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  • Address 1109 W Burnside St.Portland, OR 97209
  • Phone: (503) 241-8300
  • Website:

If there’s one problem with most workout gear, it’s the gear’s origin. Take a look at the tag on your yoga pants or your performance fleece or that hydro-removing shirt you wear when you go running. You’re likely to see something you recognize, like polyester, or something that appears to be a foreign language. The point is, unless it’s a plain cotton t-shirt, chances are your workout gear is not all-natural. The clothes at Icebreaker work to bridge that gap between staying all-natural while not giving up performance.

You probably recognize Icebreaker if you’ve ever driven up Burnside right before crossing the 405. Icebreaker is right across the street from Powell’s Books, and usually features giant ads in its windows depicting someone riding a naked half-mountain goat, half-man creature. Something that’s like a Minotaur, but a goat. It is certainly one of the most eye-catching places on one of Portland’s busiest thoroughfares.

While the outside screams, “Look at me,” the inside is decidedly more subdued. The store is divided into two halves, with women’s clothes on one side and men’s on the other by one long wool carpet that goes down the middle of the store and ends in a loop. The wool is important, because that’s the reason for Icebreaker. Every item in the store is made from merino wool. The merino wool used by Icebreaker comes from New Zealand sheep. This wool is different than the stuff used to make the scratchy Christmas sweaters that you’re used to, though. This wool is closer to cotton, able to be woven to perform like any synthetic fabric.

You can see this in the goods that are in stock at Icebreaker. They have t-shirts, pants, jackets, and yes, sweaters that are eminently warm, and constantly usable. They perform as well as any synthetic fabric while still staying all-natural. The best part is that all of these garments are machine washable, something your Christmas sweater certainly never was. Icebreaker is a great option for those going somewhere who also care about where their clothes came from.

Icebreaker is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m., and Sunday from noon until 6 p.m.

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