Skip to main content

Your internet browser is out of date and not supported by this website. For the best viewing experience on wool.com, please update your browser to one of the options below.

AWEX EMI 1142 -
Micron 17 1690 -
Micron 18 1522 +13
Micron 19 1418 +10
Micron 20 1352 +19
Micron 21 1306 +4
Micron 22 1290 +8
Micron 23 1224n -10
Micron 25 696 +8
Micron 26 509 -10
Micron 28 352 -
Micron 30 322 -8
Micron 32 292 +2
MCar 762 +2

Merino introduced into Mizuno base-layers

For the first time, Japanese sporting goods giant Mizuno has included Merino wool in its popular Breath Thermo performance base-layer range, thanks to R&D and marketing support from The Woolmark Company.

Established in Japan in 1906, Mizuno has grown into a major global manufacturer and retailer of sporting apparel, footwear and equipment. The company sells products for a wide range of sports, from running to racket sports, from football to golf, and has annual sales worth approximately A$2 billion.

Although the company has a global presence, about two-thirds of its sales are in Japan where it is now the second largest sports brand.

One of its best-selling ranges is its Breath Thermo apparel, which the company first developed 30 years ago. Breath Thermo is a moisture-absorbing, heat-retaining fabric which was initially developed by Mizuno for winter sports apparel, but it has evolved into a common sporting and everyday use material. Up until now, it has been made entirely from synthetic fibres.

Mizuno’s introduction of Merino wool

To celebrate the 30th anniversary of Breath Thermo, Mizuno has introduced Merino wool into its Breath Thermo product range for the first time, as a premium series sitting at the top-end of the popular base-layer range.

The new apparel contains 60% Merino wool which helps keep wearers warm without overheating during exercise and helps prevent them becoming cold after exercise.

“The introduction of wool into the Breath Thermo fabric was a perfect way to elevate and add premium value to this popular range that everyone knows and loves,” said Ogawa Akira, Senior Advisor at Mizuno, who has worked for the company for 40 years.

“Merino wool is the fibre that brings out the best in Breath Thermo. It is a premium fibre with a reputation for luxury. Its performance benefits include its natural odour resistance, breathability and moisture management that only a natural fibre can provide.”

Collaborative research and development

Image

 

Research and development of the apparel at Mizuno’s new Innovation Center in Osaka, Japan.

Image

 

Research and development of the apparel at Mizuno’s new Innovation Center in Osaka, Japan.

Image

 

Research and development of the apparel at Mizuno’s new Innovation Center in Osaka, Japan.

The apparel was developed by Mizuno with support from The Woolmark Company. Mizuno first met representatives from The Woolmark Company at the Fashion World trade show in Tokyo where Mizuno was introduced to new wool fabric trends and opportunities for marketing support.

“Thanks to The Woolmark Company, our development and marketing teams have learnt more about Merino wool and how to develop products with it and how to promote it. The collaboration has been most beneficial for us,” Mr Akira said.

All the new products display the Wool Rich Blend logo, having been certified for fibre content and quality by The Woolmark Company.

“The fabric of course underwent rigorous testing to meet Mizuno’s own strict quality standards, but we are proud that the new fabric surpassed The Woolmark Company’s rigorous standards at an independent testing facility,” Mr Akira said.

“We did exhaustive monitoring and testing to ensure that the stretchy comfort, the thickness of the fabric, and the silhouette of the product are all ideal for the wearer.”

20,000 pieces of the new products have been launched for the current Autumn/Winter season in Japan, with the wool-rich apparel set to remain as part of Mizuno’s key seasonal product offering in future years.

As a result of the collaboration, Mizuno is also developing other new wool-blended products.

“We are planning an all-season, easy-care, all-in-one line for next year, and we plan to develop more products with a focus on everyday comfort, and expand the series in a separate line,” Mr Akira said.

Mizuno is very grateful to The Woolmark Company for its support with development and marketing and we hope to further strengthen the relationship in the future.”
- Ogawa Akira, Senior Advisor, Mizuno

Marketing of the premium base-layers

inline1.jpg

Prominent marketing of the new wool-rich base-layers on the Mizuno website.

The marketing campaign of the new wool-rich Breath Thermo base-layers, which launched in September, uses a mixture of digital and in-store initiatives in the Japanese market.

The digital component of the marketing includes a campaign landing page on the Mizuno e-commerce website pointing to where customers can make online purchases of the apparel, banner adverts by Mizuno on the largest Japanese portal Yahoo and Amazon, an e-newsletter sent to Mizuno subscribers highlighting the campaign, and a social media campaign to increase the collection’s visibility and sales.

A new page highlighting the benefits of wool as a naturally performance-friendly fibre will remain permanently on the Mizuno website.

The campaign is also highlighted in Mizuno stores and outlets across Japan to generate interest and highlight the Merino wool base-layers to customers.

“By collaborating on both R&D and marketing with the second largest sports brand in Japan, Mizuno, we have been able to build awareness of Merino wool as a performance fibre and, importantly, help increase the sales of Merino wool-rich products in the Japanese market.”
- Samuel Cockedey, AWI Regional Manager Japan & Korea

More information: www.woolmark.com/mizuno

 

This article appeared in the December 2023 edition of AWI’s Beyond the Bale magazine. Reproduction of the article is encouraged.