Ethical workout clothes – check out these amazing 15 brands.
Exercise is integral for a healthy mind and body. In fact, Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “The first wealth is health.” He’s right.
Think about it:
We have been conditioned to believe that wealth is defined by how much money we have. However, if we think about what really matters, real wealth can be classified as access to a healthy lifestyle for ourselves, others, and for generations to come.
I know you are busy trying to implement all the zero waste hacks into your life, attending climate marches, and planting gardens, but I have news for you:
Taking good care of yourself is just as important as taking care of the planet!
Whether you like yoga, running, cycling, or lifting weights, it is important to keep your body moving and feel comfortable while doing so. Check it out:
Today, I hand picked 15 brands for you that are carrying the most ethical, sustainable, and stylish workout clothes on the market.
Let’s dive right in:
What are Ethical Workout Clothes?
Clothing presents a huge environmental problem in our modern throw-away society. On average, each American gets rid of 80 pounds of clothing annually. A small percentage of this textile waste is reused or recycled, but the majority of it is sent to landfill. There’s more:
Not only is our overconsumption contributing to this unsustainable cycle, but many of the materials and manufacturing processes used in clothing production poses environmental issues as well. Whether it’s using up natural resources or polluting waterways, there’s a lot that can go wrong.
Exploitation of workers is another huge concern. Many companies try to keep costs low by producing in countries that do not have laws to protect workers. This means that many of these factory workers do not get paid fair wages and work in dangerous conditions.
You can do your part to turn all of these environmental and ethical violations around.
First off, shop secondhand as much as possible. Thrifting is fun and you will be very surprised at all of the cool, functional pieces you will come across. There’s more:
If you are buying something new, do your research on the brand to see if their values align with your own. Avoid buying cheap clothing that will quickly deteriorate or go out of style. Try to invest in long-lasting pieces, sustainable activewear from brands you trust the most.
Luckily, when it comes to ethical workout clothes, I have already compiled a list of all of the best brands out there. I will be evaluating these companies based on material, manufacturing processes, and sustainability initiatives.
Check it out these sustainable activewear:
Brand Overview: Girlfriend Collective was birthed from a simple mission: to bring good things to those who don’t waste. To put it simply, all of their clothing is made with the planet in mind. They are also huge advocates for representation within the wellness world. I was excited to see models of various sizes, colors, and ages on their website.
Materials: All of the fabric used in their ethical workout clothes comes from post-consumer waste products. For instance, the polyester used is made from recycled bottles that come from Taiwan, which used to be referred to as “garbage island.” By utilizing bottles as material, they are reintroducing it back into the supply chain and helping the community that is impacted by this waste.
Ethics: Girlfriend collective believes in taking care of their workers rather than prioritizing profits which is why they teamed up with SA8000-certified factories to make their products. Every employee is treated with respect and is paid a fair wage. They are also offered free meals, health care, and guided exercise breaks. There’s more:
Sustainability: One really cool option that this company offers is to recycle your clothing for you. After years of working out in your gear, you can send your clothing back to them to be processed and made into something new!
Best known for: Comfortable clothing for adventures
Brand Overview: Prana was started by a couple that wanted to create ethical clothing for those who climb and do yoga. Their core belief is that clothing companies should give much more than they take from the world and I think they do a pretty good job at that! Check it out:
Materials: Prana only uses organic cotton, which is important because it puts strict restrictions on how it is grown. Organic cotton production uses rainwater efficiently in order to use less resources. It also eliminates harmful chemicals and GMOs from the process.
Ethics: Prana was actually the first clothing brand in North America to become fair trade certified. These means that every step, from farm to factory, is held by strict standards. This holistic framework requires fair wages, community develop funds, transparent supply chains, and safe working conditions for all employees.
Sustainability: It is almost impossible to be completely chemical-free when making clothing. That’s why Prana has partnered with bluesign to manage the harmful substances used in the process and to prevent them from polluting waterways. I really love how transparent this company is about their manufacturing process.
Most ideal for: An outdoor yoga session
Best known for: Eco-friendly leisurewear for the whole family
Brand Overview: If you are looking for simple, stylish ethical workout clothes for your entire family, look no further than Pact. All of their clothing is timeless, so it will not go out of trend and will last you a long time.
Materials: Pact also only uses organic cotton. By using organic cotton, there is no chance for your clothing to have any residue chemicals. Who wants to have chemicals rubbing against their skin all day? Not me! That’s why I love Pact’s clothing so much.
