Practicing yoga offers numerous health benefits, from increasing flexibility and strong muscles to improving energy and reducing stress. Yoga helps us connect with the natural world and improves our mental health significantly. While choosing sustainable yoga clothes helps us practice and do our bit for the planet.
As you bend and twist during yoga practice, you want to extend all the positive energy you feel right down to your yoga clothes and even your yoga mats.
In many ways, the fashion industry has caused significant damage to our environment for the sake of producing trendy outfits. This also includes yoga wear and other active clothing.
While the use of synthetic fabrics like polyester helps make our activewear clothing stretchy and comfortable, they have significant downsides when it comes to the environment. As you practice yoga, you will need yoga clothing that is comfortable, lightweight, and stretchy. You will also need them to be durable and long-lasting.
So how do you get yoga clothing that ticks all the boxes while protecting the environment?
This article will explore the environmental impact of synthetic fabrics and what you should consider when shopping for sustainable yoga clothes. We will also look at some of the best sustainable fashion brands making comfortable, eco-friendly yoga clothes.
Some yogis argue that proper yoga apparel is key to reaping the full benefits of yoga practice. Some others believe that personal preference is all that truly matters when picking out yoga clothing. Whatever the case, any type of yoga clothing is acceptable. Let’s look at what a typical yoga wardrobe looks like:
Many brands offer a wide range of yoga leggings/pants of different lengths and fittings. Consider factors like comfort, breathability, and flexibility in choosing yoga pants. For more coverage, as you bend or stretch, high-waisted pants might be a perfect choice as they are less likely to slip. Loose pants may work for slower yoga classes but might not be so comfortable for high-intensity classes like power vinyasa.
For most yogis, form-fitted tank tops that fit snugly work perfectly. The fitting prevents the shirt from drooping down during bends and stretches. Some people also wear breathable, moisture-wicking shirts, especially for sweaty classes.
Regular bras are typically not ideal for yoga classes. As you twist and turn, you could have a bra underwire poke you here and there. You also don’t want a bra that doesn’t give your breasts full coverage. Your yoga sessions shouldn’t come with adjusting your bras. This is why sports bras are the most ideal for most yogis. If you are going for a low-intensity yoga class, a sports bra with a lower support level will work just fine.
You can also choose to wear your sports bra alone. Also, some yoga tops come with in-built sports bras.
Some yogis prefer to put on socks while practicing yoga to prevent them from slipping off their mats. Socks give your feet some protection and prevent sliding. You could opt for non-slip yoga mats if you prefer to go without socks.
You can check out our article for eco-friendly yoga mats you can shop for.
Yoga is an exercise that involves movement and sweat. You want to go for breathable, moisture-wicking underwear that doesn’t cluster around your base or move too much as you stretch or bend.
Yoga clothes and other athletic wear typically come in synthetic fabrics that have a negative environmental impact. The manufacturing practices involved in making synthetic fabric are detrimental to the environment, from the extraction of raw materials to the dyes used.
Fossil fuels supply around 80% of the world’s energy and are used to make materials like plastic, steel, and synthetic fabrics. Burning these fossil fuels releases large amounts of carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases, which ultimately distorts the environment causing global warming. Global warming affects the ecosystem and potentially causes the loss of food, medicine, and natural fibers.
Clothing is a significant contributor to microplastics. In fact, 35% of microplastics that find their way to the ocean come from synthetic clothing2.
Also, each wash load releases an estimated 700K microfibers1. These microplastics are harmful and find their way up the food chain. These synthetic fibers end up in the oceans during the laundering process, and sea animals and birds often ingest them.
The trouble with synthetic fabrics is that they are difficult to dye. Manufacturers make and use synthetic dyes for these fibers. Synthetic dyes are stable even during high temperatures and light. However, they are toxic and pollute the water system and the soil.
With these environmental issues, investing in yoga clothes that are made sustainably, eco-friendly, and comfortable is important.
There are lots of eco-friendly materials used in making yoga clothes sustainably. Also, eco-friendly yoga clothes brands use sustainable practices and also have certifications to prove it.
Most sustainable brands use natural or organic fabrics to make eco-friendly yoga clothes. They are grown without pesticides, fertilizers, and GMOs and are safer on the skin.
With fabric options like organic cotton, hemp, and bamboo, you can get sustainable yoga clothing for eco-friendly yoga. However, because activewear requires high performance, flexibility, and lots of sweating, most brands mix natural fibers with synthetic fibers like spandex and elastane.
Synthetic fibers are effective for yoga clothes because of their durability and stretch. Many sustainable yoga brands use recycled synthetics like recycled nylon and recycled polyester. Using these recycled fabrics instead of virgin ones helps to lower carbon footprint and minimize the number of plastics that end up in landfills.
Yoga is a physical exercise that can sometimes be rigorous. You want to make sure your stretches and bends don’t leave you with embarrassing tears and wear.
Look out for clothing made with high-quality, long-lasting materials. You also want to consider breathability and comfort. You don’t want clothing that is too itchy, saggy, or too tight. Also, look out for clothing that is moisture-wicking and odor resistant. To understand the quality of the product, look out for customer reviews.
