a woman sitting in sustainable active wear and her yoga mat

Why Sustainable Active Wear is Empowering a Workout Revolution in the World

Summer 2019: the season I began my deep dive into sustainable active wear brands. It all began with a curiosity about fabrics that promised more than just athletic wear a snug fit or a bold pattern.

You know, materials that stood apart from the ubiquitous cotton.

“Who would’ve thought? Sustainable Active wear that’s… affordable and eco-friendly?” I mused.

My skeptical brow raised, I delved into a cascade of articles and testimonials.

But then, as I read on about piece after piece from different sustainable eco friendly active wear brands, a revelation struck.

Growing up in sunny SoCal, my active wear had a simple job: shirts should keep me cool and underwear that won’t chafe.

But these sustainable gems offered more.

Man running in sustainable active wear

They weren’t just eco-friendly; they defied the sweat and strain of intense workouts, kept odor at bay even after the most challenging hikes or sprints in 95+ degree weather, and seemed to always feel light and comfortable.

The journey from cynicism to advocacy was swift and unanticipated.

I’ve since become a vocal proponent for sustainable workout clothes. Not just for their environmental footprint, but for their surprising functionality and endurance.

Join me, then, as we delve deep into the world of the best sustainable active wear around—discovering how these eco-friendly materials aren’t just good for Mother Earth, but also exceptional for an active lifestyle.

  • Crafting Sustainable Active Wear: An Odyssey From Nature to Wardrobe

  • Organic Cotton: A Glimpse Into the Heart of Eco-Fabrics

  • Champion Brands: The Unsung Heroes Pioneering Green Athletic Fashion

  • Certifications: The Rosetta Stones of Eco-Credentials

  • A Panorama Beyond Cotton: Embracing the Rich Tapestry of Sustainable Fabrics

Sustainable Cotton’s Sojourn: From a Humble Seed to Your Favorite Gym Tee

A natural field of organic cotton with a blue sky and beautiful clouds.

Imagine the quiet rustling of leaves as a tiny seed, planted in the heart of an expansive field, begins its growth.

Cotton, in its earliest stages, is just a small green bud reaching upwards, relying on clean water, fresh air, and sunshine to flourish.

As the days pass and the seasons change, these tiny buds mature into fluffy, white cotton balls.

Each one is a testament to the magic of nature: how something so small can transform into something so soft, robust, and versatile.

What sets sustainable cotton apart is the absence of harmful pesticides and chemicals during its growth.

Nature is allowed to take its course, assisted by farmers who prioritize eco-friendly methods.

Then comes the harvest.

Workers with gentle hands and practiced expertise pick this cotton, ensuring that every fiber retains its natural integrity.

These bundles of cotton are then spun, woven, and dyed, taking on vibrant colors and forms, finally making their way into the workshops of the best sustainable active wear brands around.

Here, designers and craftspeople, with a shared vision for a greener planet, transform these cotton fibers into garments.

Each stitch, each seam, each layer is infused with a commitment to ethical labor practices, ensuring that the journey of sustainable cotton is not just good for the planet, but to its people as well.

So, the next time you pull on that soft, sustainable cotton gym tee, remember the journey.

From a sun-drenched field to an artisan’s workshop, to you. Every step infused with care, love, and a promise for a better, greener future.

The Pioneering Promise of Sustainable Fabrics: Beyond Organic Cotton

The vast tapestry of sustainable fabrics—spanning from certified organic cotton, to Merino, Tencel, Hemp, and Lyocell—represents a vanguard in the textile industry, pushing for a world where fashion marries ecology.

100% organic cotton t-shirts in black and white with cotton balls scattered around the image.

Renewable and Regenerative:

While organic cotton is renowned for its eco-friendliness, Merino wool offers a renewable gift from sheep, and Hemp stands as a hardy crop, rejuvenating the soil as it grows. These materials are not only sustainable in production but also help restore our Earth’s health.

Thread, clothing, scissors, and a measuring tape on a craft table.

Innovative Process:

Tencel and Lyocell, both birthed and made from recycled wood cellulose, exemplify innovation at its best. Through a closed-loop process, they manage to transform raw wood into soft, luxurious fabric, minimizing waste and maximizing efficiency.

