12 of the best sustainable activewear brands that support a better planet and a healthier you

12 of the best sustainable activewear brands that support a better planet and a healthier you

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When it comes to spending your dollars on products that align with your values, supporting sustainable retailers and brands is one of the simplest ways to walk the walk. From simple products to help you commit to more environmentally-friendly habits to sustainable shoe and clothing brands, we’ve covered a lot when it comes to our top picks that support a better planet and a healthier you. So why should it be any different when it comes to activewear? With the ever-increasing popularity of athleisure and activewear as everyday clothing, it’s just as important to make sure the clothes you’re comfortable in aren’t doing more harm than good. Ahead, we’ve rounded up some of the best and most sustainable activewear brands, and chatted with experts about what to look for when shopping, and some of their favorite options.

“Activewear primarily uses synthetic fibers sourced from petroleum,” explains Quang Dinh, founder and CEO of Girlfriend Collective. From sweat-wicking leggings to your favorite quick-drying T-shirt, they most likely utilize fabrics made from synthetic materials like polyester, nylon, and acrylic. These fibers are “ideal for activewear as they’re known to be lightweight, moisture-wicking and very durable,” explain Welles co-founders Rachel Rothenberg-Saenz and Alexandra Baylis. However, “the long-lasting properties that make these so commercially attractive are also what makes them so harmful to human and environmental health,” they explain. One of the key features of sustainable activewear is a reliance on natural fabrics and recycled materials, but that’s only one piece of the puzzle.

Sustainable activewear and fashion in general “involves a holistic approach that considers the environmental, social, and economic impacts of fashion production and consumption,” explain Rothenberg-Saenz and Baylis, “with the goal of reducing negative impacts and maximizing positive ones.” This commitment beyond the impact of just production or fabric sourcing is one to “safeguard biodiversity and the environment from waste and harmful pollutants caused by the apparel industry, sustaining natural resources through conscious manufacturing, and protecting the communities that produce the garments,” they explain.

This comprehensive approach to sustainability was consistent among the experts we spoke to. Dinh refers to it as “a multi-stage process and approach,” while Jeff Scult — fashion proactivist and founder of One Golden Thread — promotes regeneration, an idea that promotes ethical supply chains that result in a net positive to the planet, giving back more than we take.

Before jumping into online shopping, start by auditing what you already have and considering what you truly need. “With activewear, the most impactful thing people can do is to reduce the number of new items they buy,” explains Tierra Forte, CEO and Co-Founder of Mightly, a sustainable children’s brand. She suggests clothing swaps and sites that sell pre-owned clothing, which tend to be more cost-effective and the best choice for the environment. Scult agrees, encouraging people to “own fewer things that they love more” and focusing on season-less, well-designed, and durable pieces that will last a lifetime.

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Related: 31 sustainable gifts to help lower your impact on the planet

“One of the most important things you can do as a consumer is to be mindful and informed about the impact of the products you buy,” share Rothenberg-Saenz and Baylis. So if you’re reading this, you’re already off to a great start! “By conducting thorough research, you can make more educated decisions and choose products that align with your values,” they explain. But navigating sustainability can be tricky for both consumers and brands, since the term is so all-encompassing, it ends up covering a broad range of environmental issues. Forte looks for two key things to determine whether or not a company is truly sustainable; transparency and certification. “I look at the sustainability section of their website — if they don’t have one, that’s a big red flag — to see how they describe their sustainability efforts, how and where their products are made, and what certifications they have,” she explains. For companies that produce products like clothing, “the biggest environmental impact is almost always going to be in the manufacturing process,” which is what she looks at most closely.

But even that can be tricky. “For any established brand that is implementing sustainable practices,” explains Dinh, “it is truly difficult to manage all facets of the supply chain for every single piece of fabric and trim across so many SKU types.” His suggestion? “Buy from smaller producers and brands that do a few things well,” he shares. From there, pay attention to how transparent they are and what sort of certifications they have. “Generally speaking, if a brand is doing something positive with their supply chain,” explains Dinh, “they are likely going to want to talk about it as a selling point.”

And seek out whether the brand you’re shopping has certifications from reputable third parties. “One effective way for brands to demonstrate their commitment to sustainability is by obtaining verification from accredited regulators such as bluesign and Global Recycled Standards, and providing third-party testing data to support their claims,” explain Rothenberg-Saenz and Baylis. And consider different manufacturing and producing standards based on the fabric or material of what you’re considering purchasing. For instance, if you’re opting for cotton activewear, “make sure that the product is GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) Certified,” explains Forte. “If you need more technical activewear,” she shares, “look for items made from recycled fibers, like recycled polyester or recycled nylon.” These certifications and standards are a helpful way to “make informed decisions and distinguish accurate sustainability claims from greenwashing,” explain Rothenberg-Saenz and Baylis.

