The SmartWool range has expanded to include base- and mid-layers

The SmartWool range has expanded to include base- and mid-layers

An outdoor brand best known for its socks but which is expanding its range of clothing has signed up to an accreditation scheme for all the merino wool used in its products.

SmartWool made its name with its socks aimed at outdoor enthusiasts and now also produces base layers, mid layers and accessories using the high-performance natural fibre.

The company, part of the Timberland group, has introduced the Zque programme for its clothing to ensure environmental, social and economic sustainability for growers, improve animal welfare and provide a means to trace end products back to the source.

SmartWool said it would like to see all companies, including its competitors, support the ideology of fair trade.

A SmartWool spokesperson said: “The Zque certification offers the company complete traceability back to the source of its wool.

“So they not only know they are they getting the highest grade merino wool available, but also that the best management practices have been used, including everything from how the sheep are raised to ensuring that sustainable land management practices are being used and everything in-between.”

SmartWool said its clothing uses only the highest grade merino wool from New Zealand.

Innovations over the last 20 years have included its Compression Socks, using technology to maximise the inherent benefits of Merino wool and more recently the launch of its new HyFi, a bi-component using merino wool next to the skin and a nylon facing on the outside.

About 80 New Zealand wool producers have signed up to the Zque scheme, producing almost a million tonnes of wool each year.