New Zealand based merino wool pioneer for the outdoors, Icebreaker, launched its new range of merino technical knits for runners at this month’s leading Outdoor show which was held in Friedrichshafen on the shores of Lake Constance in Germany.

While the company’s Icebreaker GT technical sports line has always been popular with runners, Icebreaker says it is now responding to consumer demand by launching a specialist range of knitted merino running garments. The new GT Run range is part of Icebreaker’s Spring/Summer 2011 collection.

According to Icebreaker, runners are increasingly requiring their clothing and footwear to be produced with as little impact on the environment as possible and Icebreaker says it is ideally suited to meet this demand because its sustainably‐produced merino wool garments are a natural alternative in a market dominated by synthetic fabrics.

“Icebreaker merino controls body temperature in all climates, is highly breathable to prevent the clamminess associated with synthetics, and protects runners from the sun’s harmful rays,” Julie Russell of Bradshaw Taylor Ltd., Icebreaker’s UK representative at the Outdoor show.

Icebraeker also claims that its knitted merino running shirts also resist odour and can be worn for days or even sometimes weeks, without washing.

“When we tested our running clothing by selling Icebreaker at the 2009 New York Marathon, we sold out. That shows how much demand there is for quality natural running clothing,” said Icebreaker founder and CEO Jeremy Moon.

Icebreaker has a strong culture of participating in outdoor sports, and its technical garments are often wear‐tested for usability by the people who designed them, such as Creative Director Rob Achten, who runs between five and nine hours a week. “I’ve been a runner for 20 years, and it’s exciting to finally have a natural alternative to all that synthetic stuff,” he says.

“Runners have always liked Icebreaker, but this is a specially‐designed run range with exactly the right fit for running as well as all the functionality that runners need.”

The GT Run range features sleeveless tees, crews, tanks, shorts, tights and a racer‐back bra. The range includes classic and fashion‐forward garments, and is aimed at both fitness runners and elite runners. Running specific features on the new garments include eyelet panels for breathability, reflective details for visibility, zippered stash pockets, and cord management systems for listening to music.

Icebreaker says it has always been committed to ethical manufacturing and sustainability, and each GT Run garment comes with its own unique “Baacode”. Customers can enter the Baacode online to trace the wool in their garment back through the supply chain to the New Zealand farm where it was grown.

Launched in 1994, Icebreaker developed a merino fibre layering system for the outdoors. It also claims to be the first outdoor apparel company in the world to source merino directly from growers, a system it started in 1997. There are now 20-25 distinct pure merino fabrics in the Icebreaker system, covering underwear, mid layer, and outerwear and the brand is sold in more than 2,000 stores in 24 countries throughout Europe, Asia, Australasia and North America.

Based in Wellington, New Zealand, Icebreaker says it uses only pure merino hand-picked from 120 high country stations in the country’s Southern Alps to create edgy outdoor clothing that combines nature’s work with human technology and design. The company is committed to sustainability, ethical manufacturing and animal welfare.