Thanks to our more active lifestyles and casual approach to dressing, runners are undoubtedly one of the most popular items in today's global market. The success of wool in footwear lies not only in the fibre’s natural properties, but also in its ability to be constructed in a way that aids performance.
Using the latest fully-fashioned knitting technology, wool footwear can be knitted to its final shape, reducing the amount of wastage associated with regular cut-and-sew techniques.
Wool fibres can absorb large quantities of moisture vapour and then allow it to evaporate, helping keep you cool when it's hot and warm when it's cool.
In contrast to synthetics, Merino wool can absorb large amounts of moisture vapour which means less sweat on your foot. Merino wool even absorbs and locks away the odour molecules from sweat, which are only released upon washing.
Innovative design and manufacture enhance wool’s natural breathability, allowing for seamless design for the entire shoe, including a breathable sole, keeping your foot dry and comfortable.
How it works
Gone are the days of wool only being used for slippers; high performance wool sneakers and other varieties of innovative wool shoes are on the rise.
One such example is to enhance the shape as well as natural elasticity of the footwear thanks to the advancement of three-dimensional knitting technology, together with the application of melting yarn or elastane yarn.
Comfortable for wearing next to skin by using a 100% Merino wool yarn as an inner surface layer, the latest spinning technology also offers special technical blends by incorporating innovative filament-wrapped wool yarns to strengthen the yarn, add resistance to abrasion and extend the wear of the shoe.
The wool sneaker market is certainly going from strength-to-strength, with many brands taking a step in the right direction and incorporating wool into their footwear offering.
“Australian Merino wool is a naturally sustainable super-fibre that helps protect against odour, is incredibly strong, yet is light enough to be worn during all of your workouts and has beautiful hand feel and texture.”
APL Sustainable Running Shoes
2018 saw US brand Athletic Propulsion Labs® (APL) launch its most sustainable and lightest running shoe to date, partnering with The Woolmark Company to launch the APL TechLoom Breeze Merino Wool collection. Each shoe features 80% Australian Merino wool, innovatively knitted with APL’s patented, stretch-rebound TechLoom upper. This unique combination delivers greater elasticity, strengthens the shoe and allows it to naturally hug the foot for maximum support, especially during performance and sports lifestyle activities.
The wool running shoe - available online for men and women - utilises the latest fully-fashioned knitting technology, meaning the shoe is knitted to its final shape, reducing the amount of wastage associated with regular cut-and-sew techniques. This innovative design also enhances wool's natural breathability, as the technology allows for seamless design features such as breathable panels.
Adidas on track with wool
For over 60 years adidas has been revolutionising sports shoes and how we wear them. Now, the sportswear giant has gone even further, taking the natural performance fibre of wool using it to make the ‘greatest running shoe ever’. The Ultra BOOST wool shoe was developed through state-of-the-art testing using the ARAMIS system - also used by top engineering institutions such as NASA, Boeing and Audi.
At the 2019 International Woolmark Prize final, Angel Chen, Nicholas Daley and womenswear winner Colovos all included wool footwear in their final submissions. Chen created a knitted shoe made with 87% Ultrafine Australian Merino wool upper, allowing for the shoe to breathe, retain a lightness, warmth and anti-bacterial effect. Daley collaborated with Northampton Tricker’s Shoemakers on an exclusive style incorporating Hainsworth Merino wool fabric with a water repellent coating and calf leather outer. Colovos partnered with Reebok to create a sneaker with inserts from washable and traceable 100% Merino wool.
Neeman’s runs with wool
Australian Merino wool is also being incorporated into lifestyle shoes, with Neeman’s becoming India’s first footwear brand to include Merino wool in everyday shoes. The brand has partnered with The Woolmark Company to use the natural, renewable and biodegradable fibre and is leading a culture of sustainability and comfort in the footwear space in India. Using fine Australian Merino wool, Neeman's collection comprises joggers (multi-functional lightweight running shoes), classic sneakers with a modern twist, and simple yet elegant loafers, in subtle colours fit for all occasions.