Reviews You Can Rely On

Meriwool Merino 250 Bottom Review

Grab a pair of these if you are looking for an affordable and warm pair of Merino wool bottoms
meriwool merino 250 bottom long underwear review
Credit: Meriwool
Best Buy Award
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Price:  $60 List
Manufacturer:   Meriwool
By Justin Simoni ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Dec 1, 2022
67
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#10 of 12
  • Warmth - 25% 8.0
  • Breathability - 20% 6.0
  • Comfort and Fit - 20% 7.0
  • Durability - 15% 6.0
  • Drying Speed - 10% 6.0
  • Layering Ability - 10% 6.0

Our Verdict

Quality, 100% Merino wool bottoms are sometimes outside the reach of many outdoor enthusiasts due to cost. Enter the Meriwool Merino 250 Bottom: a budget-friendly wool option that will keep you warm with its plush 250 g/m² wool fabric and snug fit. The no-nonsense construction will work for most people, especially since they're available in an extensive range of sizes. These may not be the most performant woolies when you work up a sweat, but for wintry conditions, they perform well above their price tag would lead you to believe. If you've been wondering about Merino wool but can't stomach the cost, these are for you.
REASONS TO BUY
Affordable intro to Merino
Warm and cozy
Wide spectrum of available sizes
REASONS TO AVOID
Starts off slightly itchy
Simplified construction may not be as comfy
Merino wool is delicate

Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards Best Buy Award Editors' Choice Award Best Buy Award   
Price $60 List
$59.99 at Amazon
$82.50 at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
$55 List
$32.93 at REI
$47.40 at Backcountry$40 List
$39.95 at REI
Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Affordable intro to Merino, warm and cozy, wide spectrum of available sizesA nice balance of warmth and breathability, super cozy, nicely articulated designTough synthetic fabric, four-way stretch for great range of motion, excellent performance for the price100% recycled polyester, light fabric weight, impressive loft and warmthUnbeatable price, breathable, quick drying, functional
Cons Starts off slightly itchy, simplified construction may not be as comfy, Merino wool is delicateExpensive, stretches out in between washes, slow to dry when saturatedHeavier than wool bottoms for their warmthQuestionable durability, saggy bottomShort cut legs, average comfort and warmth
Bottom Line Grab a pair of these if you are looking for an affordable and warm pair of Merino wool bottomsDesigned to keep you warm in the coldest conditions, this is a versatile pair of Merino wool bottomsA great synthetic thermal long underwear at an unbeatable price for the warmth and durability they provideWarmer than most and lighter than the rest, this pair of long underwear redefines what is possible from a synthetic base layerSlender and breathable, these are everything we expect out of a lightweight pair of long underwear
Rating Categories Meriwool Merino 250... Smartwool Classic T... REI Co-op Midweight... Patagonia Capilene... REI Co-op Lightweig...
Warmth (25%)
8.0
9.0
7.0
6.0
4.0
Breathability (20%)
6.0
7.0
7.0
8.0
8.0
Comfort and Fit (20%)
7.0
8.0
7.0
6.0
6.0
Durability (15%)
6.0
7.0
9.0
8.0
6.0
Drying Speed (10%)
6.0
7.0
7.0
8.0
7.0
Layering Ability (10%)
6.0
7.0
7.0
8.0
6.0
Specs Meriwool Merino 250... Smartwool Classic T... REI Co-op Midweight... Patagonia Capilene... REI Co-op Lightweig...
Material 100% Merino wool 100% Merino wool 100% polyester 100% recycled polyester with HeiQ Fresh 92% polyester, 8% spandex
Fabric Weight 250 g/m² 250 g/m² Not stated 147 g/m² Not stated
Weight (size medium) 7.9 oz 8.3 oz 7.4 oz 5.9 oz 5.5 oz
Insulation Weight Midweight Midweight Midweight Lightweight Lightweight
3/4 Boot-Cut Available? No Yes No No No
Fly? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Dryer Safe? No No Yes Yes Yes

Our Analysis and Test Results

Affordability may be the first thing that gets your attention when comparing the Meriwool Merino 250 Bottom to almost any other pair on the market. It's natural to be a little skeptical that Meriwool could produce a warm and comfy pair of long underwear so much cheaper than its competitors, but our tests have proven their worth — and then some. Warmth is their main strength, being almost as warm as pairs sold at nearly twice the price. Meriwool keeps the construction and design of these bottoms practical, meaning no extra panels or gusseted crotch. But you will find a front fly and strong and low-profile flatlock seams, as well as a thick and supportive waistband. You may find the superfine Merino a little itchier to start off before you wash them a few times, and overall the fabric may not be as durable in the long run, but for an entry-level pair of bottoms, it's hard to go wrong with these.

