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There are so many personal benefits to investing in your health and getting regular exercise – from the purely physical to boosting your mood and self-esteem.

I say this as someone who used to be completely averse to anything exercise-related. At school, I was always more of a bookworm and dreaded P.E., but the beauty of adulthood is that you can definitely rewrite the narrative when it comes to getting active… and actually start enjoying it!

Whilst the desire for self-improvement is commendable in itself, when you look at the bigger picture, it’s even better if you can contribute towards a world that is more mindful of people, planet and animals, too.

So whether you’re embarking on a new fitness regime or just looking to get more consistent gentle exercise, I’ve done all the research for you and brought together my favourite ethical sports and gym wear brands currently available in the UK.

My Top Picks

Here are the best sustainable activewear brands to supercharge your workouts

The best thing about activewear is that it’s no longer relegated to that section of your wardrobe you only go to when you’re planning an all-day bike ride or 10-mile hike. In fact, it’s totally normal now to go for a dog walk then nip for a coffee with a friend, dressed head to toe in your gym gear.

This is great news, because not only is it super easy to wear – it has the added benefit of being really comfy, too!

With that being said, you may find yourself investing more and more in your activewear wardrobe. And, if so, you’ll want to pay particular attention to the brands you’re shopping with. To understand more about why you should make the switch to ethical activewear, feel free to skip ahead for more info.

But for now, let’s take a look at my top picks for ethical and sustainable activewear brands!

#1 Wolven

  • Certification: OEKO-Tex, Global Recycle Standard, Treet, & Climate Neutral certified
  • For: Women & Men
  • Categories: Cycling, Gym & Training, Running, Swimming, Yoga & Pilates
  • Size Range: UK 4-20
  • Price: ££-£££

All of Wolven’s activewear and swimwear is made from recycled plastic water bottles, which requires a whopping 79% less emissions than virgin PET to manufacture! Featuring vibrant, nature-inspired prints and reversible designs, their workout wear is colourful, stylish, and truly versatile.

To follow a more circular fashion model, they partnered with Treet in 2021 to launch Wolven Pre-Loved, where you can extend the lifespan of your Wolven products by selling them on. They are also partnered with CleanHub to fight plastic pollution, are members of 1% for the Planet, and publish in-depth and transparent annual impact reports (here’s the latest).

#2 BAM

  • Certification: B-Corp certified
  • For: Women & Men
  • Categories: Gym & Training, Running, Yoga & Pilates, Walking & Hiking
  • Size Range: UK Women’s 6-18 & Men’s S-XXL
  • Price: £-££
  • Get 10% off when you sign up to their newsletter

BAM is a pioneering ethical activewear brand championing super-soft and sustainable bamboo (seriously, this is activewear at its comfiest!). Known for its eco-friendly properties, bamboo absorbs 5 times more carbon than hardwood trees and requires significantly less land and water compared to traditional cotton farming.

BAM have set themselves an ambitious target to achieve a zero carbon footprint by 2030. So far, they have eliminated conventional plastic packaging, partnered with resale platform Continue, and helped to make their supply chain more transparent by launching their product DNA initiative.

#3 TALA

  • Certification: Some factories are ISO, Sedex & WRAP certified
  • For: Women
  • Categories: Gym & Training, Running, Yoga & Pilates, Swimming
  • Size Range: UK 4-24 (plus Petite & Tall available)
  • Price: ££
  • Get 10% off when you sign up to their newsletter

TALA was founded by vegan fitness influencer Grace Beverley, in response to the lack of options when searching for ethical activewear. Disrupting the fast fashion industry, TALA offers sustainably made, affordable and stylish options in recycled and naturally sourced materials, with a refreshing ‘progress-over-perfection’ mentality.

With sizes ranging from 2XS TO 4XL, I love how TALA champions inclusivity and accessibility. They also publish in-depth information about all of their factories – detailing locations, accreditations, and the types of garments they produce. Check out the  ReTALA initiative for responsible disposal of your end-of-life garments.

#4 Silou

  • Certification: BSCI, BCI Cotton, GOTS, & OEKO-Tex certified
  • For: Women
  • Categories: Dance, Gym & Training, Yoga & Pilates
  • Size Range: UK 6-14
  • Price: £££
  • Get 10% off when you sign up to their newsletter

If you’re looking for premium ethical activewear, then look no further than London-based Silou. With their gorgeous muted colour palette, subtle branding, and figure-hugging designs, they are the perfect blend of activewear meets casualwear. Silou’s ethos revolves around three key principles: quality craftsmanship, honest materials, and elegant design.

