While a good merino sweater can often be an investment piece — and sometimes that’s very much true, if you’re paying for a heritage knit or premium Italian wool — the best merino wool sweaters aren’t always the priciest. In fact, 100% merino wool knits can be found at every end of the spectrum, from athletic hiking layers to the softest cardigans. Since you’re already working with good material — merino wool’s fibers are so fine that they actually bend when they hit your skin — the difference is indeed in the details.
A high-end base layer will be designed with the body in mind: flat seams to eliminate chafing, or targeted stretch panels that keep you warm while offering the range of motion you need for serious activity. Everyday merino sweaters, by contrast, are the classic workhorses you’ll reach for when you need a reliable turtleneck or crewneck for school or work, because they're lightweight yet so warm and versatile. Look for tailored details like fitted sleeves and monochrome buttons for a quality piece you'll reach for constantly.
Almost all of the wool sweaters below are made with 100% merino (except for one that has luxe cashmere blended in), and most of them can be washed at home for convenience. Merino wool can absorb up to 30% its weight in water before you feel any wetness and naturally banishes odors (really!), so for sweat-wicking pieces that you can wear day in and day out, having the maximum amount of wool is key.
From chunky cable knit sweaters with heritage appeal to the clean-cut crewneck, here are 11 merino wool sweaters that look and feel more expensive than they are, no matter what your budget.
1. A Crew Neck Sweater That's Made With Italian Merino Wool
Polish brand KNITTONS designs high-quality basics — like this Italian merino wool sweater — and now you can shop their premium, "made in Europe" collections on Amazon. Their classic crewneck sweater feels just as comfortable as your favorite sweatshirt but comes in a chic package that you can wear with jeggings on casual days or tuck into a pencil skirt. It falls to the mid hip and has just enough room in the body to layer over a button-down. If you're on a budget, consider this great affordable merino wool sweater, too.
Rave review: “I brought this with me hiking at high altitudes, and it provided a great lightweight layer for me. It was also nice enough to wear as a light sweater out at night with some jewelry or a nice scarf. I washed in the machine but hung it dry and it didn't shrink. Very soft and not scratchy at all.”
- Available colors: 10
- Available sizes: X-Small – X-Large
2. A Minimalist Merino Turtleneck For Your Capsule Wardrobe
A slim-fit turtleneck sweater, in an ultralight 100% merino wool knit, is a versatile layering piece that will keep you warm without adding bulk — and, since it’s suitable for three out of four seasons, it’s perfect for a streamlined capsule wardrobe. Even though this features a close fit, it can still be layered over camisoles for added warmth; and of course, it layers beautifully under a blazer. Because a good wardrobe staple should also be easy to care for, this ribbed merino wool sweater is machine washable, as well.
Rave review: “I really love this sweater! Super soft and warm. Very high quality. It’s a perfect sweater for fall. Don’t miss it!”
- Available colors: 9
- Available sizes: Small – XX-Large
3. A Super-Soft Merino Cardigan Blended With Luxe Cashmere
This sleek merino wool cardigan is made from a cushy two-ply knit blended with 10% long staple cashmere and 90% anti-pill merino wool for softness you can feel. The minimalist open-front design is all clean lines, with a slightly flared hem and fitted sleeves. It looks effortless over leggings but nice enough to wear into work, and you'll probably want to wear it everywhere in between, too. The brand recommends sizing up two notches if you want a more relaxed fit, and gentle hand washing is recommended – don't forget to let it dry flat.
Rave review: “I don't own many sweaters, but I was looking for one that would be casual enough to wear with walking shorts, but dressy enough to wear with a skirt and blouse or over a summer dress. I also wanted classy styling, soft and supple knit material that would not ball up, and good shape. I love this sweater in pink so much that I did something I've never done before: I bought a gray and a navy one too. Highly recommend.”
- Available colors: 6
- Available sizes: Small – X-Large
4. A Merino Wool Quarter-Zip With UPF 50+
This 100% merino wool quarter-zip sweater was made for the trail, with the clean lines and stand collar that all add up to a nicer-looking alternative to your trusty fleece. The brand, Minus33, has spent over a century perfecting their merino wool, and the details are noticeable. Its knit is stitched together with flatlock seams to reduce rubbing and a tagless construction for comfort. The midweight merino refuses to itch, resists odors, and has a UPF rating of 50+. What's more? It's fully machine washable and it can go in the dryer.
Rave review: “These are perfect. Thin enough to go under your jacket without bulk. Warm enough to withstand the chill outside. Great extra layer at outdoor games or indoor hockey games. Soft, EXTREMELY comfortable and nice looking!”
- Available colors: 7
- Available sizes: X-Small – 3X-Large
5. A Classic Cardigan That Looks Expensive
For peak J.Crew-preppy-chic circa the Jenna Lyons era, style this merino wool cardigan with a patterned button-down and a statement necklace paired with a saturated shade on the bottom. The ultra-classic piece has a crewneck cut that falls fairly straight to the mid-hip, with long sleeves and matching buttons running discreetly down its front (several reviewers recommended sizing up for a roomier fit). The 100% merino is machine washable, but will need to be dried flat.
Rave review: “This is a terrific sweater! It’s very soft and keeps you warm without adding bulk. The sweater is very thin and the material is very soft. I would recommend sizing up one size. Great value!”
