Outlier Ultrafine Merino Review

15 Best Merino Wool Shirts for Travel and Everyday

15 Best Merino Wool Shirts for Travel and Everyday

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Outlier Ultrafine Merino Review

So, youre thinking about getting a Merino wool t-shirt. Whether this is your first or the final one to complete your travel clothing wardrobe, were here to help. Before we dive too far into the specific shirts we recommend, lets talk about a few things that make Merino wool special. If you want even more detail than what we discuss below, we have a complete guide on Merino Wool clothing.

What is Merino wool?

Merino wool is a specific kind of wool that comes from a variety of sheep first bred in Spain. As time passed and selective breeding changed the sheeps wool, Merino wool became a popular fabric for clothing.

Its finer than standard wool, making it softer and more comfortable than what youll find in a cheaper shirt. However, the biggest selling point for travel is that the material has antimicrobial properties, meaning that it slows the growth of odor-causing bacteria. This means you dont have to wash it as often, so you can cut down on the amount of clothing on your packing list. Plus, its solid at temperature regulation, making it a reliable option in warm, cold, and wet weather conditions. The best Merino t shirt will depend on your body and running temperature, so keep that in mind.

But wait, we arent done yet. Merino wool has natural elasticity, which adds comfort and strength long-term, offers sun protection, and is biodegradable. Seriously, this stuff is the real deal!

What is GSM, and how do Merino blends impact garment performance?

These properties are why Tom, our founder, started almost exclusively wearing Merino wool nearly a decade ago. We lean heavily on his experience and expertise in this post; thanks, Tom!

GSM, or grams per square meter, refers to the weight of the fabric. Typically, the higher the gsm, the thicker and warmer the fabric is. Not every shirt on this list is 100% Merino, meaning other materials are thrown in. Typically, these materials are nylon, elastane, or polyester. These are probably names youre familiar with, but they affect Merino differently.

We talked to Mac Bishop, the founder of Wool&Prince, to find out how the production process impacts Merino’s properties. According to Bishop, using a blend of synthetic fibers “significantly increases [the] durability of the fabric and lengthens the garments’ lifespan.” This can come in the form of mixing it at the fiber level, wrapping the fiber around a Merino wool core, or even Wool&Prince’s method of using “a filament-wrapped yarn with a wool core and two synthetic filaments” to reduce pilling and maintain a smooth feel. While all of that sounds very technical (because it is), most brands will explain the benefit of buying their blendor lack thereofdirectly on their page if you’re torn between which Merino wool shirt to choose.

What are the different kinds of Merino wool shirts?

Weve broken down Merino clothing into three categories based on our experience with different brands and fabric blends. Not every item on this list will fall into just one category, and some might not fit any of them perfectly, but its a general rule that will help us describe the clothing to you.

Daily driver: This is a casual shirt that can be dressed up or down, layered, and worn to work out in a pinch. These are the bread and butter of your packing list and will probably be your most worn shirt. We feel that these are the best Merino wool shirts for travel because of their versatility, but they may fall flat if your needs are more specific.

Athletic fit: These are meant to be used when you purposely push your heartbeat up, but they dont stop there. We look for this style if well be layering up because theyre usually more fitted, and sometimes we even prefer them for sleeping. While athletic fits can be worn casually, they often have more pronounced seams and hemlines, which looks more like a base layer than a casual t-shirt. Ultimately, it comes down to your preference.

Shiny shirts: Not all merino looks the same, and when youve tested enough of them like we have, youll start to notice that certain shirts have a sleek sheen to them. While polyester and nylon blends are incredibly common, they can impact the aesthetic of the shirt depending on if the Merino is on the outer or inner layer of the yarn, like we mentioned earlier. However, this isnt always the case. These are generally versatile shirts, but we think the shiny look gives it more of an athletic feel even if the shirt is designed for casual wear. However, the material blend means they often last longer and dont pill as fast, so thats worth mentioning. If long-lasting performance is your goal, these might be the best Merino t-shirts for your next trip.

1. Outlier Ultrafine Merino T-Shirt

Shirt type: Daily Driver

The Outlier Ultrafine Merino T-Shirt is one of Toms favorites, and for good reason. This 200 gsm shirt is made from 100% Merino wool, which gives you all of the benefits of the material. This means that it might not be as durable long-term as some of the blended options available, but weve been wearing this shirt almost daily for years and havent run into any issues yet. In fact, out of all the Merino wool shirts weve tested, this one has lasted longer than most and shows the least amount of wear. After years of use, theres some pilling, but less than most 100% Merino options on the market, which we dig. Because of its durability, breathability, and pure construction, this is one of the best Merino wool shirts on the market.

