The mornings in Montana are turning chilly. Great time to throw on your wool sweater, go for a walk or just start your daily errands. Funny thing, while starting my day observing what other people are wearing, I saw an astounding amount of “Polar Fleece.
So Polar Fleece is made from something called polyethylene terephthalate (PET), a man made fiber. They market it as wool like material. In may humble opinion, it looks nothing like a wool sweater. That being said, lets see what this has to offer as compared to wool.
Modern synthetic Polar Fleece comes very close to imitating the natural properties of wool, and is also very effective in trapping warm air. It’s a great alternative to wool.
Polar Fleece provides similar warming characteristics as wool in its warmth retention and also possesses the capacity to wick away body moisture while holding heat in its many tiny air pockets.
Polar Fleece still keeps warm when wet, and it will dry out quickly.
Polar Fleece fabric has a wicking property.
Be very aware (caution) that polar fleece is highly flammable.
Although Polar Fleece may have many of the properties of wool, it is still a man-made fiber leaving a greater carbon footprint. Even if you buy poplar fleece made from recycled plastic bottles it is still leaving a greater carbon footprint then wool.
This is why I choose wool
Wool is a protein fiber formed in the skin of sheep, and is thus one hundred percent natural, not man-made. Since the Stone Age, it has been appreciated as one of the most effective forms of all-weather protection known to man, and science is yet to produce a fiber that matches its unique properties. Wool is renewable every year. A sheep will produce a new fleece as long as we have the grass for them to graze on. Wool is biodegradable; at the end of it’s life, wool can be returned to the soil where it decomposes and adds valuable nutrients to the ground.
Wool constantly reacts to changes in body temperature, maintaining its wearer’s comfort in both cold and warm weather. Wool garments are resistant to staining and with the recent introduction of washable wool, it is very easy to take care of. In addition wool is far more efficient than other textiles at absorbing sweat and releasing it into the air before bacteria has a chance to develop and produce unpleasant body odor.
Wool is naturally safe. It is not known to cause allergies and does not promote the growth of bacteria. Wool is naturally flame-retardant, and has a far higher ignition threshold than many other fibers. It will not melt and stick to the skin causing burns, and produces less noxious fumes that cause death in fire situations. Concerned about UV protection, wool has a naturally high level of UV protection, which is much higher than most synthetics and cotton fiber.
So choose wool. It is the best all around fiber for our environment, health and comfort.