The War of the Wools: Alpaca Socks vs. Merino Socks
In the world of wool, a few big players reign supreme — cashmere, mohair, angora, alpaca and merino. All have their benefits, but which one is the hero of the sock drawer? Today, we’re stacking up two of the biggest contenders, alpaca vs. merino, for a showdown like you’ve never experienced. If you don’t have time to read through the entire matchup, here’s a spoiler: 100% alpaca wool socks beat merino wool socks in every category.
What is Alpaca and Merino Wool?
- Alpaca Wool: Alpaca wool understandably comes from the wool of the alpaca, a South American camelid similar to a llama. It’s known for its exceptional softness, warmth, moisture-wicking breathability and naturally hypoallergenic, flame-retardant properties. Nearly as fine as cashmere, each minute hair is smoother giving it a luxuriously soft and subtle texture. When it comes to strength and durability, alpaca reigns supreme being the strongest of them all.
- Merino Wool: Merino wool comes from the wool of the merino sheep. It is also known for its softness and warmth, but many people find it itchy and irritating to the skin due to lanolin and dander. It also poses odor and discomfort challenges because it tends to hold moisture.
A Breakdown of Alpaca and Merino Performance
Let’s break it down, quality by quality. How does a pair of alpaca socks hold up to a pair of merino wool socks? Let’s take a look.
- Softness — Have you ever pet an alpaca at a farm or fair? Hugged one of those unbelievably soft alpaca wool stuffed animals? Then you already know who wins this one! These big, soft Camelid (yes, they are cousins to the camel) produce shearing with much fewer scales, making their wool significantly softer than merino. Because of this, it’s not nearly as scratchy or itchy as sheep’s wool. The luxurious, ultra-soft wool is also quite durable yet lightweight.
- Temperature — A good pair of socks is one that can adapt to your body’s temperature changes, keeping your tootsies at the perfect temp no matter the activity. Alpaca wool has microscopic pockets of air, which hold heat from your body when it’s cold out and wick away moisture when it’s warm out, keeping feet at the perfect temp.
- Moisture Absorbency — By and large, alpaca wool holds less moisture than sheep’s wool. In fact, sheep’s wool holds as much as 30% moisture, whereas alpaca wool holds 8% at most. Naturally, when you’re on your feet all day, especially when you’re being active, the last thing you want is wet socks weighed down by sweat that will only lead to stinky feet and create a fertile environment for bacteria.
- Protection and Comfort — People who spend a lot of time on their feet — nurses, construction workers, members of the military, etc. — know that cushy, protective socks are worth their weight in gold. Alpaca socks are silkier than merino ones, which helps provide a cushion against callus buildup, preventing corns and blisters. Our reinforced toe box and heels plus a smooth toe seam make these alpaca wool socks even more comfortable to wear.
- Allergies — Which one is better for people with allergies and sensitive skin? We’re glad you asked. Alpaca wool wins in this category too. Sheep’s wool, including merino wool, has lanolin, which can cause sensitivities in some people. Alpaca wool is naturally hypoallergenic and ideal for people with sensitive skin.
- Eco-Friendliness — Yep, they’re eco-friendly to boot! This is because alpaca socks are devoid of the hand labor required by cashmere and other fine wool. What’s more, they’re made under fair trade guidelines with far less ecological impact than other wool. Alpacas are never harmed to obtain their wool, rather it is an important part of good herd management, providing the farmer to see the body under loads of thermal wool.
The Winner: Amazing Alpaca
As you can see, alpaca wool totally takes the cake when it’s squared up against other kinds of wool. But the best way to compare these two wools for yourself is to slip on a pair of luxuriously soft alpaca wool socks from Warrior Alpaca Socks and take them for a stroll. With a full 30-day money back guarantee and free shipping on all qualifying domestic orders, there’s no reason not to try these revolutionary socks.
Why choose Warrior Alpaca?
We not only create fun, fashionable and practical socks, we consider the actual use of the socks and vary the content so that you get the best socks for your purpose. We put intention in every pair and craft them to go the extra mile, giving your feet (and you) a fighting chance.