Finding eco-friendly sportswear that also performs can be a tricky task indeed. Luckily, we have fitness and health blogger Flora Beverley on hand to help you out. Here Flora takes us through some of her favourite conscious running gear brands.
When I first started getting into fitness, I had no idea that so much of the best fitness gear on the market had a negative impact on the environment. From fabric linked to deforestation, to microfibre release during washing, much of our sportswear has the same impact as any other fast-fashion item. However, multiple brands have proved that it doesn’t have to be this way, utilising innovative fabrics such as ECONYL®, made from recycled plastic waste, to reduce virgin materials necessary for sportswear.
Material, fit and feel are all important when it comes to running gear. Whilst fashion items have some leeway in this, as any runner knows, a pair of leggings that fall down mid-run or feel sticky as soon as they get sweaty are a nightmare. Here are some of my favourite brands that place performance and sustainability at their core, doing what they can to make the world a better place:
US-based brand Girlfriend Collective prides itself on creating beautiful minimalist activewear that is better for the environment. The clothes are reminiscent of Lulu Lemon, but instead of using resource-intensive fibres, Girlfriend uses fabric made from recycled water bottles. The range comes in sizes from XXS to 6XL (22” – 58” waist).
Eco credentials: Girlfriend uses recycled water bottles and recycled polyester in its collections. It is certified by Oek-Tex and it prioritises ethics at its production facilities, which are certified by Social Accountability International SA8000. Girlfriend has also launched a new programme called ReGirlfriend, which collects the old compressive leggings and upcycles them, reducing waste.
Best for: Minimalist activewear
Outdoor brand Patagonia was an environmental revolutionary at the time of its launch in 1973. From its initial focus on protecting the natural world the founders so loved exploring, to its forward-thinking use of sustainable fabrics, Patagonia has always had sustainability at its core. You can read more about the amazing environmental work the company does here. If you’re into the outdoors and the idea of pounding the pavements in the city bores you, Patagonia’s trail running gear is for you. Get outside and benefit the natural world while enjoying it too.
Eco credentials: Patagonia’s cotton is certified by GOTS, 56% of its fabrics are certified by Bluesign, and it uses a high proportion of environmentally-conscious materials such as recycled polyester, recycled nylon and Tencel. It is also a member of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition and 1% for the planet. Old clothes can be repaired in-store, or repurposed when no longer fit for use.
Best for: Trail running
Performance wear brand Sundried has pioneered its own material, Eco Tech, the only biodegradable polyamide yarn on the planet, allowing any discarded items to safely decompose in landfill. The collections focus on performance, with collections for different sports, from cycling, to yoga to running.
Eco credentials: Sundried uses 100% recycled materials, including recycled plastic and coffee grounds, limiting ecological damage during production. Some items are created using their Eco Tech polyamide. Some of their profits go to the charity Water for Kids.
Best for: Performance wear
Adidas has made industry-first commitments to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 and is recognised by various sustainability initiatives. Adidas has something for everyone and is one of my favourite footwear brands.
Eco credentials: Alongside collections containing recycled materials, Adidas only sources sustainably-produced cotton and is a founding member of the Better Cotton initiative. It is partially certified by Bluesign and is a member of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition. It still has some work to do on ethics in the supply chain and reducing its use of animal products.
Best for: Everything
A newcomer to the market, TALA was launched by entrepreneur and social media sensation Grace Beverley (also my sister!). So many sustainable activewear brands have been marketed to an older audience, which is why Grace started a brand aimed at younger women wanting to look good and train hard in the gym whilst reducing their impact on the environment. The leggings come in a huge range of sizes, from UK size 6 to size 20 and each initial collection sold out in a matter of minutes.
Eco credentials: TALA products use a range of planet-conscious fabrics, from recycled cotton to fabric made from recycled water bottles. The collections are also accredited by Eu Ecolabel, Higg Index (Sustainable Apparel Coalition) and Oeko-Tex.
Best for: Looking great at the gym
Peak + Flow
Another newcomer, Peak + Flow was started by two friends who noticed a gap in the market for high-performance eco activewear that lasted. The initial collection was all reversible with a beautiful pattern on one side and plain black on the other, making each item work hard in your wardrobe.
Eco credentials: 2% of profits go to charity, including 1% for the planet. Peak + Flow’s initial collection is made from recycled ocean plastic and eucalyptus pulp.
Best for: Gymming, running
You can find out more about Flora in her inspiring Life as I Know It.
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