Theres no womens version available, so some readers might want to jump to the next item on this list. That said, the fit works well for most users, regardless of body type. Its boxy without being oversized, so it makes a great everyday shirt and is easy to dress up or down.

Why We Like It

  • In over a year of testing, theres minimal wear to the material compared to other 100% Merino shirts
  • The 200 gsm material is comfortable for everyday wear and layers well

What You Should Know

  • Theres no womens cut available
  • Weve noticed some pilling, although negligible

See Full Review & Buying Options

2. Wool & Prince V-Neck Tee

Wool & Prince V-Neck Tee In Use

Shirt type: Shiny

The Wool & Prince V-Neck Tee offers more durability than 100% Merino options because its a 22/78 Nylon/Merino wool blend, meaning that its just over three-quarters Merino. The nylon adds extra ruggedness, a little more elasticity, and helps slow the effects of pilling.

However, cutting out some of that Merino will come at a cost. This 160 gsm shirt is comfortable and has the same antimicrobial effects as others on this list, but it wont be as strong in either aspect due to the nylon weave. We still feel that this is one of the best Merino wool t shirt options on the market because of its versatility, but if youre after complete odor protection and the warmth and cooling properties Merino has to offer, look for a model that doesnt have any filler.

If youre looking for a feminine fit, check out Wool & Morgan V-Neck Tee, which is the womens cut of this shirt. It has all of the same features and is made with the same material but is designed with a feminine frame in mind.

Why We Like It

  • Minimal pilling after months of wear
  • Its lightweight 160 gsm construction also does well as a performance shirt

What You Should Know

  • Its only 78% Merino, so you lose out on some Merino wool properties
  • It comes in other cuts if youre not into the V-neck style

See Full Review & Buying Options

3. Unbound Merino Crew Neck T-Shirt

Unbound Merino Crew Neck T-Shirt Review

Shirt type: Daily Driver

Unbound Merino is another brand thats a household name for ultralight travelers and Merino-lovers alike. Overall, weve found that Unbounds materials pill slightly more than Outlier, but that isnt to say that this shirt doesnt hold up. Outlier is one of the best in the business, and wed place Unbound Merino just behind them in the rankings.

This shirt comes in at 190 gsm, so its a solid all-season option, and its crafted from 100% Merino. As weve covered, this will give you all the benefits the fabric offers, but it wont be as durable long-term as some of the blends available. It does well concerning pilling, even if it cant live up to the high standard Outlier has set for the Merino community at large.

Mens and womens versions are available, so everyone can find a cozy fit to travel the world, go to work, and exercise. Based on comfort, durability, and longevity, these are some of the best Merino wool shirts for travel.

Why We Like It

  • Its crafted from 100% Merino and comes in at 190 gsm, which is comfortable and breathable
  • There are mens and womens cuts available

What You Should Know

  • Weve noticed that the material pills slightly after a few washes
  • Soft material starts to feel a bit fuzzy after a while

See Full Review & Buying Options

4. Woolly Everyday Crew Tee

Woolly Everyday Review

Shirt type: Daily Driver

The Woolly Everyday Crew Tee comes in at a slightly lower price than some of the other 100% Merino wool options on this list, making it a solid budget option for those on a budget. Still, at roughly $65 a pop at the time of writing, we recommend you make sure this is the shirt for you before buying a whole travel backpack full of them!

At 175 gsm, this shirt does well year-round and can be worn casually or to work out. There are more colors available than were used to seeing from most Merino t shirts, which is a pleasant surprise. At the time of writing, theres Black, Charcoal, Grey, Deep Sea, Kale, Burgundy, and a blend of Kale and Grey with a front pocket. Plus, theres a feminine variety, too, so everyone can find a comfortable shirt for their next trip. There are even more colorways in that category, which is a nice bonus.

Why We Like It

  • Its one of the more budget-friendly 100% Merino options on this list
  • The price tag is lower than we usually see for shirts of this type

What You Should Know

  • It will start to pill quickly, though its not unmanageable
  • The visible stitching on the seams gives it a more athletic vibe

See Details & Buying Options

5. Proof 72-Hour Tee

Proof 72-Hour Tee

Shirt type: Shiny

As the name describes, the Proof 72-Hour Merino T-Shirt is meant to be worn more than once between washes. Thats true for any Merino shirt, but this one is in the name, so its hard to get by without mentioning it.

