Merino wool vs Cashmere: advantages and disadvantages for socks

After having suffered the first attacks of the cold, it is legitimate to want to put in place a defense system using warm socks. Therefore the question of choice of materials arises and many customers ask us to enlighten them on the choice of merino wool or cashmere. What are the differences between merino wool and cashmere? What are the advantages and disadvantages of each? Should we prefer wool socks where the cashmere socks ?

  • Sweetness

If softness were measurable, it would depend on the fineness of the fibers. The finer the fibers, the softer the yarn. The softer the yarn, the softer the sock will be. In this little game, cashmere wins the softness round because cashmere fibers are on average finer than merino wool fibers. Merinos generally have fibers with a diameter of between 19 and 23 microns, while cashmere goats have fibers of 14 to 18 microns in diameter. Note that this is an average. In fact, the finest wool in the world was obtained from… merino. In 2010 Zegna beat its own record from 2003 with 10 micron wool. Zegna managed to weave a 60 meter piece with fibers averaging 11.1 microns!
The fabric must have sold for more than the vicuna.

  • Durability

It's merino wool's turn to win its first round. Merino wool is rather more durable than cashmere. This time this is explained by the length and diameter of the fibers. Shorter fibers tend to pill a little more. However, cashmere fibers are between 30 and 90 mm and those of merino wool are between 30 and 120 mm. Pilling will lead to slightly faster wear. Merino wool will therefore be more durable than cashmere. The strongest wools, old tweeds, are made of coarse wool, with thick fibers (therefore less soft) but more resistant.

  • The heat

Cashmere regains the advantage. The fineness of the fibers allows cashmere to capture more air than wool of equivalent yarn gauge. To put it differently, imagine two cylinders filled either with fine fibers or with thicker fibers. Mechanically, the cylinder filled with fine fibers will capture more small air bubbles. However, air is an excellent insulator (provided it is captured). This is why cashmere is a little warmer than merino wool, all things being equal.

This is also why cashmere is warm when it is cold while being light when it is warmer.

  • The price

Advantage for merino wool, which except in cases of extreme fineness, is less expensive than cashmere. This is explained by the abundance of wool production compared to cashmere.

Conclusion

Equality! Strictly speaking, there is no winner! You need to ask yourself what are the criteria on which you are ready to invest. Do you look at the price of socks? Are you sensitive to sweetness? In the heat ? Do you damage your socks quickly? You are now ready for an informed choice!

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