Performance Comparison


meriwool merino 250 bottom long underwear review - a snug fit makes the 100% merino wool meriwool bottoms perfect for...
A snug fit makes the 100% Merino wool Meriwool bottoms perfect for layering up in the cold.
Credit: Justin Simoni


Warmth


The Merino 250 Bottoms are toasty enough to have a fighting chance at the crown for the warmest long underwear we've tested. The midweight, 250 g/m² 100% Merino wool is as thick as we'd suggest wearing to be comfortable — unless you're going into truly arctic conditions.


These long undies are best worn when things really do get cold, as their breathability isn't as good as some of the more luxe brands. But if your idea of fun isn't joining the dawn patrol skinning up the resort slopes, and you want to stay warm during many hours of tailgating at the university's football team, these are the bottoms for you.

meriwool merino 250 bottom long underwear review - the 100% merino wool 250 g/sm fabric is what makes these long...
The 100% Merino wool 250 g/sm fabric is what makes these long underwear so warm and toasty.
Credit: Justin Simoni

Breathability


Breathability for 100% Merino wool layers generally starts to suffer the warmer the layer gets. This rings true for the Merino 250 Bottom, which certainly aren't the most breathable bottoms we've tested, especially when compared to more techy pairs with built-in ventilation panels. But they stay true to their keep-it-simple ethos and let the natural thermoregulation of the wool do the talking. For most uses, the breathability found in these woolies is certainly good enough.


Where you'll run afoul is if you wear the Merino 250 for exceptionally high-output activities. Our after-work nighttime trail runs got a little uncomfortably stuffy while we power-hiked up to the summit of our favorite high point. The sweet spot for these bottoms is cold weather: they just don't perform as well when temperatures start to rise.

meriwool merino 250 bottom long underwear review - the simple, no-nonsense construction of the meriwool merino 250...
The simple, no-nonsense construction of the Meriwool Merino 250 Bottoms still keeps a next to skin fit, helping with the natural wicking properties of Merino wool.
Credit: Justin Simoni

Comfort and Fit


The Merino 250 Bottom is made with 100% "superfine" Merino wool, and it's packed with plush comfort. If they initially feel slightly scratchy, give them a wash; it'll help. Low profile flatlock seams throughout prevent chafing issues, and a 1.25" wide and soft waistband keeps these bottoms from slipping down. On the other end, tight ankle cuffs keep the legs from riding up.


We found the overall fit to be a little tighter and smaller than other brands of the same size, which is apparent when crouching down or bending a knee. The inseam measured an inch or two shorter than other size mediums we've tested, as did the waist. The seam patterns are also simpler than many other top-shelf brands: you won't find any paneling on the front or back, nor a gusseted crotch. Generally, everything was a bit snugger, except around the front fly area, much to our relief. This means that if you're on the fence about which size to get, it's probably safe to size up. Speaking of sizes, we were delighted to see that these bottoms are available for a wide spectrum of body types and not just made for skinny athletes. Sizes range from small to XXX-Large, along with Tall lengths peppered in. Kudos to Meriwool.

meriwool merino 250 bottom long underwear review - the thick and soft waistband is one of our favorite features.
The thick and soft waistband is one of our favorite features.
Credit: Justin Simoni

Durability


Our durability scores are based both on objective lab tests and our direct observations when using the gear in the real world. Our harsh durability test makes even the toughest 100% Merino wool layers whimper, and the Merino 250 Bottom is no exception. Extended exposure to such abuse will cause rips and tears in the fabric. For base layers and long underwear, these results tell us to utilize a layer like the Meriwool exclusively underneath other layers where they'll be easily protected. Heed this warning, and the chances your purchase will last for years to come greatly improves.


