Let Good Times Roll with I/O Merino

Escape to the trails; unleash the road to guide your being where you will. The Cars rock “Let the good times roll.” I/O Merino soothes your soul.

The Women's Vital Long Sleeve Top

The Women’s Vital Long Sleeve Top

Wrapping you in confidence, making you FEEL so good, you can go and go and go.  More importantly, you want to go and go and go. That’s the basis of I/O Merino’s culture so modern and cool yet steeped with the knowledge of time in grade, like 140 years.

“Let them make you a clown,” the Cars sang in their 1978 song of adventures of carefree life, finds fruition for the athlete on lonesome roads or deep along mountainous trails. From the Car’s back bays of Boston to the land of I/O—”for our international friends, that’s down the bottom, in the middle” of cosmopolitan wine country Adelaide, South Australia—just get wherever “there” is. Then the mind kicks into frivolity, wonderment, sprinkled with pure human joy.

Swaddled in I/O’s MicroMerino® fabric, cares, concerns and egos become another world. You’re there, in the middle of the night making way on trail, a different kind of  “I like the nightlife, baby,” only a powerful light emitting from your head leading the way. That beam you fondly call “Tinker Bell” because it has your back. No company, just solo, Pandora playing Cars. One knows these are the rocking good times, and they’re rolling like your muse insists.

The Oil Green Vital Long Sleeve is in the men's selection only.

The Oil Green Vital Long Sleeve is in the men’s selection only.

Wearing I/O Merino’s Vital Longsleeve (Oil Green, no less) on a cool night makes me think everything is alright, and it is because I’m there with the most comfortable Merino wool in the Milky Way. Fit for kings and queens, and probably space travel, too, I/O describes it as a “superfine fabric,” which evokes the double entendre: this isn’t coarse, rough wool but so silk-like in its softness that silkworms sulk from jealousy. Additionally, the wearer appears as the Urban Dictionary defining superfine, on “A level of fine on par with a superhero’s strength—infinitely attractive.” Hey, that’s it, the feeling of goodness when all the pieces come together whether snowshoeing, running, hiking, kayaking, cycling, or just doing while feeling so comfortable that even the world seems alright, back there somewhere, I forget where.

Women's Chaser Full Length Leggings

Women’s Chaser Full Length Leggings

On the rough trail, the moon blazing out West, so good, so ultradank as Steely Dan might observe, while these little ribs on my Vital Longsleeve remove the stress, called wicking in the clothing game, the comfort enhancing the scene. The Raglan sleeve, meaning it extends as one piece to the collar, not chunky seams to aggravate, accents the care and thought I/O Merino designs into their goods.

If Apple were to make performance wear, this is how they’d think.

Call it user-friendly. I/O says, “You’ll feel warm, comfortable and fresh.” None better, the superfine is my new go to base wear in extreme cold; I want that warmth trapped down next to a needy torso while I stack, like favorite books in a column, the pieces that will keep me snug in a brutally cold snow endurance race or a mild Spring trek among the waving trees. You’ll suppose the smile stretching your face expresses happiness from the endorphins coursing through your veins when actually it is your skin saying, like Elvis, “Thank you, thank you very much” for adorning me with MicroMerino®.

Wearing thermal bottoms, tights, or as I/O Merino expresses it, Chaser Mid Weight Leggings, remains very much a part of my daily wardrobe excepting the hottest of days of our blessed Winter, which in Minnesota is around the 4th of July. Love it or leave it, and I stayed.

The very comfortable Men's Chaser Full Length Leggings

The very comfortable Men’s Chaser Full Length Leggings

Maybe not for the ivory towers of Goldman Sachs, but in and out of this building and that library and then the research office and so it goes, one keeps warm legging it out from a parking lot to the door with the Mid Weight Leggings . . . and who parks close anyway? Let the non-fit park there, bless their hearts, the endurance gene in us should park away and cross-train all day.

Chasers use I/O’s special Enigma MicroMerino®, a thick, warm fabric that even makes Merino sheep envious. In sheep talk, “How’d they baaaaaa do that?”

The Chaser Mid Weight Leggings’ “wooly goodness” wear warmer and lighter than those who must resort to heavy-thick attempting to duplicate its warming power. Plus with unique flat lock seams, chafing is left in the rough. I’ll leave it up to you to interpret the I/O notion that the warmth generated means there is no need for “courtesy shorts.” But food for thought immediately goes to those ultra cold days where a male might think of a couple additional layers, courtesy shorts if you will, upstairs. Or, perhaps due to their opaque design, worn on cool days just as tights without the adornment of added shorts . . . .