There are two versions of this shirtPerformance and Classic. Both boast 87% Merino wool and 13% nylon, which adds durability and structure. You arent going to get 100% of the effects of the Merino wool, but an A- never hurt anyone, right?

At the time of writing, the Performance model comes in a mind-boggling 17 colorways, so all your shirts dont need to be black, gray, and brown. Were not hating on those colors, but a little originality never hurt. Theres no womens version available at the time of writing.

Why We Like It

  • The Merino/nylon blend adds structure and durability
  • There are 17 colorways to choose from, an oddity regarding Merino wool

What You Should Know

  • It isnt 100% Merino, so you wont get all the perks
  • Theres no womens cut available at the time of writing

See Full Review & Buying Options

6. Duckworth Vapor Tee

Duckworth Vapor Tee Review

Shirt type: Athletic

Were fans of the Duckworth Vapor Tees saturated colorways, which arent all that common, even for shirts with multiple color options. Its crafted from 38% Merino wool, 50% polyester, and 12% modal. This isnt a Merino majority, which may make it difficult to justify the near $70 price tag. That said, its a more durable option, making it ideal for travelers who are more rough with their gear. At 150 gsm, its comfortable and fairly lightweight compared to the other shirts on this list. Its pretty thin, but its also very soft, so this is great if you like wearing shirts that walk the line between everyday and lounge.

Weve noticed the shirt is starting to get a little fuzzy after a few wears, and were a little concerned about the neckline stretching out over time because of how its stitched together. That said, its holding up well overall.

We dig that there are mens and womens fits are available, too. For those looking for a durable option with Merino properties that take a bit of the backburner, this is one of the best Merino wool shirts.

Why We Like It

  • At 150 gsm, its a comfortable shirt for working out and daily use
  • There are mens and womens fits available, both of which are comfortable

What You Should Know

  • The shirt is only 38% Merino, which is on the lower end
  • The material started to get fuzzy after only one wash

See Details & Buying Options

7. Ibex 24 Hour Short Sleeve Crew

Ibex 24 Hour Review

Shirt type: Athletic

The Ibex 24 Hour Short Sleeve Crew offers a casual fit that works while traveling, working from home, working out, or hanging out with friends. You can layer it in a pinch to stay warm in cold weather, too. Its crafted from 100% Merino, so youll get the full force of the Merino properties while wearing this shirt.

It comes in at 165 gsm, which is lightweight if you want to layer but more than capable of holding its own. There are four colorways available at the time of writing, which offer higher saturation that were used to seeing. Typically, 100% Merino shirts are base colors, so more colorful options are fun. Theres a womens version, too, and while the neckline is a scoop, the rest of the shirt is a pretty similar cut, and there are a few additional colorways available.

Because of the breathability and versatility offered by the 100% Merino construction and lightweight nature of the fabric, this is one of the best Merino t shirt models on the market for active travelers who like to stay comfortable all day long.

Why We Like It

  • With 100% Merino wool and 165 gsm of materials, its a comfortable fit that breathes and layers well
  • There are more saturated options available compared to the greys and blacks of other brands

What You Should Know

  • The cut looks sporty, which takes away from a more everyday look
  • Some users note that the material is slightly scratchy

See Details & Buying Options

8. Smartwool Merino Short Sleeve Tee

Smartwool Merino Review

Shirt type: Athletic

The Smartwool Merino Short Sleeve Tee isnt 100% Merino; however, the blend ensures that Merino is always touching your skin because of how the yarn is spun, enabling you to get the most out of the fabric while enjoying the extra durability offered by the 12% nylon thrown into the mix.

Mens and womens cuts are available, with eight colorways available for the former and seven for the latter at the time of writing. This is a daily driver thatll take you where you want to go, from the office to the gym and the bar. Despite not being 100% Merino wool, the way its blended ensures you get the most out of the antimicrobial and moisture-wicking properties, making this a solid choice as one of the best Merino t shirt models on the market.

Why We Like It

  • Despite not being 100% Merino, the design of the yarn ensures that the good stuff is always touching your skin
  • The mens and womens versions have unique styles and colorways

What You Should Know

  • At 88% Merino, you wont get all the properties weve listed here
  • Because the Merino fibers are on the exterior, pilling still tends to occur after a few washes

See Details & Buying Options

9. Icebreaker Merino Sphere II Short Sleeve T-Shirt

Icebreaker Merino Sphere ii Review

Shirt type: Athletic

The Icebreaker Merino Sphere II Short Sleeve Shirt was made to work out, but you can wear it for just about anything. Its a 60/40 blend of Lyocell and Merino, which isnt the most favorable on this list; however, the Lyocell adds durability and helps retain a soft feel for working out, hanging out, and traveling.

