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Activewear

The athlete wear-test with wool


With its unrivalled breathability, moisture management properties and odour control, there’s no denying that wool is the ultimate performance fibre.

To prove it, we put wool to the ultimate test, with three Australian athletes – three-time Olympic middle-distance runner Jeff Riseley, elite rock climber and Ninja Warrior contestant Andrea Hah, and former Houston Ballet dancer Rhys Kosakowski – wearing head-to-toe wool for their workouts. Here, we captured them as they sprinted and stretched, climbed and crunched during their daily routineswearing lightweight pieces from the likes of Devold, Black Diamond, APL and Nagnata.

“Wool minimises the need for multiple layers that need to be shed as a run goes on, making it really versatile.”

Jeff Riseley, Olympic middle-distance runner

For Kosakowski, the lightness and stretch of the garments was what really gave them extra appeal. “The feeling of the clothes was what really surprised me, because everything was really soft and fine,” he says. “It almost felt as though I wasn’t wearing clothes, which as a dancer is excellent as it gives me the freedom to physically move.”

Riseley agrees, noting in particular wool’s ability to regulate body temperature and minimise moisture. “I typically find it difficult to find a product that can keep me warm early in a run when I’m still cold, and that can cope once I’ve warmed up so that I don’t overheat or sweat. Wool minimises the need for multiple layers that need to be shed as a run goes on, making it really versatile.”

“I love that I don’t have to do multiple outfit changes between running on the trails, climbing on the cliffs or training indoors.”

Andrea Hah, elite rock climber

Hah was already comfortable with the benefits of wool, given the prevalence of the fibre in rock climbing apparel, however technical developments meant that many of the newer garments performed even better than she imagined. “There’s a fine balance between being too hot while climbing, too cold while belaying, and not wanting to wear too many layers, which can feel restrictive and cumbersome while trying to move freely,” she explains.

“The wool I wore was amazing at regulating the temperature. Living in the Blue Mountains (New South Wales, Australia) exposes me to large variations in climate, so this is really important. I love that I don’t have to do multiple outfit changes between running on the trails, climbing on the cliffs or training indoors.”

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