Revelstoke Performance Wool Base layer

What makes Nuyarn® unique?

Nuyarn® is the world’s first performance merino wool that behaves like wool does in nature. As we release a multi-season, year-round collection featuring Performance Wool merino fabrics for everyday athletes who gravitate towards natural, let’s take a closer look at what makes Nuyarn® merino unique. 

BY : MARK COHEN • tech corner • 21.10.2022

This autumn, ODLO releases a series of next-to-skin base and mid layers in partnership with Nuyarn® – a New Zealand-based textile manufacturer specialising in performance merino fabrics – with whom we’ve teamed up to create several brand new Performance Wool products.

Lighter, faster drying and stronger than pure merino wool yarns, Nuyarn® is a natural performance alternative for running, cycling, hiking, skiing and everyday activity.

While everyone at OLDO loves pure, natural merino, it does have one fatal flaw; once it reaches peak saturation, it ceases to wick sweat, and the fabric structure retains moisture.

This is where Performance Wool powered by Nuyarn® stands apart. 

Performance Wool powered by Nuyarn® at a glance versus traditional ring-spun merino* 

  • 35% more volume and aeration
  • 5x faster drying
  • 35% more elasticity
  • 35% more thermal retention
  • 35% more resistance to air
  • 50% greater burst strength
  • 8.8x more resistance to abrasion
  • 120% stronger seams

*Independent tests carried out by AgResearch, New Zealand, when an equivalent amount of Nuyarn® is compared to conventional, ring-spun 100% merino.

According to Nuyarn® CEO Andy Wynne, the difference between Nuyarn® and conventional merino wool is quite simple. Traditional spinning twists the life out of wool by compressing natural air pockets, introducing tension, creating loops and restricting the natural movement of the fibres – essentially creating a rope-like structure that can be itchy next to the skin and quickly trap sweat.

“This isn’t how wool performs in nature,” explains Wynne at a presentation held at ODLO’s office in June 2022. “Nuyarn®’s unique spinning technology drafts yarns around synthetic filaments in a way that’s twist-free. Because of this unique structure, Nuyarn® merino maintains and amplifies the natural performance characteristics of wool that are twisted out by ordinary spinning.”

Unique spinning technology 

Nuyarn® 's incredibly fine, 2-ply, twist-free yarns perform better across the board compared to conventional merino – in stretch, loft, strength, comfort, volume, dry time, abrasion, elasticity, warmth and ultraviolet protection.

(I had an opportunity to run in the soon-to-be-released X-Alp running t-shirt; the performance differences are obvious in the prototypes. They are lighter, faster drying and more comfortable than what’s come before, and the benefit claims aren’t hyperbolic: twist-free spinning really does wick better. It’s also 8 times stronger than regular merino, which is a big benefit when wearing a pack on the trails.)

“From the beginning, we could see that this was a very different kind of merino,” explains Dan Pattison, category manager for ODLO.

“I wear merino year round – because it is natural, because it is durable and because of how it performs, be it in the mountains or just every day. But Performance Wool powered by Nuyarn® is like nothing I’ve seen after two decades in the industry. I’m excited we can develop these products for performance-minded everyday athletes as the popularity and potential of this natural fibre continues to grow.” 

Ascent hoody women @manueldietrichphotography
Ascent hoody men @manueldietrichphotography


The wool used in Nuyarn® is sourced only from farmers practicing ethical animal welfare. All their wool is certified non-mulesed and comes from open-range sheep shorn annually – one reason that ODLO was keen to partner with them. But there are others, too.

On a like-for-like basis, Nuyarn® technology uses 30 per cent less raw material for manufacturing. Moreover, since Nuyarn® technology spins between 900 to 1,900 per cent faster and requires 30 per cent less material compared to traditional spinning methods, there are huge energy savings throughout the supply chain. When combined with its centralised, vertical operation in Asia, Nuyarn® uses 25 per cent less energy compared to traditional merino manufacturing.

Twisting performance out 

While pure merino will always have its place for low intensity and everyday activities, Performance Wool powered by Nuyarn® really is something exceptional.

You’ll find it in our Revelstoke base layers, our Ascent hoodies and, starting next summer, a wider range of natural performance products. If you’ve not made the switch to merino, we can only suggest that you try it out. All merino boasts inherent anti-bacterial and naturally thermoregulating properties.

But pieces featuring Performance Wool powered by Nuyarn® – for those that love to move – really are something unique. 

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