Activewear is not just a part of fashion; it’s a lifestyle. It is the right choice for working out, and the trendiest fashion to pose in for social media. Plus, the demand for activewear has increased even more than before, thanks to COVID-19.
However, a lot of the activewear that we enjoy either uses animal-based materials, such as wool and fur, or harmful plastics, such as virgin polyester and nylon. Don’t even get us started about what used to happen behind the scenes to factory workers that made the clothes.
Yet, times are changing and consumers are waking up. When large numbers of people demand the right thing, even the largest brands have no choice but to make the change. Now, we have a variety of options for activewear that is sustainable, vegan, and fairly paid for. Here is our list of the best sustainable vegan activewear brands to consider.
The 8 Best Vegan and Sustainable Activewear Brands
Here are our favorite brands that offer good-quality vegan and sustainable activewear on the market right now.
1. Groceries Apparel
Everywhere we go we’re not only surrounded by animal-based clothes but also toxic materials that harm us and the environment, especially in activewear.
Groceries Apparel recognized the need for eco-friendly, vegan activewear, and blessed us with comfortable and natural clothing as well as dyes. By natural, we mean plant-based, so no animals were harmed to make these gems. From cute bralettes to extra comfortable leggings, Groceries Apparel knows how to make you look cute while working out.
On their website, they list all of their ingredients, which include organic cotton (the sustainable water-saving alternative to traditional cotton), eucalyptus, recycled plastic (least common material in their products), hemp, and numerous non-toxic vegetable dyes.
Before you ask, Groceries Apparel have their own factory in Los Angeles to ensure that all of their standards are met, including fair wage and treatment of their employees.
2. Adidas by Stella McCartney
Everybody knows Adidas and every vegan knows vegan fashion icon Stella McCartney. If you’re hard to please and want high-end activewear that checks all your ethical boxes, consider the collaboration we never knew we needed, Adidas by Stella McCartney.
Stella McCartney came and brought her vegan, sustainable, and stylish game to Adidas. Their collection is a wide selection of shoes, clothes, and accessories that have the best of both worlds. The materials used are either organic cotton or recycled plastics that help clean the ocean from pollution.
If you want activewear that is vegan, sustainable, moisture-wicking, and Instagram-worthy, this collaboration is all you need.
While vegan and sustainable activewear makes us all feel good, sometimes it can get a little bit expensive. Not all vegan and eco-conscious athletes can afford high-end prices, and that’s where Pact comes in.
The Colorado-based company prides itself on their reliance on GOTS-certified organic cotton. Besides being earth-friendly, it feels extra soft on the skin. Their fits are flattering and their color choices are smart and practical. Enjoy their wide selection of activewear, outerwear, underwear, casual wear, beddings, and bath towels.
For further enjoyment and peace of mind, note that Pact is a fair-trade company that works directly with farmers and craftspeople ensures that they’re paid fairly for their work. At the same time, customers can appreciate the company’s reasonable prices.
If you haven’t heard of bamboo yarn before, especially in activewear, now you have. Boody is an innovative brand that utilizes bamboo yarns to make the most comfortable activewear following strict eco-conscious and labor guidelines.
The first thing we think of when we hear bamboo is structures and decorations, so why does Broody use it in clothing?
Bamboo grows pretty fast and high. Plus, it has an impressive ability to grow in diverse climates, which makes it more sustainable than plants that need to grow in certain climates. Plus, it grows pretty densely and can be re-harvested like any grass without any harm to the soil.
In Boody, they use organic bamboo that is certified by the Organic Crop Improvement Association that grows without any use of pesticides.
The result is a fabric that is soft, hypoallergenic, sweat-absorbent, insulating, premium-looking, and UV-protectant.
If you’re concerned about the workers, remember that Boody is WRAP(Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production)-certified, which means that they’re governed by twelve strict rules the ensure the safety and well-being of workers.
5. Girlfriend Collective
If you have particular fashion needs, and by particular we mean minimalist, besides wanting sustainable activewear, consider Girlfriend Collective. They specialize in using organic and recycled materials for their activewear with low-key, minimalist designs.
Girlfriend Collective’s transparency about what materials are used in what is refreshing; they describe their manufacturing process in detail on their website. Their recycled plastics come from post-consumer bottles and recycled fishing nets, so you’ll help save the environment from a lot of damage by supporting their clothes. They also use recycled and organic cotton.
Even their packaging is 100% recycled and recyclable. Also, they sell a microfiber filter that collects microfibers resulting from washing synthetic materials before they get to the ocean.
Finally, their cutting and sewing take place in an SA8000-certified factory to ensure the compensation of their workers with fair wages, safe and healthy conditions, and protection from forced or child labor.
If you’re looking for nature-inspired prints and vibrant colors from a brand that actually loves the earth, consider Wolven. Their message is as beautiful as their clothes.
Wolven prides itself on MODAL, which is their luxurious fabric made from carbon-neutral wood-pulp that they naturally dye. This premium fabric is cooling, breathable, shrink-resistant, and wrinkle-free.
In addition, they employ recycled plastic bottles that are OEKO-TEX certified, which means that they’re free from toxins.
Finally, Wolven is WCA-certified, which means that their partners abide by a strict code of conduct that protects the health, safety, wages, and rights of workers.
