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Noa and Bryan Ries want you to work out in wool—even when it's hot out. The Bondi Beach-based husband and wife team run activewear line Vie Active, which specializes in run shorts, racerback tanks, and hoodies, all composed of Australian merino wool. "It's the ultimate performance fabric," explains Noa. "Once you work out in wool, you'll never want to wear anything else."
"As a natural fabric, merino doesn't react with sweat in the same way synthetic fabrics do," she continues. "It's soft, breathable, quick-drying and naturally regulates temperature, meaning it keeps you cool when it's super hot and keeps you warm when it's cold out."
Vie Active isn't the first to do merino activewear, but they might be the only one using the fiber for leopard-print sports gear. While Icebreaker, Minus33, and Smart Wool offer wool basics like solid base layers and socks, Vie Active is the first brand to marry fashion-forward athletic gear with the premium material.
Ready to get technical? Merino fiber can absorb up to 35% of its dry weight in moisture vapor, according to the Woolmark Company. Translation: Merino pulls moisture away from your sweaty body and releases it into the atmosphere, keeping you—and your sports bra—dry. For comparison, cotton's water vapor uptake at the same marker of humidity comes in at around 18%.
Merino fibers are also fine, making the material soft like a thin, silky cashmere. It's machine washable and can be tumble-dried, doesn't hold odor and has a natural elasticity so it retains its shape after wears and washes. If this all sounds too good to be true, you should know that the good stuff does come at a price. "It's a premium product and much more costly to produce than synthetic fabrics," says Noa. Vie Active's prices start at $79 for tanks and reach to $235 for hoodies. Icebreaker's hoodies range from $100 to $200, while Vielet offers a merino tank with built-in sports bra for $95, the same price as Ibex's cotton-merino blend capri leggings.
Noa's wooly call-to-action came after she found herself still wearing her morning workout clothes well into the afternoon and feeling less than pristine: "I thought there had to be a better way—a way that I could live and work out with intensity but still look and feel good all day long." As a former personal trainer married to an ex-competitive skier, she was familiar with merino and "the incredible impact it can make on your workout. Bryan had been wearing merino as a base layer on ski trips and would go hiking and skiing in the same top all day without ever getting cold, clammy or sweaty."
After 18 months of research and product development, Noa left her job at an online advertising agency in Sydney to launch Vie Active. The brand debuted last May with eight merino styles and "a mission to take the Australian beach-lifestyle to the world—in activewear." A year later, the brand launched in the States, releasing US e-commerce just last month.
"I wear merino every day because I have a busy life and don't have time for five outfit changes," says Noa. "I still feel good, and chic. The fabric works with me instead of against me."
· Vie Active [Official Site]
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