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Shearling is a sheepskin or lambskin pelt that has gone through a limited shearing process to obtain a uniform depth of the wool fibers for a uniform look and feel. Contrary to misconceptions, shearling is not shorn wool; the term refers to the pelt of a yearling sheep that has been shorn only once by the process described above. Shearling garments or footwear are made from the pelts by tanning them with the wool of uniform depth still on them.
A typical shearling pelt has leather, or sueded leather, on one side and shorn fibers on the other side. The fibers of shearling tend to wick away moisture or retain moisture, depending on humidity, and thus a garment or item of footwear made from them tends to be comfortable year round.
Shearling coats have been worn since ancient times throughout Asia and Europe. They remain popular in many countries, although they are made in modern styles. Winter coats may be made of synthetic fabrics with synthetic shearling attached to one side of the fabric, to give the coat a traditional shearling appearance. In recent years, shearling boots have become a popular fashion among young women in much of the world.
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