Forget that image you have of scratchy old sweaters—Merino wool is so soft and fine you can wear it right next to the skin. “It’s the ideal material for sportswear, and is often used for base layers and socks”, says Bec Johnson of Banff Springs Ski & Mountain Sports. Unlike synthetics such as fleece, Merino resists absorbing odours. It’s machine washable, and because Merino is a natural fabric, it’s biodegradable. Depending on the weight, Merino garments can be comfortably worn in winter and summer.