Our Sheep

Merino sheep are bred and nourished to grow wool fibers that are an ideal length, thickness, color and strength for our socks, apparel and accessories.

One of the reasons Merino wool from the Southern Hemisphere (where we grow our wool) is so amazing is the climate. Merino sheep face some of the most demanding and varying conditions on the planet, from hot summers to harsh winters.

To stay comfortable in such varied conditions, these Merinos grow a unique coat of wool that keeps them cool in the summer and warm in the winter. This coat is whiter, lighter, finer, smoother and stronger than other wool from other parts of the world.

Our sheep are left to do what they want most of the time, stopping in for a haircut once a year and returning a few more times for other checkups. Not a bad deal.

Every year, sheep are shorn during late winter and early spring (that’s August through November in the Southern Hemisphere). Using electric hand clippers and long, steady strokes, shearers can remove a fleece in one piece in three minutes.

We believe our sheep deserve to be treated well, and as part of that belief, we require contracted wool to be non-mulesed. SmartWool contributed to eliminating mulesing in New Zealand, and we won’t source wool from growers that practice it. We have also supported work by our partner, New Zealand Merino, to trace wool to the farm and to ensure every farm takes care of its sheep, its workers and its land. Of course, those things come naturally to a good grower — sheep, workers and land must all be supported to produce quality