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Based in New Zealand, Icebreaker (owned by VF corporation) crafts high-quality, premium Merino wool clothing for all sorts of activities. They heavily focus on sustainability, ethics, and animal welfare. Today, we’ll take look at the history, pros, cons, ethics, sizing charts, and more! Now that we’ve finally broken the ice, let’s get started with this comprehensive Icebreaker review!

Disclaimer: To maintain genuineness and authenticity, Merino Wool Gear DOES NOT sponsor products. Yet as an Amazon Associate, we may earn a commission from qualifying purchases.

Mission Statement

Driven by the belief that nature has the solutions, we provide natural performance alternatives to synthetic-based apparel to create a healthier more sustainable future for our species and the planet.

Icebreaker website

Brief History

In 1994, New Zealand native Jeremy Moons was introduced to two sheep farmers who resided on the remote island of Poheunui by his then-girlfriend. The two wool growers – Brian and Fiona Brakenridge – had developed a new type of thermal regulation underwear from Merino wool gathered from their local flock. As an outdoor enthusiast, Moons saw value in this product. Subsequently, in 1995, Icebreaker was formed.

Since then, their products now stretch far beyond Merino wool underwear. They have become a prominent player in the outdoor clothing industry.

Merino Specialties

Icebreaker specializes in next-to-skin clothing like underwear, socks, base layers, and more. They also offer high-performance outdoor apparel and athletic wear for men, women, and children.

As a result their clothing is great for bot cold-weather and hot-weather base layers. Also, for any on-the-go activities like hiking, backpacking, traveling, and so much more.

Icebreaker Review: What We Like

Icebreaker is a leader in innovation in the outdoor clothing industry. Their products protect against all sorts of weather. They use core-spun nylon to improve durability in much of their fabrics, so your garments will last longer. Icebreaker has even developed a specific base layer system based on fabric density to normalize their product line across different collections.

ClassificationWeight (GSM)ProductUses
Featherweight120shirts, lining, shortsactivewear, and summer training
Ultralite150underwear, baselayers, liners, shirts, sports brasactivewear, travel, hiking, summer activities
Lightweight200thermals, baselayers, leggings hats, liners, shirts, hoodies, socksmoderate temperature single layer, cold-weather base layer, and travel
Midweight250-260thermal tops, bottoms, crews, liningscold-weather base layer and second layer thermal regulation.
Midlayer320-330hoodies, pullovers, jackets, tights, sweaters, sockssecond layer everyday, outdoor, and travel uses.
Outerlayer380jackets, coats, vestswinter conditions second and third layer.
* Typical printer paper is about 75-100 g/m² thick

In addition to their high-quality products, our favorite aspect of Icebreaker is their extreme commitment to the environment. They focus on sustainability, ethics, transparency, and more. We’ll touch more on that in a bit.

Icebreaker Review: Areas to Improve

It’s hard to find much we don’t like about Icebreaker, but we would have to say that their products are a bit on the expensive side if we had to choose. However, they often have deals and specials regularly. So make sure to regularly frequent their website.

Also, while we have not had durability issues, some users have reported holes or reduced quality after a few months. Much of the time, this lack of durability is directly associated with mishandling the fabric. Ensure that you are caring for your garments properly with our Merino wool buying guide.

*While we don’t feel this constitutes an area of improvement, it’s important to note that some of the Icebreaker products we have ordered in the past have had a 10+-day shipping time. As a result, please plan and purchase your clothing a few weeks before you need it.*

Icebreaker Review: Sustainability

Icebreaker is one of the best Merino wool companies when it comes to the environment. Their philosophy is based 100% around using natural solutions, like Merino wool, to solve real-world problems. They emphasize their commitment to protecting land, animals, and people. If we could give them a grade for their environmental efforts, we’d give out an A++.

According to their website, they take a myriad of concrete steps to help protect the environment.

  • Useful ‘Baacode’ provides customers complete traceability of their garments down to the exact wool harvesting farm.
  • Concerned about microplastic contamination and vowed to go plastic-free by 2023 by reducing synthetic fibers use.
  • Funds research aimed to clean up our global waters.
  • Develops natural dyes for garment manufacturing.
  • Involves in regenerative farming practices to reduce overgrazing.
  • Requires all Merino sheep growers to have a “land environmental plan.”
  • Part of the ZQ-standard for Merino wool production.
  • All facilities meet ISO 14001 standards for environmental protection.
  • Fully engages in the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of their materials (ISO 14044).
  • Effectively pushes customers toward natural living practices that reduce the consumption of resources.
  • Utilizes sustainable product packaging.
  • Use “social and environmental responsibility roadmap.”

We probably could go on and on about Icebreaker’s commitment to sustainability, but we think you get the point. If you’d like to learn more about Merino wool’s environmental impacts, we’ve crafted a detailed sustainability guide just for you!

Icebreaker Review: Ethics

Just as Icebreaker is committed to sustainability, they are also highly committed to ethics. They want the Merino sheep to be happy first, and their product comes second.

Icebreaker strictly follows the ‘Five Freedoms of the Flock’ outlined in the ZQ standard, ensuring 100%-mulesing free Merino wool. They also audit their wool growers to ensure they are following the same guidelines.

As for the ethics of their suppliers and manufacturing facilities, Icebreaker carefully watches over the entire process. VF Corporation, their parent company, performs annual and semiannual audits on all of their facilities. They break down their audits into six categories: transparency and compliance, child labor, labor practices, wages & benefits, health & safety, and environment.

According to their latest transparency report, their lowest-scoring audit category was “Transparency and Compliance,” which still scored a 74%.

Overall, Icebreaker takes ethics seriously, and again, we’d have to give them an A+ in this category. If you’re interested in Merino wool production’s full ethical considerations, check out our ethics write-up.

