Our Editor Tim was invited to have a look at the 2023 range from Icebreaker, which includes shorts, joggers, lightweight hoodies, and a prototype water resistant shell made entirely of merino.


I bought my first Icebreaker product in 2014. Actually, to be precise, my Mum bought it for me – I was heading to South America on my first overseas trip, so we piled in the car and drove to the outlet at Birkenhead Point. Kitted out with merino leggings and a top I felt ready to take on the coldest peaks (and the most severe disregard for washing).

Eight years later I still have that kit, in fact, I’ll be wearing it hiking this weekend. But Icebreaker hasn’t been sitting still. The company has taken its ‘move to natural’ ethos to the core, seeing a pivot to natural clothing as the next logical step after ditching plastic bottles and straws.

This idea isn’t entirely new – a few years ago I wore their Cool-Lite merino tee for a week straight, just to find out if I could make it smell (I couldn’t). But obviously, a tee is only part of an outfit. Which brings me to the 2023 season.

I had a chance to try out some of the gear the week on a hike in Royal National Park with the Icebreaker team, pretty choice! Here’s what’s on offer.


icebreaker famil, tim ashelford, royal national park, hiking, nsw

ZoneKnit Technology

Icebreaker has begun using a technology called ‘ZoneKnit’. Essentially this means that Icebreaker uses body mapping to place a breathable mesh material where it can, to complement the sweat-wicking Cool-Lite. The Icebreaker team use a fabric called Tencel for this, which is sustainably made from eucalyptus trees. So how have they used it?


ZoneKnit Tees

These tees feature Cool-Lite on the front, with mesh panels along the back and arms to increase breathability. It’s a pretty neat combo that regulates heat well whilst staying a comfortable weight. It comes in a boxy or figure-hugging fit for women, and men have the option of a short or long sleeve. I’m wearing it right now and might continue to all summer. You can’t stop me.

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icebreaker, 2023 season, product shot, sphere tee

ZoneKnit Cropped Bra-Tank

The bra-tank is designed to cope with high exertion activities and features a Cool-Lite core surrounded by ZoneKnit mesh for breathability, with a built-in bra. I didn’t try this one on but it’s safe to say the women who saw it were loving it.

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ZoneKnit Shorts

New for 2023, these lightweight shorts feature inbuilt ZoneKnit underwear for breathability (and support) with an ultralight 150g/m Cool-Lite fabric on the outside. Safe to say, these are breezy! The only issue I noticed was the small pockets, which don’t quite hold a phone for pre and post-workout activities.

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ZoneKnit Joggers

I am so sad that it’s summer because otherwise, I’d live in these new joggers. There’s a comfortable midweight wool going on up top, with a more breathable mesh where it hugs the calves, cinched off with a thick elastic band. And two deep pockets. They’re giving big post-workout/hike and walk-to-the-coffee-shop vibes and I love them. They’re 100% wool too (apart from labels) so they’ll only need a wash when you spill sauce on them.

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icebreaker, 2023 season, product shot, joggers

ZoneKnit Joggers = permanent work from home mode engaged

ZoneKnit Insulated Long Sleeve Hoodie

This is a baselayer with a difference (a few actually). There are ‘raglan’ sleeves with a diagonal seam for mobility, and gusseted underarms for more mobility (you best be getting mobile in this thing).

The construction is midweight merino with MerinoLoft insulation on the chest, not unlike the wool you see in winter wetsuits. Then there’s a lightweight balaclava-style hood, drop tail hem so you don’t get a cold spot just above your butt, and thumb holes. 

Safe to say, this is the most advanced baselayer I’ve ever seen. On cold missions, you could live in this thing.

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The Sphere II Tee

It’s not new, but the tee I wore for a week back in 2019 has had an update. It’s now a 60:40 Tencel-Merino blend that’s ultra-lightweight. It’ll challenge the lightest synthetic shirts you know with a much nicer feel (and environmental impact).

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A Water Resistant Jacket?

It’s not released yet, but Icebreaker is serious about the move to natural, and they know this means eventually replacing the hard plastic outer layers we know all too well.

The jacket I saw used a very tightly woven merino fabric, along with a form of tape seam sealing and an environmentally friendly DWR coating to be as wind and water-resistant as possible. No small feat! Icebreaker is quick to say that it’s not a ‘waterproof’ jacket, but the amount it keeps out is still damn impressive for something made entirely of natural fibres.

A 100% merino waterproof? It might not be far off!

The Move to Natural is in Full Swing

Icebreaker invited me along to their season launch as a journalist and I’m welcome to say whatever I want in this article, but luckily they’re one of those brands who make life easy by genuinely sticking to their principles.

It’s important to keep an eye out for greenwashing as more and more companies jump on the bandwagon and claim low environmental impacts. But with a yearly transparency report detailing their long term plan for sustainable business (including regenerative farming practices), it’s safe to say that Icebreaker is doing it right.


Photos thanks to Icebreaker