Ibex Woolies SS Top

Manufacturer Description

Underwear so good you’ll want to show it off. And you can. Ultrasoft wool with natural stretch that moves with you.

Features

  • 18.5 micron Zque New Zealand Merino wool; Lightweight rib knit; 150 g/m
  • Lightest Ibex baselayer
  • Form fit
  • Flatlock seams
  • Tag free labels
  • 2.5 cm cuffs (1 in)
  • Machine washable
  • Measured size medium – (these measurements are unstretched)
    • Weight – 117 g (4.1 oz)
    • Center Back – 69 cm (27.2 in)
    • Pit to pit – 38 cm (15.0 in)
    • Sleeve Length – 43.7 cm (17.2 in)
  • Retail – $65

YMMV Review

I am a big fan of wool. I have done reviews of wool tops, cycling jerseys, bib shorts, and running apparel. This is the first time I have reviewed a lightweight baselayer and I must say I liked it a lot. Ibex worked with me to do a review of the Woollies SS Top. The woolies collection is a staple in the Ibex line. Ibex themselves have been making wool clothing since 1997 and is headquartered in Vermont. They are a company big on uncompromising craftsmanship and customer satisfaction. I have had the opportunity to test a couple of items I purchased before this review, and so far I have been impressed. You can read those reviews here:

http://ymmvreviews.com/tag/ibex/

The other fun thing about Ibex is their dogs; they even have a section of the site devoted to them. You can check that out here: http://ibex.com/dogsmatter/.

Testing

The Ibex Woolies SS was tested over a wide range of activities. As a baselayer I threw it on whenever I was going out, and it was not going to be too cold. Fortunately, for this review all fall and so far this winter has been really mild, so I have been able to thoroughly test the top. The main uses I used it for were daily wear, running, and bike commuting.

Front View of the Woolies SS

Design ★★★★☆

Appearance (10%) ★★½☆☆

Construction (30%) ★★★½☆

Materials (30%) ★★★★½

Sustainability (30%) ★★★★☆

Ibex has different categories of clothing based on the wool they are made with. The Woolies collection is part of the Next-to-Skin, All year baselayers. The Woolies fabric is an 18.5 micron superfine wool yarn. It offers a warm, close to body fit that moves with the user and maintains shape. The fabric has a ribbed construction that provides space for air permeability contributing to superior performance and excellent stretch and recovery. The whole collection is made of 100% Woolies fabric that is sourced from farms in New Zealand. For more information about wool, click on the banner below to go to my article that explains all the characteristics.

The Woolies SS is lightweight and form fitting. The shirt I tested was the black color with flat locked black seams. It has a really short fold over neck collar and a folded over hem at the bottom as well. The top has raglan sleeves that have a one-inch cuff.

Back view of the Woolies SS

The sleeves themselves are on the longer side for short sleeves. The top while being used and washed many times throughout the testing has stood up well. It has not shown any wear or tear thus far and has held its shape. If this changes over time I will update this review. The shirt does not have any tags, instead the information is printed on the fabric to avoid chafing.

The Ibex Woolies SS Shirt is made in Fiji. I think this is the first thing I own that is made there. As I mentioned above it is made of 100% New Zealand Merino Wool. The wool is all Zque Certified meaning it is through an accredited program that ensures environmental, social and economic sustainability, animal welfare (non-mulesed) and traceability back to the source. Overall, 70% of Ibex’s products are Zque certified and the Woolies SS is one of them (at the time of this writing). Wool is a renewable resource so the only negative about using it as it is sourced from way down in New Zealand, but that is where the best wool is!

