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A Complete Guide on Sustainable Sportswear


Comfort, style, and functionality—these are the top considerations when it comes to choosing activewear. But have you ever considered the impact of your activewear choices on the environment and society?

Traditional activewear brands may offer trendy designs and high-performance fabrics, but their eco and social impact can be alarming. The production of conventional activewear often involves harmful practices that contribute to environmental degradation, from the extraction of natural resources to the excessive use of energy and water.

Also, the fast fashion mentality prevalent in the industry leads to textile waste and perpetuates a cycle of overconsumption. 

Fortunately, sustainable sportswear brands are stepping up to the plate, offering eco-friendly alternatives that prioritize both style and sustainability. These brands are committed to reducing their environmental impact and improving social practices throughout their supply chains.

Here we’ll delve into the key elements of eco-friendly athletic clothes, discover top-notch sportswear brands, and learn how to make informed choices as eco-conscious consumers. So, get ready to embrace a stylish and ecological approach to your active lifestyle!

Key Elements of Sustainable Sportswear

What makes our activewear eco-friendly? Let’s take a look at the factors that add worth to our sportswear by making a positive impact on the planet.

Ecological Materials

Sustainable Sportswear - Ecological Materials

Organic Cotton

Did you know that traditional cotton production is one of the most pesticide-intensive practices? Organic cotton comes to the rescue! Grown without toxic chemicals, it helps preserve biodiversity, soil health, and the well-being of farmers. Opting for activewear made from certified organic cotton ensures you’re making a positive impact on both the environment and the people involved in the supply chain. Feel the natural softness against your skin and embrace eco-conscious fabrics during your workouts.

Recycled Polyester

This is another superstar in ecological sports apparel. It’s created from discarded plastic bottles and transformed into high-performance fabrics that wick away moisture and provide excellent durability. By choosing activewear made from these recycled materials, you actively contribute to reducing the carbon footprint associated with traditional polyester production. So, go ahead and make a fashion statement with that sleek recycled polyester jacket or leggings.

Avoiding Animal-Derived Materials

For those seeking cruelty-free options, eco-friendly sports clothing brands have got you covered. By avoiding animal-derived materials such as leather, fur, and down, you can support a brand that highlights ethical and eco-friendly fashion. Embrace stylish alternatives made from innovative vegan fabrics that offer the same level of comfort and performance, without harming our furry friends.

Ethical Supply Chains

Sustainable Sportswear - Ethical Supply Chains

Fair Trade Practices

Fairtrade practices ensure that the people involved in creating your activewear are treated fairly and earn a decent wage. Look out for brands with these certifications and you’ll be able to make a positive impact on the lives of those who make your clothes and contribute to a more equitable fashion industry.

Transparent Supply Chains

A transparent supply chain is the backbone of responsible fashion. Brands that value transparency provide insights into their sourcing, manufacturing, and production processes. They take pride in building relationships with their suppliers and being accountable for their environmental and social impact. So, seek out sportswear brands that openly share information about their supply chains. Knowing the story behind your sportswear adds value to your purchase and fosters a connection with the brand’s mission.

Reduced Environmental Footprint

Sustainable Sportswear - Reduced Environmental Footprint

Minimizing Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Ecological sports clothing brands strive to reduce their carbon footprint. They adopt practices like using renewable energy sources, optimizing transportation routes, and minimizing energy consumption during manufacturing. Choosing activewear from a brand dedicated to reducing greenhouse gas emissions means you can work out with lighter environmental effects.

Decreasing Water Usage

Traditional textile production is notorious for its water-intensive processes. However, eco-friendly sportswear brands are implementing innovative techniques to conserve water. From using water-saving dyeing methods to recycling and treating water used in manufacturing, these brands understand the importance of water stewardship. So, when you wear their products, you can feel confident knowing you’re supporting responsible water usage.

