Cashmere Vs. Merino Wool: Which Is Better?

Cashmere vs. merino wool is arguably the world’s most luxurious and sought-after material.

They are highly famed for their moisture-wicking properties, warmth, softness, and durability.

However, while they share a few similar features, they have distinctive differences that make them unique. 

First, cashmere wool comes from the cashmere goat, while merino wool comes from the merino sheep.

Both types of wool differ in terms of feel and texture, price, longevity, and maintenance.

This article will end the “cashmere Vs. merino wool” debate as you discover which suits you. 

Table of Contents

Cashmere Vs. Merino Wool

Winter portrait of a beautiful woman

(Winter portrait of a beautiful woman)

As previously stated, merino and cashmere wools are one of the elite wools in the world of wool.

We use them in making socks, sweaters, and other cold-weather clothing items. However, if you have wondered which is better, the comparison below should help you decide. 


When it comes to breathability, Merino is king when compared to other types of sheep’s wool. However, it does not come close to the cashmere wool’s permeability. Cashmere wool is finer and thinner; hence, it is more breathable than merino wool.


Both cashmere and Merino offer excellent insulation. Manufacturers utilize both materials for making cold-weather apparel.

However, cashmere is a better option for cold temperatures due to its unique and finer fibers. 


People consider a material soft if it has a smooth feel against the skin. In the “cashmere Vs. merino wool” debate, cashmere wins in softness.

Due to its thinner fibers, wearers consider it softer than merino wool which has a coarser texture. 


Durability is a shared trait for Merino and cashmere. They are both flame-resistant and can last a long time.

However, merino wool trumps cashmere in this feature due to its stronger fibers. It is slightly more durable than cashmere.


It is essential to consider both fabrics’ visual and tactile qualities before choosing. Cashmere has a softer and more fluffy texture than Merino. Merino’s texture ranges from soft and smooth to rough and scratchy, depending on its processing. 


Cashmere and Merino both have superior moisture-wicking qualities. It is difficult to say which of them wins here as they can both become saturated if they get too wet. Cashmere may offer higher moisture-wicking due to its finer fibers. 


Both cashmere and merino wool can stretch out of shape if not well-maintained. However, merino wool typically has more elasticity than cashmere. 


Regarding the ability to absorb and retain odors, merino wool is more odor-resistant. It has natural antimicrobial properties. Cashmere, on the other, requires frequent washes to remain fresh.


Cashmere is more pricey than Merino. The rarity, production process, luxurious reputation, and fine fibers make it a higher-end clothing choice than the former. 

Easy To Care For

Merino wool is generally easier to maintain than cashmere which requires delicate care. Merino is more resilient; hence, it requires less maintenance. 


Since cashmere is more delicate than Merino, it has limited uses. Manufacturers often use it to make only sweaters, scarves, socks, and coats.

Conversely, Merino is more versatile, and you can use it for anything from activewear to business attire. 

Get Hold Of

In terms of availability and accessibility, merino wool is easier to find. It is challenging to get a hold of a cashmere garment due to its rarity and cost. 

Base Layer

Due to its high moisture-wicking and odor-resistant qualities, Merino is a more popular choice for base layers. This quality makes it ideal for outdoor activities and sports. 

For Skiing

The ideal fabric for skiing should be warm, moisture-wicking, breathable, and odor-resistant. Merino passes this test. Hence, it is more suitable for skiing than cashmere. 

For Hiking

For hiking, the ideal fabric should be highly durable, moisture-wicking, and thermoregulating. Again, merino wool is a better option for hiking than cashmere which may be less effective.

What Makes Cashmere And Merino Superior To Ordinary Wool?

A basket of wool

(A basket of wool)

Cashmere and merino wool are both luxurious and superior to other types of wool due to their unique properties. Manufacturers often use them to make a variety of clothing and accessories. 

Below are some of the unique features which set Merino and cashmere will apart: 


Cashmere and merino wool have fine fibers measuring around 10-20 macrons, whereas most wool reaches up to 40.

Cashmere comes from the undercoat of cashmere goats, while Merino comes from the fleece of merino sheep.

The fiber from both animals is much finer than ordinary wool, which makes it softer and more gentle on the skin.


Cashmere and merino wool are thin and lightweight. However, they both offer excellent warmth and insulation to wearers. The hollow fibers of cashmere wool allow it to trap heat and provide warmth.

On the other hand, the merino wool’s crimped structure will enable it to provide perfect insulation. 


Although Merino and cashmere are highly insulating, they are also very breathable. They both have thermoregulating properties, which means they can regulate the wearer’s temperature and prevent overheating.

Merino wool, in particular, is a popular choice amongst outdoor enthusiasts due to its breathability. 


Cashmere and merino wool have a high reputation for being durable. However, merino wool is more durable than cashmere wool. Merino wool fibers are strong and resilient.

Cashmere, however, is more delicate and prone to stretching, pilling, and shrinkage. 


Unlike other types of wool, Merino and cashmere wool have a unique texture that sets them apart. People who have tried Merino and cashmere can testify that the feel is different.

It is worth noting that while Merino may feel itchy to some, many agree that the same is hardly true for cashmere. 

What Are The Downsides of Merino and Cashmere Wool?

A herd of sheep and lambs

(A herd of sheep and lambs)

While cashmere and merino wool is superior to ordinary wool, they have downsides. Hence, you should know the cons before investing in a cashmere or merino garment. 


Their high cost is one of the apparent downsides of Merino and cashmere wool.

Due to their premium features, Merino and cashmere are challenging to afford. Hence, they may not be viable for people on a tight budget. 


Yes, cashmere and merino wool are durable. With good maintenance, they can last for years. However, they are less durable than cotton or synthetic fabric. Due to their thin fibers, they are prone to stretching and pilling.


Cashmere and merino wool require intensive care to maintain their shape and luxe. As with other types of wool, too much washing can cause them to stretch and lose shape.

You only need to wash them a few times as they are odor-resistant.


Pilling is the formation of small balls of wool on the garment’s surface.

Unfortunately, both cashmere and merino wool are prone to pilling. Cashmere is more so due to its thinner and more delicate fibers. 


People with sensitive skin or wool allergy may find cashmere or merino wool itchy and uncomfortable. Cashmere wool is less fingered and itchy compared to merino wool. 


Woman in warm, woolen stockings

(Woman in warm, woolen stockings)

Cashmere and merino wool make excellent choices for high-quality and high-end garments. Both types of wool share many similarities but have their distinctive properties.

It is worth noting that although they have many benefits, they also have downsides which you can manage with maintenance.

Ultimately, the choice between cashmere and merino wool depends on individual preference, need, and budget.

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