From the America's Cup to the Gondoliers of Venice

Photo Credit: The Woolmark Company

There are many more uses for wool beyond wardrobe and home furnishings. Discover five favourites from the International Wool Textile Organisation.

5 Surprising Uses for Wool

We all love a good wool jacket or cosy wool blanket. But did you know there are many more uses for wool, beyond your wardrobe and home furnishings?

Natural, renewable and biodegradable, wool’s many inherent properties include elasticity, breathability and thermo-regulation. Because of these – and others such as natural odour-resistance – wool can turn up in some unexpected places.

Take a look below at five of our favourites.

1. Wool on Water

In an area traditionally dominated by synthetics, wool proves itself as viable on water as it is on land.

Thanks to research and development carried out in partnership with the Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli sailing team (the one that went to last year’s America’s Cup ), water-resistant Merino wool fabrics will be added to the uniforms of the iconic gondoliers of Venice.

“Innovation and tradition blend perfectly in this exclusive partnership that leverages the technical and sustainable qualities of wool,” says AWI’s acting CEO John Roberts.

The gondoliers’ new uniform will be composed of the same technical waterproof jacket and highly breathable T-shirt used by the sailing team, flanked by an iconic striped sweater made with a new high-performance 100% Merino wool yarn.

2. Wool in Space

Wool on land, wool on sea, now wool’s in the air! Wool base layers were so popular with astronauts that NASA put merino wool t-shirts aboard the International Space Station.

The wool t-shirts are flame retardant up to 600 degrees C, are static- and odour-resistant and allow the skin to breathe.

 Read Next: An Inside Look at Wool’s Inherent Circularity

3. Wool at the Golden Arches

Wool in the fast-food industry? Yes, you read that right: last month, McDonald’s opened the UK’s first Net Zero Carbon restaurant, and its walls are insulated with wool.

The restaurant, located in Shropshire, keeps the familiar McDonald’s look and feel while featuring the latest innovations in sustainable building design. Inside the walls is insulation by Thermafleece.

Thermafleece uses wool exclusively from British farms and combines it with recycled fibres for a natural fibre insulation that meets the highest demands of construction and performance.

4. The Perfect Fertilizer

Wild Valley Farms in Croydon, Utah takes wool that isn’t suitable for use in textiles and compacts it into wool fertilizer pellets. Because they’re wool, they hold water, provide nutrients, and increase the porosity of the soil.

It’s a perfect, organic replacement for additives such as perlite.

“Our innovative product has found the perfect solution to giving waste wool a purpose with benefits to our plants and environment,” says farm owner Albert Wilde.

5. The Stuff of that Dreams are Made of

Let’s wrap up the list by getting back to that cosy blanket. Research shows that wool sleepwear and bedding help you get to sleep faster and stay in deep sleep for longer.

By regulating body temperature far better than any other fibre type, wool keeps sleepers in a thermal comfort zone.

What’s more, the international certification body, Allergy Standards Limited, has officially recognised Merino wool bedding products as asthma and allergy friendly.

Read more about what makes wool a great bedfellow on our Wool & Sleep page.

Now Read: The 10 Most Popular Wool Stories of 2021