Have you been enjoying my sustainable, ethical and eco-friendly shopping series so far?? If you’re new to the series, check out my previous posts about jewelry, denim, handbags, and shoes. I began this series because I was truly curious about what brands are out there that are fighting the good fight for the planet. Not gonna lie, I’ve been pleasantly surprised. Sustainable, ethical and eco-friendly apparel, shoes, and handbags (even underwear!) are becoming more and more accessible. I hope this series has helped to realize that as well. Today’s round up is all about eco-friendly activewear — and there are some GREAT options. I shouldn’t even be surprised at this point, to be honest, because there are some amazing brands out there.
Sustainable Activewear Fabric
Before we dig into my favorite eco-friendly activewear brands, we need to start with the basics of why. When shopping, you really need to pay attention to the material each piece is made of. There are loads of sustainable fabrics and materials out there. It’s just a matter of knowing what the labels mean. So, first, let’s talk about the actual fabric that these pieces are made of.
I think when most people think about activewear, their mind goes straight to polyester. Unfortunately, polyester is a synthetic fiber that uses tons of energy and resources to manufacture. This list offers some ideas for more environmentally friendly fabrics that are made from natural sources and don’t take tons of energy to produce:
- Tencel — This material requires less energy and water to manufacture when compared to cotton. Also, tencel is biodegradable.
- Organic cotton — This version of cotton is grown without the use of pesticides, chemicals, and synthetic fertilizers. Also, it typically needs less water to grow than normal cotton.
- Bamboo — Bamboo is a very sustainable crop because it grows quickly, requires no fertilizer and self-regenerates (meaning that it doesn’t need to be replanted).
- Organic linen — Aside from being stylish, linen is one of the most biodegradable fabrics on the market. It typically requires fewer pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides to grow, but one way to avoid those is to shop for organic only.
- Wool — This is pretty self explanatory because sheep are part of a natural carbon cycle when they consume grasses and plants, then grow their coats. Plus, wool biodegrades easily at the end of its lifespan.
- Recycled polyester — Something a lot of sustainable brands are using so if you see polyester on the tag, check to make sure it’s recycled.
6 Eco-Friendly Activewear Brands You Must Know About
Ethics | Uses organic and fairtrade cotton, transparent supply chain, heavy focus on using less water to process cotton, offers a recycling program for customers’ old clothing and textiles.
Price range | $25-$45
Pact is pretty dang good at making basics, including leggings made from mostly organic cotton. The price point for their pieces is also amazing, making sustainable activewear accessible to many more people. How cool, right? I also love that they offer clothing other than working out apparel… and stuff for men and kids!
Ethics | Most pieces made from recycled materials, huge focus on using less water and reducing carbon emissions, adheres to strict work environment policies
Price range | $45-$135
I have been a big fan of Outdoor Voices for a while because of their body-positive marketing campaigns and their super stylish products. If you want some seriously stylish, bold, and bright workout clothes, this is the brand for you. Be aware that the price point is a bit higher. But like I’ve said before, instead of buying several less sustainable pairs of workout pants, I’d rather only buy one or two that line up with being more eco-friendly. I’ve also had a lot of luck finding barely used pieces on Poshmark.
Ethics | Designed and constructed in the US, transparent supply chain, fair wages for laborers
Price range | $55-$170
Groceries Apparel is a new-to-me brand, but I’m very intrigued. They definitely have a lot more than just activewear and offer a lot in the athleisure category. Lots of cozy sweatshirts and tops that I know I’d wear 24/7 working from home. I think this brand would be great for lower impact exercise, like yoga. One of the biggest things to note about them is that their products are designed and constructed in the US, so they have a transparent supply chain while also putting a heavy focus on paying fair labor wages.
Ethics | Transparent supply chain, uses recycled polyester made from water bottles, fishnets and other “garbage,” a portion of sales goes to Healthy Seas, an organization that works to keep oceans clean
Price range | $38-68
I’ve seen sooo many people rocking Girlfriend Collective on Instagram — and for good reason! I have to admit, I didn’t realize it was a sustainable and eco-friendly brand at first. I just thought they had great colors and fit. I’m happy to see influencers are starting to talk more about the brands doing things the right way, so that was a very welcomed realization. Their commitment to being eco-friendly and to help clean up the oceans blows my mind and makes me want to buy from no other brand.
Shopping on the Girlfriend Collective site is also a really wonderful experience because they are so inclusive with the models they use to show their pieces. They also offer one of the best, most inclusive size offerings I’ve seen. And lastly, when you are shopping for an item, they tell you exactly how many plastic bottles have been diverted from landfills, how many pounds of CO2 have been prevented, and how many gallons of water have been saved. It’s totally brilliant.
Ethics | Uses recycled polyester, strong labor rights for factory workers, committed to reducing carbon emissions and energy use
Price range | $50-$300+
I was really excited to see Patagonia listed on Good On You because it’s a brand that caters to more than just the yogi or casual work out person. They make gear and apparel for all of my favorite outdoor activities like climbing and hiking. It’s great to see a brand that seems to love the outdoors so much take care of Mother Nature by using recycled materials and being committed to reducing carbon emissions. Patagonia is one brand that’s truly leading the way in corporate responsibility.
Ethics | Member of the Better Cotton Initiative and Sustainable Apparel Coalition, partially Bluesign certified
Price range | $25-$200+
Good On You has some pretty positive things to say about Adidas and the effort the brand is putting into designing more eco-friendly activewear. In fact, Good On You says if you want to stick with a mainstream brand, go with Adidas. Apparently Nike has some work to do! Adidas is making an effort to use eco-friendly materials and bettering its processes to be more sustainable.
There are some really great brands on this list, right? If doing this taught me anything it’s that eco-friendly activewear and apparel, in general, is much more widely available than we all think, we just have to be a little more intentional about finding it. I hope this series has helped you do that in some small way!