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Orca is pushing its Merino wool baselayers hard, and is launching a range of performance Merino activewear later this year.
New Zealand-based performance sportswear brand Orca may be more familiar for its triathlon wetsuits and apparel, but in the last two years it has developed a range of baselayers, primarily constructed from Merino wool.
“The Merino wool fibre that comes out of New Zealand is regarded as the best in the world,” explains Orca’s UK sales manager Chuck Cosman. “Merino has some excellent natural performance characteristics, and we think it has real potential for increased use in sports categories like running and cycling, and other mass participation activities that are currently dominated by synthetics.
“In saying that, Orca made its name bringing innovation to sportswear design and construction, and if we think we can make a garment perform better by introducing blends of materials we’ll do it.
“Our new 2011 range will feature a number of 100 per cent Merino products, but also garments with panels of Merino blended with fibres like Coolmax, spandex and polyester, which can provide more benefit to the wearer.”
The winter 2011 collection includes a staple range of 100 per cent performance Merino tops and tights. The Flex garments use a 160gsm, 18.5 micron ribbed Merino, which has high levels of natural elasticity and a soft-on-skin feel.
There are also slightly looser fit Lite tops, constructed from a 150gsm, 17.5 micron ultrafine jersey, which breathes and regulates temperature.
“There are few key reasons why Merino is ideal for baselayers, and there’s definitely an education process to explain to retailers and customers that wearing wool can be better than synthetics,” says Cosman.
For more of this article, see SGB Sports April 2011 at www.sgb-sports.com/digital