Now based in Boulder, Colorado, the new-and-improved Ibex brand is an outdoor apparel company that has one of the best collections of Merino wool clothing on the market. Their clothing may look the same as their competitors, but each garment is finely engineered to bring about comfort and performance. Today, we explore the message and people behind the fleece. Let’s get started with our Ibex Review!
“Just as the Ibex goat migrates according to seasons, Ibex activewear was born for the modern migration from highrise to mountaintop – and everywhere in between.”
FTC Disclosure: To maintain genuineness and authenticity, Merino Wool Gear DOES NOT sponsor products. Yet as an affiliate, we may earn a commission from qualifying purchases.
In 1997, Ibex founders John Fernsell and Peter Helmetag discovered a massive hole in the clothing industry. All the outdoor clothing that they were wearing looked precisely the same. And, worst of all, they thought it didn’t work.
So, they started the Ibex Outdoor Clothing brand in Vermont, using our favorite material, Merino wool. And personally, without their early success, we doubt Merino wool – as a performance material – would be as popular as it is today.
Throughout their early years, Ibex quickly gained traction in the market. Their clothing’s popularity was dominant in the outdoor apparel industry. And, from the years 2001 to 2016, their revenue increased by nearly $19-million per year. Sounds like a success story, right? Well, we’re not done yet.
In late 2017, the company announced that it would be shutting down in early 2018. This came after they previously laid off one-third of their staff and were having trouble competing with major labels on the market.
Yet, just like every hero’s journey, Ibex bounced back after a two-year hiatus. In October 2019, Ibex re-launched online after being bought out by the Flour Fund. Now, under the new leadership of Bonnie Shupe, the self-titled Ibex 2.0 is based in Boulder, Colorado. They still have decades of experience in the industry. With a mixture of old favorites and new apparel, they are on a path toward regaining their Merino wool throne.
Merino Wool Clothing & Specialities
Almost all of Ibex’s clothing showcases Merino wool and its benefits. Their apparel is blended with other sustainable fabrics like TENCEL, organic cotton, and other recycled materials. And as you’ll learn later on, it is Ibex’s commitment to the environment that sets them apart from the rest.
As for the style, we’d classify Ibex Merino wool as ‘upscale, versatile outdoor apparel.’ In other words, they make clothing that can be used walking on the trail or commuting in the city. On their site, Ibex perfectly sums up their brand style:
The range is equally suited to mountaineering, corporate orienteering, or your favorite restaurant.
So, below, we’ve put together a brief list of Ibex’s top sellers and two of our favorite pieces of Ibex Merino wool gear! Make sure to check them out!
Our Favorite Ibex Merino Wool Gear
Ibex Review: What We Love
In all of our Merino wool brand reviews, we try to give you our honest opinions about the benefits of each brand. That’s not to say that your experience with Ibex will be the same as ours. However, you’ll have a better idea overall idea of the brand. And maybe you’ll even learn a thing or two!
In our honest opinion, not every Merino wool brand can live up to the quality of Ibex Merino wool clothing. They are amongst the top-tier outdoor apparel companies. But, ‘performancewear‘ isn’t only reserved for the mountain, and Ibex knows that.
“Part activewear, part urban performance wear, each garment features fine tailoring paired with the benefits of nature’s original performance fiber – merino wool.”
They strive to blend their clothing style between outdoor explorers and urban adventurers. This blend of fashion, performance and all-around comfort makes their clothing ideal for on-the-go professionals and nature loves alike.
We find it imperative for outdoor brands to be transparent with their customers in today’s climate-friendly world. The more we know about how our clothing gets made, the more eco-conscious we can be about our buying habits. We begin to buy less and buy for quality. Ibex is aware of this, and with their industry-leading quality, they also showcase their top-notch transparency.
As you can see from the above image, Ibex has outlined their supply chain process, from farm to fashion. They trust their suppliers and follow such rigid standards that they feel proud to broadcast this information to its users. That’s the definition of hones transparency.
We’ll cover more about Ibex’s commitment to sustainability and ethics in a later section.
The crew over at Ibex are Merino wool lovers just like us. They understand the power of this fantastic material and showcase it throughout their collections. Moreover, they provide some tremendous scientific information about Merino wool. Again, just like us.
In the end, Ibex cares about you as an informed consumer. They want to make sure that their clothing is best suited for you and your needs. That’s why they provide various tips and tricks about Merino on their site.
In short, the Ibex brand genuinely cares about the satisfaction of its customers. And what’s not to love about that!
Ibex Review: Room For Improvement
As not-so-professional reviewers, we feel it’s essential to balance the scales for these Merino wool brands. It’s necessary for you – as an informed consumer – to get both sides to every story.
