When picking out activewear, comfort, function, and sometimes, style are priorities. These are clothes designed for physical activity and exercise, so it’s only natural that comfort is essential. From your workout clothing to yoga wear, ethical activewear brands roll out pieces to support your fitness journey while being conscious. These pieces support your wellness and health journey while also doing the same for the planet and people involved in the production.
The brands that we’ve curated below have put practices in place to contribute to ethical and sustainable manufacturing. These practices include fair trade, choosing eco-friendly materials, and conscious production, amongst others.
Brands that prioritize fair labor practices pay attention to workers’ safety, working conditions, and fair wages. These brands are often transparent with the wages they pay and the conditions of their factories or manufacturing facilities. Many of them are also fair trade companies. This means that whenever they outsource producers from developing countries, they’re paid fairly. It also boosts sustainable trade relationships and protects farmers, artisans, and workers.
Ethical and sustainable activewear brands use sustainable fabrics to produce high-quality pieces. Using such fabrics results in minimal impact on the planet. Companies often generate these fabrics from natural and recycled materials while using non-toxic dyes. The conversion and production process are also always put into consideration to ensure an overall sustainable process. Some of these sustainable materials include organic cotton, hemp, bamboo, linen, and organic corn fiber.
Related: 11 Best Eco-Friendly Yoga Mats
This is also known as moisture-wicking. Such fabrics move away moisture from your skin and disperse it onto the surface of the fabric. The sweat or moisture then evaporates into the air. This is an important property in your workout clothes because fitness activities result in lots of sweating. Sustainable activewear brands use fabrics such as bamboo and cotton. Bamboo has a great ability to absorb moisture and is thermoregulating1. Cotton is breathable, absorbs moisture, and helps the body stay cool.
In addition to these, comfort, performance, and even style are also considerations. Choosing Certifications such as Oeko-Tek 100, B-Corp, and Fair Trade may also be important to you.
Related: How to Shop More Sustainably (including more information on sustainable labels)
Quicklinks to our top picks of the best sustainable activewear brands:
We highlighted the following criteria to make it easy for you to examine each company:
For: Women, and also offers a “For Everyone” collection featuring gender-neutral clothing
Clothing Range: Leggings, sports bras, shorts, tanks, sweatshirts
Ethics and Sustainable Measures: Fairtrade, recycled materials, Oeko-Tek certified safe dyes, SA8000 certified factory, eco-friendly fabrics
Size Range: XXS-6XL
Location and Shipping: Based in Seattle, Washington. Ships to the US and Australia.
Materials: Recycled plastic bottles, fishing nets
If you’re searching for an activewear brand that offers size inclusivity, elegance, and minimal aesthetics in their activewear, Girlfriend Collective is your answer. This company offers ethically made and sustainable activewear for your workout sessions, sporting activities, and even yoga practices. They specialize in eco-friendly and high-quality textiles. All of the brand’s textiles are made from recycled materials in its Taiwan facility.
Girlfriend Collective converts waste such as plastic bottles and old fishing nets into functional textile materials. These are then used to produce sustainable activewear such as leggings, sports bras, and shorts. It also guarantees safe working conditions, fair wages, and zero tolerance for child labor or forced labor. The brand’s main factory in Vietnam is SA8000 certified.
For: Women and girls
Clothing Range: Products based on activities such as yoga, running, hiking, traveling, tennis, golf, swim
Ethics and Sustainable Measures: Sustainable materials, fair trade, women empowerment, water conservation, B Corporation
Size Range: XXS-3X
Location and Shipping: Based in San Francisco, CA. Ships within US territories
Materials: Recycled polyester, recycled nylon, Econly, Tencel Modal, Tencel Lyocell, organic cotton, Primaloft eco insulation (also made from plastic bottles like recycled polyester)
Athleta designs clothing that integrates performance and technical features for active women and girls. The brand offers a variety of yoga clothing, workout clothes, and athletic wear. Athleta is a B-Corp certified brand with long-term goals of attaining 100% sustainability and zero-waste practices. With Athleta pieces, you’re guaranteed the fusion of comfort and style.
At the heart of the brand’s practices is empowering girls and women. The brand prioritizes performance, design, sustainability, and sisterhood. Transparency is also important to this company. On the site, we can see information regarding its practices. From fair trade certified factories and sustainable fibers to water-saving techniques and waste-reduction, Athleta is making a difference.
For: Men and women
Clothing Range: Athletic wear for adults, including leggings, sports bras, dresses, shorts, skorts, sweatshirts
Ethics and Sustainable Measures: Recycled and recyclable packaging, recycled materials
Size Range: XS-XXXL
Location and Shipping: Based in Austin, TX.
Materials: Recycled PET, ethically-sourced merino wool, bluesign certified CloudKnit, MegaFleece, Cotton Terry
Outdoor Voices makes activewear for “doing things daily.” These include activities such as running, yoga, and dog walks. This clothing brand focuses on creating a product range of athletic apparel for recreation. The brand prioritizes creating high-quality products and designs with circularity and longevity in mind.