Mens and womens versions are available, and there are numerous colorway options, so you can find something that fits your packing list and the vibes youre trying to attain from your clothing on your next trip. After all, everyone needs a shirt that matches their sling, right?

While this isnt even close to being the cheapest shirt on this list, its a durable option with Merino capabilities, so you shouldnt rule it out for your next trip. After all, the best Merino wool shirts for travel are different for everyone!

Why We Like It

  • The Lyocell/Merino blend is durable and stretchy, making it a perfect option for comfort and working out
  • Its incredibly soft for the blend of materials

What You Should Know

  • The price is steep for a 60/40 blend shirt
  • The athletic cut wont work for everyone, but it is comfortable

See Details & Buying Options

10. Woolx Endurance Tee

Woolx Endurance Review

Shirt type: Daily Driver

If youre looking for a shirt that can do it all, look no further than the Woolx Endurance Tee. Theres a womens version, too, dubbed the Woolx Addie Short Sleeve Crew. It walks the walks, talks the talk, and is uber comfortable. Coming in at 150 gsm and an 85% Merino, 12% Nylon, and 3% Spandex blend. Its pretty lightweight, making it comfortable to wear year-round; plus, the nylon adds durability, and the spandex helps keep the shirt wrinkle-free and stretchy.

Whether going to the airport, hitting the gym, or hopping between bars after a long travel day, the Woolx Endurance Tee will get you there and ensure youre comfortable and look good when you get there. Considering the durability, Merino properties, and versatility, this has to be one of the best Merino wool shirts on the market.

Why We Like It

  • The blend includes some spandex, which adds stretch and comfort
  • Theres a dedicated womens cut

What You Should Know

  • Weve noticed pilling after a few washes
  • Its only 85% Merino and the shirt is 150 gsm, which isnt great as a baselayer

See Details & Buying Options

11. Unbound Merino Compact Travel Hoodie

ino-compact-travel-hoodie-sitting

Shirt type: Daily Driver

We know what you might be thinking: $250 for a zip-up sweatshirt? Seriously? We get that, but hear us out.

The Unbound Merino Compact Travel Hoodie is one of Toms favorites, and for good reason. It comes in at 250 gsm, thicker than most of the clothing on this list, so youll get more warmth out of it. Its crafted from 97% Merino, which offers all the great qualities weve mentioned throughout this piece, and 3% elastane, which adds durability and helps the hoodie stretch more.

At the time of writing, there are five colorways available, all of which are sleek, so this will go with all the clothing you take on a trip. Thanks to the 250 gsm fabric we mentioned earlier, it has an excellent warmth-to-weight ratio and is highly packable. However, if youve got heavy items in either of the pockets, weve noticed itll sag slightly, so we use them more for hand-warming than storage.

There isnt a womens cut at the time of writing, which will deter some travelers. That said, this thing is cozy regardless of your body shape, and we find the fit to be pretty neutral anyway. Despite only working in certain climates, this is one of the best Merino wool shirts for any season if you get cold easily!

Why We Like It

  • The 250 gsm construction is excellent for layering and staying warm
  • Simple style is versatile for different weather and occasions

What You Should Know

  • The cost is an investment if youre a big fan of Merino wool, though may not be for you if youre unsure
  • The materials stretch a lot, making the pockets look saggy with heavier items inside

See Full Review & Buying Options

12. Western Rise Limitless Merino Button-Down Shirt

Western Rise Limitless Merino Button Down Shirt In Detroit

Shirt type: Daily Driver

Just because you want a Merino shirt doesnt mean you should sacrifice looking professional for work or fancy for a date. The Western Rise Limitless Merino Button-Down Shirt solves that issue, as its button-down construction works for both scenarios.

This mens cut is crafted from 53% Merino and 47% polyester, so you get a mix of Merino benefits with the durability and elasticity of polyester. There are five colorways to choose from, so you can get something that matches your favorite business or date night slacks.

We noticed pilling after a short time of testing, though it wasnt enough to ruin the aesthetic of the shirt for us; it just isnt as clean as it will be when you purchase it. Be sure to follow the washing instructions, as this can lengthen its life and how long it looks crispy. If youre in the market for something Merino thats fancier than the t-shirts on this list, this might be one of the best Merino wool shirts for you.