Ethics: Pact is a Fair Trade certified brand. That means that all of the farmers and factory workers producing the ethical workout clothing is protected. For every product sold, they give these workers a premium to invest in social development projects within their own communities. There’s more:
Sustainability: I really love that Pact uses all recyclable and compostable shipping materials. They did not agree with the usage of plastic bags in the fashion industry, so they decided to find a biodegradable replacement! I love that.
Most ideal for: A morning jog
Best known for: Everyday Yogawear
Brand Overview: Satva strives to create ethical workout clothing that is comfortable, practical, and durable. As a yoga student, the founder really cares about the value of “satya” or truth. From this sentiment, her mission is to focus on the essentials within her own life and her clothing line.
Materials: All of their clothing is made from a blend of natural cotton and spandex. It is soft and breathes, so you can keep cool during your workout. Unfortunately, I could not find any information as to whether this cotton is organic or not, so maybe reach out to their customer service department to confirm before purchasing. There’s more:
Ethics: All of the clothing is produced in a small family-run facility in Bali, Indonesia. Since the facility is close to their offices, they can keep a close eye on production. Everything is made ethically in this factory.
Most ideal for: Weekly yoga class
5. People Tree
Best known for: Cute, ethical yoga wear
Brand Overview: People Tree is known for creating trendy clothing that is both sustainable and ethical. Their active wear selection is mostly geared towards yoga, but could be used for other activities. Their designs are bright, contemporary, and comfortable.
Materials: People Tree aims to use natural materials as much as possible, including organic cotton. They launched their brand in accordance with the Global Organic Textile Standard which is certified by the Soil Association. Impressive!
Ethics: It’s really cool that they were the first fashion company to be awarded the World Fair Trade Organization product label. This means that they adheres to the strictest standards of fair trade, safe working conditions, fair wages, and environmental best practices.
Sustainability: By using traditional artisan skills such as hand weaving, knitting, embroidery, and block printing, People Tree uses less electricity and also highlights skills that are native to the area they produce their ethical workout clothing in. It is high quality and safer for the planet!
Most ideal for: A hot yoga class
Best known for: Activewear on a mission
Brand Overview: Overall, this company is geared towards designing everyday ethical clothing. Threads 4 Thought’s activewear line is called “ReActive.” This line of clothing is designed to help with the global plastic waste crisis by being reactive to the problem. Smart!
Materials: Within the ReActive line, leggings and sports bras are crafted from recycled materials. Many of these materials come from the ocean, including fishing nets and plastic bottles. Whenever you shop, you are voting with your dollar. By supporting this company, you are supporting a grassroots movement to clean our oceans.
Ethics: Why exploit people when you can instead use your product to better a community? Threads 4 Thought believes in treating their workers with fairness and respect, which is why their factories hold the highest certifications in the industry. They specifically partner with refugees to offer a better quality of life. Pretty cool, right?
Sustainability: Not only does recycled polyester give a second life to ocean pollution, but it also is a lot more environmentally friendly as a whole. It uses 50% less energy to produce than standard polyester and emits half the amount of carbon. This company also uses organic cotton and lending modal, an eco-friendly tree bark, in other products.
Most ideal for: Yoga on the beach
Best known for: Simple, sustainable essentials
Brand Overview: Organic Basic started with disdain for traditional fashion industry standards, so they decided to put sustainable thinking at the center of everything they do. This does not mean that sustainability is nice to have, but is the only way they can operate. They only ever use environmentally friendly fabrics and partner with factories that care about their workers.
Materials: The designs start off with handpicking fabrics that have the lowest environmental impact and the longest durability. This means only using materials that are natural, renewable, recycled, and biodegradable. I really love their SilverTech fabric, which is great for working out. It is soft, odor controlling, and heat regulating.
Ethics: I am obsessed with the level of transparency on Organic Basic’s website. They have an entire section where you can browse each factory that they use for production. It lists the function of that factory, the certifications it holds, and the amount of workers employed there. It’s a really cool feature to share with their customer base.
Sustainability: Again, sustainable thinking is at the core of everything they do. You can also browse the various production methods by factory location. To put it simply, they try to optimize production by using the most amount of recycled materials that use the least amount of resources. Pretty neat!
