You may only know Levi’s as a denim brand. Honestly, I didn’t even know they were large manufacturers of other clothing accessories. Moreover, I had no clue that they dabble in the world of Merino wool.
Still, recent reports have emerged that Levi’s is forming a unique partnership with The Woolmark Company. The two plan to release an updated version of their famed wool-lined boot – the Torsten Quilted – crafted with Merino wool and a variety of other recyclable and sustainable materials.
You may know Woolmark from some of our previous articles. They are a pioneer in Merino wool innovation, and in fact, their parent company is Australian Wool Innovation. So, while there may be some big players in the mix – some with not-so-great histories– it appears as if this collaboration is genuine and productive. These boots are a step in the right direction toward an eco-fashion craze.
The boots themselves have a classic look. Not only are they minimalistic and clean, but they function as an actual pair of boots – not just some winter fashion accessory. Overall, these casual, high-performing boots are functional, fashionable, and durable. The Merino wool lining is just the icing on the cake!
But, before I can finally scratch my Merino itch (I’ll express my initial thoughts at the end), let’s take a look at some of the information we’ve received so far. Plus, we’ll dive a bit into Levi’s sustainability commitment and discuss how Merino wool is going to save the world (sort of).
So, without further ado, let’s dig our heels in the ground and peel back the layers of this Levi’s x Woolmark collaboration.
Levi’s Commitment To Sustainability & Performance
The fashion industry accounts for nearly 10% of the world’s carbon emissions. More worn-out clothes are skipping the donation bin and crowding our landfills, now more than ever. Levi’s understands that its brand contributes to this problem, and in recent years, it has done its part to protect our planet.
“We’re on a mission to change the clothing industry. For good.”Levi’s website
Levi’s longtime commitment to high-quality, durable clothing means that there is less waste in our landfills, and it means fewer clothes bought over a lifetime. And since the fashion industry isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, it’s essential to own long-lasting, sustainably sourced clothing.
And this new Woolmark collaboration for their Torsten Quilted boots is an excellent example of Levi’s sustainability commitment.
“This casual boot has a utilitarian design that’s ideal for both the city and great outdoors, thanks to the robust structure that ensures performance, protection and comfort.”
In addition to the Woolmark-certified Merino wool lining, these boots are packed with tons of additional sustainability features. The soles are 20%-recycled materials, while 100% of the shoelace material is also recycled. Eco Cordura® and LWG-approved leather make up the water-resistant uppers. Even the insoles are made from recycled synthetic materials. In other words, the entire boot is eco-friendly.
And this isn’t the first sustainability initiative that Levi’s has been exploring in recent years. A few business practices set the denim company apart from many of its competitors in the ecosphere.
Levi’s tinkering with Merino wool is another chapter in their sustainable production story. In 2011, they introduced Water<Less® technology and have since saved over 4-billion gallons of water. That’s over 6,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools saved since this process began. We can’t wait to see what they develop next!
While Levi’s states that all of their clothing is “rigorously tested for durability,” they understand that nothing lasts forever. However, through their tailor and repair service, they do everything to make their clothing last a lifetime. So, if you have some aging Levi’s jeans, you may want to get them fixed up.
Levi’s Second Hand Store
The less we throw away, the better our planet’s future becomes. Levi’s knows this and has taken control of the second-hand market for its own clothing. Not only does this reduce excess waste in landfills, but Levi’s can use this information to create more durable and sustainable clothing for its customers.
In addition to the new technology and longevity programs, Levi’s has committed to sourcing sustainable materials and technology in the future. They will switch to 100% sustainably-sourced cotton (up from 75%) and 100% renewable energy by 2025. In 2030, they hope to reduce water consumption by 50%.
To sum up, it’s fitting that Levi’s chose a sustainable material like Merino wool to take the next toward a greener future.
“But why Merino and not other animal fibers?” Well, don’t get too far ahead of yourself there.
A Way Forward With Merino Wool
Again, the idea that Merino wool will save the world is, well, not 100% true (obviously). Still, the power of Merino is vast, and the sustainably-sourced material offers a glimpse into an eco-friendly future.