When shopping for sustainable yoga clothing, look out for their working conditions, fair wages, and how they treat their workers. Look out for a fair trade certification that ensures that they produce their clothing in fair trade factories with ethical working conditions and fair wages. Also, if you are shopping from a smaller brand, don’t be afraid to ask about their supply chain and ethical manufacturing.
When choosing eco-friendly yoga clothes, look for brands with third-party certifications like GOTS, Fair Trade Certifications, and Certified B Corporations. GOTS certifications ensure clothes get tested for toxic chemicals. They also ensure that the clothing uses organic, non-toxic dyes.
Also, you want to look out for brands that use eco-friendly practices like circular fashion, low waste, and renewable energy.
Here’s our list of sustainable and ethical brands that feature yoga outfits for eco-friendly yoga. These brands use sustainable materials and ethical environmental practices, and when it comes to labor, they are passionate about creating a positive change in the environment.
Quick links to our picks of the best sustainable yoga clothing brands:
Ethics: recycled plastic bottles, recycled fishing nets, recycled polyester and nylon, eco-friendly dyes, OETK-certified
If you are a fan of minimalist yoga clothing, then this might just be your go-to brand.
Girlfriend Collective has everything from sustainable leggings to sports bras and tank tops for comfortable, eco-friendly yoga. The brand blends recycled polyester and recycled nylon with spandex for its leggings and bras for proper stretch while making the tank tops from cupro.
Also, recycled fabrics from fishing nets and recycled plastic bottles are OEKO-Tex certified and use eco-friendly, non-toxic dyes. Girlfriend Collective’s yoga clothes and sustainable activewear come in sizes ranging from XXS-6XL.
This sustainable brand uses ethical practices, protecting its factory workers and paying them fair wages. Girlfriend Collective has a circular program called Regirlfriend. This program collects old leggings and upcycles them into new pieces. So if you have old leggings from the brand, you can return them to be used as a new piece. In addition, you get store credits.
For: Women and men
Ethics: Certified B Corp, GOTS-certified sustainable materials, ethically made
Organic Basics has a reputation for making comfortable, sustainable, and budget-friendly clothing.
The brand only uses renewable, biodegradable natural materials to make the most eco-friendly activewear and yoga wear. You can get bras made of organic cotton, tank tops made of TENCEL (responsibly sourced wood pulp), and other organic materials. Their yoga shorts also come in recycled materials like recycled nylon. You can find yoga clothes in sizes ranging from XS-XL.
The brand also works with certified factory partners to make their yoga apparel which pays living wages. They ensure safe working conditions throughout their supply chain. They also donate a portion of their profit to organizations that address environmental issues.
For: Men and Women
Ethics: organic bamboo, innovative closed-loop system, recycled packaging materials, plant-based ink
Boody makes eco-friendly yoga clothes using one of the most sustainable fabrics in the world - organically grown bamboo. For flexibility, Boody uses some amount of elastane or spandex. They also have certifications like Ecocert, FSC, and OEKO-TEX, proving that bamboo is eco-friendly.
Boody makes eco-friendly yoga clothes for both women and women. From sustainable leggings to sports bras, tops, sweatpants, and more. Sizes range from XS-XL. When it comes to its production process, the brand uses an innovative closed-looping system.
You can also be sure your yoga clothes are not associated with child labor or worker harassment, as the brand partners with manufacturers who are at least ISO-14001, ISO-9001, and WRAP compliant.
Boody packages their items in sustainable materials and uses plant-based ink. The brand also donates a portion of its profits to 1% for the planet.
For: Women & Men
Ethics: Fair Trade, Bluesign®, organic cotton, recycled wool, recycled polyester, organic hemp
Made with sustainable fabrics like organic cotton and recycled polyester, this brand makes eco-friendly yoga clothes for comfortable and sustainable yoga. prAna uses different fabrics like Chakara for outdoor yoga and Becksa for yoga in studios or at home.
The brand makes ethical yoga clothing and protects its workers throughout its supply chain. They partner with the Fair Labour Association and work in fair trade-certified factories.
prAna is committed to positive change founded on the beliefs of sustainability. Quality, creativity, and durability are essential elements of making sustainable clothing for this brand.
The brand delivers its clothing using the roll pack method, which is entirely plastic-free. They make their tags and shipping envelopes from 100% recycled content paper.
Ethics: OEKO-Tex certified, carbon neutral, recycled PET plastic bottles, ethical work conditions, recyclable packaging
Using eco-friendly fabrics, Wolven makes soft, breathable, odor-resistant, and durable yoga wear. The brand uses OEKO-Tex-certified recycled plastic bottles for their yoga wear. They also use carbon-neutral modals for their tees and dresses.
Their modal clothing is made in Los Angeles, while they make their recycled collection in a fair trade factory in China, following standards that ensure fair working hours, no child labor, and fair wages.
Wolven believes in body positivity, creativity, and sustainable living. The brand embraces differences in people and aims to strengthen their bonds with one another. They also have a pre-loved program for their partners, which helps them manage peer-to-peer associations.