Most ideal for: A jog around the neighborhood
Most ideal for: Pilates
Best known for: Comfortable minimalist undergarments
Brand Overview: Boody makes basic essentials that are both sustainable and ethical. They believe that beauty lies in simplicity, so they keep their pieces minimalist. By creating high quality basics that are timeless, Boody becomes seamlessly integrated into your everyday essentials.
Materials: All of their essentials are made from bamboo, which is one of my favorite eco-friendly materials. Not only is the material smooth and comfortable, but it’s great for the environment. Bamboo uses a lot less water than materials like cotton and is naturally regenerative.
Ethics: I think their most notable accreditation is from the Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production. Their mission is to ensure that products are being produced under humane and ethical conditions. The core principles include health, safety, and security as well as the prohibition of discrimination, harassment, or forced labour for their workers.
Sustainability: Boody is ECOCERT certified, which means that all of their bamboo production is organic and abides by the strictest environmental guidelines. They also are FSC certified which is the accreditation for responsible forestry. This means that their bamboo harvesting does not contribute to the degradation of natural habitats.
Most ideal for: Everyday life
Best known for: Fun, patterned activewear
Brand Overview: I am obsessed with this company. Their product offering is limited, but their selection of artist designed patterned tops and leggings will have you drooling. I love their modern branding and their commitment to making fun, functional, and sustainable activewear.
Materials: By using materials that would otherwise go to waste, TenTree is making strides when it comes to being planet-friendly. TenTree use recycled polyester, linen, organic cotton and hemp for their clothing. They are climate positive and beyond offsetting carbon emissions, they provides jobs across the globe. They also plant trees with their purchases, while offering sustainably made products for everyone to enjoy.
Ethics: They ensure that all manufacturers comply with the highest standards of fair-wages and ethical working conditions.
Sustainability: Producing clothing inevitably always produces some type of waste. Luckily, TenTree is trying their best to repurpose this waste by working with artists, fashion students, and rag traders (companies that buy scraps to make products). Pretty cool!
Most ideal for: Spin class
10. Summer Salt
Best known for: Sustainable Swimwear for vacation
Brand Overview: Summer Salt knows you are going places and they want you to look good and feel comfortable while you are traveling. They also believe that you do not need to sacrifice the Earth for fashion, which is why they only use eco-friendly manufacturing processes. I always browse this site before going on my next vacation.
Materials: All of their swimwear is made from 78% recycled polyamide, which is crafted from recycled plastics, post-consumer materials, and nylon waste, which includes old fishing nets! That means by purchasing a swimsuit, you are also helping clean the ocean. That’s the way it should be!
Ethics: I unfortunately could not find any information as to how this company protects their workers. I am not saying that they are unethical, but there is a certain lack of transparency on their website. Maybe reach out to their customer care line before purchasing to ensure they are abiding by ethical principles.
My favorite product: The Mesh Diver
Most ideal for: Surfing in the ocean or swimming laps in a pool
Best known for: One-stop shop for everything outdoor
Brand Overview: Patagonia has been a reliable brand for sourcing sustainable clothing and gear for decades. With a high emphasis on durability and function, their products are meant to last a long time. Patagonia is run by nature lovers who want to use business, investment, their voices, and imagination to help protect our planet. It’s really impressive.
Materials: Since Patagonia offers a wide range of products, they also use a lot of different materials. 72% of the materials used are from recycled content. They do a deep dive into every single one of the materials they use on their website if you want to learn more.
Ethics: Apparel employees are among some of the lowest paid workers on this planet and Patagonia does not believe it has to be this way. Not only do they want to minimize harm for their employees, but they feel as though it is their social responsibility to create positive impacts within these communities. By being fair trade certified, they guarantee that their workers are treated with dignity and respect.
Sustainability: Patagonia is doing a lot of great things, but one of the most notable is their 1% for the Planet initiative. Over the years, they have donated $89 million to grassroots organizations that are focused on preserving the natural environment. I think that is pretty cool!
My favorite product: Los Gatos Zip Fleece
Most ideal for: A trip to a national park
12. Outdoor Voices
Best known for: Innovative clothing for recreationalists
Brand Overview: Outdoor voices has a clear vision: to get the world moving. They believe that doing things such as moving your body and having fun with friends is integral to live a happy and healthy life. I love that sentiment and everything this brand has to offer. Check it out:
Materials: Outdoor voices works hard to source unconventional materials that have less of an negative environmental impact. They use versions of the materials we know and love, but are made from used recycled content instead! It’s great.
