A Very Wooly Week – Icebreaker

Although Icebreaker (www.icebreaker.com) makes excellent tops in all sorts of configurations, we’re going cover some of their pants, as well as shorts and even underwear, for men and women. For those not familiar, Icebreaker is one of a growing number of companies that seeks to find a balance between profits and sustainability. That entails ensuring the ethical treatment of both the sheep providing the wool, and the workers turning it into clothing. It also means that they don’t cut corners to the detriment of the environment to save a few dollars. Each product has a “Baacode” that allows you to trace the wool used in that garment back to the farm where the sheep were raised. More than a gimmick, it provides an opportunity to meet the farmers and see some of the beautiful New Zealand countryside. While no company will ever be 100% perfect, Icebreaker certainly engages in admirable business practices.

Besides having a conscience, they have some crazy good designers too. The men’s Tracer pants seem to be a marriage of tracksuit bottoms  and casual work pants, with the line between the two blurred beyond recognition. If your bike got a flat, and you decided to run to work, this is what you would wear to do it. And you could hit the gym after without changing. The 97% Merino, 3% Lycra mix gives you all the advantages of wool, with a little extra stretch and give where you need it. There’s an elastic waist with interior draw cord, the pockets have zippers, flatlock seams are non-irritating, and you’ll find the zippers on the back hem are reflective. A very well thought-out design, also available as a short.

For the ladies, the Swift pant is warm yet light, and has a relaxed fit that still manages to flatter, thanks to a shaped waistband with elastic. It utilizes the same Merino/Lycra blend and flatlock seams, but adds a lined gusset and a back stash pocket. The lower leg also has a bit of reflective piping.  If you love the fit, there’s a short for warmer weather as well. And like most Icebreakers clothing, it’s machine washable. Just don’t forget to line dry.

In addition to the above items, Icebreaker also offers men’s and women’s cycling bibs and shorts, as well as leggings, 3/4 pants, capri pants, tights, and base layers. I counted 17 variations for men, and 23 for women. (We’ll save the tops for another article) But that’s still not all. A testament to the strength and softness of their Merino wool, they even produce several styles of 100% wool underwear. Men can choose between boxers or briefs, or even the no-compromise boxer brief. Color options are limited, with most being available only in black, although blue, green, or grey can be had on some. Women only have two options – the bikini or Siren bikini, but there are more color options, which seems a fair tradeoff, since most women probably don’t want to rock the boxer look, unless they’re just hanging out around the house. All the choices have been highly rated by customers, so there’s no losers in either bunch.

Since it would take a month  of articles to cover everything they offer, you might just want to visit the site and see for yourself. It should be noted that while the prices may seem a bit on the high side, properly cared for wool has a much longer life than cotton, or even some synthetics, making it an excellent value in the long run. On top of that, Icebreaker offers free shipping on all their items, as well as free returns and exchanges. There’s a generous 90 day return policy as well. That’s how sure they are that you’ll find their comfort unbeatable.

– Brian





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