Whether it’s learning how to restyle your current wardrobe or figuring out how to level up your secondhand shopping and Depop game, there’s a tonne of ways that we’re wearing our sustainability on our sleeve (literally). The same principles extend to the stuff we’re wearing when we’re not so much looking cool, as intentionally getting very sweaty. The sustainable activewear market has ballooned in recent years. It seems there are more brands making their leggings out of recycled plastics than you could shake a single-use water bottle at.
As with all things, consumption under late-stage capitalism is a complicated beast. By no means should you dump all your current gym gear because you’re committing to a new “sustainable you.” The most sustainable choice we can make is actually in what we choose not to buy. Instead, think along the lines of grabbing a spoon from your kitchen drawer before you invest in a six-piece bamboo cutlery set… that you were probably going to forget at home anyway.
Disclaimer out of the way, we wanted to highlight some of the sustainable activewear brands we reckon are doing decent job of actually walking the walk. Or jogging the jog, as the case may be.
8 Sustainable Activewear Brands We’re Into Right Now
From the sustainability-focused Australian brand Boody comes an activewear collection that’s a little different. Instead of the typical recycled plastic fibres, Boody uses a blend of organic cotton (grown with natural, untouched seeds and free from pesticides) and Boody’s signature bamboo yarn in their range. Put aside your concerns that natural fibres don’t work for exercise gear too, these leggings are breathable and snap back just as well as your high-performance Nike gear.
The activewear range also goes up to a pretty decent size 18—Boody is also a champion for size inclusivity. We love to see a brand thinking about all the ways it can do a little good in the world.
There’s probably no sustainable activewear brand on the Aussie scene that’s more recognisable than Nimble Activewear. The brand has been putting down gear made from recycled plastics since all the way back in 2015, and they have some of the chicest cut active tops and tanks in the game. Just in time for the warmer weather, they’ve released new styles of their laser cut and ribbed bike shorts, ideal if you’re in studio class that you’re still sussing the sweaty intensity levels of.
We’re also partial to their MoveLite range if you’re intrigued to feel how comfy it is to wear a recycled water bottle while you’re working out.
Mimi Kini is kind of the sustainable activewear line of our dreams? The Aussie label makes beautiful, bright activewear from predominantly recycled materials and is all about body positivity, size inclusiveness and enjoying being active because it’s fun. Their products are manufactured by a family run business that complies with the Business Social Compliance Initiative (BSCI) and their shipping packages are home compostable too.
Mimi Kini was created by the refreshing trainer and fitness influencer Madalin Giorgetta (@madalingiorgetta). The line includes leggings, shorts and tank tops in the fashion-forward colours and cuts that so often are only available to smaller bodies.
A home-grown Aussie label based in Brisbane, dk active focuses on using sustainable materials and manufacturing practices for their high-performance activewear. The design, manufacturing, warehousing and distribution for each piece happens under their one (solar-powered) roof. All of that helps to minimise the emissions involved in transporting textiles and clothing in their long journey from the mill to on your bod on your yoga mat. Some of their favoured materials are organic cotton, organic bamboo and Luxury Italian Lycra (made from a blend of new and recycled materials).
Organic Yoga Company
Organic Yoga Company is your go-to if you’re looking for minimal activewear with ethics and sustainability at the core of every level of their business. Their clothes are made from 92% organic cotton and 8% lycra which is locally knit in Melbourne and dyed in small batches with low impact dyes. As well as that, their Australian manufacturers are accredited by Ethical Clothing Australia and use recycled paper and stickers and compostable packaging. We’re also here for the (authentic) diversity in their models! Time to normalise armpit hair in a downward dog, we reckon.
Another sustainable fashion fave of ours, Girlfriend Collective also use recycled materials in their leggings. Plus, because Girlfriend Collective is all about going deeper, the brand also sells a laundry bag that you can use with any polyester fabrics to help prevent microplastics from ending up in our oceans. It’s one of the problems with all poly fabrics, even the recycled ones.
One of the main things we’d tell you to look for if you’re trying to suss a brand’s sustainability credentials are details. A vague page on their website that talks about their “commitment to the environment” ain’t cutting in the age of the informed consumer. Prana has a clear and extensive commitment to a number of practices spanning both social responsibility and environmental impact. They explain in depth how they manage their chemical use, use materials like organic cotton, recycled wool and responsible down. They were also the first North American apparel brand to produce Fair Trade Certified™ clothing.
Their active wear range is also extensive, so whether you’re a hiker, runner, yogi, climber or swimmer you’re going to find the gear that’ll suit your preferred endorphin generator.
If you’re into prints, the Sydney-based sustainable activewear brand Dharma Bums will have something for you. They use recycled nylon and organic cotton in their collections and are expanding their use of the bio-textiles and biodegradable fabrics. Plus, they’re committed to ethical supply chains, both here in local Australian factories and overseas.
Lead image via Instagram @girlfriend.