Merino Hoodie Replacement?

Fab friends, I need some shopping help. My two beloved Icebreaker merino hoodies are toast, and cannot be repaired. (One, after 5 years, had an irreparable zipper issue, sob!; the other, after 7 years, has holes that are too big to darn any more. I wore it through multiple times.) 

Both gave me loyal service. Except for the hottest days, I wore one or the other of these every single morning and most evenings (as loungewear) and often throughout the day for neighbourhood walks or as layering pieces on hikes or with my regular clothing, as well. 

Alas -- the replacement styles are no longer the same. Not made with 100% (or nearly 100% merino) for one thing. Not as thick/ warm. Not in colours that work for me. Cut differently. The issues go on and on. I ordered a few to try and knew they'd wear out within a year. 

Knowing these were inevitably going to wear out, I've been canvassing options for several years. Have tried on hoodies (in different fabrics) from all kinds of places -- everything from BR and GAP to Aritzia to all the gear companies I can think of. And I am coming up empty. None combines the easy fit and drape, breathability with coziness, zip-front style (important to me, because I wear them most often as a top layer) and all round versatility and durability of these items. 

Can anyone help me find something similar? I've looked at Smartwool already without luck. I would prefer wool but will consider cotton but reluctantly because it won't be cozy enough for all year wear in my climate. 

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32 Comments

  • Classically Casual replied 3 months ago

    Maybe look at Icebreaker? I love their crew neck base layers…

  • JAileen replied 3 months ago

    Have you looked at Poshmark?  I’ve found great things there.

    I have an Eileen Fisher wool zip up hoodie.  I think I bought it on Eileen Fisher Renew.  I won’t buy anything else there, though.  I received a badly pilled item that they described as “lightly used.”   So, buyer beware.

  • Firecracker (Sharan) replied 3 months ago

    If you are willing to consider something without a hood, you might try looking at wool bike jerseys. I have one from Voler that I like a lot. (I wear size M.) It's soft and easy to wash, too--I put it in the washer and hang to dry. 7Mesh, a Canadian company, has one, too, but it's not 100% merino.

  • Jenni NZ replied 3 months ago

    Suz I just looked here (since Icebreaker is an NZ company)- the Quantum IV hoodie looks pretty similar to your first Quantum II one? Is that what you’ve tried? Pretty expensive though… we did have an outlet store I used to frequent…

  • Firecracker (Sharan) replied 3 months ago

    Is merino ponte knit too thick? Ibex has a nice-looking one.

  • Suz replied 3 months ago

    Jenni, thank you. Yes, Icebreaker is SO expensive. But I do love their stuff. I bought both my hoodies on sale (they were past seasons). Alas, Quantum IV is much, much thinner than my old Quantum II and looks to wear out really fast (not to mention, the price!) 

    I also own lots of their base layers and thinner tops for exercising. Those I have been able to source at good sale prices. Also, I can order on line and get loyalty points which really do add up and the delivery is fantastic here. But I have not found the right hoodies yet. Sigh...Maybe I need to wait until winter. Maybe what is in the stores here now is the spring weight merchandise. Hmmmm. 

    Sharan, those are great suggestions! The hood is not crucial to me. I will look at both links. Thank you! 

    JAileen -- thank you for both the idea (EF) and the review of the item (BOO). That's a good idea to check their offerings, though -- had not thought of them! And yes, I've looked on Poshmark, Ebay, and other reseller's sites. Without success so far. But I can keep at it. 

    Classically Casual -- Icebreaker was my first stop, since the originals were Icebreaker. But no luck with the replacement there -- at least not yet. 

  • unfrumped replied 3 months ago

    Aviator?

  • Nadya replied 3 months ago

    I just bought this wool blend moto from Wool& (http://www.wooland.com) I haven’t worn it yet, but it seems like good quality and I gave it a lot of thought because it’s spendy, but it fills a wardrobe hole for me. They have hoodies that are 75% merino - I don’t know if that’s too little for you, or what shipping to Canada would be like.

    I’ve been eying the hoodie as well!

  • Roberta replied 3 months ago

    Have you looked at Title Nine? Their quality is first rate and they carry lots of Merino options. I can't wear wool because it's too hot and itchy for me, alas. I also don't know about shipping to Canada. But I can wholeheartedly recommend them as a brand.

    Here are a few items: https://www.titlenine.com/sear.....#038;sz=48

  • Chris987 replied 3 months ago

    Another brand is WoolX. I have seen their ads for merino tees, but have no experience with the brand and don't know about shipping to CA etc. 

  • Angie replied 3 months ago

    I have no suggestions, but you are in good hands :)

  • LaPed replied 3 months ago

    The Ibex Shak that Sharan linked is fantastic, and definitely worth a look!

    I also agree with the recs for Wool& and Woolx, both good quality though more likely to be blends. (FWIW, I think a small amount of synthetic can be beneficial in merino machine-knits, as it greatly increases the durability and can really extend the life of the fabric).

    Ridge Merino (I’ve been very happy with the products I’ve bought from them) also has one that might work for you: https://www.ridgemerino.com/co.....e-full-zip

  • kate replied 3 months ago

    Would you consider a cashmere hoodie?  I have an old one from J Crew that I've worn for several years (and mended) and very recently got a new one from Quince.  Both are a great weight even for a lot of our PNW summer.

  • Inge replied 3 months ago

    WOW, these have served you well, Suz, and are a hard act to follow.