Addressing Textile Waste

The fashion industry generates a staggering amount of textile waste. Eco-conscious sportswear brands are tackling this waste issue by implementing strategies to minimize waste throughout the production process. They focus on recycling, upcycling, and repurposing materials, ensuring that every garment has a second life. By embracing their circular approach, you can actively participate in reducing textile pollution.

High-Performance and Functionality

Sustainable Sportswear - High-Performance and Functionality

Sustainability Meets Performance

Gone are the days when sustainability meant sacrificing functionality. Today, eco-friendly sportswear brands use innovative technologies and advanced fabric blends to deliver high-performance garments. Whether you’re hitting the gym, going for a run, or practicing yoga, you can find activewear that offers optimal comfort, flexibility, and support—all while minimizing environmental consequences.

Innovative Technologies and Design

Sustainable activewear isn’t just about basics and earthy tones. Brands are embracing cutting-edge design and incorporating vibrant colors, trendy patterns, and stylish silhouettes into their collections. With a focus on innovation and creativity, green activewear is setting new standards for fashion-forward fitness attire. So, express your unique style while making a positive impact on the planet.

Top Sustainable Activewear Brands

Here are some of the eco-friendly sportswear brands with an overview of their sustainability initiatives and notable activewear ranges.


Patagonia is an iconic brand recognized for its commitment to environmental and social responsibility. The brand prioritizes sustainability in every aspect of its business, from sourcing materials to supporting fair trade practices.

Patagonia is a trailblazer in using organic cotton and recycled materials throughout its activewear range to avoid the use of harmful chemicals and promote healthier ecosystems. Also, they incorporate recycled plastic bottles into their fabrics, reducing the demand for virgin resources and diverting waste from landfills.

Patagonia’s activewear range combines high-performance functionality with eco-conscious design. Their collection includes activewear for outdoor adventures, such as hiking, climbing, and running. From moisture-wicking base layers to insulated jackets, the brand offers durable and versatile pieces suitable for various climates and activities.

Girlfriend Collective

Girlfriend Collective takes pride in maintaining a transparent supply chain. They share detailed information about their production process, from sourcing materials to manufacturing and distribution. This transparency allows customers to make informed choices and feel connected to the brand’s mission.

The brand emphasizes the use of eco-friendly materials such as certified organic cotton and recycled plastic bottles that reduce the environmental consequence of conventional cotton production and turn waste into fashionable and functional garments.

Girlfriend Collective offers a wide range of activewear for various activities, from yoga to running. Their collection includes leggings, sports bras, shorts, and tops, all designed with both style and sustainability in mind.


Athleta is dedicated to sustainability throughout its supply chain. They prioritize responsible sourcing, reduce water usage, and invest in renewable energy. The brand also offers a Fair Trade Certified™ collection, ensuring fair wages and safe working conditions for their workers.

Athleta offers a diverse range of activewear for women, including leggings, sports bras, tops, and outerwear. It makes clothing designs focus on functionality, performance, and style, catering to various activities and preferences. Athleta’s activewear is made from high-quality, eco-friendly materials, combining comfort and eco-consciousness.


Tentree is on a mission to tackle climate change by planting trees. For every item purchased, the brand plants ten trees in various parts of the world. This unique approach allows customers to actively participate in reforestation efforts while enjoying sustainability.

Tentree uses organic cotton, recycled polyester, and TENCEL™ in its activewear. These materials minimize their environmental brunt and contribute to a more ecological fashion industry. By prioritizing organic farming and recycling plastic waste, Tentree strives to make a positive change.

The brand offers a range of activewear essentials, including leggings, joggers, hoodies, and tops. Their designs prioritize comfort, functionality, and versatility, making them suitable for various activities, from yoga sessions to outdoor adventures.


PACT is an activewear brand that combines comfort, style, and sustainability. With a focus on organic and recycled materials and ethical production practices, PACT offers activewear that allows you to feel good inside and out.

The brand works with factories that prioritize social and environmental responsibility, ensuring safe working conditions and fair wages for their workers. PACT’s commitment to transparency and ethical production practices allows you to feel good about the activewear you’re wearing.

