We’ve come a long way since the earliest Western bathing suits that consisted of cloth wrapped around the genital area during the Middle Ages. Prior to that in antiquity and the classical period, all evidence points to swimming totally nude with no suits in sight. Fast-forward through the Renaissance (when people literally did not swim because they thought it was detrimental to their health, the poor fools) until you get to to the Enlightenment when full-on bathing costumes became the style straight through to the early 20th century. It was at that time when the first men’s swim trunks hit the scene. And they were mostly made from wool until synthetic fabrics were introduced in the 1950s.
So, it should come as no surprise that the fashion and performance wear industries are going all-in on this old-school fabric, only with a 21st-century twist.
Rather than the heavy, scratchy sweater wool we so often think of when we call the fabric to mind, Outerknown, a brand dedicated to creating environmentally friendly sport and lifestyle wear, partnered with The Woolmark Company to create the .
“We love collaborating with like-minded brands to push boundaries and chart new territories in sustainable design,” said Outerknown Co-Founder, Kelly Slater, in a statement. “The Woolmark Company’s longtime dedication to authenticity, fiber quality, and supply chain excellence naturally aligns with Outerknown’s ethos, and we’re so excited to launch the world’s first Merino wool trunks together.”
Using the latest spinning techniques from Woolmark, the Woolaroo is built from a performance Merino created without any chemicals or synthetic finishing agents. Points to the brands for going chemical free, but where the duo really rack up the nods in their favor is how the Woolaroo wears.
Wool is naturally breathable and resistant to odor. It’s also fairly water-resistant and quick drying, making it one of the best fibers for outdoor wear around.
“The Woolaroo perfectly sums up the soul of Merino wools,” Woolmark Company Managing Director Stuart McCullough notes. “Soft on skin but tough enough to handle the elements, wool is not only the world’s oldest fiber, but also the most technically advanced with modern manufacturing techniques, making the best even better.”
We like the simple, streamlined look of the shorts on top of all the benefits already mentioned. These trunks would look as good off the beach as they do on a board and their quick-drying, long-lasting nature means you can easily move from hanging ten to having a couple of post-surf shots with your buds.
For other, non-wool swim trunks to get you surfing this season, check out some of our other favorites.
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