For: women & men
Ethics: sustainable materials like organic cotton, hemp, and TENCEL, certified B Corp, fair labor
Tentree is a sustainable brand that makes clothing, including yoga clothes for men and women. The brand uses eco-friendly materials like organic cotton, hemp, and TENCEL. For elasticity and flexibility, the brand mixes these materials with elastane. You can get anything from leggings to t-shirts, bra tops, shorts, sweatpants, and more. You can get yoga clothes in sizes XS-XL.
Tentree is intentional about creating a positive impact on the planet in various ways. For one, you can buy carbon offsets from their website.
When it comes to the production process, the brand follows a strict code of conduct that ensures no forced labor, child labor, or worker harassment, amongst other unfavorable working conditions across its supply chain.
Tentree is a certified B Corp with manufacturing partners certified by WRAP and the Fair Wear Foundation. The brand also shows its commitment to changing the planet through charitable giving.
With every purchase, Tentree plants 10 trees and has done so in various countries. By 2030, the brand projects to have planted one billion trees. This is the meaning behind the brand’s name, “Tentree.”
For: men and women
Ethics: eco-friendly materials including organic cotton, bamboo, and organic merino wool, certified B Corp, sustainable packaging, ethical work conditions
WE-AR is an eco-conscious brand that makes some of the best eco-friendly clothes for yoga. Using the finest textiles, this brand creates comfortable and sustainable clothing for both men and women. They use materials like organic cotton, TENCEL, and bamboo. They also use conventional cotton (although they plan to go all organic), alpaca, organic merino wool, and more.
The brand carefully selects fabrics based on life cycle analysis that considers environmental, health, and social impacts.
WE-AR describes themselves as fearlessly chic, tree-huggingly timeless, and ethical renegades. They work with skilled artisans and provide support through empowering opportunities and safe working conditions.
When it comes to green business practices, WE-AR upcycles leftover fabrics, minimizing the use of water and energy otherwise used with virgin fabrics. Their clothing also comes in sustainable packaging and paper materials.
You can get comfortable and sustainable yoga wear for sizes ranging from XS-L for women and S-XL for men.
The brand also supports charity projects like Yoga Education in Prisons Trust - an organization that teaches yoga classes in Rimutaka prison weekly.
For: men and women
Ethics: Recycled materials, carbon-neutral modal, paper bags, and recycled polybags
Inspired by a yoga class in 2000, this clothing brand makes sustainable yoga, activewear, and workout clothes for both men and women.
Their signature leggings are made with approximately 15 recycled water bottles, reducing the number of plastics that end up in landfills or oceans. These leggings come in stylish prints that are heat sublimation printed, an eco-friendly, non-toxic method. The fabric is also antimicrobial and quick to dry.
The brand also uses a carbon-neutral modal which comes from beechwood pulp. Beech trees require no artificial irrigation or planting, making them very sustainable. You can get anything from tanks to leggings, bras, shorts, and socks. Their sizes go from XS-XL for women and S-XL for men.
Anjali uses paper wrappers for shipping their clothing. They are also switching to recycled poly bags and paper envelopes for their mailers.
For: men and women
Ethics: recycled materials, organic cotton, eco-friendly materials
Manduka is a sustainable and thoughtful brand that makes yoga wear, yoga props, and accessories. They use sustainable materials that are kind to the planet, from plant-based fabrics to recycled materials, organic cotton, and a small amount of spandex for elasticity. You can get anything from tanks to shorts, leggings, jackets, headbands, and a yoga mat.
Manduka is famous for its yoga mat, which is zero-waste manufactured and free of PVC. Also, through their LiveOn program, you can send your old mats to be recycled. The brand also donates parts of its proceeds to various causes in different communities.
You can choose yoga clothing from Manduka in sizes ranging from XS-XL for women and S-XL for men.
Proper care is essential to giving your yoga wear a long lifespan. Most yoga clothing comes with specific care tips. However, there are a few generic tips to keep your clothing looking great:
Conventional yoga wear is comfortable and durable but comes at a costly price for the environment. From the problem of microplastics to climate change from fossil fuel extraction and plastic waste.
Thanks to sustainable clothing, the effect of synthetic fabrics is reduced.
Sustainable yoga brands have improved over the years and are committed to becoming more environmentally friendly. With brands turning old yoga clothing into new ones, we expect to see eco-friendly alternatives to fabrics like elastane and spandex.
Imogen E. Napper, Richard C. Thompson, (2016) Release of synthetic microplastic plastic fibres from domestic washing machines: Effects of fabric type and washing conditions, Marine Pollution Bulletin, Volume 112, Issues 1–2,
Boucher, J. and Friot D. (2017). Primary Microplastics in the Oceans: A Global Evaluation of Sources. (pdf) Gland, Switzerland: IUCN. 43pp.
Jen’s a passionate environmentalist and sustainability expert. With a science degree from Babcock University Jen loves applying her research skills to craft editorial that connects with our global changemaker and readership audiences centered around topics including zero waste, sustainability, climate change, and biodiversity.
Elsewhere Jen’s interests include the role that future technology and data have in helping us solve some of the planet’s biggest challenges.