But like with much of environmentalism, there’s no one solution or perfect product. “One of the fastest-growing trends in conscious consumerism is choosing ethically and sustainably produced apparel,” Dinh explains. “Educate yourself on sustainable fashion and shop from true sustainable brands,” he shares. “The more we demand sustainable clothing, the more it will be available” — whether that’s by advocating for ethical garment manufacturing processes, pushing business to slow down, test and invest in better business models, or just recycling your clothes instead of tossing them when you’re done with them. Ahead, we’ve rounded up a couple activewear-focused brands that truly prioritize a more sustainable future for the activewear industry, many of which were recommended by our sustainability experts.

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“Within the activewear world, both the industry and the brands within it can have a great impact on the world’s ability to upcycle single-use or industrial-use plastics by creating demand for this raw material,” Dinh explains. A founder who walks the walk, it’s no surprise that Girlfriend Collective is doing just this, incredibly well. Best known for its use of recycled post-consumer bottles to create ethically and sustainably-manufactured activewear, Girlfriend’s products are all incredibly comfortable, durable and inclusive. The brand’s size range stretches from XXS through 6XL, and it offers tons of different styles — everything of which we’ve tested is super flattering and appropriate for all types of activity. The brand is super transparent about different components of its manufacturing process, which includes being SA8000 certified and using all recycled fabric that’s certified Standard 100 by Oeko-Tex.

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“Patagonia is the gold standard when it comes to sustainable activewear,” shares Forte. “It has been a long time leader in sustainability and last year the company changed its ownership structure so that its profits could be invested in environmental initiatives,” she explains. Dinh also recommends Patagonia, explaining that one way to incorporate conscious consumption into your everyday life is to “buy from the brands that have been trailblazing sustainability the longest.” You can learn more about the brand’s environmental impact and progress and read up on its specific goals towards a more sustainable future, which include eliminating virgin petroleum fiber in all their products and only using 100{a0ae49ae04129c4068d784f4a35ae39a7b56de88307d03cceed9a41caec42547} reusable, home compostable, renewable or easily recyclable packaging by 2025.

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If you’ve heard of Reformation, you probably know it for one of two things; its adorable clothing, or its impressive commitment to being one of the most sustainable and stylish mainstream brands. Whether it’s through RefRecycling — which encourages customers to drop of well-worn Reformation products in exchange for store credit — or an ambitious climate positive commitment — which goes beyond being climate neutral (something the brand has been since 2015), Reformation has a long list of practices and commitments that make it one of the most sustainable places to shop. The brand uses a ton of sustainable materials, it works with eco-friendly mills and factories and boasts tons of certifications including a partnership with bluesign — which ensures materials and production processes are safe for people and the planet. Not to mention the adoption of the Manufacturing Restricted Substances List (MRSL) — which restricts the use of undesirable chemicals in the production process.

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Pangaia is a sustainable fashion brand founded in 2018 with the idea of creating a new kind of business. One that, as it explains, “operates in harmony with nature and works to safeguard a future for generations to come.” The brand describes this idea as Earth Positivity — giving back more to the planet than we take away from it. This commitment is clear in the brand’s use and choice of materials, its dedication to innovation and furthering the potential of non-traditional fabrics, the transparency provided in its environmental impact reports, and its circular economy strategy — which focuses on reducing waste through recycling and repurposing materials. The brand’s activewear is made from a partially plant-based stretch fabric that’s treated with peppermint oil, which provides natural anti-odor benefits. The resulting product is less reliant on the petroleum-based materials that the activewear industry is unfortunately well-known for.

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MPG Sport is a nearly 20-year-old, BIPOC-owned activewear label that continues to work towards better social and environmental practices year after year. Its high-quality, stylish and versatile products are really well-priced, particularly for how long they’ll last you — and that commitment to keeping prices low while increasing responsible and ethical best practices is a huge priority. “To obtain B Corp Certification, companies need to complete a rigorous assessment (B Impact Assessment) of their social and environmental practices that is 3rd party verified,” explains Michelle Reid, community engagement and activation lead at the B Corp team. “When companies undergo this process, they’re demonstrating their commitment to purpose, their people, the planet and their communities,” she shares. “It’s incredible to see MPG’s dedication and responsibility to all stakeholders throughout the process of creating their lines… the brand’s transparency of their practices, supply chain, and their continued push to do better makes them an industry leader and role model.” In addition to its B Corp Certification, MPG Sport partners with a ton of third-party organizations, which you can learn more about on their website.