Sketch art of an idea sprouting to life.

Antimicrobial and Breathable:

Merino wool stands out for its unique ability to resist odor, a quality anyone who exercises would appreciate. Furthermore, its breathability ensures comfort, regardless of how intense your workout session might be.

A visualization of breathability showing water droplets evaporating

Durability with Gentleness:

Hemp is a fabric that boasts incredible longevity. But don’t mistake its sturdiness for roughness. It’s remarkably gentle on the skin, offering a comfort comparable to the best cotton out there.

Minimalist Water Consumption:

Beyond just organic cotton, materials like Tencel and Lyocell are also water-conscious, consuming significantly less during their production than recycled fabrics.

This not only conserves one of our planet’s most vital resources but also lowers the overall environmental footprint of your clothing.

Supporting Holistic Farming:

These sustainable materials often emerge from farms practicing agro-ecology—a farming approach that interweaves crops and livestock, maintaining a balance with nature.

Whether it’s the fields of cotton or pastures for Merino sheep, this holistic method ensures a coexistence with the ecosystem.

A graphic design of the word sustainability.

Championing Worker Welfare:

Just as organic cotton advocates for fair labor practices, many sustainable activewear brands that embrace other natural materials also ensure ethical labor standards.

This ensures that each item you wear is steeped in stories of empowerment and progress.

Diverse Ecosystems:

Each of these materials, whether it’s the cotton fields or the habitats supporting hemp growth, play their part in maintaining a vibrant ecosystem.

They foster a home for diverse species, ensuring our planet remains a lively mosaic of life forms.

As we navigate the evolving world of fashion, these materials stand as beacons of hope. It’s not just about looking good; it’s about feeling good—knowing that your choices ripple out, making a world of difference.

Whether it’s the soft embrace of organic cotton, the resilient touch of hemp, or the luxurious feel of Tencel, each thread is a testament to a brighter, greener future.

Spotlight on Titans: Brands Painting the Future Green

Let’s toast to the brands that have understood that true style is seamless with sustainability. These are not just labels but luminaries, illuminating the path for others to follow.


  1. What makes active wear “sustainable”?

    • Sustainable active wear is made using environmentally-friendly methods and materials. It prioritizes reducing harm to the environment in terms of water use, chemical processing, energy consumption, and waste. It often incorporates fabrics like organic cotton, recycled polyester, Tencel, and Merino wool.

  2. How do sustainable active wear brands ensure ethical labor practices?

    • Reputable sustainable brands prioritize transparency in their supply chain.

      They often undergo regular audits, collaborate with Fair Trade-certified factories, and share details about their production processes and worker welfare programs.

  3. Why is organic cotton better for the environment?

    • Organic cotton is grown without synthetic fertilizers or harmful pesticides, which can damage the ecosystem. It uses less water compared to conventional cotton and supports soil health through crop rotation and other organic farming methods.

  4. What are the benefits of wearing Merino wool for workouts?

    • Merino wool is breathable, moisture-wicking, and has natural antimicrobial properties. This means it can resist odor, keeping you feeling fresh even after intense workouts. It’s also thermoregulating, keeping you warm in cold conditions and cool in warmer temperatures.

  5. What’s the difference between recycled polyester and regular polyester?

    • Recycled polyester is derived from post-consumer materials, like plastic bottles or old garments, thereby reducing waste in landfills. Regular polyester, on the other hand, is made from petroleum-based chemicals. Both offer durability, but recycled polyester has a lower environmental footprint.

  6. Why should I consider sustainable active wear over cheaper alternatives?

    • While sustainable active wear might come with a higher price tag, it offers value in the form of environmental protection, ethical labor practices, and often, better quality and durability. Over time, the benefits to the planet and the longevity of the products can offset the initial cost.

  7. Are sustainable active wear brands inclusive in sizing?

    • Many sustainable active wear brands are prioritizing inclusivity, offering a wide range of sizes to cater to diverse body types. However, it’s always good to check with individual brands about their sizing range.

      Check out these brands that carry size inclusive clothing.

  8. How can I verify the sustainability claims of an active wear brand?

    • Look for certifications like the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), Fair Trade, or Oeko-Tex Standard 100. Brands that are transparent about their sourcing, production processes, and labor practices are more likely to be genuine about their sustainability claims.