And I’m not saying Ibex isn’t an objective company. Still, you may not get the complete picture from each product page – primarily because not all reviews are broadcast on every site. That’s a little industry secret, though, so don’t go blabbing about it on ‘The Socials.’ Well, if you do, make sure to tag us.
Anyways, we’ve compiled three main areas that we think Ibex could improve. Again, just as with the ‘What We Like’ section, your experience may not always be the same as ours.
It’s hard to run a clothing business. Trust me, we tried (eh, that’s another story). Anyways, one issue we’ve seen is that the popular Ibex items tend to go fast. Thus, it leaves them limited stock for some of our not-so-favorite options.
Now, this isn’t necessarily a quality or performance issue, but just something to understand so you don’t get discouraged. Ibex is consistently releasing and updating products as they continue to re-launch.
That’s why we said it’s hard to run a clothing business – especially after a two-year break, new management, two years of age, and a global pandemic. In other words, just give Ibex some time.
Update December 5th, 2021: According to the Ibex website, their inventory is low due to global supply chain issues. Many sizes and colors show the pictured message. At least they have lived up to their transparency promise, right?
Overall, we don’t really fault them, but it’s good to know that they are working on getting more items back in stock (and into our closet).
More ‘business Casual’ gear
Although Ibex claims that their clothing is suitable for more professional life, we still get that outdoorsy feel with a lot of their collections. It would be nice to release some of their old products, and perhaps even some more business-casual products like Woolly.
Heck, I want to be wearing Merino wool if I have to put up with the stress bomb that is ‘The Modern Office Setting.’
Note: As Ibex is re-launching, they are releasing various old and new product lines. If you are familiar with Ibex and don’t see your favorite gear on their site, just contact them at email@example.com. Maybe they are already planning on releasing it soon? Who knows?
Ah yes, the number that scares a lot of people away. If you peruse any of Ibex’s collections, you may notice that their prices are a bit high. In the Merino world – where all prices are elevated – Ibex is a 7.5 (out of 10) on the relative cost spectrum.
The way we do this is usually by comparing the brand prices for a typical t-shirt. And when you compare Ibex to the other two ‘Merino Big Three’ – Icebreaker and Smartwool – they are priced a tad higher. However, we stand behind Ibex’s pricing strategy since we feel their products are worth it.
Still, it wouldn’t kill them to put some more items on sale once in a while.
WE SPIN WOOL, NOT STORIES ABOUT SUSTAINABILITY
Merino wool, by itself, is a sustainable fabric. The sheep eat the grass, the wool is harvested and woven. Then, after you are finished wearing it (if that ever happens), it won’t rot in a landfill since wool is biodegradable.
But enough about the sustainability of Merino wool as a material; what part is Ibex playing to help the planet? Well, we’d say they are doing a whole lot, then more!
Ibex is a ‘climate neutral‘ brand that understands the sheer importance of saving the environment. As outdoor lovers themselves, they want to protect our oceans and save our forests just as much as anyone else (they live in beautiful Boulder, Colorado for goodness sake).
But we truly feel like they go the extra mile to play a more prominent role in the fight against climate change.
And we know it may sound like green-washing for a brand to be eco-friendly yet still pump out clothing. However, Ibex creates their clothes to last you a lifetime, so you won’t consume as much in the future. It may not be the most capitalistic business model (who cares anyway), but it is better for the planet.
As Ibex says on their website, they want you to “buy less, buy better.”
Ibex Sourcing Strategies
WE’D BE NUDE WITHOUT OUR SHEEP
Ibex understands the concept that stress-free sheep produce softer wool. So, they work with woolgrowers, and industry leaders – like Woolmark – to ensure happy-go-lucky sheep. And we always want our Merino wool to be of the ethical variety.
As for the location, as with most Merino, the sheep originate in Australia and New Zealand. Although, as we previously mentioned, Ibex uses many other recycled materials in their clothing. And, you can read about their different blended fabric lines here.
Ethical Rating: A ✅
So, we know Ibex cares about the environment. And, we know Ibex cares about their sheep? But what about the people that make their clothing? From reading about their ‘transparency’ early, you’d know they definitely do. They ensure every step of their supply chain abides by the highest standards and regulations. And that’s why we gave them an ‘A’ for their overall ethics grade.
But like their strive for sustainability, they go above and beyond in the ethics department. Ibex only uses WRAP-certified manufacturers. These independent auditors ensure that Ibex’s suppliers comply with stringent labor laws and protect their workers. To be blunt, this just means Ibex isn’t using sweatshops. Which is an obvious plus!
In the sustainability, sourcing, and ethics department, it’s clear that Ibex is near the top in the industry. They do a fantastic job with their transparency and honest business practices. So much so that we’d put them at second place in the Merino wool brand transparency awards. It’s hard to beat Icebreaker when they publish a 60-page transparency report each year.