Outdoor Voices’ products are made from fabrics like recycled PET, ethically sourced merino, bluesign certified CloudKnit, and MegaFleece (made from recycled wool). The brand is committed to using packaging that is recycled and recyclable.
For: Men and women
Clothing Range: Activewear and fashion basics such as bras, tights, socks, leggings, tops
Ethics and Sustainable Measures: Certified B Corporation, sustainable fabrics, GOTS Certified organic cotton, recycled packaging, made ethically
Size Range: XS-XL
Location and Shipping: Based in Copenhagen, Denmark. Ships worldwide
Materials: Organic cotton, recycled wool, TENCEL, and recycled materials, SilverTech
Organic Basics creates conscious everyday essentials from natural, soft, and renewable fibers. One of these is its GOTS-certified organic cotton. This sustainable fashion brand’s eco-friendly activewear and essentials are ethically made in Europe. The brand recognizes the fashion industry’s impact and carbon footprint and constantly strives to contribute positively. This means selecting sustainable and eco-friendly fabrics in addition to partnerships with factories that care about ethics.
Organic Basics works with certified factories that pay living wages. To ensure full transparency, the brand has factory details on its website. In its SilverTech pieces, the brand weaves natural silver into organic cotton. This creates soft, odor-controlling, and heat-regulating products. Additionally, these pieces are designed with sweat-wicking properties and breathable material.
For: Men, women, and kids
Clothing Range: T-shirts, tank tops, shorts, leggings, hoodies, sweaters, joggers
Ethics and Sustainable Measures: Ethical production, sustainable fabrics, community empowerment, wastewater is recycled and reused
Size Range: XXS-3XL
Location and Shipping: New York, NY. Ships worldwide
Materials: Organic cotton, Lenzing modal, recycled polyester
Threads 4 Thought has positioned itself as a full lifestyle brand of everyday basics and workout gear. The clothing brand creates ethical workout clothes while supporting communities in need and ensuring safe working environments for its garment workers. The company’s sustainability initiatives include sourcing some of the world’s most sustainable materials for its products. These include organic cotton, Lenzing modal, and recycled polyester. Some of its products are made from recycled plastic bottles and fishing nets.
Threads 4 Thought is committed to working exclusively with factories with the highest industry certifications, ensuring they adhere to only the most rigorous ethical standards. The brand has also put standards such as supply chain traceability, non-toxic dyeing processes, and reduced water usage in place. As part of its commitment to the people, it has partnered with the International Rescue Committee to help refugee communities live better lives.
Clothing Range: Leggings, sports bras, tops, vests, hoodies, tracksuits, jackets
Ethics and Sustainable Measures: Ethical labor practices, eco-friendly fabrics, transparent supply chain
Size Range: XS-XL
Location and Shipping: Based in the UK. Offers international shipping
Materials: Recycled nylon, Viscose, recycled cotton, bamboo, lyocell
Tala is a slow fashion brand with a sustainable activewear line. The activewear brand is dedicated to offering a sustainable style that doesn’t cost the earth. Its values include accessibility, inclusivity, sustainability, consciousness, and transparency. Tala has partnered with factories to use the best sustainable technologies, processes, and materials to produce its items.
Tala’s clothing tags are plantable. The manufacturers fill every tag with seasonal seeds, meaning you’ll get a different plant with each tag you grow. Also, the twines are made of hemp, which makes them biodegradable. Tala cares about the ethics of its supply chain and therefore works with factories that are accredited and meet certain standards. With Tala, “It’s cool to be kind.”
For: Women and men
Clothing Range: Activewear, loungewear
Ethics and Sustainable Measures: Carbon-neutral, recycled poly mailers, fair and legal wages
Size Range: XS-XL
Location and Shipping: Based in Los Angeles, CA. Ship worldwide and offers free international shipping on orders over $99
Materials: OEKO-Tex Certified Recycled PET, modal fabric
Wolven is an activewear brand that creates its products from post-consumer recycled water bottles made of plastic. It releases its collections in small batches. Wolven distinguishes itself from other brands by creating printed and patterned athletic wear. The team is constantly working to reduce the brand’s carbon footprint on the planet. Regarding its factories, the activewear line and swimwear are made in a WCA (Workplace Conditions Assessment) certified factory, while the tees and dresses are locally made in Los Angeles.
To address its carbon footprint, the company partnered with Climate Neutral. This ensures transparency in measuring its greenhouse gas emissions during production. Implementation plans are also put in place to reduce emissions. Asides from its sustainable clothing fabrics, Wolven uses recycled and recyclable plastic mailers for shipping. For every Wolven order, the brand collects 1 pound of ocean-bound plastic.
Clothing Range: Sustainable activewear for yoga. The range includes tops, bottoms, shorts, jumpsuits, malas, yoga mats
Ethics and Sustainable Measures: Eco-friendly and ethically crafted products, slow fashion, sustainable fashion, recycled packaging
Size Range: XS-L
Location and Shipping: Based in Peru. Offers free worldwide shipping on orders over $200
Materials: Peruvian fair-trade organic cotton, ECONYL regenerated nylon
Inhala’s products are a fusion of quality eco-friendly materials with creative and vibrant design colors. This yoga clothing brand incorporates a slow fashion approach and conscious production into its processes. The company traces its supply chain to ensure a positive impact on the people involved and the planet. Inhala has a zero-waste and no-plastic commitment. Also, all its collections have zero-elastic designs.