Ethics: People, planet, and product are their top three values. By understanding workers as people and treating them as such, they create ethical, long-lasting workout clothing. They support equality and human rights for everyone.
Sustainability: I really love how much of a holistic approach this company takes to sustainability. Instead of just stopping at eco-friendly materials, processes, and packaging, they take it even further. They make sure their headquarters and shops are operating as sustainably as possible. Also, whenever they host an event, they have vowed to eliminate single-use plastic. Isn’t that awesome?
My favorite product: The Exercise Dress
Most ideal for: A fun dance class
Best known for: Comfortable Basics
Brand Overview: Groceries Apparel has a great vision: from seed to skin. This means that they care about the entire process of their clothing production from start to finish. I think that is pretty impressive. This California-based brand offers sustainable, ethical workout clothing that is timeless.
Materials: The materials they use include organic cotton, eucalyptus, recycled cotton, and hemp. Not only are all of these fabrics sustainable, but they are super comfortable and great for working out in. In addition, they only use vegetable dyes which are a lot safer on the environment than traditional dying processes.
Ethics: I love brands that produce locally. Groceries Apparel produces all of their clothing in Los Angeles in order to ensure ethical standards for all of their employees. Local and traceable production allows them to maximize efficiency, quality, and wage compensation. It’s pretty awesome!
Sustainability: I really love how committed this company is to being a leader in sustainable and ethical fashion. Not only do they use eco-friendly materials, but they are also 100% GMO-free and do not use any harmful pesticides in production.
My favorite product: Aria High-waist Leggings
Most ideal for: Hitting the gym
Best known for: Botanical fiber activewear
Brand Overview: There used to be a time when there was really only synthetic activewear on the market, so Vyayama started with a vision to fill the need of natural and ethical workout clothing. The name itself means “to move” and “to tame the inner breath” in sanskirt. They believe that mindfulness should inspire quality, beauty, and joy.
Materials: Vyayama uses an innovative fabric known as TENCEL, which is made from sustainably farmed eucalyptus. It is not typically used as a supportive fabric, so it took them a year to work with their factories to develop the perfect blend of softness and compression. Not only is it eco-friendly, but is great in managing moisture, keeping you cool and comfortable while you are exercising. There’s more:
Ethics: At Vyayama, they like to participate in what they call “responsible fashion.” They make sure that all of their partners and factories abide by the top ethical and sustainable standards. All of their employees are protected by unions and strict health and safety standards.
Sustainability: Not only are the materials they use sustainable, but the practices of manufacturing it are also very Earth-friendly. The place where the eucalyptus grows is Forest Stewardship Council certified. Also, the processing factory is entirely closed loop as well which means that all the solvents and water are recycled. I think that is pretty cool!
My favorite product: Strata Cupro Crop Top
Best known for: Slow, transparent fashion
Brand Overview: Radical transparency is a great way to explain Everlane’s core value. Not only do they create ethical, beautiful clothing that is made to last, but they offer a lot of information about the production of every single one of their garments. This includes the location of the factory it was made in as well as the true cost of producing the piece.
Materials: I was super impressed when I discovered Tread, their new sneaker line that is fully carbon neutral. They use recycled rubber for the sole, sustainable leather tanning, and linings made from recycled bottles. I think that it’s pretty cool!
Ethics: They spend months to find factories that meet their expectations when it comes to ethics. They visit them in person and build strong partnerships with the owners. All factories get a compliance audit which takes fair wages, reasonable hours, and environment into account. Their goal is to have every factory score a 90 or above.
Sustainability: Every company makes mistakes and sometimes Everlane produces more than it can sell. They say they are getting better at anticipating demand, but to ensure nothing goes to waste, they have a “choose what you pay” section to keep things moving.
My favorite product: The Court Sneaker
Most ideal for: Powerwalking while running errands
That’s it! I hope that within that list you found a company that suits your own style and ethical workout clothing needs.
Working out is one of the best ways to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Staying active is important, but it is equally as critical that we think about our planet and the people making our clothes when shopping.
Think before you shop! You hold a lot of power within your wallet. By supporting companies that are giving back to the planet and treating workers fairly, you are making a huge difference. Always check that a brand’s values align with your own before purchasing from them. Stay healthy, eco-conscious, and awesome! Thanks for reading