Socks that rarely need to be washed

Because of the sexism of school education in the 70s, I never learned to sew to mend clothes. Since then I haven't had the confidence to teach myself, nor have I had anybody to show me properly.

Whenever my socks develop holes, I think that I would love to be able to darn them. I like the idea of darning socks as a way of resisting the wastefulness of a throwaway society. Sometimes I've attempted to darn socks or do rough repairs to other clothes. But I've mostly thrown away damaged or worn items of clothing.

I was thinking about that yesterday as I went to the Sydney CBD Icebreaker shop with my socks with a hole. I was claiming the lifetime warranty they offer on socks. I figure it's worth paying $30 for a pair of socks if they have a lifetime warranty (or, if you're lucky, $12 at the outlet during sale time).

My replacement Icebreaker socks

Unfortunately they don't darn the socks for you, but instead replace your old socks with new socks. So they are probably thrown away. But earlier in the year I was pleased when they did repair my favourite Icebreaker jacket when the inside of the pocket developed a hole from constantly carrying my iPad mini. I would have mourned its loss if they'd given me a new one.

The Icebreaker range of clothing is expensive because every item is made with merino wool. For me, what makes it worth paying extra for is merino's odour resistant properties. That means the clothing needs washing infrequently - for example once a week, or even less often, for socks. If most of your clothing is merino, this can significantly reduce your clothes washing chores and power and water consumption.

It may also explain why it lasts longer and they can offer a lifetime warranty on socks. But nothing lasts forever, and I think that my sock got a hole because I'd been largely alternating two pairs of socks for about two years.

I was skeptical when a friend told me about the odour resistance. But I found it to be true. The clothing rarely needed to be washed (some bodies sweat more than others so I would guess that this is not true for everybody). For me, airing the clothing is enough to ensure the items remain fresh enough for one or even several or many weeks.

I figure that 'fresh enough' rather than 'fresh, period' is OK when you're travelling and need to make compromises because you need or want to travel light. Wearing mostly Icebreaker enabled be to travel to England for a month May with a total of 4 kilos of luggage, and to Japan for two weeks in October with 3.2. It also means you don't need to pay up to $80 extra for checked luggage when you're on a budget airline.

Icebreaker is not the only company that does merino. The others may be just as good or even better, and cheaper. But I have not bothered to check the alternatives, largely because the merino clothes are long lasting and I no longer have to buy new clothes with such regularity.