Why We Like It

  • Its comfortable and durable thanks to the polyester blend
  • It isnt too fancy, so it can be dressed up or down

What You Should Know

  • Its just 53% Merino, minimizing the effects of the material
  • The pilling is noticeable after just two weeks of testing

See Full Review & Buying Options

13. Wool & Prince Button-Down Oxford

Wool & Prince Button Down Oxford In Detroit

Shirt type: Daily Driver

Most of the time, the biggest complaint about Merino wool is that it pills or isnt very durable. Tom has been wearing the Wool & Prince Button-Down Oxford for over three years, and his original shirt still looks nearly as crisp and clean as it did the day he purchased it. Considering that, the variable price between roughly $130 and $150 doesnt seem so bad.

There are multiple versions of this shirt available. You can choose between 130, 170, and 210 gsm models depending on how thick you like your collared shirts to be. There are regular, slim, and tall fits for different body shapes, and weve got five colorways to choose from at the time of writing. Hows that for customizability?

All three versions are 100% Merino wool, but a blend option with a 76/24 Merino/Linen construction is also available. Linen is typically softer and is natural, which are perks.

This shirt is comfortable and breathable and offers all the perks of wearing Merino wool youd want for travel. Its a little hot in warm weather, but apart from that, this is one of the best Merino wool shirts for those who need to bring a button-down on their next trip.

Why We Like It

  • After over three years of testing, the materials are still holding up without pilling
  • There are 130, 170, and 210 gsm options available for every climate and preference

What You Should Know

  • The price is higher than most of the shirts on this list
  • They tend to run warm when the temperature rises

See Full Review & Buying Options

14. Wool & Prince Heavy Crew Neck

Wool & Prince Heavy Crew Neck

Shirt type: Daily Driver

Having a shirt that works as a base layer or can be worn as-is works well while traveling. If that shirt is crafted from Merino wool, youll have more reasons to pack it for your next trip. Enter the Wool & Prince Interlock Sweatshirt. Its 300 gsm construction adds warmth to your outfit as a base layer, and the exterior is polished enough to be worn without anything over it.

The sweatshirt has a 78% Merino 22% nylon blend, which wont have the same qualities as a 100% Merino shirt but offers added durability thanks to the nylon. Its a cozy offering from Will & Prince that will fit nicely into your packing list, no matter the destination.

Why We Like It

  • The 300 gsm construction makes it a solid option as a base layer
  • You can wear it as a stand-alone shirt when push comes to shove

What You Should Know

  • Its only 78% Merino, which is on the lower end of some of the more expensive shirts on this list
  • The tighter fit wont work for everyone

See Full Review & Buying Options

15. Ridge Merino Aspect Midweight Merino Wool Base Layer Long Sleeve Shirt

Ridge Aspect Midweight Review

Shirt type: Daily Driver

For ages, Merino wool was known as a luxury item\, but after some brands began to offer budget-friendly prices for quality products, it opened the door to Merino wool for more travelers.

The Ridge Aspect Midweight Merino Wool is a solid baselayer, a great option for working out on chilly mornings, and comes in five colorways (at the time of writing). The material is an 84% Merino 16% nylon blend, which is durable and comfortable. The shirt comes in at 180 gsm, which is comfortable for most situations, though a little on the thicker side when it comes to workout shirts.

In addition to being comfortable and durable, this shirt offers UPF 50+ protection from the suns rays, which is ideal for warm climates. Plus, theres a womens cut, too, so everybody can find the perfect fit. If youre looking for a base layer that can work as a workout or pajama shirt, this might be one of the best Merino wool shirts for you.

Why We Like It

  • Its one of the more budget-friendly options on this list and offers UPF 50+ protection
  • Some users have noted pilling after roughly a month of use

What You Should Know

  • It isnt the most stylish shirt, so it might be better as a base layer
  • Its just 84% Merino, so you wont get all the perks of some of the shirts on this list

See Details & Buying Options

So there you have it! Some of the best (and softest) Merino wool shirts that work well for travel. Whether you’re looking for a dedicated airplane shirt, something you can wear to work, or want to expand your clothing horizons; hopefully, you’ve added something to your cart already.

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Hi, I’m Steven, a Florida native, who left my career in corporate wealth management six years ago to embark on a summer of soul searching that would change the course of my life forever.

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