The 5 best Materials for Sustainable Sportswear

Updated: Apr 22



If you regularly practice sports, you're bound to have multiple pieces of clothing. But have you ever thought about how the clothing you purchase might impact the environment?

The apparel and footwear industries account for more than 8 percent of global climate impact.

It is becoming more and more important to be conscious about what we buy when it comes to sportswear; where we should buy quality over quantity.


1. Recycled Polyester



People want more stretchy and resistant garments for sports apparel. Which is great, if you decide not to buy clothes that are manufactured using Polyester (PET). This fiber is not sustainable as it does not biodegrade, but it photodegrades. Which means that it breaks down into smaller fragments over time. The fragments absorb toxins that sicken animals, pollute our waterways and contaminate soil. Greenpeace says that by 2030, the apparel industry will double its use of Polyester.


However, there is a sustainable solution to this problem, which is Recycled Polyester. Also known as rPET, this fibre is obtained by melting down existing plastic and spinning it into new polyester fibres. 5 soda bottles yield enough fibre for one extra-large sports t-shirt.

It keeps plastic from going to landfills; it gives a second life to materials that aren't biodegradable. Recycled Polyester is as good as PET, with less resources required to make it.


As well as having ecological benefits, it serves as a great material for your sportswear. The fabric holds shape wicks sweat. It makes you look good.


2. Organic Hemp



Organic Hemp is a great fibre when you're choosing a new piece of durable and comfortable sportswear. It is also sustainable. Every part of the plant can be used and it does not any pesticides.

But like other materials, the manufacturing of products can be harmful to people and the environment. Which is why it is important to use organic hemp or certified materials. When used for sports clothing, it keeps your body temperature regulated. Whether you want to wear it in the summer or in winter. It's naturally UV protective, strong and comfortable. It allows for free movement as the fibres are stretchy and soft. It's the perfect material for your outdoor sports activities, even on a wet day.



3. Organic Cotton


It is a safer for us and the environment, as the processing and growing of organic cotton doesn't require any harmful chemicals. There are no harmful pesticides or chemical fertilizers used in the fields. In comparison to conventional cotton , it uses 88% less water and uses 62% energy.

Organic cotton has better odder management and is more breathable than other materials.


You can use it without worry for any sport as it does not hold stretch. It is a comfortable and breathable option to have in your wardrobe.



4. Bamboo



Like Cotton, Bamboo naturally wicks moisture away from the skin and is breathable. It is also 40% more absorbent than organic cotton.

It is perfect for your intensive sport session, as it is able to get rid of moisture very fast and is sweat absorbent. It is also odder free, which might benefit some us more than others... But it also means that it keeps you dry! Being soft and easy on the skin, it is a great material to go for when choosing sportswear.


It is one of the most environmentally sustainable and eco-friendly materials there is.


5. Tencel



Tencel is less common than the previous materials but deserves a place in this list. Tencel fibres are produced by environmentally responsible processes and sourced from natural raw materials in the woods.



There are three different fibres that Tencel offer: Lyrocell, Modal and Branded. All fibres are created in a sustainable manner, but they have different functions. All of them provide with soft, flexible fibres which have unique properties. Some brands such as H&M and Levi's have some clothing that use these materials.


It is important to be conscious about what and where we choose to buy our sportswear. There is a wide range of great quality materials to choose from. Recycle old pieces of clothing you don't need and buy quality over quantity sportswear. And do your research on the brands you decide to buy from.

What material will your next sportswear be made of?

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