“Merino wool is increasingly present in the world of the younger generations, who care not only about performance but also about durable and environmentally friendly materials.”
John Roberts, Australian Wool Innovation CEO
In addition to other Merino innovation brands like ZQ-Merino, Woolmark does everything to make wool harvesting and production a more sustainable and ethical practice. You can learn more about the specifics through our comprehensive Merino Wool Sustainability Guide. Or, if you’re more concerned with the ethics behind Merino wool, we have an informational guide for that, too!
Yet, the sustainability of Merino wool is only second to enhanced performance features. I won’t bore you with the specifics now (mainly because there’s a Merino Wool Benefits Guide, too). Still, I’ll leave you with six key reasons why Merino wool is the future of sustainable, high-performance fabrics.
Merino wool is one of the softest performance fibers on the market. It’s about 16-25 microns thick- about 1/5 the diameter of human hair and 1/2 the diameter of traditional wool fibers. And since it is so luxurious, I always call Merino the “Cashmere of the People.“
Wool is a specialized fabric that keeps you warm in the cold and cool in the heat. The crimp in the fiber structure allows for tiny air pockets next to your skin which help to better regulate your microclimate. Plus, if it gets wet, it still keeps you warm! Pretty neat, right?
Merino wool does an excellent job at regulating your microclimate, including moisture. The fabric wicks water vapor from your skin and allows for dispersion into the atmosphere. In fact, Merino can even hold 7% of its weight in moisture without feeling wet!
Yes, that’s right: Merino wool doesn’t stink. You could wear it all day, heck, even all week, and it should still smell fresh. That’s because the hydrophilic nature of wool does not hold odors. Thus, any bacterial emissions from your skin don’t get trapped in the fibers.
The one issue many people have with Merino wool is its lifelong longevity. Sometimes, you see pinholes, tears, and snags with thinner Merino apparel. If you plan to use Merino wool for rugged ventures, look for items blended with high-strength synthetics.
When you think of Merino wool, you may think of a classic knit sweater or wool cap. However, our favorite fabric is much more adaptable; you see Merino in the outdoor industry, at fashion week, baby blankets, and even in the firefighting industry!
Did You Know…?
The average American family does approximately 8-10 loads of laundry per week. Each load, on average, uses about 30 gallons of water. That’s nearly 300 gallons per week for laundry alone, equating to over 15,000 gallons per year. For reference, that is one 24-foot above ground pool of water per year, used only for laundry.
Since you can wash it less and wear it more, your annual water consumption will decrease with Merino wool. In addition, fewer microplastics and harsh detergent chemicals will leech into the waterway. And best of all, apart from the positive environmental impact, think of all the extra time and hassle you save. Maybe you could spend that time creating a website sprouted from your love for Merino wool.
Or at least that’s what I would do.
Our Thoughts: Levi’s Torsten Quilted Boots
Alright, now that we’ve covered the sustainability and benefits of Merino wool, you probably want to learn more about these Torsten Quilted boots.
I’ll leave you with a bit of extra information about these boots. Let’s hope they become the catalyst for an eco-fashion revolution. Who knows, maybe other more prominent clothing brands will start incorporating Merino into their garments.
“Streamlined and sturdy, with good grip and a weather-resistant design, they’re up for anything you are.”
As a native New Yorker, you’ve got to love the yellow Timberland-like design of Levi’s Torsten. They seem to pair well with almost any fall or winter outfit, as they are clean and sleek casual boots. Still, as you’ve read, they are full of both sustainability and performance features, from tear-resistant insoles to grippy, recyclable bottoms.
The only thing we are a bit unsteady on is the warmth level of these boots. Of course, the Merino wool lining will keep you toasty, but if I match them with a thicker pair of Merino socks, are my feet going to catch fire? Obviously not, but you worry about the moisture management of two separate Merino layers at that point. It looks like we’ll have to test them out in the future to give you a better answer.
As for now, it looks like the redesigned Torsten boots are only available in Europe. However, if they become a popular piece, Levi’s may release them in the USA.
And that about wraps things up. Hopefully, we’ve provided you with a better understanding of the importance of this collaboration.
Every step in the right direction toward more eco-friendly clothing means future generations can rest easier.
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