Their collections undergo rigorous performance testing and adhere to fair, non-toxic manufacturing processes in European factories. Silou’s eco fabrics include ECONYL® (regenerated nylon waste from landfills and oceans) and super-soft TENCEL™. Whilst they’re a little pricier than other brands on this list, it’s well worth saving up your pennies!

#5 Patagonia

  • Certification: B-Corp, Fair Trade, & GOTS certified
  • For: Women, Men, Kids
  • Categories: Climbing, Cycling, Running, Snow Sports, Surfing, Walking & Hiking
  • Size Range: UK Women’s 2-20, Men’s XXS-XXXL, Kids Newborn-18 years
  • Price: ££-£££

For those who are interested in more hardcore outdoor sports, check out Patagonia. Renowned for their commitment to ethics and sustainability, Patagonia are the OG when it comes to trailblazing environmental responsibility in the fashion industry. Founder Yvon Chouinard even wrote a book on the subject (highly recommended to add to your sustainable reading list!).

Patagonia produces high-quality clothing and gear for outdoor enthusiasts, all whilst promoting fair labour practices, actively advocating for environmental issues, and pledging 1% for the Planet. An all-round excellent brand to support.

Why Make the Switch to Sustainable Activewear?

If you’re umming and arring over the price tag of some of these brands, then here are some reasons why you should ditch fast fashion in favour of ethical slow fashion.

Sustainable & animal-friendly materials

When you shop for cheap activewear at ultra-fast fashion retailers like Misguidded, Boohoo or SHEIN, it may feel like you’re getting a lot of cute styles for your money. But the reality is that they are made with materials like polyester and nylon that devastate the planet.

These virgin materials are typically made from plastic and require intensive chemical processes in the manufacturing process. They then continue to shed microplastics every time they’re washed, before ending their short life in landfill.

More sustainable activewear will have a lower impact, prioritising eco-friendly materials like organic cotton, bamboo, hemp, and recycled polyester. Whilst no material will have a perfect zero impact, these textiles are much kinder to the environment than the plastic-based products being mass-produced and sold cheaply.

For more on sustainable vegan fabrics to look out for, check out my in-depth post here.

Girl running in activewear

Ethical labour practices

Whilst the materials used in the construction of a garment are important, it’s also important to consider who made your clothes, and how they have been treated in the supply chain.

If you’ve watched any of the fast fashion documentaries under the ‘People’ section of this post, then you’ll have a better understanding of how garment workers in poorer countries can be exploited in fast fashion systems of production.

When assessing whether brands uphold ethical labour standards, look for transparency about where products are made (TALA is a great example of this), as well as trusted third-party certifications like B-Corp or WRAP. For more info, check out this article here.

Better for your workouts

Sustainable activewear may be the kinder option when looking outside of yourself, but it also has the added benefit of helping you to train harder.

When you invest in pieces that have been designed with high-performing fabrics and a comfortable fit in mind, you’ll be able to move more freely and get more out of your workouts.

More cost-effective in the long run

Although the price might look tempting in the moment, when you purchase fast fashion activewear, the likelihood is it won’t last. From poor-quality construction to dodgy seams that quickly fall apart after a few wears, it’s always worth investing in quality in the long run.

This way, you can build a capsule gym wardrobe that is endlessly mix-and-matchable and will keep you going for years to come. Plus, the cost per wear will eventually work out better than all those ridiculously cheap pieces you have to constantly replace!

If you’re still struggling to justify the cost of ethical fashion, read more over here.

Body positivity through exercise

Look After Your Body & the Planet With Eco-Friendly Sportswear

If you’re just dipping your toe into ethical shopping, I understand how overwhelming it can feel knowing where to start! So I hope this post gives you some inspiration for where to shop when adding to your gymwear wardrobe.

Remember that the most sustainable clothes are always the ones you already own, so don’t rush out to replace your active wardrobe all at once with ethical alternatives (as tempting as it may be!). Replace pieces gradually as they wear out, then make sure to take good care of your clothes.

To continue building your sustainable capsule wardrobe, you’ll find more articles on clothing brands, underwear, sleepwear, footwear and bags. You can also download my capsule wardrobe checklist below for the essential staple pieces I recommend.

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