7. Organic Basics
There is so much waste out there from synthetic materials, and a lot of non-vegan materials have been used, as well. What if we told you that there’s a brand that takes all of this waste and recycles it into some quirky and innovative activewear and underwear?
Organic Basics uses organic materials and recycles whatever it can recycle to give you awesome fashion items and save the planet. It’s crazy to think that they started as a men’s underwear brand.
This Danish brand utilizes organic cotton and TENCEL, which is made from wood pulp and provides a breathable, silky texture. They also use silver to make SilverTech and Polygiene, which help control odor and keep you confident while sweating your worries away.
In addition, they recycle GRS-certified nylon, wool, and GRS-certified cashmere. These recycled materials are far more sustainable than their virgin counterparts and make use of waste that is already plaguing the planet. Also, they employ seamless knitting that makes more reliable clothes and produces less fabric waste.
Fortunately, Organic Basics only works with certified factory partners whose workplaces are free of child labor and forced labor. Also, their workers perform in safe working spaces, get paid living wages, and are offered employee perks like free lunch and childcare.
You may have already heard of Patagonia because of their high-quality outerwear and activewear. They make all kinds of gear and clothes for surfing, kitesurfing, skiing, snowboarding, fly fishing, trail running, and climbing.
While Patagonia is considered on the pricier side for many, you get a lot of bang for the buck in terms of style, durability, inclusivity, and comfort.
But what about their ethics? Patagonia mainly depends on recycled and organic materials. They even have a self-imposed earth tax, with which they donate to environmental nonprofits. Plus, they participate in multiple fair-labor programs.
What about veganism? While they still incorporate wool in some products according to the guidelines of the RWS (Responsible Wool Standard), the majority of their products are 100% vegan.
How to Find Sustainable and Vegan Brands
Whether you’re new to ethical fashion or not, it’s always helpful to know what to look for to identify the right brands. So, here are the signs of an ethical brand.
Since we’re talking about vegan brands, we’re looking for brands that don’t include animal-based materials in their clothes. The best alternative to animal-based materials is in nature itself. Organic cotton, hemp, and bamboo, in particular, are all the rage now and for good reasons.
The difference between cotton and organic cotton isn’t just a fancy word. Traditional cotton depletes the soil it grows in because of its need for a lot of fertilizers, pesticides and insecticides.
Also, it needs a lot of water, and by a lot, we mean 10000 liters of water for one kilogram of traditional cotton. In addition, traditional cotton is labor-intensive, and the chemicals used to grow it harm the farmers in the long term.
So, it is clear that we need a more sustainable and fair alternative, and we found it in organic cotton. It grows without harmful chemicals. In addition, it’s biodegradable, so it won’t contribute to environmental waste as many fabrics do. Also, organic cotton is safer for farmers and animals than its traditional counterpart.
Finally, it feels softer and more breathable on the skin, which makes it a perfect choice for activewear.
Hemp is not only a great alternative to traditional cotton, but also one of the most sustainable fabrics on the planet.
Unlike traditional cotton, hemp doesn’t need much to grow. It requires much less water and almost half the land that cotton needs. Also, you can completely forgo fertilizers, insecticides, and pesticides with hemp. In fact, hemp benefits and nourishes the soil it grows in. Also, it grows faster than traditional and organic cotton and produces much higher yields.
What about the fabric itself? It is stronger and more durable than cotton. Also, it has better insulating and moisture-wicking properties.
We may have confused you now by mentioning bamboo in an article about clothes, but bamboo fabric has many advantages that make more and more manufacturers incorporate it in their clothes.
Like hemp, bamboo is an incredibly sustainable plant that doesn’t need any chemicals or fertilizers to grow healthily. Plus, it only depends on rainwater, and can survive in very different climates. Of course, it has a higher yield than cotton, thanks to its tall and dense nature. Also, bamboo is a grass that is cut and re-harvested without any damage to the soil.
As a fabric, it feels soft and doesn’t trigger any allergies. Plus, it blocks 98% of UV rays, meaning that it’s the perfect fabric to wear while running outside. It also absorbs moisture, which means it will still be comfortable to wear in your most intense workouts.
It can be hard for many brands to completely forgo, especially in activewear. However, since plastics do a lot of damage to the environment despite being cruelty-free, brands are starting to replace them with recycled materials to save the dying planet from what’s killing it.
Post-consumer materials tend to come from recycled plastic bottles, fishing nets, shoes, and more. The beauty of using recycled materials is that they help clean the ocean and protect its inhabitants from waste that already exists, which gives us hope about the future of the planet. More and more brands are gradually replacing plastics with recycled counterparts.
Sustainability and veganism are meaningless if the humans that made us these clothes are still suffering. In the year 2020, even the average consumer is distraught from hearing about slave labor, child labor, and workers getting paid less than the minimum wage.
So, while searching for brands that use cruelty-free, sustainable materials, we checked to see if they practice ethical employment and pay close attention to what their suppliers do if they have ones in foreign countries.
Always pay close attention to how each brand treats its workers and whether they truly pay them fairly and provide them with good working conditions, or if it’s just clever marketing. Fair-trade certified brands are a good place to start.
We hope that our list of the best brands for sustainable vegan activewear has helped put you on the right track.
Consider these brands and also look for ones that only use plant-based or recycled materials in their production. Don’t forget the living wages and working conditions of the workers, as well.