WoolX: How does it compare to Smartwool, Icebreaker or Minus33?

by | Comparisons (Outdoor), Outdoor

You know what I think?

When it comes to merino wool, Woolx has always been a bit of an underdog. Sure, they’ve gotten some recognition…but they’re still galaxies away from the reputation of Icebreaker, Smartwool or Minus33.

Well, I admit it makes some sense. Being born in 2014, Woolx are the youngest brother in the merino family. That’s a good decade+ later than other brands.

I have mixed feelings. On one hand, they do feel underappreciated for the quality/price ratio they deliver.

Particularly their base layers can be pretty solid – the Endurance tees for example. Or the Addie tees for women, for that matter.

On the other hand, there are some cases where you’d better ditch Woolx for a better alternative. For women – you go for the Minus33 Franconia instead of any Woolx leggings. For outer layers, harsher weather and in the domain of accessories I’d recommend switching to other brands too.

Let’s talk about Woolx a bit more – and see how they fare versus their bigger bros.

Quiz time:
Let’s play merino associations

Are you a newcomer to the merino world? If yes, I envy you. Discovering the most comfortable, most breathable fabric for the first time felt like this to me:

Before I get to Woolx, here’s how merino wool brand associations look like!

Icebreaker combine quality with excitement. Why excitement? Because they easily have the best designs out of all merino brands. Great way to stay comfy without sticking to monochrome T-shirts/crews and spicing things up a bit.

Personal favorite: this long sleeve beauty of theirs.

Smartwool I’d dub finewool. The New Zealand merino they use is like silk on your skin (and fingers). I’m not sure how they achieve that, but lord is their material fine. Well, the price tag reflects that though.

Personal favorite: their neck gaiters and balaclavas are amazing. This neck gaiter is a 100% merino wool, 250 m/2 (perfect for winter) masterpiece.

Minus33 sticks to their name. Expect them to be your best buddy for some seriously insane outdoor adventures in the freezing cold. No wonder they chose this name – sturdy, heavyweight clothes that are insulation masters.

Personal favorite: Chorocua midweight crew for men, for women the Ossipee crew. Note – Minus33 have a lot of women apparel!

And Woolx…

Affordability with a twist

Let’s not lie to ourselves: as consumers, we’re always looking for a deal. And Woolx has a price tag that screams ‘bargain!’

Luckily for you, it’s a good bargain…with a few caveats.

Woolx have very good base layers and so-so mid layers.

Good examples for base layers are the Woolx Summit polo shirt (for men) or the Woolx Addie shirt (for women).

Both of these offer good construction, moisture-wicking and breathability, plus resistance to odors. Addie is made of 100% merino wool. The Summit polo shirts are made of 83% merino which is still great as you need that few % of spandex for that type of shirt.

For a base/mid layer hybrid, the Explorer long sleeve is 100% midweight merino that is perfect for both autumn and winter.

So where’s the twist here?

Well, that’s where I’d put the stop to Woolx.

If you’re looking for outer shells or insulating layers I’d stick to Minus33, Icebreaker or Smartwool.

The same applies for sturdy mid layers you want to wear in harsher weather conditions. Like the winter our buddy the merino sheep is struggling with here:

Woolx vs Icebreaker, Minus33 and Smartwool: Why this merino wool underdog might make sense

For example, if you want a tough, ultra-warm mid layer buddy you get the Minus33 Isolation, not a Woolx.

The situation is somewhat similar with accessories like underwear or socks. Smartwool PhDs are unrivaled in the merino wool socks world. Both in terms of comfort/sturdiness and choice of designs.

Speaking of designs…You have to also keep in mind that Woolx merino clothes are rather simple. Styles and colors are definitely way less varied than the brand’s bigger brothers. This is a 50/50 situation, I reckon. Some people are perfectly OK with sticking to classic colors – black, grey, navy blue here and there.

For me, that would become pretty dull in no time…Especially with base layers that I can use in my daily life – not only when going on a hike.

Founder of ToolingFun. Couldn't even change a lightbulb in my teenage years. Discovered the joy of DIY projects during my 2nd year in college. All about tinkering around, trying fun tools and projects, and giving my opinion on industry brands!