Athletic Clothing Textile Swaps for a Healthier Workout

Athletic Clothing Textile Swaps for a Healthier Workout

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With excessive ranges of BPA found in synthetic athletic wear that sheds microplastics when laundered, chances are you’ll be on the lookout for safer options to your exercise gear. These tiny plastics are polluting the air and water and putting our health at risk. Fortunately, a number of manufacturers and suppliers supply options to virgin petroleum-based fabrics — together with polyester, nylon, acrylic, rayon, polyamide, and spandex — which can be so prevalent in athletic clothes as we speak.

How To Make the Swap

Switching from garments produced from plastic to people who aren’t could also be difficult at first. Many of the quick vogue manufacturers in procuring malls and large field shops are full of plastic, whereas the revolutionary greener manufacturers are typically smaller and obtainable solely on-line. But shopping for from sustainable manufacturers is essential as a result of while you select their merchandise, you assist their constructive practices and encourage different firms to leap on board to cut back plastic.

Another problem to discovering sustainable athletic clothes is recognizing that 100% plastic-free might not at all times be potential. “Unfortunately, a lot athletic put on, even that which is offered as ‘pure’ or ‘plastic-free,’ typically comprises a small share of plastic-based fibers resembling Lycra or elastane,” defined Erica Cirino, communications supervisor at Plastic Pollution Coalition. This is as a result of plastic-based materials are typically the perfect choices to create stretchiness and deal with sweat. Many of probably the most sustainable manufacturers nonetheless use anyplace from 3% to 10% artificial stretch fibers of their cloth blends, particularly for leggings.

Fabric Alternatives

There are three classes of materials to search for when making the swap: recycled, pure, and bio-based. Cirino suggests the next tiered method when selecting athletic clothes: “To keep away from BPA and different risks of plastic-based clothes, hunt down options manufactured from (ideally, undyed) pure fibers — resembling natural and fair-trade bamboo, hemp, jute, wool, and cotton. When you can not discover clothes that’s fully plastic-free, search for labels with minimal plastic content material to cut back your publicity dangers.”

Also, search for extremely regarded textile certifications on garment labels, together with OEKO-TEX® STANDARD 100, bluesign®, and Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS).

Recycled Fabrics

Fabric produced from recycled plastic, often known as recycled polyester or rPET cloth, has gained recognition in recent times because of its sturdiness and potential environmental advantages. By using discarded plastic bottles and different plastic waste, this cloth helps cut back the quantity of plastic polluting oceans and piling up in landfills. By eliminating the necessity to extract new fossil fuels, its manufacturing additionally consumes less energy and emits fewer greenhouse gases in comparison with virgin polyester.

However, it’s not the perfect cloth. It nonetheless sheds microfibers during washing that may find yourself within the air and water. Additionally, the method of remodeling plastic waste into cloth requires using chemical substances, which may probably affect each human well being and the setting.

One instance of a recycled cloth is ECONYL®, which makes use of waste that in any other case pollutes the planet, resembling fishing nets, cloth scraps, carpet flooring, and industrial plastic, and turns it into regenerated nylon to make new merchandise.

Check out these manufacturers centered on recycled cloth: Adidas by Stella McCartney, Girlfriend Collective, Patagonia, Sweaty Betty, and Tentree.

Young couple running on country road

Natural Fabrics

Another option to inexperienced your athletic clothes is to go for renewable and natural fibers like natural cotton, wool, TENCEL™, hemp, and bamboo. According to Aileen Lee, founding father of Infinite Goods, a web based sustainable vogue market, “Anytime you’ve gotten one thing extra pure it’s higher as a result of it received’t shed microplastics all through its lifecycle.” She defined the problem of discovering plastic-free athletic clothes. “It could be very laborious to get to 0% spandex in athletic put on besides by sporting an natural cotton jogger.” It’s not unusual for producers to include a small share of plastic fiber with pure fibers, so make sure to verify labels to verify fiber content material.

Organic Cotton

According to the Organic Trade Association, natural cotton is grown with out using artificial poisonous pesticides, fertilizers, or genetically engineered seed. To be licensed with the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), the processing of the fibers additionally can’t embody any poisonous inputs. Organic cotton cloth is comfy, mushy to the contact, and sturdy. This might be the simplest cloth various to search out. Check out these manufacturers: Cottonique, Groceries Apparel, Maggie’s Organics, MATE, Organique Studio, and PACT.


When most individuals consider wool, they envision heavy sweaters. As it seems, Merino and alpaca wool are nice supplies for athletic clothes. They are comfy, naturally elastic, thermoregulating, moisture-wicking, odor-resistant, and breathable. Also, knitting wool clothes is a no-waste course of and used wool clothes can simply be recycled into insulation or blankets. More manufacturers are actually promoting woolen lively clothes, resembling Arms of Andes, Icebreaker, and Paka.

TENCEL™ Lyocell

Made from sustainably sourced wooden by environmentally accountable processes, this cloth is unhazardous and produced utilizing a closed-loop system. It is mushy, sturdy, breathable, biodegradable, and absorbs moisture nicely. It is usually mixed with a variety of textile fibers — together with pure fibers, resembling cotton and wool, and artificial fibers, resembling polyester and acrylic — to boost the aesthetics and performance of the material. View a list of lively manufacturers utilizing TENCEL.


This sustainable crop creates mild, comfy, long-lasting, fast-drying, and moisture-resistant cloth. Blends of cotton and hemp are particularly standard in athletic clothes. Check out Hemp Black, Nomads Hempwear, and Rawganique.


While bamboo is a fast-growing renewable resource, not all materials produced from bamboo are protected and sustainable. Manufacturers typically use harsh chemical substances to course of bamboo right into a mushy materials for clothes. Look for the Oeko-Tex certified and the bluesign approved labels for assist figuring out bamboo clothes that’s protected for you and the setting. Some manufacturers that carry bamboo attire embody Cariloha, eleven44, and tasc.

Bio-Based Fabrics

Some manufacturers are beginning to use bio-based materials produced wholly or partly from renewable assets like discarded meals scraps, castor bean oil, sugar cane, straw, nut shells, avocado pits, carrot tops, pomegranate peels, used espresso grounds, banana and onion skins, and algae. The main benefits of manufacturing sustainable bio-fabrics embody lowering waste, reducing the carbon footprint within the synthesis course of, and potential for biodegradability.

With a goal to make “100% of our merchandise with sustainable supplies and end-of-use options to advance a round ecosystem by 2030,” lively put on firm Lululemon launched its first merchandise made with plant-based bio nylon earlier this yr. Youer, a smaller lively put on model that focuses on sustainable materials and provide chain, can also be exploring bio-based materials. Mallory Ottariano, artistic director and founding father of Youer advised Earth911, “If we aren’t utilizing recycled merchandise, then we’re utilizing bio nylon. It has develop into certainly one of our prospects’ favourite materials and we’re increasing our product providing on this cloth every season.”  She has excessive hopes that the bio-based cloth market will proceed to increase. “I feel the know-how is completely there. Fabrics are being made out of fava beans and avocado shells. I want to see extra buy-in from huge manufacturers to permit this kind of know-how to get mainstream.”

Keep a watch out for PYRATEX® bio-based materials produced from vegetation like seaweed and banana peels, in addition to pure and recycled fibers. Check out these manufacturers: Ganni, Groceries Apparel, Pangaia, and Vitamin A.