Exploring Goose Down Pillows: Beyond the Basics in Bedding Skip to content
What Is Goose Down?

What Is Goose Down?

child under down duvet

You know what goose down is, right? Sure you do! It’s like feathers or something. They use it in pillows and stuff. You’ve probably even owned a down product before, but how much do you really know about this fascinating natural resource? Allow us to give you a bit of a run“down”. There’s a little more to it than you think!


What Makes Goose Down So Amazing?

Geese are remarkable creatures for many reasons, but perhaps the most amazing thing about them is how they stay warm in very harsh, cold environments. The answer is down! Goose down is a soft, fluffy undercoat that grows beneath the feathers. Thousands of down clusters work together to insulate the goose from even the most extreme cold. 


white goose in nature

Because of its unique three dimensional properties, goose down is able to trap air and diffuse it throughout its clusters. It is these extraordinary natural qualities that make it so versatile in keeping things warm while also being breathable and wicking away moisture. Try as we might, we humans have never come close to creating a synthetic product that can match the performance of down bedding. 

The more mature a goose is, the larger its down clusters will be, and the larger the cluster the more effective it is at insulating. The best pillows and duvets are made with only the largest clusters. The process of sorting and selecting these clusters, as you can imagine, is quite meticulous, but the result is the most luxurious bedding material on earth. 

No other bedding material can offer so much insulation with so little weight. Not only is it remarkably light, it's also very durable. Goose down can take being compressed, over and over again, and will always spring back to its original shape, even after decades of use! It's truly the perfect combination of soft, light, warm, springy and durable. This is why down pillows and duvets are in a league of their own when it comes to quality and comfort. Isn’t nature amazing?


 goose down duvet

Is Goose Down a Sustainable Product?

It absolutely is. Down is an organic material, which means it is fully biodegradable and compostable, as are all of its byproducts. When it comes to purchasing a pillow or duvet, you can rest assured that down has a lower carbon footprint than any other material. No other bedding insulation has less impact on our planet.

By far the most harmful material used for bedding is polyester and sadly, also the most common. Polyester will never break down or biodegrade. It may have been years ago that you got rid of your polyester track suit from the 80’s, but it’s still out there somewhere and it will never go away.



hands holding a cluster of goose down

How is Down Quality Measured?

Down quality is measured by two important criteria; Loft and Cling. 

Loft is determined by how much space one ounce of down can take up. The higher the down loft, the more space that one ounce can fill. In other words, down that has a high loft is of higher quality because it requires less in weight to offer the same in volume. This is what makes premium down such a versatile insulator, since it can offer greater warmth while remaining light and breathable. 

Bargain or department store down typically measures at around 400 loft. Good quality products start with a loft factor of about 550, and first-class down will register a loft of 800 or higher. Learn more about Loft here.

Cling is the mark of true quality. It is probably just what you’re thinking. Yes, it’s the ability the down clusters have to cling to each other. Unlike static cling in your dryer, down cling is something you want! Only the highest quality downs have this treasured cling-factor, and the result is a more even layering for better insulation. The last thing you want in your pillow or duvet is pockets of empty space. Cling is important!


There you have it. Now when someone comments on your beautiful goose down duvet or pillows, you’ll have more to tell them besides how comfortable and cozy they are. If you haven't yet experienced the wonders of goose down, we invite you to please visit our store for a beautiful selection of St Genève down bedding. We hope you can, quite literally, find the bedding of your dreams.

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