Their range includes leggings, sports bras, tops, and more, all designed to provide comfort, support, and flexibility. By choosing PACT, you support a brand that not only makes clothing but also makes a positive impact.


Wolven combines sustainability with vibrant prints inspired by nature. They use recycled materials like plastic bottles to create their activewear. By using these materials, the brand helps reduce plastic waste while creating unique and eye-catching designs.

Wolven offers a range of activewear, including leggings, sports bras, tops, and shorts. Their designs cater to various activities, from yoga to hiking, ensuring comfort, style, and sustainability.

Happy Earth

With a strong focus on eco-friendly materials and ethical practices, Happy Earth offers activewear that celebrates both your active lifestyle and the well-being of the planet.

Happy Earth embraces recycled and organic fabrics in its activewear collections, partners with factories that prioritize fair labor practices, and believes in the power of mindful movement for both physical and mental well-being. 

Happy Earth’s sportswear range is thoughtfully designed to provide comfort, flexibility, and style. From leggings and sports bras to tops and jackets, their collection offers versatile pieces suitable for various activities.


Veja is known for its ecological sneakers but also offers activewear. The brand prioritizes transparency and fair trade practices throughout its supply chain. They work closely with small-scale producers and prioritize eco-friendly materials.

Veja incorporates materials like recycled polyester and natural rubber into its activewear. They focus on minimizing their environmental impact while creating comfortable and stylish activewear pieces.

Making Informed Choices as Consumers

Sustainable Sportswear consumer

As consumers, we have the power to make a difference through our purchasing decisions. But how can we make conscious choices and embrace a more responsible shopping experience with our activewear?

Understand Certifications and Labels

Navigating the world of certifications and labels can be overwhelming, but it’s worth understanding the ones that indicate a brand’s commitment to sustainability. Look for relevant certifications like Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) for organic materials, Fair Trade Certified™ for fair labor practices, and Bluesign® for environmentally responsible production. These labels provide assurance that the activewear brand has met rigorous sustainability standards and supports ethical practices throughout its supply chain.

Dig Deeper Into the Brand’s Sustainability

Don’t just take the activewear brand’s word for it—dig deeper and research their values and initiatives. Visit their website, read about their sustainability practices, and examine their transparency. Notice brands that disclose information about their materials, production processes, and social responsibility efforts. A truly green activewear brand will be open about its environmental thrust and commitment to continuous improvement.

Consider the brand’s environmental and social impact as well. Do they prioritize using organic materials or recycled fabrics? Do they invest in renewable sources of energy or engage in carbon offset programs? Are they actively involved in community initiatives? Evaluating these aspects can help you determine if the brand aligns with your values and sustainability goals.

Fast Fashion Out, Slow Fashion In

Fast fashion is known for its quick production and low prices, but it often comes at a significant cost. This relentless pursuit of fast trends contributes to overconsumption, excessive waste, and poor working conditions. 

The workaround? Shift your mindset from quantity to quality. Invest in high-performance activewear that lasts, rather than buying into fleeting trends. Check out brands that focus on durability, timeless designs, and versatility. And don’t forget to bring your reusable bag when shopping to reduce single-use plastic waste!

Final Note

Sustainable fashion, including sportswear, is slowly playing its role in addressing the environmental challenges we face today. 

And as consumers, opting for a sustainable activewear brand means contributing to reducing carbon emissions, conserving natural resources, and minimizing textile pollution. These are small but meaningful steps toward mitigating climate change and creating a greener future.

Adopt a sustainable lifestyle now, one activewear at a time.

Ellora Sharma

Ellora Sharma is a 26-year-old fashionmonger from Leeds. She discovered her love for fashion through the many intricate and flashy designs found in the Bollywood films she religiously watched when she was younger (and continues to watch to this day). She has since developed an affinity for colourful and distinctive clothing, and loves to experiment with her style on the daily. She wants to help others find the same kind of joy and fun in clothing as she has.

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