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Merino wool vs Cashmere – Similarities and Differences

When it comes to choosing the perfect winter fabric, two popular options are merino wool and cashmere. Both excellent materials are known for their warmth, softness, and durability, but which one is better? Let’s start merino wool vs cashmere comparison by knowing these famous clothing materials:

What is Cashmere?

Cashmere goats fiber

Cashmere is a type of wool that comes from goats in the high mountains of Asia. The certain kind of local diet and harsh climatic condition makes the wool of the cashmere of high quality. The soft undercoat of cashmere goats is regarded as the King of fiber for luxury garments.

The common metrics to distinguish grades of Cashmere fibers are length and diameter. In terms of length, Grade A: 36-40mm, Grade B: 34mm, and Grade C: 28mm. In terms of diameters, Grade A: 14-16 microns, Grade B: 16-19 microns, and Grade C: 19-30 microns.

Reasons to Wear Cashmere

There are several reasons that make cashmere worthy to be worn. They are:

  • Luxurious and high-quality fabric
  • Lightweight and delicate
  • Warmer than regular wool, with high-quality cashmere being up to eight times warmer
  • Evenly maintains body temperature
  • Flattering beautiful drape
  • Sustainable and Eco-friendly fabric
  • Not bulky like other warm fabrics
  • Soft and breathable fabric
  • Hypoallergenic and fire-resistant
  • Does not wrinkle easily

What is Merino wool?

Merino wool fiber, obtained from Merino sheep, is a widely used fabric material that combines affordability and durability. It is known for its fineness and softness. It is generally less than 24 microns (μm) in diameter. It is classified into various categories based on its diameter: strong (broad) (23-24.5 μm), medium (21-22.9 μm), fine (18.6-20.9 μm), superfine (15-18.5 μm), and ultra-fine (11.5-15 μm).

Reasons to wear Merino

  • Comfortable and lightweight fabric
  • Natural crimp that traps body heat in air pockets
  • Prevent overheating
  • Absorb up to 30% of its weight in moisture
  • Naturally resists bacteria
  • Odor resistance
  • Easy to care for
  • Incredibly elastic

Similarities between Merino wool and Cashmere

Animal wool: Merino is derived from merino sheep and cashmere comes from cashmere goats.

Warm and Cozy: These fabrics are warm and cozy which keeps you warm in cold weather.

Lightweight and soft: Merino and Cashmere are comfortable to wear against the skin due to their soft lightweight property.

Excellent insulating property: Both types of wool can keep you warm without being too bulky or heavy.

Hypoallergenic: They are suitable for people with sensitive skin or allergies.

Breathable materials: These sustainable fabrics allow air to circulate, which helps to regulate body temperature and prevent overheating.

Durability: Both Merino and Cashmere can withstand regular wear and tear without losing their shape or quality.

Versatile fabric: You can prepare a wide range of clothing items, from cashmere sweaters and scarves to coats and hats from both of these wools.

Sustainable fabric: Both natural fibers come from renewable sources (sheep and goats) and can be produced in an eco-friendly way that minimizes waste and pollution.

Key Differences between Merino Wool and Cashmere

Differentiating FactorsCashmereMerino Wool
OriginCashmere comes from cashmere goats, which are mainly found in the Himalayan regions of China, India, and Mongolia.Merino wool comes from merino sheep, which are primarily raised in Australia, New Zealand, and South America.
Fiber ThicknessCashmere fibers are much finer, ranging from 14 to 19 microns.The fibers in merino wool range from 18 to 24 microns in diameter.
Fiber LengthThe average length of a cashmere fiber is around 50mm.The average length of a merino wool fiber is around 100mm.
Natural Color RangeCashmere goats typically produce white or beige fibers.Merino sheep can produce wool in a variety of shades, including white, brown, and black.
PriceCashmere garments can cost several times more than comparable merino wool items.Merino wools are much cheaper than Cashmere.
SoftnessCashmere is softer than merino wool due to the fineness of its fibers.Merino wools are soft fibers but not as soft as Cashmere.
DurabilityCashmere are more delicate materials and require special care to maintain their quality over time.Merino wool is generally more durable than cashmere because it is thicker and less prone to pilling or breaking down over time.
WarmthCashmere is super warm due to the fineness of its fibers and their ability to trap heat close to the body.Merino wool is a warm fabric.

Merino wool vs Cashmere: Who should wear?

Both types of wool possess their uniqueness that suits various style preferences. Merino is the type of wool that is more opt for activewear and outdoor clothing. Cashmere is a popular choice for fashion and luxury lovers.

Who should wear Merino wool?

Merino wool is a versatile and functional fabric that can be worn by people of all ages and lifestyles. Merino wools are very beneficial for:

1. Outdoor enthusiasts – Hikers, campers, skiers, and cyclists

  • Warmth and insulation in cold weather
  • Wicks away moisture to keep you dry in wet conditions
  • Lightweight and packable for easy transport

2. Athletes

  • Regulate body temperature
  • Prevent chafing and irritation
  • Odor-resistant

3. Travelers

  • Less space in luggage than in bulky synthetic or cotton fabrics
  • Multiple wears without frequent washing or drying

4. Professionals

  • Look polished
  • Put together in the office or at events

5. Eco-conscious people

  • Renewable sources (sheep)
  • Produced in an eco-friendly
  • Minimizes waste and pollution

6. Hypoallergenic individuals

  • Does not contain harsh chemicals or synthetic fibers

Who should wear Cashmere?

Cashmere is a luxurious and high-end fabric that is often associated with elegance, sophistication, and luxury. Cashmere fabrics are suitable for:

1. Fashion enthusiasts

2. Professionals

  • Touch of luxury and sophistication
  • Look polished and put together

3. Luxurious individuals

  • Luxurious materials and high-end nature
  • Truly special and memorable

4. Quality-seeking people

  • Durability, warmth, and luxury
  • Last longer
  • Provide better value over time than cheaper, lower-quality alternatives

5. Colder region dwellers

  • Excellent insulation without extra weight

6. Hypoallergenic people with sensitive skin

  • Does not contain harsh chemicals or synthetic fibers that can irritate the skin

7. Eco Enthusiasts

  • Sustainable fashion choices
  • Sustainability in the production process

Which is better: Cashmere vs Merino Wool?

Weaving cashmere wrap

Both merino wool and cashmere are fabrics that are needed to bring our planet back on track. They are a much better alternative compared to other common fabrics like cotton or synthetic. To compare, there are more similarities compared to differences. But, by a much minimal margin, Cashmere is a better fiber than Merino wool clothing.

The softness factor is the main deciding factor. Cashmere is the softest wool and more luxurious than merino wool. Merino fiber, while still soft, is not as fine as cashmere and may feel scratchy or itchy to some people. Cashmere provides better insulation than merino wool. Cashmere will last longer over time. It will get better as it ages.

If you look from the planet’s perspective, Cashmere is often produced in a more eco-friendly way that minimizes waste and pollution. Cashmere fibers are finer and less bulky than merino wool fibers. The amount of water and energy needed for manufacturing fabric is obviously much lesser on finer fabrics. But both Merino and Cashmere wools are a win for the planet and textile industry.


Merino wool and cashmere have their own unique benefits and drawbacks. Merino wool is a great choice for those who prioritize warmth, moisture-wicking properties, and affordability. Cashmere is a luxurious fabric for those who value softness and durability. So why not try both and see which one you prefer? Your winter wardrobe will thank you!