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Los Angeles-based sustainable clothing brand Mate the Label is all about non-toxic, natural and organic materials — something it sees as part of its mission to clean up the fashion industry. “We believe that prioritizing the health of the planet and its people is an urgent matter,” explains founder and creative director Kayti Carr. “We hope to lead the clean fashion movement and affect change in the industry.” The brand does this through a set of eight commitments it calls the “Mate 8”; clean, essential, organic, ethical, women-centered, plastic free, circular and local — all of which touch on different elements of environmental and social justice. In addition, Mate the Label is a Climate Neutral Certified company and recently launched its reMATE program, which gives customers store credit if they send in used items — in any condition — to be recycled and respun into yarn that can be used in a recycled product line.

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The sustainable, Vancouver-based brand Tentree has its mission embedded in its company name; to plant ten trees for every item purchased. With an intense focus on environmentally-friendly practices, all the brand’s products are created with what it refers to as an “earth-first approach,” which prioritizes fair and safe working conditions, and only using sustainably sourced and recycled materials. The company uses solely organic or recycled materials, which include organic cotton, Tencel lyocell, and Repreve recycled polyester to name a few — popular options utilized by many brands on this list. These materials allow brands like Tentree to reduce waste water and emissions that are typically associated with apparel manufacturing. A certified B Corporation, Tentree was actually awarded Best For the World in Community in 2021 — one of our favorite parts of the brand’s site is its Climate+ initiative, which allows you to offset your carbon emissions by purchasing a pack of trees.


The legacy outdoors brand is beloved by many for its long history of commitment to sustainable practices, and The North Face has continually proven this prioritization of nature through actionable, science-based goal setting and achieving. Currently, the brand is working towards ensuring that 100{a0ae49ae04129c4068d784f4a35ae39a7b56de88307d03cceed9a41caec42547} of its top materials are either recycled, responsibly-sourced renewable or regeneratively grown by 2030. Plus, it’s reducing supply chain greenhouse gas emissions through key partnerships and committing to eliminate single-use plastic packaging by 2025. The North Face Renewed program encourages circularity by giving used gear a second chance, creating less waste and encouraging people to think before they simply toss it into a landfill.

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A new and exciting activewear small-business, Tenere is committed to radical transparency around each and every aspect of its entire production and manufacturing process. So much so that each garment comes with a QR code so you can learn more about your specific product’s journey along the brand’s supply chain. The four main components to the brand’s commitment to sustainability are environmental consciousness, ethical labor, social advancement and principled corporate governance — balancing profit with purpose. We’re big fans of the brand’s manifesto page, which details exactly where it thinks the brand is excelling in goals relating to its mission, and where it has room for improvement. The brand also details its different certifications and standards — which include Global Recycled Standard, Fair Labor Association (FLA), and Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC) compliance — and its various supply chain partners.

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Founded in 1992, Prana is a California-based sustainable clothing brand that’s best known for its activewear and versatile, everyday basics. As one of the first brands to partner with Fair Trade USA back in 2010, the brand has since converted 11 factories to become Fair Trade Certified, benefitting over 26,000 workers worldwide. It’s been a bluesign partner since 2012, became a Fair Labor Association Accredited brand in 2015, and eliminated plastic from 100{a0ae49ae04129c4068d784f4a35ae39a7b56de88307d03cceed9a41caec42547} of its product packaging in 2021. And that’s just to name a couple of the brand’s accolades, which you can explore in depth on their website.

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The popular San Francisco-based online brand has been a longtime favorite of sustainably-minded shoppers since its launch in 2010. And it’s only continued to demonstrate its commitment to the environment and planet since. The brand focuses on an ethical supply chain model that creates products that last, and that you won’t toss after a season. As of last year, 97{a0ae49ae04129c4068d784f4a35ae39a7b56de88307d03cceed9a41caec42547} of Everlane’s apparel materials containing polyester and nylon were made from certified recycled fibers, and this year it’s planning to use exclusively certified organic cotton across all products. Like many of the companies on this list, Everlane also prioritizes working with partners (like bluesign, GOTS, and Cradle to Cradle) to certify different components of the production process.


Sustainable clothing brand Outerknown was founded in 2015 by professional surfer Kelly Slater and fashion designer John Moore. To this day, the Los Angeles-based brand continues to stay true to its mission and commitment of creating sustainable and ethical clothing. Through a high-standard of fair labor practices, partnerships with B Corp-certified suppliers and renewable energy facilities, regenerative farming practices and a reselling platform called Outerworn — just to name a few of its sustainability initiatives — the brand has built a loyal audience of which Scult is a member of. The brand even has a sustainability roadmap on its website, which includes aiming to make 100{a0ae49ae04129c4068d784f4a35ae39a7b56de88307d03cceed9a41caec42547} of products circular by 2030.