5 Best Sustainable Activewear Brands

5 Best Sustainable Activewear Brands

5 Best Sustainable Activewear Brands

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Why we need sustainable activewear

Demand for eco-friendly athletic apparel is at an all-time high when mindful shopping and our quest for health and fitness coexist. The fitness industry is moving toward sustainability as consumers become more conscious of how their decisions—from what they eat to what they wear—impact the environment.

I mean, why not? Three University of Manchester academics specializing in fashion and textiles warned that the harm caused by discarded athletic apparel is frequently disregarded. The overreliance on virgin polyester garments used in our sports bras and joggers does more harm than good to the environment. Unfortunately, synthetic materials are still needed in this apparel section to ensure functionality, and certain materials, such as recycled polyester, still invite pros and cons.

However, what precisely qualifies as sustainable activewear brands? What can we make of all the environmentally friendly products that are flooding the market? Here, we delve deep into eco-conscious activewear, exploring the brands, materials, and practices that align with our fitness goals and our commitment to a healthier planet. 

Our curated sustainable activewear brands

Here’s our top 5 Eco-Stylist certified brands for sustainable workout clothes.

1. Girlfriend Collective: all about inclusivity and body positivity!

ethical inclusive all size sports bra for her by girlfriend collective

Shop: Paloma Racerback Bra

Description: Ethically-made activewear made from recycled materials in sizes XXS-6XL.

Ethical Claims: Inclusivity, recycled materials, body positivity, ethical production

Rating: Silver | Price: $46

Girlfriend Collective recycles waste materials such as fabric scraps, fishing nets recovered from the ocean, and post-consumer water bottles to make their clothing. The product page contains a breakdown of each product’s materials.

While their main sewing partner in Vietnam is SA8000 certified, provides fair wages and consistently maintains safe and healthy conditions, their key recycling partner in Taiwan specializes in eco-friendly and high-quality fabrics. Every factory that Girlfriend Collective works with has WRAP and SA8000 certifications, which third parties have verified. OEKO-TEX, the global pioneer in fabric testing to control dangerous compounds, has certified its recycled fabric as Standard 100.

Learn more about WRAP, SA8000, and OEKO-TEX certifications here: Ethical Fashion Certifications You Need to Know

With inclusive sizing and models representing various shapes, sizes, and colours, Girlfriend Collective is a breath of fresh air. Not only do they promote inclusivity, but they also promote body positivity because all types of bodies can work out and achieve fitness goals in their clothes!  

In addition, their take-back scheme, ReGirlfriend, with partners SuperCircle, launched a more comprehensive and advanced project to keep textiles out of landfills. By offering free shipping labels, store credits, and services to any clothes from any brand (not only from the Girlfriend Collective), this is definitely a sustainable workout clothing brand to watch!

2. Iron Roots: 100% plastic-free sustainable workout clothes

plastic-free sweater for her and him by Iron Roots

Shop: Quarter Zip Sweater

Description: Plastic-free natural athletic apparel

Ethical Claims: organic materials, plastic-free, ethical production, vegan

Rating: Certified | Price: $93

If you prefer more natural materials for your athletic apparel, Iron Roots is the answer! It was founded in 2018 by Dutch friends who were tired of the fact that most sportswear in the market is made of plastic. By combining design, functionality, and sustainability, Iron Roots pioneered plastic-free sportswear in the market!

By design, Iron Roots excels in using non-plastic fabrics and hence lower carbon emission compared to plastic-based apparel such as polyester. The materials they picked include those made from hemp, eucalyptus, beechwood and organic cotton.

By sustainability, the brand uses sustainable fabrics certified by GOTS and FSC, and has them tested by OEKO-TEX. They also chose local GOTS and SMETA-certified factories (in Greece, North Macedonia, and Portugal) with which they have a close relationship. 

Frequent visits ensure the factories’ commitment to fair production standards and also help the brand and the factories create a trustworthy partnership to achieve ethical clothing production.

By functionality, the natural materials chosen have antibacterial and antistatic properties and keep your body cool. Such properties will indeed help you perform better during your workout!

If breathability and comfort are your priority to achieve your fitness goal, we definitely recommend Iron Roots!

3. prAna: The Fair Trade pioneer

sustainable pocket leggings by prAna

Shop: Luxara™ Pocket Legging

Description: Inspire to chase adventure, stay active in your own unique way, and always look good doing it. 

Ethical Claims: fair trade, organic, recycled materials,

Rating: Certified | Price: $99

Founded in 1992 in Carlsbad, CA, prAna is one of the pioneers in sustainable apparel before it was cool. They were the first garment company in North America to provide Fair Trade CertifiedTM clothing to the market.

