Ah, wintertime. Sure, there is plenty of fun to be had out in the snow, but it’s also the time of year to curl up by the fire with a good book. That means that you need a good sweater, and the Patagonia Woolyester Fleece Pullover has got your back with warmth, style and sustainability.
Patagonia Woolyester Fleece Features:
- Quarter-zip with zip-through collar
- Rib-knit trim on cuffs and hems
- 6.2oz 46% recycled wool/46% polyester/4% other
- Fair Trade Certified sewing
- MSRP: $139
More than one reason to feel warm and fuzzy
Wool is a classic material. I still have some of the wool garments that my dad wore back in the 80’s, and I love them. In many ways they are an eco-friendly fabric since wool is a natural fiber, not a plastic polymer thread. I have a bit of a family connection to wool, too, since my grandfather was a sheepherder. That said, wool isn’t actually known to be all that environmentally of a fiber – by some metrics, it scores quite badly. For instance, wool requires a large amount of arable land per pound of fiber produced. Additionally, sheep are gassy creatures – methane in sheep farts accounts for 50% of the greenhouse gas of wool production. This, by the way, is according to the International Wool Textile Organization.
So that’s the background of the wool found in most jackets. On the bright side, they’re not literally spun hydrocarbons (like nylon); but there’s still a carbon-heavy background to the fabrics. Patagonia’s approach to address this focuses on recycling and saving chemical use at key points. While wool recycling isn’t new, you know Patagonia is going to take an innovative approach to it.
The wool in the Woolyester pullover that we’re reviewing today came from old wool garments; Patagonia sorts these carefully according to color, then shreds them into a million tiny pieces. Those fibers can be woven again into new, high-quality textile. What’s cool about this, though, is that the meticulous color sorting means that the new textile doesn’t need to be re-dyed. That’s the innovation here, and that’s what makes the Woolyester such a green piece of gear.
I love this type of thing. I also love nice fleece jackets, so let’s dive into this. The Woolyester is a pretty classic fleece garment with a length that sits nicely on the hips. There are rib-knit trim on the hem and the cuffs, which feels pleasantly retro while also being very comfortable. They make a great, cozy seal.
Another pleasant aspect is the quarter-zip and zip-through collar. It goes right up to your chin. The zipper slides very easily without much resistance, and the pull tab is easy to grab if you have gloves on. I wish that the sweater had a zipper garage, since the top end of the zipper is scratchy on your neck.
Probably the most important aspect when considering a sweater like this is the feel of the fabric against your skin. Wool can be too scratchy, polyester can pill too easily, nylon can feel like plastic. Sweaters are meant to be comfy, and the Woolyester blend hits this right on the spot. The blend reduces the vast majority of wool’s scratchy properties, so much so that I forget about it when I’m wearing it but perhaps do notice a slight scratchiness as I first pull it on.
The polyester weave-in adds a great deal of comfort, but it doesn’t remove the wool’s ability to retain warmth when wet; and, thanks to the polyester, it dries quickly. I wore this jacket out at a lake cabin for a weekend recently and had plenty of rain, but the jacket not only kept me warm but also dried off fairly quickly. In short, it did everything as you’d expect from this blend.
One aspect of the Woolyester that can be off-putting is the tendency of the fabric to pill. All knit fabrics can pill, and while this doesn’t affect the performance of the garment it can be unsightly. This can be easily fixed with a sweater stone, but customers should be aware. You can buy a nice American-made sweater stone here.
Other than that, my last comment is on fit. The Woolyester Pullover runs a little on the small side; I’m 5’11” 190 lbs. and the Large fits a bit tight, and I’d say the sleeves could be a little longer. That said, I do love the appearance of the Woolyester – it’s a nice mix of comfortable and formal. I continue to wear it regularly.
- Very environmentally friendly piece
- Mix of wool and polyester offers ideal combination of properties
- Zipper is very low-resistance
- Cuffs and hems seal well
- Looks good enough to wear at work
- Zipper garage would be a good addition
- Tends to run a little small
- Pilling will be a (fixable) problem over the garment’s lifespan
The Bottom Line: Patagonia Woolyester Fleece
This is a great sweater for anyone who’s looking for a garment that’s cozy yet responsible. The combination of fabrics performs well, and it’s easy for this to be one of the first things I reach for on cold mornings.
Buy Now: Available from Backcountry.com