We are increasingly making more eco-conscious choices when it comes to fashion, so why should our workout wardrobes be any different?
Much of the flattering, figure-hugging activewear we have come to love has been traditionally made using non-biodegradable synthetic fabrics, such as nylon and polyester, which are energy-intensive to produce, meaning, they are not kind to the environment.
The good news is that a number of savvy new sustainable labels are offering an alternative, with just as much support and as many style points, so you can be kinder to the planet the next time you update your fit kit.
Below, we’ve rounded up a selection of the best — they might not all be perfect yet, but these brands are making consciously smarter choices when it comes to materials and supply chain. Plus we’ve personally put items from each brand to the sweat test, so you can rest assured they’re worthy of your hard-earned cash.
London-based entrepreneur Grace Beverley launched TALA in 2019, and it has quickly garnered a loyal Gen Z following. The brand’s best-selling SkinLuxe leggings are made using 76 per cent recycled nylon and feature a sweet-heart seam for subtle booty contouring and flattering high rise waistbands. Their latest drop - the Wimbledon inspired Court collection - has also become a fan favourite. All packaging and product labels are recycled and can either be planted or composted. They also pride themselves on competitive prices, with shorts retailing for £40 (shop here) and bras from £38 (shop here).
Manchester-born activewear brand Contur uses econyl yarn, which is made of recycled fishing nets and ocean plastic, to produce sculpting leggings, shorts and tops. We love the shape of the Afresh v-neck crop, featuring a long-line silhouette and under band for support (£49.99, shop here). Items come in varying hues, from bright yellow, to pink, navy, burgundy and khaki, meaning there’s something for every mood.
Luxury activewear brand Silou, founded by former model Tatiana Kovylina and yogi Phoebe Greenacre, creates activewear made of econyl; tencel, a fibre made from regenerated cellulose from trees in managed forests; Q-Nova, crafted from recyclable plastic fibres, and organic cotton. All of Silou’s products are also made in Europe in ethically responsible factories.
London-based sustainable brand SOS Activewear uses material from regenerated ocean plastic and discarded fabric scraps to craft gorgeous workout gear. The Vaquita Power legging (£75, above) provides a perfect high-waist and bum-sculpting shape. Our favourite item in the collection has to be the Minke Sports Bra (£55, also above) in blue with contrast white and black straps - it’s perfect for a yoga, barre or Pilates class. We also love the brand’s chic sweaters made half from organic cotton and half from recycled fabric (£68).
Last year Reformation launched its first ever athleisure range, Ref Active - and it doesn’t disappoint. Coming in a muted earthy palette, the range is made using sustainable fabrics Repreve, which is made using 100 per cent post-consumer recycled plastic bottles. The collection features cute active dresses with built in shorts (£98) that are perfect for tennis, short jumpsuits, crops, tanks, bike shorts) and leggings.
Seattle-born brand Girlfriend Collective uses recycled water bottles and fishnets that would otherwise go to landfill and turns them into premium-quality sports kit. Some 25 water bottles are recycled for every compressive legging, while 11 go into each bra. Sets come in varying hues from burnt orange to teal and plum. We particularly love the longer length of the crops, and the fact that everything is reasonably priced, with crops starting at £35 and leggings coming in at £62.
Cali-born activewear brand Vuori launched in the UK this spring. It makes leggings, tanks, shorts and loungewear using 40 per cent sustainable materials, such as Repreve polyester, econyl and certified organic cotton. The brand also offsets its carbon footprint via Climate Neutral by funding projects geared towards combat global warming. Lately we haven’t taken off the Rib Crop Tank (£65, pictured), which features built-in bra support and an ultra-flattering neckline. Perfect for your next yoga class.
Bondi-born activewear label P.E. Nation seamlessly blends fun streetwear styles with flashes of leopard print, cut out details and workout-friendly fabrics to create a steezy workout wardrobe you’ll want to wear beyond the studio. Today, 90 per cent of its activewear fabrics are partially made using recycled polyester and regenerated materials, all of its cotton is organic, and all polybags used in shipping are compostable, plus a $1 of every order goes to Australian charities Bushfire Relief, Thread Together and Restore The Reef.
Boody is an eco-friendly undies and activewear brand coveted by the likes of Gigi Hadid, Emily Ratajkowski and Kendall Jenner. The brand uses organic bamboo to produce garments, a popular alternative to cotton that requires far less water to grow. All packaging is biodegradable and made using corn starch and vegetable inks. The best bit? Everything’s super affordable.
The Racerback Sports Bra (£29.95, above) features a scoop neck with thick straps for support and a silver overstitch detail. The fabric is antibacterial, moisture wicking and thermo regulating, making it a dream to wear mid-workout.
Bondi-beach born Nimble creates cute workout gear using its custom MoveLite and Compresslite fabrics which are made from recycled plastic bottles that are cleaned, melted and turned into a yarn that’s knitted with spandex to give the tights a super silky finish. The ultra lightweight tights feature a flattering wide waistband, while the quick dry material keeps you cool.
âTights start from £45 in the sale, while tops begin at £35.
Perff Studio is a Portuguese athleisure and loungewear brand, which makes leggings, tops and sweats made using 50 per cent of recycled materials.
One of their recent drops is a snug loungewear collection coming in navy, black and white colourways (from £45, shop here). If you like some glamour with your athleisure, check out Perff’s range of sassy leggings, crops and jumpsuits.
Founder Stephanie âReynders launched Lagatta's first collection in 2019, inspired by Mediterranean hotspots St Tropez, Mykonos, Capri and Monaco. Garments are made with Italian fabrics which use over 70 per cent of recycled yarn from abandoned fishing nets. Each item features built-in ShapeTech and is UV protective, moisture-wicking and breathable. Shaping tops ( £115, shop here) and leggings (£115, shop here) come in a chic Med-inspired palette of pale blues, cream and navy.
Referring to itself as a “materials science company” rather than a fashion brand, Pangaia works with the best researchers in the sustainability field to create meticulously engineered designs, so you know you’ll be getting top-quality items. Using recycled natural and materials recycled dyes, their sustainable practices are even printed on some of their pieces. Their chic, comfy-cool aesthetic, has attracted a long list of fans, including Justin Bieber, Jennifer Lopez and Kim Kardashian. The 365 hoodie (£130, shop here) and matching track pants (£75, shop here) are cult favourites.