According to the brand’s statement, its most important value is preserving and respecting the earth’s natural resources. For packaging and shipping, this female-founded brand uses 100% recycled and reusable packaging. The team also uses home compostable garment bags. In addition to its yoga wear line, the brand also carries eco yoga mats. They are light, soft, vegan, and recyclable.
For: Women, men, and features a unisex collection.
Clothing Range: Bras, bralettes, crop tops, leggings, tops, sweatshirts
Ethics and Sustainable Measures: Organic fabrics, fair wages, local production
Size Range: XS-XL
Location and Shipping: Based in California, USA. Offers international shipping
Materials: Organic cotton, recycled plastic, eucalyptus, hemp, vegetable dye
Groceries Apparel is a sustainable fashion brand that makes its products with organic fabrics and non-toxic dyes. The company carries an activewear line that features solid color designs and tie-dye prints. These pieces are ideal for workouts and also lounging. Groceries Apparel manufactures locally in its own Los Angeles-based factory. This allows the team to set, monitor, and execute the best sustainable and ethical standards.
This brand actively monitors its manufacturing and supply processes to ensure that the workers are treated and paid fairly. Additionally, as part of its sustainable values, the team constantly works to reduce waste.
Clothing Range: Bras, bottoms, face masks
Ethics and Sustainable Measures: Locally-made, made ethically, sustainable pieces, giving back, recycled paper packaging and recycled poly mailers
Size Range: XS-L
Location and Shipping: Based in California. Ships within the US
Materials: ECONYL yarn, recycled polyester
Kaira Active creates multifunctional activewear using regenerated fishnets. You can use these activewear sets when surfing, practicing yoga, and hiking. Inspired by “long beach days and sweaty studio sessions,” Kaira Active creates clothing and products to facilitate people’s outdoor adventures. The aim is to create this while minimizing a negative environmental impact.
Unlike some activewear pieces that are not comfortable for wearing daily, Kaira Active pieces can serve as everyday wear. You can also wear them as loungewear. As part of its sustainability efforts, it donates 1% of every purchase to non-profit organizations that protect the ocean.
For: Men and women
Clothing Range: Sports bras, t-shirts, shorts, jackets, underwear
Ethics and Sustainable Measures: Fair pay, biodegradable products, environmental consciousness, local sourcing and manufacturing
Size Range: S-XXXL for men, XS-XL for women
Location and Shipping: Based in Peru with a presence in the US and Europe. Ships worldwide
Materials: Alpaca wool
Arms of Andes create high-performance and sustainable outdoor apparel using 100% Royal alpaca wool. This makes the products lightweight, durable, and soft on the body. This material works great for active wear due to its properties. These include its ability to regulate temperature, quick-drying nature, and anti-bacterial properties. This outdoor and activewear brand also uses natural materials like natural dyes and cotton for labels and stitching. Its naturally-colored beanies, shirts, and neck gaiters are 100% biodegradable.
The brand sources and produces in Peru. This helps to reduce its carbon footprint since all processes occur locally. Arms of Andes applies fair principles by ensuring that the farmers it sources from are paid the fair market rate.
For: Women and men
Clothing Range: Adults’ athletic apparel and accessories
Ethics and Sustainable Measures: Fair manufacturing, sustainable measures, partnerships with GOTS certified factories, plastic-free packaging, recycling worn-out pieces
Size Range: XS-L for women, S-XL for men
Location and Shipping: Based in The Netherlands. Ships worldwide
Materials: Premium industrial hemp, beechwood, organic cotton, eucalyptus
Iron Roots is a sustainable sportswear brand that makes its products from natural materials. The brand provides an alternative to activewear made from plastics. As a result, its products are microplastic-free. This means that its pieces don’t release tiny pieces of polluting plastic every time you wash them. Instead, the manufacturers use natural materials.
To make its clothes ethically, the brand has established partnerships with GOTS certified factories. This helps to ensure fair treatment and wages for workers. The team also visits the facilities regularly to ensure that ethical and fair labor practices are always in place. Sustainable practices extend to packaging and shipping and that’s why Iron Roots uses plastic-free supplies. More good news? As a consumer, you can return your worn-out Iron Roots pieces and get a discount on your next purchase. The brand recycles these into new products. This prevents clothes from ending up in landfills.
Whether you’re looking for activewear for exercise, yoga, hiking, or other physical activities, you can find something from our brand picks. These companies offer comfort, performance, and sustainable materials in their products. They also ensure the people who make your clothes are paid fair wages and work in safe environments. Additionally, many of these conscious brands have programs that extend to empowering communities and protecting the planet. So if you’re currently looking to switch to ethical brands, there’s something for you on the list.
Antony, Rinsey. (2018). Eco friendly Textiles. 5. 67 -73.