  9. Do sustainable fabrics compromise on performance?

    • Not at all! In fact, many sustainable fabrics, like Merino wool or Tencel, offer superior moisture-wicking, breathability, and comfort. They are designed to withstand rigorous activities, making them perfect for fitness enthusiasts.

  10. Where can I find sustainable active wear brands?

  • With the growing demand for eco-friendly products, many online and brick-and-mortar stores now stock sustainable active wear brands. It’s always good to research and find brands that align with your values and needs.

Remember, when it comes to sustainable and ethical active wear everywhere, it’s about making informed choices.

Whether you’re a seasoned athlete or just starting on your fitness journey, what you wear can make a positive impact on both your workout and the world.

Your Green Compass: Deciphering the True Colors of Organic Cotton Brands

Navigating the verdant maze of sustainable clothing can be as intricate as deciphering a woven tapestry.

Every brand seems to flaunt their commitment to Mother Earth, parading certifications, and green labels, but how many genuinely live up to their claims?

As consumers, it’s our duty — and privilege — to cut through the noise and recognize authentic, sustainable efforts.

Understanding Labels and Certifications:

The eco-fashion industry is laden with certifications — Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), Fair Trade, Oeko-Tex Standard 100, to name a few.

But not all labels are made equal.

Dive deep into understanding the prerequisites for these certifications.

For instance, GOTS ensures not just organic cultivation but also responsible dyeing, manufacturing, and labor practices.


Transparency is Key:

Authenticity thrives in transparency. A genuine sustainable brand doesn’t shy away from revealing its supply chain, production process, or even the wages of its workers.

From farm to factory to fashion runway, every step should be disclosed and accounted for.

Just because they aren’t displaying it doesn’t necessarily mean they are hiding anything form you though so make sure to shoot them an email and ask those questions directly if you’re unsure.

Material Matters:

While organic cotton is a staple of sustainable fashion, it’s essential to consider other eco-friendly materials too.

Hemp, Tencel, Merino Wool, and Lyocell have made significant inroads in sustainable fashion, given their minimal environmental impact.

When a brand diversifies its fabric use, it showcases a holistic commitment to sustainability.

Reviews and Testimonials:

Often, the experiences of other consumers provide an unbiased lens into the true ethics of a brand.

Do their products stand the test of time?

Is the comfort as advertised?

Scour reviews, blogs, and forums for honest feedback.

Sustainability Beyond the Product:

A truly sustainable brand’s commitment doesn’t end at the product.

What about the packaging? Is it biodegradable or made from recycled materials?

Does the brand support any environmental initiatives or charitable causes?

Sustainability, in its true essence, is holistic.

Price vs. Value:

While sustainable clothing might often come with a heftier price tag, it’s imperative to weigh the cost against the value offered.

Remember, with each purchase, you’re not just buying a garment but investing in ethical labor practices, reduced environmental impact, and long-lasting quality.

In this age of conscious consumerism, your wardrobe choices can echo your values.

But it’s crucial to arm oneself with knowledge, to be an advocate for the planet with every garment chosen, ensuring that behind every chic ensemble is a story of respect, integrity, and genuine commitment to a greener tomorrow.

An Eco-Tapestry Beyond Cotton: The Unsung Heroes of Sustainable Fabrics

Stepping beyond the well-trodden paths of organic cotton, the sustainable fabric universe unfolds like a vast, mesmerizing tapestry.

Each weave and thread in this eco-blanket has a unique tale, where human creativity meets nature’s inexhaustible gifts.

Let’s embark on a journey to discover some of these unsung heroes, each holding the promise of a more harmonious tomorrow.

Merino Wool:

Known for its unparalleled softness and thermoregulation properties, Merino Wool is a sustainable luxury.

Not only does it provide warmth without bulk, but its natural properties also make it odor-resistant and moisture-wicking.

Unlike conventional wool, Merino is gentle on the skin, devoid of that notorious itch. Plus, the sheep are often raised in a free-range environment, emphasizing animal welfare.

Brand to look at here would be:


With a wide assortment of clothing from loungewear to active wear, i’m most impressed by their active shirts and underwear.