- Available colors: 2
- Available sizes: X-Small – Large
6. A Super-Soft Chunky Irish Cable Knit Sweater
It doesn't get much more indulgent than this lush merino wool cable knit sweater from Aran Woolen Mills, Ireland's iconic sweater brand. It has a cozy oversized cut that falls to the low hip, with a thick cowl neck and exceedingly nice scaled-up cable knit pattern that looks extra luxe. "It is hard to believe this is wool, it is so soft and not at all scratchy," one reviewer remarked of the 100% merino. "I originally bought this sweater (in a different color) while traveling in Ireland and immediately regretted not buying a second," another confessed.
Rave review: “Liked it so much that I got it in natural and the blue. I am 5'8, 114 pounds and I found the small to be too big. The extra small was perfect. The stitching/cables are magnificent. I feel like a million bucks in it! I got a thin sweater with a turtle neck to wear under it because my neck being exposed in the winter makes me cold. You will love this sweater as do I!”
- Available colors: 4
- Available sizes: X-Small – XX-Large
7. This Pretty Patterned Merino Base Layer Created By An Olympic Athlete
The Norwegian Olympic skier Kari Traa launched her line of "sportswear for girls, by girls" to create gear built for a female body. Literally: they're designed using what's called "bodymapping," whereby clothes are designed to fit a body in motion. In the case of this merino wool base layer, that looks like a combination of high-quality 100% merino wool with four-way stretch stitched together in targeted contouring that supports your natural range of motion. It's designed to be worn next to the skin, where it is naturally moisture-wicking and odor-resistant; you'll be warm wet or dry. Machine wash yours, then let it air dry.
Rave review: “They fit as describe, are warm and light weight. For the first time ever I’m able to move comfortably and energetically in -30degrees. Wow! love them so much I purchased more!!!”
- Available colors: 6
- Available sizes: X-Small – X-Large
8. This Long-Sleeve Thermal You Can Wear On & Off The Trail
This base layer from Icebreaker, a trusted name in performance wear, toes the line between sweater and a top. Its 100% merino wool construction is ultra-lightweight, streamlined, and stretchy, which is ideal for layering over shells or under jackets and vests; though it’s warm (and stylish) enough to wear as its own hero piece. This is an excellent option for hikes, runs, skiing, and other outdoor activities, as the material is naturally temperature-regulating and odor-resistant. Though it looks equally chic tucked into a pair of high-waisted jeans and paired with a long wool coat for the office or a day spent running errands.
Rave review: “Icebreaker's Everyday 175 100% merino wool items are the perfect layer almost year round. Breathable, easy to clean (and/or just air out overnight), true to size and just downright comfortable! I wash mine warm and hang to dry... never shrink, colors don't run. Bought normal size according to chart. Highly recommended.”
- Available colors: 5
- Available sizes:X-Small — X-Large
9. A Pullover Sweater With A Chic Mock Neck
Mock neck sweaters are a perennial wardrobe staple, so at under $45, it’s worth picking up this surprisingly affordable pullover in several colors. It features a subtle mock neck (it’s almost an exaggerated crew neck) and sporty-chic ribbing at the neck, hem, and sleeves, and it’s designed with a close yet relaxed fit. Since it strikes that ideal balance between warm and lightweight, you’ll reach for this all year long — it’s warm enough to keep you cozy during the colder months, but it’s a lovely, breathable option for chilly summer nights, too. A small but loyal following of shoppers confirm this piece feels blissfully soft, not itchy; fits true to size; and doesn’t shrink after hand-washing.
Rave review: “I can be a little picky when it comes to my base layers, but this product delivers. I love wearing it now that the nights and mornings are getting a little chillier. It is the perfect accompaniment for a run, and I can't wait to try it while hiking or skiing in the mountains. I was a little skeptical since it is wool, and sometimes wool feels a little scratchy. However, that is not the case with this product. The fabric is soft, and it fits perfectly. I can't wait to buy another color!”
- Available colors: 7
- Available sizes: Small — XX-Large
10. This Merino Wool Hoodie That’s Cozy Yet Polished
Swap your well-worn sweatshirt for this elevated merino wool hoodie. Another piece that’s made with athletics in mind, this 100% merino wool pullover is designed with flatlock seams, a tagless back, a kangaroo pocket, and those coveted thumb holes that keep your hands toasty while you’re running, hiking, or biking. Meanwhile, the slim fit and four-way stretch won’t bog down your movement, and you’ll certainly appreciate the material’s moisture-wicking and odor-defying effects. But all those features make this a chic option for lounging, too. Try it with a pair of leather leggings and stark white sneakers for a cool, polished off-duty look.
Rave review: “This comfy pull-over hoodie turned out better than I could have hoped. It’s thin, but very warm. The thumb holes make it easy to slide gloves on, and the hood pulls over a beanie easily. For me at 5’5” And 150#, the Large is perfect. Not too clingy, but still form fitting and the length covers my bottom.”
- Available colors: 3
- Available sizes: X-Small — Medium
11. A Lightweight V-Neck Sweater You’ll Wear For Years To Come
Ultralight and ideal for layering, you’ll reach for this essential V-neck base layer time and time again. It’s made of extra-fine 100% merino wool and cut close to the body, which makes for a luxuriously soft base layer or standalone piece. That slim cut tucks seamlessly into any bottoms you pair it with too, from your favorite pair of skinny jeans for everyday wear, to a skirt for special occasions, like date night.
Rave review: “Fits great and looks very nice. The black color is appropriate for [my] casual workplace, but feels like wearing PJs! The fabric light and extremely soft. A nice layer of warmth in my chilly office or for when I'm walking the dog.”
- Available colors: 6
- Available sizes: X-Small — XX-Large
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