The other variable you can control is when washing and drying. The manufacturer's instructions for the Merino 250 are to turn them inside out, wash in cold water on gentle, then dry on low, on the line, or flat. These instructions should absolutely be followed to maximize lifespan and are similar to most of the 100% Merino wool pieces we've reviewed — and most all show similar delicate qualities. Following them, we experienced no untimely damage to the fabric, seams, or anything else that would point to less than a high-quality manufacturing process.

meriwool merino 250 bottom long underwear review - our harsh abrasion test shows just how delicate merino wool is when...
Our harsh abrasion test shows just how delicate Merino wool is when it meets rough surfaces. Best to keep these woolies underneath a more durable layer.
Credit: Justin Simoni

Drying Speed


Our lab hang-dry tests tell an often repeated story: wool fabrics tend to dry slower than synthetics, and the heavier the fabric, the slower it dries. This holds true for the heavy Merino 250 Bottom, which comes in at 7.9 ounces for a size medium. The only pairs of long underwear that dried slower were those that weighed more on our scale. This isn't a shortcoming of Meriwool as a brand — it's just physics.


What we would urge you to do when it comes to drying is follow the manufacturer's recommendation to dry only on low — or even better: hang or dry flat. The Merino 250 comes with a hang tag to help out with that. Hanging these out to dry on a late fall day in the low humidity of Colorado air had them mostly dry after an hour, with just the waistband still wet to the touch.

meriwool merino 250 bottom long underwear review - drying speed is linked directly to type of fabric used, as well as...
Drying speed is linked directly to type of fabric used, as well as the weight/thickness of the fabric. 100% Merino wool at 250 g/sm weight is one of the slowest to dry out completely.
Credit: Justin Simoni

Layering Ability


The Merino 250 Bottom makes an excellent next-to-skin layer. Although the first wearing may feel slightly itchy from the superfine Merino wool, this should alleviate itself after the first wash. This soft fabric glided over most every other layer we paired it with, be it stretchy running tights, stiffer hiking pants and jeans, or even nylon ski mountaineering pants.


Many of the design features help out when these bottoms are buried underneath layers of clothes. The built-in fly can help speed up calls to nature. The soft, thick waistband works well to keep them from sagging, and the tight bottom cuffs help keep the ankles from rising up. Flatlock seams throughout minimize chafing.

meriwool merino 250 bottom long underwear review - the snug fit suggests the meriwool merino 250 bottom works best as a...
The snug fit suggests the Meriwool Merino 250 Bottom works best as a first, next to skin layer. The bottom foot cuffs work well to keep these woolies in place underneath other layers.
Credit: Justin Simoni

Should You Buy the Meriwool Merino 250 Bottom?


The Merino 250 makes a great budget-friendly, introductory pair of 100% wool long underwear. If you want to see what all the fuss about Merino is but don't want to refinance your home to try out a pair, these are a great place to start. These long johns will definitely help keep you toasty warm whenever you need to be outside in wintry weather for hours on end. Their main weakness may just be in their breathability, meaning if it's too warm for these thick woolies or you're just exerting yourself too much, you may feel a little overheated. But for activities where you're staying outside in one place most of the time — think hunting and fishing — the Meriwool 250 is a perfect ally.

meriwool merino 250 bottom long underwear review - the meriwool merino 250 bottoms are a great value for what they...
The Meriwool Merino 250 Bottoms are a great value for what they deliver, especially when you need to keep warm as the sun and temperatures start to dip.
Credit: Justin Simoni

What Other Long Underwear Should You Consider?


Finding good quality thermal bottoms in this price range is challenging unless you look to something synthetic. The REI Co-op Midweight Bottoms are one of our favorite thermal synthetics. They won't be as warm as the Meriwool Merino 250, but synthetics, in general, are easier to wash and are much more durable than wool. Once you're ready to level up in your Merino wool game, the reigning champion for us is the Smartwool Classic Thermal Merino Bottom, but they're an investment. That said, for those extra bucks, you get a little more warmth and a bit better fit, thanks to strategic paneling.

If you're looking for a top to compliment these bottoms, look no further than the Meriwool Merino 250 Long Sleeve. Made with the same 250 g/m² 100% Merino wool and constructed with the same level of quality, the top and bottom work together in perfect unison.

Justin Simoni
 
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