This Merino is absolutely wonderful, and if you’re hiking, biking, running, or even lifting at the gym this is the brand you NEED to try.

Man wearing black merino wool underwear by the brand Woolx.


An ancient fabric, hemp is making a significant comeback in the sustainable fashion realm. With its deep roots preventing soil erosion and its minimal need for pesticides and water, hemp is a genuine eco-warrior.

The resultant fabric is durable, breathable, and only gets softer with every wash, promising longevity.

Brand to look at here would be:


Ever since i started working in ecommerce and spending moretime with eco friendly active wear brands Jungmaven stood out to me as the go to Hemp clothing brand.

I wear their basics to workout in, and i love them because they are super durable for those aggressive workouts, pick up soccer, or even rock climbing and bouldering.

A man walking and balancing on a wall in activewear while a woman stands and looks out into the distance.


Born from the pulp of trees, Tencel or Lyocell is a biodegradable fabric known for its silky smoothness and moisture management.

Produced in a closed-loop process, it ensures almost all solvents used are recycled, leading to reduced waste and harmful emissions.

Brand to look at here would be:


A man smiling, resting against a wall with his hands on his hat as if he just put it on.

Recycled Polyester:

An innovative twist to a common synthetic fabric, recycled polyester is spun from used plastic bottles, giving them a second lease of life.

This ingenious solution reduces landfill waste, conserves energy, and cuts down on greenhouse gas emissions, while offering the same durability and strength as its virgin counterpart.

Brand to look at here would be:


The silhouette of a woman running on a grassy hill in activewear from Patagonia.

Recycled Nylon:

A tower of recycled nylon products.

Often sourced from discarded fishing nets and industrial nylon waste, recycled nylon is a testament to circular fashion.

Instead of letting these materials litter our oceans and landscapes, they’re reborn as high-quality, resilient fabrics ideal for athletic wear and swimwear.

Brand to look at here would be:

Stella McCartney:

A woman walking around a festival or peace movement with peace tapestry's flying behind her.


This rapidly renewable resource converts into a soft, breathable fabric that boasts natural antibacterial properties.

Bamboo cultivation requires no pesticides, and its robust growth reduces soil erosion. The resultant fabric offers both luxury and performance, ideal for those with sensitive skin.

In a world where fashion’s environmental footprint grows more alarming, these innovative fabrics serve as beacons of hope.

They challenge the norms, proving that style, comfort, and sustainability can coexist. Each thread, each weave, is a silent pledge to our planet, an affirmation that we can don nature’s cloak without stripping her bare.

Brand to look at here would be:

Cozy Earth:

A dedicated man dressed in all white active wear from Cozy Earth

The Fitness Wardrobe Renaissance: An Ode to Conscious Choices

Not so long ago, active wear was purely about performance, elasticity, and moisture-wicking abilities.

While these attributes still hold importance, there’s a new player in town: conscience.

The fashion industry, once notorious for its environmental blindspots, has turned a new leaf, and the realm of active wear is no exception.

This evolution is not merely about incorporating recycled materials or opting for organic dyes, although these are commendable strides.

At its core, the fitness wardrobe renaissance represents a deep-rooted shift in values, priorities, and perceptions.

It’s about recognizing that the cloth that grazes our sweat-drenched skin after an intense workout can be both a symbol of our personal strength and our commitment to planetary health.

Sustainable active wear has breathed new life into the narrative of fitness. It tells us that while we sculpt, tone, and rejuvenate our bodies, we can also support the Earth’s well-being.

Each pair of leggings made from recycled polyester or sports bra crafted from organic cotton becomes a testament to this dual purpose.

Every time we wear these pieces, we’re not just preparing for a run or a yoga session; we’re aligning with a movement, a revolution of conscious choices.

The ripples of this renaissance touch far-reaching shores.

They impact the farmers who grow organic cotton without the toxic burden of pesticides, the workers in factories that prioritize fair wages and safe conditions, and the ecosystems spared from the harmful aftermath of synthetic waste.

Our fitness journeys are now intertwined with a larger purpose.

They’re not just about personal milestones or the euphoria post an intense workout.

They’re about understanding that every drop of sweat can be an echo of a sustainable choice, a nod to a world where fitness and eco-consciousness dance in seamless harmony.

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