Ibex Return Policy
According to their FAQ section, Ibex has a 100-day return policy on their clothing. That is, of course, if it is unworn and undamaged. In other words, the returned garment needs to be in a sellable condition.
Also, Ibex pays for the return label beforehand, so you don’t have to front the cost. They also give you the option to receive a refund (approximately 1-2 after the item is physically returned), or store credit even pays for your mailing label. Now that’s pretty excellent customer service if you ask us!
If you need to return an item to Ibex, you’ll need your order reference number and e-mail address (or shipping zip code). To initiate the Ibex returns process, you can get started here.
Ibex Sizing Guide
If you’re a seasoned Merino veteran, you’ll understand that not all brands size their clothing the same way. Moreover, wool is not easy to replicate, so potential manufacturing inconsistencies exist.
So, if you want to save the time and hassle of returning your clothing, it’s best to consult the size charts (and some of our internal reviews) before purchasing. We have transcribed the sizing information from the Ibex site below for easy access.
Note: These general sizing charts were adapted from Ibex’s website. Before purchasing, make sure to consult each individual product’s size charts. Especially if you are looking for non-standard Merino Wool Gear.
Men’s Sizing & Fit Charts
|SIZE||CHEST (in.)||WAIST (in.)||NECK (in.)||SLEEVE (in.)||INSEAM (in.)|
|S||36 – 38||29 – 31||14 – 14.5||32 – 33||30 – 31|
|M||39 – 41||32 – 34||15 – 15.5||33 – 34||31 – 32|
|L||42 – 44||34 – 37||16 – 16.5||33 – 34||31 – 32|
|XL||45 – 47||38 – 40||17 – 17.5||35 – 36||32 – 33|
|XXL||48 – 50||42 – 44||18 – 18.5||36 – 36.5||32 – 33|
Women’s Sizing & Fit Charts
|SIZE||SIZE #||BUST (in.)||WAIST (in.)||HIP (in.)||SLEEVE (in.)||INSEAM (in.)|
|XS||2||33||24.5 – 25.5||34.5||29||29 – 30|
|S||4 – 6||34 – 35||26.5 – 27.5||36.5 – 37.5||30 – 31||30 – 31|
|M||8 – 10||36 -37||28.5 – 29.5||38.5 – 39.5||31 – 31.5||31.5|
|L||12 – 14||38.5 – 40||31 – 32.5||41 – 42.5||32 – 32.5||31.5|
|XL||14 – 16||40 – 42||33 – 34.5||43 – 44.5||33 – 33.5||31.5|
Hopefully, we’ve provided plenty of information about Ibex, one of our favorite Merino wool brands. Below, you’ll find a few additional FAQs that didn’t quite fit into our review’s structure but may be pertinent to your buying experience.
How Do I Wash Ibex Merino Wool Clothing?
Ibex recommends that you wash their clothing “on a normal warm or cool machine wash cycle with regular powder detergent.” It’s best not to use fabric softeners or harsh chemicals on Merino wool.
As for the drying process, Ibex (and us) recommend steering clear of any heat drying. While we prefer flat-drying on a towel, you can also hang dry Merino wool.
All in all, suppose you need some assistance on cleaning Ibex gear – or any Merino wool clothing, for that matter. In that case, check out our comprehensive wool care guide. Here’s the quick guide to your Merino wool clothing care brief do’s & don’t‘s.
- wash in cool/warm water
- use mild detergent
- line or towel dry
- wash with similar colors
- occasionally wash with denim
- secure all fasteners before washing
- wash in hot water
- use bleach
- use fabric softeners
- tumble dry (unless instructed)
- wring out while wet
- iron or steam (unless instructed)
Does Ibex Offer A Repair Program?
As of December 2021, Ibex does not offer a repair or tailor program. Although, they do mention that we would like to start one soon. For now, if you have a slight fit issue but still love your Ibex Merino, they suggest popping on over to your nearest tailor.
Can I Follow Ibex On Social Media?
Yes, Ibex is active on all the major socials. Check out their profiles below! They’re a solid follow for outdoor gear news, updates, and everything Merino wool.
Where Can I Find Deals On Ibex Clothing?
Ibex only offers their clothing through their own website (as of now), but they have a sales page – men’s and women’s – where they heavily discount some products. Also, if you join in on their email list, you may save 10% or so on your first purchase.
However, if you don’t have all the time in the world searching for Ibex deals, we have you covered. By signing up for our newsletter below, we’ll send you deals, discounts, and promotions for Ibex – and all Merino Wool Gear!
Plus, we don’t like to spam since nobody has time for that! We promise; biweekly emails at the most.