Why make working out only good for the mind and body? Include the planet, too, by buying from these sustainable activewear brands!
Finding eco-friendly, socially responsible brands shouldn’t be as hard as it’s made out to be! There are plenty of brands that make sustainability a priority from sourcing materials to ethical work practices.
That’s why we’ve created a list of the best places to check out for your sustainable activewear needs.
How Are These Brands Sustainable?
The brands on this list source materials with less environmental impact, and even have a beneficial impact by taking plastic out of the ocean and landfills. Materials to look for include recycled polyester aka RPET (made from bottles made of polyethylene), ECONYL® yarn (made from fishing nets and other waste), TENCEL, TENCEL Modal, hemp, organic cotton, and cupro (waste from the cotton industry).
After reviewing the current industry landscape of activewear, it stands that if a garment has over 78% sustainable material, it is on the upper tier of sustainability regarding materials. This number is especially common in activewear because the other 5-20% is often elastane, nylon, or spandex to achieve the stretchy feel. Hopefully, improvements will come to completely eliminate the use of these plastic fibers for good!
In the meantime, since some plastics are still found in garments (synthetic fabrics like nylon and polyester, even recycled ones!), place them in a washing bag to prevent microplastics from releasing into the water and ending up in the environment and oceans. For example, check out the Guppyfriend washing bag to place your clothes into when doing laundry.
Best Sustainable Activewear Brands
Average price range: $25 – $45
Pact is branded as “Earth’s Favorite Clothing Company. The brand pursues this mission by specializing in products made with organic cotton, as well as some hemp products. Pact’s cotton is certified organic by the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS). They also produce garments in a Fair Trade Certified Factory.
Carbon offset shipping is offered to shoppers online, and Pact encourages the customer to reuse the box to donate used clothing. They make this easy by providing a prepaid shipping label to a nonprofit through their Give Back Box initiative.
Average price range: $35 – $70
Girlfriend has an extensive collection of sustainable activewear in an inclusive size range (XXS-6XL). Materials include recycled polyester (RPET), ECONYL® yarn, and cupro. All of their clothes include at least 79% sustainable materials!
Recycled materials are prepared for clothing in a SA8000-certified facility in Taiwan, while the clothing itself is made in a SA8000-certified factory in Vietnam. To be transparent, Girlfriend provides a direct link to show their SA8000 and Oeko-Tex certifications.
They also have a takeback program to send in your old Girlfriend clothes to receive store credit!
Average price range: $50 – $100
What is a best sustainable activewear list without Patagonia? The brand really does practice what they preach and is transparent by reporting solid numbers on sustainability actions (even those that need to be improved).
An advantage of Patagonia is that there are many options for choosing the best responsible activewear items. 100% of all the virgin cotton clothes are organic and 64% of all fabrics are made with recycled materials. Plus, 100% of virgin down is certified to the Advanced Global Traceable Down Standard, and 82% of their collection is Fair Trade certified sewn. Other actions include renewable energy investments and garment repair initiatives.
Average price range: $50 – $85
Summersalt aims to provide the right fit and quality at the right price by eliminating the middleman. They offer fun designs and styles of sports bras, shorts, leggings, swimwear, and sweaters.
Summersalt seamlessly integrates responsible materials, with many garments containing at least 78% recycled content and offering TENCEL, TENCEL Modal, and cupro products. In addition, you can find activewear with UPF 50+ protection from the sun. While you’re at it, you can pick up some swimwear too!
Average price range: $30 – $100
They also use computer knitting machines to reduce waste, use rainwater to grow their bamboo, and don’t use pesticides in their growing process!
Average price range: $60 – $85
Indigo Luna is the perfect stop for activewear touting classy, flattering shapes and earthy block colors. They offer tops, leggings, capris, shorts, pants, and flares.
Indigo Luna has a relatively high percentage of sustainable materials used in their activewear lines. Consider the yoga shorts and tanks made with 92% GOTS certified organic cotton and leggings made from 100% ECONYL (regenerated ocean waste).
They even sell the GUPPYFRIEND washing bag through their site to wash your synthetic garments (recycled content clothing still releases microplastics).
Average price range: $70 – $130
Elle Evans produces everything to order and commits to using Regenerated ECONYL® Nylon fiber (made from recycled sea waste). They offer leggings, sports bras, sports shorts, and swimwear, as well as 10% off warehouse garments.
All clothing is designed, printed, and made to order in Melbourne, Australia. If you’re outside of Australia, rest assured that shipping is more eco-friendly, since the brand uses HEROPACK© mailers. These can be home composted, and are shipped carbon neutral by partnering with SENDLE.
Average price range: $20 – $100
Although known for their sustainable running shoes, AllBirds also has plenty of fantastic activewear for men and women.
This 100% carbon neutral brand makes most of their products from ethical merino wool from New Zealand, which requires 60% less energy than materials in the average pair of synthetic shoes. We can’t name everything they do, so their sustainability report will give you more information if needed.
Average price range: $50 – $80
Prana’s mission is “clothing for positive change,” which is realized by incorporating a lot of different sustainable materials in their garments. Products are made from hemp, organic content, recycled content, TENCEL lyocell, and TENCEL modal.
Plus, the supply chain is 100% free of conventional viscose and rayon (synthetic fiber with toxic production). The brand also follows social responsibility and has 11 Fair Trade Certified factories.
Prana has multiple activewear collections, including yoga, lounge, swim, and hike, as well as a great sale section.
Average price range: $45 – $85
Based in Boulder, Colorado, éclipse was founded in 2002 to simply create clothes that protected skin from sun damage. As the brand has grown, they continually committed to being socially and environmentally responsible, which became an integral focus of their mission. They offer sun protection and high-performance activewear for men, women, and kids.
In recognition of their efforts, éclipse was named Best Socially Sustainable Business of 2020. They work with home-based tailors in the local area of Colorado, plant a tree for every order, are converting to recycled polyester fiber. They also joined Pledge 1% Colorado, and signed the 2020 Circular Fashion Pledge.
Average price range: $95 – $125
“Reprise” means a single repeated action, which represents the brand’s dedication to never using plastic. This stands in opposition to brands who use plastic water bottles (even though recycled), which Reprise argues is detrimental because ultimately this still requires virgin plastic bottles to be used up. Instead, Reprise sources GOTS and Fair Trade certified organic cotton and TENCEL to make clothing.
An interesting product is their scrunchies, which are made from Fair Trade natural rubber that comes from sustainably-managed forests as proven by the Forest Stewardship Council certification (FSC).
Average price range: $30 – $100
Satva has everything you need to work up a sweat, sustainably. This brand produces in Fair-Trade certified factories only and uses only GOTS certified fabrics.
They partnered with an organic cotton production network in India, where they invest a portion of proceeds back into the Indian community.
Average price range varies
Last (but not least), don’t forget about thrifting!
Buying secondhand is an excellent way to shop more sustainably and keep clothing out of landfills. You can head to a thrift store near you or visit one of the top online thrift stores, ThredUp being the largest. Shop used for your favorite high-quality brands, such as Lululemon activewear. Even a used pair of their leggings will last years!
More and more brands are taking a more ethical and low-impact approach to clothing. Don’t neglect considering sustainability in your activewear by shopping for these top sustainable activewear brands!
The high performance, various styles, and green qualities of these garments are sure to make your workout top tier across all areas— mind, body, spirit, and environment.