    I don't know anything about this brand, but just saw this. Not sure what you think of the "merino wool terry" look (first time I've seen this:-)
    I thought the mineral blue and outer space might work for you colour-wise?

    https://www.ridgemerino.com/pr.....sid=82d271

  • Inge replied 3 months ago

    Hah! Only saw after hitting send that LaPed just linked to the same one:-))

  • Ket replied 3 months ago

    Chiming in to say not to discount a bit of nylon in the wool.  A small percentage of 15% or less helps greatly with durability, especially with Merino. Merino is a very fine, soft wool. The softer and finer micron the wool, the faster and easier it will wear out. There's a reason Grandma's scratchy wool sweater survived 50-75 years (not counting wool moths). It's not next-to-skin soft, but it is durable. 


    Hope that helps you in your hunt <3 

  • Suz replied 3 months ago

    Sharan, that IBEX one is perfect -- but $387 in CAD!! I don't think I can spend quite that much. 

    Sigh.... 

    I am sure something will turn up. I can get cotton for the summer, maybe...and keep my eyes open. Maybe men's or kids departments. 

  • Suz replied 3 months ago

    Thank you all so much for your suggestions! This is helpful. I need to look into the costs of shipping to Canada from Ridge Merino and Woolx. Title Nine is also good to know about although those options are not exactly what I'm after. 

    Thanks for the comments about a blended fabric. I should note that both of my older hoodies had a small (differing) proportion of nylon and one had something for stretch, but the proportions were very high merino, low nylon. That is fine for me. I just don't want something that is 25% merino and the rest other fabrics. It needs to be at least 75% merino, I think, to have the characteristics I am looking for. 

    Off to do some research! Many thanks again and I'll report back with what I decide. 

  • Roxanna replied 3 months ago

    @Suz, I just stumbled on Kari Traa (from a link from a Bookish website that I love, of all things!) The brand is founded by a three time olympic medalist.

    not sure if it ships to Canada - but worth a look!

    https://www.karitraa.com/us/en/

    Also - I have found a few like-new Icebreaker pieces at the thrifts for peanuts (under $5) so you could try that - but of course it's a hunt for the treasure!

  • Murph11 replied 3 months ago

    These zip hoodies are designed in Seattle...

    https://www.woolly.clothing/pr.....le&am

    International shipping via their Amazon store...

    https://www.amazon.com/Woolly-.....p&amp;

  • cherylm replied 3 months ago

    I have 2 hoodies from Beyond Yoga that I alternate and wear everyday as lounge wear. I bought them when I had shoulder surgery +2 years ago and they are work horses. Cotton but I find them plenty warm in the winter and not too warm in the warmer months. Wonderfully stretchy but don’t stretch out. 

  • Sal replied 3 months ago

    No advice only sympathy (DH has similar Icebreaker tops and they are fab!).  A shame the newer ones don't look as robust for you.

    I do have a Merino MacPac Sweatshirt that I love and wear a lot https://www.macpac.co.nz/macpa.....ml?gad_sou  - mine is more orchid colour than the link but I find it really useful for all sorts of casual occasions including lounging at home.

    MacPac and Kathmandu make good quality but more affordable merino gear - Mons Royale are also big here?

  • sarah replied 3 months ago

    Suz, have you checked out Smartwool at all?




    Good luck!

  • Helen247 replied 3 months ago

    I like Untouched world, small NZ company which produces lovely long lasting wear.

  • Suz replied 3 months ago

    Thank you all for your replies and thoughts. I'm still on the hunt. Alas, the Woolly hoodies are almost $300 CAD on SALE, the Smartwool do not contain more than about 50% wool, and I can't get shipping on the Kari Traa.  

    The hunt continues! For spring/ summer I have ordered a cotton blend from Athleta to try but I really, really, really strongly prefer a merino so I might have to spring for the Ibex or similar. I might also look in the UK when I am there in May. 

    Thanks, again! 

  • LaPed replied 3 months ago

    Suz, I did some sleuthing (asked some Canadian outdoorsy moms I know) for some Canadian merino brands. Found a bunch!

    Unbound (the Compact Travel Hoodie looks very promising)
    Simply Merino (no hoodies, but based right in Vancouver)
    Encircled (no hoodies, but I could see you in the "Unblazer")
    Warmth & Weather (not a manufacturer but a retailer; they stock a wonderful Euro brand called Engel)
    Merino Tech (no full zip, only half zip)

    Hope that helps! 

  • Suz replied 3 months ago

    Thank you, LaPed!! Super helpful -- off to check. 

  • sarah replied 3 months ago

    This one is 100% Merino, but you'd have to like the color-blocking.

  • Suz replied 3 months ago

    I would  be delighted with the colour block -- but it's not available in Canada. :(

  • Suz replied 3 months ago

    Wait -- I found it in Canada. Panels are not merino but that might be ok....I'm not sure. $210 in CAD. 

  • nemosmom replied 3 months ago

    Unbound merino has a full zip hoodie.

    https://unboundmerino.com/coll.....9698308190

    I prefer the men’s version (it’s longer and they usually have more colors)

  • Melaine replied 3 months ago

    How fun, I haven’t been here in a few years (I was usually a lurker anyway) BUT the first time I log back in I find one of my favorite topics. I discovered merino wool a few years ago and have almost completely converted my closets from mostly synthetics to mostly wool, with a little linen to round it out. Talk about an upgrade I highly recommend wool&, absolutely my top choice. I have also had great luck with Unbound Merino but only tried a few pieces. Woolx used to be my go-to, but they have taken a weird swing lately and, well, it’s kind of a long story but I no longer shop with them. Woolly is cheaper quality than the other two but still nice. I haven’t tried Ridge Merino yet but I have heard fabulous things.

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