts in cold water. You can either hand-wash them or machine-wash them, but make sure that you don’t use hot water. And what is perhaps equally important is that you should never put them in the dryer.
The high heat in the dryer will certainly make them shrink. It is much better to let merino shirts air-dry. Hanging them on a clothesline may lead to stretching, so just lay them flat under a ceiling fan and you would be fine.
No white color
Merino wool shirts are not available in white. Now, I don’t know if this is due to the fabric or it’s just general practice, but I have never been able to find a white-colored merino shirt.
And I have looked hard.
I have searched for them online, in brick-and-mortar stores, and in secondhand marketplaces, but no sign of a white merino shirt.
So if white is your favorite color, then I am sorry to disappoint because you will need to get the shirt in your second favorite color instead.
How Much Do Merino Wool Shirts Cost?
Depending upon the quality that you are going for, merino wool shirts can cost as little as $30 to as much as $80.
With merino wool, you pretty much get what you pay for. So, depending upon your budget and the quality that you desire, you can select the price point at which you want to buy a shirt.
You can also read this article that I wrote about the cost of merino wool and the best places to find merino wool for cheap.
NOTE: You should never pay less than 30 bucks for a merino shirt, because then what are you buying is probably not real merino. Similarly, you should never pay more than $80 for them, as that means that the product is probably overpriced.
So, Are Merino Wool Shirts Worth It?
Merino wool shirts are definitely worth the price. They are very durable and tend to last for years. When you factor in the longevity of these garments, there is no doubt that buying merino wool shirts is definitely worth it.
Now, it’s important to be objective, so I will tell you what I mean by “worth it” here. For me, an item is “worth it” when it provides me more value than what I paid for it. This increase in value can also be considered synonymous with Return on Investment or ROI for short.
For me, merino shirts are definitely worth it because the price I pay for them is quite less when compared to the value they provide me by making me look stylish and keeping my body at the perfect temperature at the same time for a number of years.
If this is also what you are looking for from your shirts, think no more. Merino wool is just the right fabric for you. But if you need some more motivation, go through the pros and cons list above and come to your own conclusion.
My name is Alex Higson and I am the founder of Magic Of Clothes. I have worked in the fashion industry for many years, and clothes and style are a huge part of my life.