Fabrics & Materials

Ultimate Sustainable Knitwear Guide

Ultimate Sustainable Knitwear Guide

During cooler weather spouts, knitwear offers not only an extra layer of warmth but also the opportunity to add character and style to an outfit. This guide will break down our use of different sustainable materials. We will explore different styles of knitwear and look into what designs best suit your desired activity, including hiking, travelling and lounging.

What is Knitwear and how does it differ from Midlayers?

Knitwear is a garment created through knitting, interlacing yarn, or thread in a series of connected loops. The term 'knitwear' reflects the garments manufacturing process. Whereas the term midlayer refers to the position of the piece of clothing. A midlayer is worn between a base layer and an outercoat. Therefore, knitwear can be used as a midlayer to provide comfort and warmth in cold conditions. Due to knitwear providing unparalleled comfort and warmth, it deserves a category in its own right.

Breakdown of Our Sustainable Materials

From merino wool and recycled polyester to organic cotton and handcrafted items. See the materials breaking ground in the eco revolution below.

Merino wool

  • Soft to touch: Merino wool is super-fine and soft. It is so fine that it is 'skin resistant' and actively bends out of the way of skin because it can't stand its weight. This means no irritation is usually associated with standard wool that is far coarser – just velvety comfort.
  • Warm and cool: A single Merino wool fibre is a third the diameter of a human hair. Due to this, the fibres are tightly packed, helping to trap body heat when it's woven. However, because it's a natural material, it is also porous making it breathable and temperature regulating.
  • Odour resistant: Merino wool absorbs odour that is caused by naturally occurring bodily bacteria, reducing the build-up of unpleasant smells. Therefore, it is great for travelling, treks, and hikes when you need to pack light and extend the wearing-life of clothes.

Recycled polyester

  • Sustainable: Recycled polyester is primarily made using recycled water bottles that would otherwise be destined for landfill. As the plastic has already been manufactured, recycled polyester can reduce energy usage by 45% and decrease CO2 emissions by 30% compared to virgin polyester.
  • Durable: Polyester is made from long and stable polymers which means the fabric is strong and resilient. Resultingly, polyester naturally snaps back into shape after stretching increasing its lifetime.
  • Flexible: Polyester has natural give. This makes it perfect for active endeavours allowing you freedom of movement and a lack of restriction.


  • Breathable: As a natural fibre it allows air to circulate freely around the fabric. This airflow helps to dry out damp areas of the body.
  • Insulating: Cotton provides ample thermal insulation as the cotton fabric traps air between the fibres which are then warmed by our bodyheat.
  • Hypoallergenic: Cotton is frequently used in medical products like bandages and baby products because it rarely causes allergic reactions. Hence it is recommended for those with sensitive skin.


  • Sustainable: Our handcrafted products are lovingly made in women cooperatives.
  • Cultural: Patterns inspired by the rich colors and patterns of traditional Bhutanese ware is exclusive to Sherpa.
  • Ethical: Contribute's to Sherpa's mission of supporting education in Nepal by helping to fund teacher training, libraries and building classrooms.

Different Styles of Knitwear

  • Crew Neck: a close-fitting circular neckline on a sweater. An ever-fashionable classic.
  • Mock Neck: a rising collar that goes up the neck, similar to a turtle neck. However, it is lower, looser and not folded over unlike its cousin.
  • Boat Neck: a circular neckline similar to a crewe neck but has an elegantly wider opening that stretches towards the shoulders.
  • Full Zip: a sweater with a full length zip that descends from the collar right to the bottom of the garment for easy removal if the going gets tough.
  • Quarter Zip: a sportier sweater with a short zip that descends from the collar approximately a quarter of the way down the garment.
  • Kirtipur: a knitted hoodie with a ribbed libing that is handcrafted in Nepal.
  • Duster: similar in look to a full zip, however features a higher-climbing collar that is gorgeously tailored with a jersey lined body.
Discover our

Knitwear for Men

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Knitwear for Women

What Knitwear is Best for Hiking, Travelling or Lounging?

Different knitwear products are better suited to different activities due to their design and the materials they're made from. Here is what knitwear we recommend for hiking, travelling and lounging:


Essential material properties

  • Durable
  • Breathable
  • Easy movement
  • Insulating

Suitable materials: Recycled Polyester, Merino Wool and Handcrafted

Recommended knitwear products for hiking


Essential material properties

  • Comfort
  • Practical
  • Easy maintenance
  • Flexible

Suitable materials: Merino Wool, Recycled Polyester and Handcrafted

Recommended knitwear products for travelling


Essential material properties

  • Ultimate comfort
  • Soft
  • Cozy
  • Warming

Suitable materials: Cotton, Merino Wool and Handcrafted

Recommended knitwear products for lounging

Caring for Your Knitwear

You just need to give it some TLC and always read the label! Show your knitwear love, and it will love you back for many years.

Washing your knitwear

Clothing containing wool should be washed carefully either by hand or on a dedicated wool machine wash, ensuring the temperature isn't above 40 degrees. Play safe, and hand wash if your machine doesn't have a special wool setting.

Using a dedicated wool detergent is also a worthy investment ensuring it treats your knitwear delicately. Finally, always air dry your knitwear – never tumble dry.

Storing your knitwear

It is always better to fold your knits rather than using hangers - this prevents the knitwear from stretching or dropping. You also need to be mindful of pesky insects that love nothing better than munching on a woolly jumper. Invest in some cedar mothballs to prevent any emerging holes.