Back in 2010, prAna was among the first companies to collaborate with Fair Trade USA on clothing. Since then, they have generated premiums that have benefited more than 26,000 people globally and converted 11 factories to Fair Trade CertifiedTM status. By 2028, prAna wants all of their products to have been produced in Fair Trade CertifiedTM factories.

Talking about their fabrics, by 2025, prAna plans to have all of their products made entirely of preferred fibers and materials. This means their materials have to comply with animal welfare, be chemically safe, and be produced organically or from recycled fibers.

One of prAna’s bestselling products, LuxaraTM Pocket Leggings, uses quick-drying material to support your hot yoga sessions. Equipped with recycled nylon, certified bluesign®, and made by Fair Trade Certified producers, this pair is a no-brainer!

4. Groceries Apparel: natural coloring from upcycled groceries

tie dye using upcycled food waste coloring by Groceries Apparel

Shop: Naomi High-Waist Leggings

Description: Activewear made with upcycled food waste, middlemen-free

Ethical Claims: non-toxic, transparent supply chain, locally sourced, circular

Rating: Certified | Price: $78

Our first thought: cute name! Groceries Apparel is an activewear brand that sells workout clothes made with upcycled food waste! But how?

Groceries realized a vast array of chemicals and lubricants are important substances in the textile industry to regulate color transfer and offer performance advantages. They want to be the pioneer in innovating such practices by removing all hazardous chemicals and heavy metals from their supply chain.

Groceries produce their beautiful products using food waste and other plant-based dyes. They collect leftover avocado waste from nearby grocery stores and process it into dyes. Surprisingly, repurposing avocado leftovers costs less money than chemical coloring. Not only avocado, but Groceries also use onion skins, carrot tops, coffee grounds, madder root, indigo, and perhaps more to come in the future!

Furthermore, what makes them really unique is their products are made in downtown Los Angeles! They operate in their own vertically integrated apparel factory to ensure that their standards and principles are properly upheld. What a self-sufficient brand!

5. Wolven: recycled sexy leggings for any workout routine

recycled flare leggings by wolven

Shop: Noor Flare

Description: Every decision is made to protect the planet and create a more equitable and Earth-centered future for all

Ethical Claims: recycled materials, circularity

Rating: Certified | Price: $102

We’ve heard Wolven is Lululemon’s competitor now, thanks to their sexy designs in various motives and colors. They, however, have much more to offer on the sustainability side.

For example, Wolven’s activewear is all made of 84% recycled PET or recycled plastic bottles, as they are aware of the impact of virgin plastic-based materials. What’s interesting is they don’t stop there. Recycled PET is not a silver bullet, as they said, as it still is made of plastic. Wolven keeps seeking reclaimed and organic fabrics for their future products.

Their recycled materials are certified by the Global Recycled Standard to ensure accurate claims of recycled content. OEKO-TEX also certified Wolven’s beautiful leggings and sports bras to guarantee they are free of harmful chemicals.

To further the circularity agenda, Wolven Pre-Loved was launched to facilitate resale demand among their customers. This initiative has helped to extend their clothes’ life by 2 years. Wolven also partners with CleanHub and COMPED to help waste management systems and prevent plastic waste from entering the ocean. What’s impressive is that they also manage their carbon wisely by measuring it up to Scope 3, as well as actively reducing and offsetting the remaining amount!

Worried about their manufacturing standards? Their partner based in China abides by strict codes for health and safety, labour practices, fair wages, working hours, and no child labour, among other assessment factors. Intertek assesses them to comply with the Workplace Conditions Assessment.

Sustainable clothing options are endless!

Woman doing yoga in workout clothes
Unsplash – Kike Vega

As we wrap up our exploration into the realm of sustainable workout clothes, it’s clear that our choices regarding our activewear have a significant impact not only on our personal well-being but also on the health of our planet. From all-natural materials, inclusive sizing, natural coloring, recycled materials, fair trade products, and innovative designs, the choices are endless! 

There should never be any excuses to get lost in conventional workout clothing brands, really!

By opting for eco-conscious materials, supporting ethical brands, and embracing practices that prioritize sustainability, we can empower ourselves to make a positive difference in the world while still achieving our fitness goals. So, as you embark on your next workout adventure, let your clothing reflect your values, and together, let’s pave the way towards a greener, healthier future—one sustainable step at a time.

Pro tip: to explore even more sustainably made workout brands, you can simply filter our brand guide by Clothing—>Activewear.

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