Icebreaker Review: Sourcing

Icebreaker follows the ZQ-standard, which means that the sheep are happy and mulesing-free. They source most of their Merino wool from farmers in New Zealand, consisting of about 140 sourcing farms. These exclusive contracts, worth nearly $50-million, ensure that these farmers follow their strict and ethical practices. You can check out the exact locations of their wool growers on their website.

Icebreaker Review: Products

With one of the largest collections of Merino wool apparel in the industry, it may be difficult to pinpoint your favorite Icebreaker clothing. So, we’ve put together the top-selling (and some of our favorite) apparel in this Icebreaker review. This way, you can get a better feel for their overall style and function.

Top Sellers – Men

Top Sellers – Women

How Do I Find Deals On Icebreaker Apparel?

As their products can be a bit expensive, Icebreaker regularly has excellent sales across their entire collection, up to 40% off. You can see them here.

Moreover, check Amazon, REI Garage sales, and gear trade subreddits if you’re looking for a great deal on Merino wool clothing.

Icebreaker Sizing Charts

From our experiences, most Icebreaker clothing fits relatively true-to-size. Still, some items can be a bit on the smaller side. While we’ve provided you with baseline charts, Icebreaker uses the service Fit Finder to gauge your proper size better. You enter your height, weight, and body type; then, it spits out your size. Search for the “find your size” section on any product page.

They offer three main fits of their clothing as well:

Icebreaker Mens Fit Guide
Men’s fit guide adapted from Icebreaker website.
Icebreaker Women's Fit Guide
Women’s fit guide adapted from Icebreaker website.

Men’s Sizing Charts

Icebreaker Men’s Tops Sizing Chart:

SizeNeck (in.)Chest (in.)Arm Length (in.)
S13 – 1433 – 3634
M14 – 1536 – 3934 – 34.5
L15 – 1639 – 4234.5
XL16 – 1742 – 4535
XXL17 – 1845 – 4835.5
XXXL18 – 1948 – 5236

Icebreaker Men’s Bottoms Sizing Chart

SizeWaist (in.) Hip (in.)
S27 – 3034.5 – 37
M30 – 3337 – 39.5
L33 – 3639.5 – 42
XL36 – 3942 – 44.5
XXL39 – 4244.5 – 47
XXXL42 – 4647 – 50.5
Note: woven bottom have a slightly different sizing chart. Refer to Icebreaker site.

Icebreaker Men’s Socks Sizing Chart

Sock SizeUS Shoe SizeEU Shoe SizeUK Shoe Size
S7 – 8.539 – 41.56 – 7.5
M9 – 10.542 – 448 – 9.5
L11 – 12.544.5 – 46.510 – 11.5
XL13 – 14.547 – 4912 – 13.5
One Size9 -1342 – 478 – 12
Note: for socks deemed unisex, please consult the unisex sock sizing chart in “unisex sizing charts”

Sock Height Guide

Icebreaker Sock Height Chart
*sock height guide adapted from Icebreaker site

Women’s Sizing Charts

Icebreaker Women’s Tops Sizing Chart

SizeBust (in.)Arm Length (in.)Waist (in.)Hips (in.)
XS30 – 3230.25 – 30.524 – 2634 – 36
S32 – 3430.5 – 30.7526 – 2836 – 38
M34 – 3730.75 – 3128 – 3038 – 40
L37 – 4031 – 31.2530 – 3240 – 42
XL40 – 4231.25 – 31.532 – 3542 – 44

Icebreaker Women’s Bottoms Sizing Chart

SizeWaist (in.)Hips (in.)
XS24 – 2634 – 36
S26 – 2836 – 38
M28 -3038 – 40
L30 – 3240 – 42
XL32 – 3542 – 44

Icebreaker Women’s Socks Sizing Chart

Sock SizeUS Shoe SizeEU Shoe SizeUK Shoe Size
S5.5 – 735 – 373 – 4.5
M7.5 – 9 38 – 405 – 6.5
L9.5 – 1141 – 437 – 8.5
One Size6 – 10.536 – 423.5 – 8
Note: for socks deemed unisex, please consult the unisex sock sizing chart in “unisex sizing charts”

Sock Height Guide

Icebreaker Sock Height Chart

Unisex/Kids Sizing Charts

Icebreaker Hats Sizing Chart

SizeFull Head Circumference (in.)
S22.5 – 23
M23 – 23.5

Icebreaker Gloves Sizing Chart

SizeHand Length (in.)end of middle finger to base of palmPalm Girth (in.)circumference of the widest part of your palm
S77.5 – 8
M7.58 – 8.5
L88.5 – 9
XL8.59 – 9.5

Icebreaker Unisex Socks Sizing Chart

Unisex Sock SizeUS Men’s US Women’sEU Men’sEU Women’sUK Men’sUK Women’s
S/M6 – 95.5 – 1136 – 4236 – 425.5 – 8.53.5 – 9
L/XL9.5 – 1611.5 – 1242.5 – 4942.5 – 499 – 15.59.5 – 10
*Note: all comparisons are for shoe size

Sock Height Guide

Icebreaker Sock Height Chart
*sock height guide adapted from Icebreaker site


According to Icebreaker’s website, they will replace any clothes within one year that has been “damaged by faulty fabric, stitching or manufacturing.”

They will assess the damage on a case-by-case basis to determine if your warranty is eligible. In addition, Icebreaker has a lifetime warranty on all of its socks. You’ll have to fill out any warranty claims on their website to be considered.

Return Policy

You can return items purchased directly from within 90 days from the ship date as long as they are unworn, unwashed, and in the original packaging.*

*Excludes items listed as FINAL SALE. Final Sale items cannot be returned or exchanged. All pro orders are Final Sale and not eligible for returns and exchanges.

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