Ibex Woolies Fabric Video

Fit ★★★★☆

Arm Length (10%) ★★½☆☆

Comfort Next to Skin (35%) ★★★★☆

Ease of Movement (25%) ★★★★☆

Torso Sizing (30%) ★★★★½

The Ibex Woolies SS is a form-fitting shirt. It is made this way to both fit under other layers and also regulate body temperature. To keep body temperature regulated the shirt works best if it is next to the skin to pull moisture away and keep warm or cool air trapped next to the skin. The fabric is a ribbed construction that stretches really easily. Even when it is not stretched you can see through the fabric a little and more so when it is stretched. For me this is not a big deal because I generally use this shirt as a baselayer. That and I am a guy. The shirt moves very well due to its light weight and stretch. I never felt restricted when wearing this shirt.

Fabric Up Close

The sleeves are on the longer side for a short-sleeve shirt. They are also on the tighter side, so they do not move around. At first, I was not sure how I felt about the sleeves but after one or two times wearing the shirt, I like them. The torso is also on the longer side which I really appreciate. For my torso, some shirts and baselayers feel on the short side. I like having one long enough that I do not have to worry about coverage when I am active, whether on a bike, running, or rock climbing. For me, the fit on the Woolies SS is right on. The wool used is not their finest wool but 18.5 microns is pretty close. The Woolies never felt scratchy or itchy during all my testing. I will note that I do not have any issues with other wool clothing I have tested either.

Performance ★★★½☆

Breathability (25%) ★★★★½

Drying Speed (15%) ★★★☆☆

Moisture Transport (20%) ★★★☆☆

Versatility (25%) ★★★½☆

Warmth (15%) ★★½☆☆

Even though the fabric is really thin, the top does a good job keeping me warm.

Printed on Neck Label

When layering another top over it, the shirt traps warm air close to the skin keeping you warm. Since the fabric is thin it also breathes well. On warm days, you can easily wear the shirt by itself but on a cooler day a layered top is appreciated. When running I would break a sweat, and the Woolies top only takes a couple seconds to feel dry next to the skin. Since wool does absorb some moisture, actually drying time is slightly longer, but you cannot tell the wool has absorbed anything as it is dry next to the skin. The moisture is kept of the skin and evaporated or wicked out to the outside air by the outer layer. One great feature about wool is that it is naturally odor resistant. You can wear this top for several days before washing again. While this may not be ideal in the office, in the backcountry this is just fine.

I did appreciate the lack of neck tag as they can sometimes cause itchiness on my neck so not having one is great. On the printed tag, it is important to note the care instructions. Wool does take a bit more care, and this is no exception. It is machine washable on gentle cycle with cold water and mild detergent. Do not bleach, tumble dry, and only iron on cool if necessary. Dry flat if possible. If you follow these instructions, your top should last a long time.

Overall ★★★★☆

Sleeve Cuff

Overall, this has been my favorite baselayer I have tested thus far. The fit is right on with longer arms and torso. The wool fabric stretches well but has maintained shape and been durable during all my uses. I really like wearing it under a lightweight top for running or a long sleeve jersey while cycling. The Woolies top not only keeps me warm but also dry which is what a baselayer should do. Even better is that on my commute to work I do not stink when I get there. My commute is 16 miles and on some days I can break a little bit of a sweat. With this baselayer it means I can pack one less layer. If you have not tried a wool baselayer before you should give it a chance. The Woolies is great baselayer that you can feel comfortable wearing in more ways than one. The Woolies SS does retail for $65 which is on the steeper side but if you take proper care it should last a long time. I wish it was made in more colors, currently it is just made in blue and black. As always, your mileage may vary.

Pros [field name=iFrame]

  • Lightweight 18.5 micron wool fabric
  • Zque certified
  • Odor Resistant
  • Great stretch and recovery
  • Also made in Boxer Briefs, Bottoms, LS Crew, Sleeveless, and LS Zip T

Cons

  • More care need for laundering
  • Only two colors available

About the author

I am an avid runner, cyclist, swimmer, hiker, climber, skier and many other activities that would make this list too long. I started Your Mileage May Vary Reviews in Early 2011 to combine two of my passions: sports and gear.

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