Cashmere is known the world over as one of the most luxurious materials money can buy. It’s used to make all kinds of knitwear and it frequently appears in pricey designer creations. The world’s most fabulous people wear cashmere. Royals, celebrities, the richest people in the world put on this luxury material and strut around in it. But are cashmere sweaters good for skiing…or are they just good for looking like money? Does cashmere actually perform or is it really just about being pretty?
What is Cashmere?
What is cashmere, anyway? Why does it cost so much money? What is so special about this wool and should this be your go-to choice?
Cashmere is a type of wool, not unlike plain Jane sheep’s wool. The difference is, you can find sheep everywhere. Sheep are in northern England and they’re in southern Australia. They’re all over the world and they have been used for their fleecy hair for thousands upon thousands of years. People have been wearing sheep’s wool since the Bronze Age. Way before Rome was ever founded and Julius Caesar ruled supreme, people were wearing wool.
But cashmere…this is a different kind of wool. Cashmere is not from sheep. Cashmere comes from a certain type of goat that lives only in a certain area of the world. This means the supply of hair you can get from these goats is rather limited, as there are only so many of these special cashmere-growing goats in the world. Whenever something is limited, it’s more expensive.
The cashmere hairs are incredibly soft and they make absolutely beautiful knitted items. The rarity and beauty of cashmere have made it highly prized and therefore, expensive. People love to wear cashmere for its beauty, its warmth and its softness when compared to other wools. This is the most expensive and most luxurious wool and many people will say that cashmere is the softest and most comfortable wool, too.
So it’s lovely stuff, truly. But does that mean that cashmere sweaters are good for skiing?
How Does Cashmere Perform?
Cashmere is a type of wool and all wool has some of the same characteristics. All wool is lightweight but warm and insulating. It also resists moisture well, as it’s able to absorb a lot of moisture before it starts to get your skin wet. Wool resists odor and bacteria and it creates soft, touchable knitted clothing. These qualities are what have kept wool a popular fabric for thousands of years. These qualities make wool a go-to choice for skiers, who need to keep their bodies both warm and dry.
Like any wool, cashmere does all this stuff that wool does. But when compared to other wools, is cashmere the best for skiing? There are many types of wool you could wear. So should cashmere be the one you pick?
Cashmere As Skiwear
Cashmere is a very warm type of wool. In fact, it is warmer and more insulating than some other types of wool on the market, which is another reason why this particular wool is so popular. Cashmere is warm without being dense or heavy, which makes it nice to wear.
However, cashmere is not one of the more durable types of wool. It is durable because it is wool, but other types of wool are actually stronger and more durable than cashmere. This material isn’t exactly designed to take a beating, in other words.
Compared to other wools, cashmere also doesn’t have a lot of stretchiness to it. Cashmere retains its shape so well that you may even feel some resistance when you’re moving around in it. Other wools will move with your body much more effectively, flexing and stretching with you far more easily.
This lack of strength and stretch makes cashmere a little less than ideal for skiing and other winter sports, when you want clothing that is truly high-performance. You need everything you wear on the slopes to be warm, strong, flexible and made for movement.
Dressing for Skiing
When you’re skiing, you want to wear several layers of clothing. You need a moisture-wicking baselayer that will keep sweat off you. Because even in the cold, when you’re being active and wearing a lot of layers, your skin can sweat. But sweat is actually not good for your body in cold weather. In the right circumstances, it can even be deadly. So you want something to wick moisture close to your skin.
You also want to wear multiple layers on top of this, including a sweater to insulate you against the heat, along with a coat. You can wear a cashmere sweater for one of these layers…but it’s probably not the best option. There are other types of wool that are more flexible and stretchy, which allow you to move more freely, and there are types of wool that are much more effective at wicking sweat from the body.
Merino wool is often used in skiwear and athletic wear of all types because it is very high-performing material. Merino is incredibly strong and highly stretchable. It moves with your body and keeps you warm on the slopes. Merino isn’t as warm and insulating as cashmere but when it comes to winter sports, it is more of a performance fabric.
Are Cashmere Sweaters Good for Skiing?
Cashmere is what you should put on after your day of skiing when you’re ready to look great while you sip on hot cocoa and socialize with the other people who hit the slopes that day. But when you’re actually out in the snow, a more high-performance wool like merino will actually work much better. So wear cashmere after skiing and wear a different type of wool when you’re actually out there on the slopes.
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