With snowshoes as feet, socks ride high on my list of needs. I wore I/O’s Multi-Sport Socks vs. their mid-calf snow socks in this test as I double-sock to (help) cushion steps. I’m buying the snow socks to add to my I/O collection but wanted to experience just how good the Multi-Sport wears in my world. Perhaps it is the purple haze shade, but my feet felt “comfortably numb” in a good way as Pink Floyd would sing. In other words, there was no pain, just calm with their blister-prevention merino mix.

These are the Good Old Days . . . Purple Haze Multi Sport Sock for the Days on the Trail, Roads, and anywhere else for that matter.

These are the Good Old Days . . . Purple Haze Multi Sport Sock for the Days on the Trail, Roads, and anywhere else for that matter.

Placed on the ankle lays a cuff gripping your ankle, extending down below the shoe’s lip so slippage never occurs. Around the ball find more grip hanging tight. Pads find themselves throughout the sock along with ventilation panels so heat isn’t trapped when not needed. In my use as a double-sock, the softness scores large points just as they will for those who wear them sans double in a trail or road shoe.

For those who must wear dress shoes at a towery office, slip a pair of these underneath those thin itty-bitty black socks giving your feet no help at all. Put on those designer Gucci Betis Glamours, and no one knows the difference except you and your very happy feet.


My favorite “Why?” Number Seven Bullet-point. And Enjoy the Artwork.

As one of the coolest companies ever, I/O Merino’s founder David Michell, an ultra guy himself, offers a unique “Absolute Love Guarantee.” Basically, love your I/O stuff as much as he does, and he established the company to make the “best quality, most comfortable, high-performance merino active wear imaginable,” or return it. I/O delivers, in merino talk, “from sheep to shelf . . . (making) sure we keep Mother Nature as happy as our customers.”

For the curious, I/O either means Inside/Outside; or that one wears their creations On/Off the trail, road, rivers, or wherever; or Binary I/O reaching back the 140 years of their experience in the merino game living and breathing wool.

Number 373 on the all-time album list. "Good Times Roll" rated as one of the best side ones, track ones ever.

Number 373 on the all-time album list. “Good Times Roll” rated as one of the best side ones, track ones ever.

The idea of “The Best” finds a home at I/O with the Cars rendering ” . . . the illusion is real,” meaning there is no illusion.  And it’s like I/O Merino developed their wearable adventures because they knew, intuitively knew, “Just What I Needed” with these prayer-like words on their thoughtful zip bag delivering my wearables:

I owe it to me to be the best. I owe

Number 373 on the all-time album list. "Good Times Roll" rated as one of the best side ones, track ones ever.

Number 373 on the all-time album list. “Good Times Roll” rated as one of the best side ones, track ones ever.

it to me to rise to any challenge.

I owe it to me to live life to the full. I owe it to me to have the best.

I owe it to me to experience the excitement of life. Whoever I am.

Whatever the situation. Remote or Urban.

Write: Phillip@ultrasuperior.com





Cars: Writer(s): Lars Aass, Ric Ocasek, Ole Henrik Antonsen

Copyright: Sony/ATV Music Publishing (Scandinavia) Kb, Waterfall Music A/S, Lido Music Inc.

About the author

Phillip Gary Smith

Phillip Gary Smith, Senior Editor, published "The 300-Mile Man" about Roberto Marron's historic doubling of the Tuscobia 150 mile endurance snow run. He publishes "iHarmonizing Competition" on various forms of competition, including drag racing, his favorite motorsport. Earlier, he wrote "HARMONIZING: Keys to Living in the Song of Life" as a manual for life with chapters such as Winning by Losing, Can God Pay Your Visa Bill?, and a young classic story, The Year I Met a Christmas Angel. His book, "Ultra Superior," is the first written on the Superior Trail ultra-distance events. He mixes writing with his profession--the venture capital world--a dying art. He is a creator of CUBE Speakers, a group espousing themes in "HARMONIZING: Keys" in a unique way. Currently, he has two books in the works.
Write to him at Phillip@ultrasuperior.com, or find him on Twitter or Facebook @iHarmonizing.

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