In spring we were contacted by British Isobaa, which specializes in Merino wool clothing for outdoor activities as well as everyday use, about testing some of their new apparel in return for unbiased reviews. We have previously reviewed Isobaa clothing and accessories and have always been satisfied with the brand’s design and quality. It was thus a no-brainer for me to say yes to testing the new Isobaa Merino 260 loose joggers. They are available in dark and light heathered grey, black, wine red, and three beautiful shades of blue. I chose the first option because I wanted something sleek and discreet.
The Isobaa Merino lounge loose joggers are made of 100 % Australian Merino wool with a fabric density of 260 g/m2. It was exactly the density which convinced me that these pants could be a winner – also in terms of durability. I have previously worn 100 % Merino wool tights from well-esteemed brands as loungewear, but with fabric densities below 200 g/m2 they quickly became full of holes. There is simply too much friction going on in the lower body area from walking, sitting and lounging for thin 100 % Merino wool fabrics to hold up for long. For good durability for lower body apparel, you need a heavier thicker fabric like the Isobaa Merino 260 loose joggers or a Merino blend with synthetics (usually nylon) like the brand’s 200 PJ joggers (82% Merino, 14% Nylon, 4% Elastane). So far, I have had no problems with the durability. It should also be mentioned that the loose fit of the joggers is probably also a contributing factor in better durability, as Merino tights are – well, tight – which adds to the stress on the fabric.
In terms of quality and feel, the surface of the Isobaa Merino 260 loose joggers is more fluffy soft than the smoother surface of the brand’s base layers which I have previously reviewed (200 zip-neck, 180 crew neck, 150 t-shirt). The fineness of the wool fibers is the same (superfine 18.5 micron) for all apparel, but the fabric of the joggers is knitted with a French Terry Loopback which means that while the front is smooth and jersey-like, the inside of the fabric has loosely woven thread loops. Therefore, one might mistake the loose joggers for being made of a regular sweatshirt fabric like cotton or polyester blends, but unlike those materials 100 % Merino wool is naturally odor-resistant, temperature-regulating and fully breathable. The terrycloth loopback inside adds warmth and absorbs sweat more efficiently than a smooth inside would. There is a tiny bit of pilling going on on the inside of the pants, but this is a minor issue.
Sizing and Fit
Size-wise, I’m a size M with regards to waist circumference and just between sizes M and L with regards to hip circumference according to Isobaa’s size chart. I decided to error on the side of caution and asked for a size L as the Isobaa Merino loose joggers do feature a webbed cotton drawstring to adjust the fit around the waist in addition to the internal elastic waistband. So, how does size L fit me? Quite well! There is ample room for my hips, so I could have gone with size M if I was looking for a more fitted look. I am, however, very satisfied with the loose and relaxed fit. Otherwise I could have chosen the more fitted cuffed joggers from Isobaa, which have a very different cut (also available in a 3/4 length).
In terms of the waist, the loose joggers from Isobaa sit comfortably on the top of my love handles just below my natural waist – without tightening the drawcord. This placement makes the crotch of the pants hang a few inches below my crotch, and the hem of the pants stop just above the floor – meaning that the inseam length of 76 cm (30’’ – for sizes S-L) of the pants is just perfect for me. Typically a person’s height is made up of 55% torso (from top of head to crotch) and 45 % legs (crotch to bottom of feet), but I do have slightly longer legs (47 %), so if you have shorter legs, you might want to tie the pants up higher or get them hemmed.
Style and Functionality
The Isobaa Merino 260 Lounge loose joggers are, as the name implies, made as loungewear. While the joggers are super comfortable to wear at home, I actually think that they can work outside in less formal surroundings – at least for my taste and style. It of course also depends on your choice of color. I wore them multiple times during our Easter holiday on the Greek island Rhodes (where we hiked to the Filerimos monastery), even to restaurants with a nice top and some embellished sandals. The fabric was light enough for the balmy days with temperatures around 20ºC, yet warm enough for the colder evenings. I would also not shy away from using the Isobaa joggers for light hiking on pruned paths, with no rocks or shrubbery the fabric could catch on. The joggers are equipped with patch pockets in the front; on the right you will find the Isobaa sheep head logo embroidered discretely. At the left bottom hem there is a logo tag, but you can easily unstitch it with a ripper if you prefer.
Washing and drying
As all Merino apparel, the Isobaa Merino 260 loose joggers can be washed by hand or in a machine on a gentle cycle (30 ºC and not too much spinning) with a wool detergent or soapberries, as neither contains enzymes which literally eat away of the protein fibers wool is made of. You can read more in our article How to Wash Outdoor Clothing. In terms of drying, you should let the joggers airdry but you might want to iron them around the knee area where I experienced that they sometimes get baggy and stretched. You can also decrease the bagging by making a habit of hitching up your pants in the high area before you sit down – grandpa style.
I’m very happy with the joggers from Isobaa because they are comfortable, stylish and durable. I have always enjoyed wearing Merino tights, but the lack of durability has been a deal-breaker. The Isobaa Merino 260 loose joggers have finally broken the curse!
If you have any questions about this product, drop me a line in the comments below.
We field tested this product. The rating shows its overall performance.About Rating
- Good durability.
- All the benefits of Merino wool such as softness, breathability and natural odor-resistance
- Loose comfortable fit
- Casual stylish look
- Minor pilling on inside of fabric