SWEAT IT OUT
Ahh, summer is approaching, which means a panicked rush to get to the gym in pursuit of that mysteriously unattainable “beach body” we all crave (secret: you look great in a bikini no matter what. calm down. eat the tacos. you’re fine).
There are some absolutely incredible fitness companies that want you to look good, feel good, and do good all at the same time! From apparel to gear, we’ll dive into our top picks for eco-friendly fitness.
Now, let’s discuss why what we wear, matters. The materials used to create most workout gear are nylon, acrylic and polyester. Nylon, acrylic, and polyester are all petroleum based plastics. The microfibers released from these plastics during washing end up in our oceans, riveres, and lakes. *yikes*
If you think that these tiny microfibers don’t affect you, you’re wrong!
In a study conducted by the University of Minnesota, Mary Kosuth (student), Elizabeth Wattenberg (associate professor), and Sherri Mason (chemistry professor at the State University of New York at Fredonia) analyzed 159 samples of tap water from 14 countries, 12 brands of beer brewed with Laurentian Great Lakes water, and 12 brands of commercial seasalt. All of the seasalt and beer contained human-created debris, along with 81% of the water. That debris was mostly composed of microfibers (do you see where this is going?).
So on top of microfibers contaminating our water and beer, it’s also contaminating our seafood. Marine life (mostly fish) ends up consuming these microfibers, and more often than not, don’t expel them. THIS means that humans run the risk of also consuming microfibers upon consumption of fish.
Karma’s a fish! (I couldn’t help myself).
So what’s the alternative? Avoid synthetic made materials! Purchase clothing that is made from organic materials like cotton, bamboo, linen, or silk.
But, for the synthetic items you already own, washing them in a mesh laundry bag will minimize the amount of microfibers released/flushed away.
Our biggest TIPS
-bring your own reusable water bottle
-use a towel, NOT a paper towel
-if you can, keep the thermostat as a reasonable temperature
-be conscious of what you’re wearing/consuming
Now, here are the kickass companies we love:
- Girlfriend Collective
- We cannot rave enough about this company! From their ultra-chic styling to comfortability, Girlfriend is truly incredible.
- Eco-Practices: Girlfriend sources post-consumer water bottles to be repurposed from “Garbage Island” in Taiwan. Their leggings and bras are made from #1 plastic - or Polyethylene Terephthalate, also known as PET and their LITE leggings with ECONYL®, a fiber made from recycled fishing nets and other waste that would otherwise be discarded into oceans and landfills
- Girlfriend also has incredible labor practices and pays 125% the minimum wage, and has in place a multitude of company rules to protect and enhance employee wellness.
- Website: https://www.girlfriend.com
- My Inner Fire
- This Canadian company is all about making the individual feel good. With witty sayings, fun patterns, and an all around good energy, InnerFire is a must on our list.
- Eco-Practices: Their clothing is made From BPA-Free Recycled Water Bottles and recycled polyester, and everything is hand printed in house. On top of that, they also use water-based eco-friendly inks, which is a big plus.
- Website: www.myinnerfire.com
- If you’ve done even the most basic of research on eco-friendly workout gear, you’ve probably come across manduka. This eco-friendly yoga company seems to really have it all from accessories to clothing.
- Eco-Practices: their materials are organic cotton, hemp, tencel, modal sun, and sorona (a polyester alternative). According to their website, “all our recycled polyesters (RPET) are GRS-certifies.
- Website: https://www.manduka.com
- Threads 4 Thought
- #wearethoughtfully is the company motto, and we love it! Founded in 2006 with the understanding that “every time you buy a product or support a brand, you’re casting a vote with your wallet. These choices (or votes) determine the spread and success of each brand’s ethical and moral standards.”
- Eco-Practices: uses only sustainable materials including organic cotton, recycled polyester, and lenzing modal.
- What makes them even cooler? They are partnered with International Rescue Committee which is dedicated to helping displaced refugees.
- Website: www.threads4thought.com
- This entire company is simply an eco-lovers dream. They have an entire program dedicated to repairing their clothing. They proudly construct their clothing to last so that you, as the consumer don’t have to buy more and more. They are amazing. The End.
- Eco-Practices: Patagonia uses organic cotton, recycled nylon, recycled polyester, recycled wool, recycled cotton, eucalyptus, hemp, recycled plastic and uses vegetable dye to dye their clothing. They also use 100% recycled down for their coats, refibra lyocell, tencel lyocell (a polyester alternative), yulex (a neoprene alternative that’s plant-based), and sustainably source their wool.
- Website: https://www.patagonia.com
- Satva is a beautifully crafted athletic, and particularly yoga, wear company that is focused on making the world a better place.
- Eco-practices: organic cotton to our recycled polyester, from sustainable production. Satva works with Suminter India Organics®, an environmental and socially conscious organic cotton production corporation in India. Their mission is to create a symbiotic balance between people, planet, production, profits and social stewardship.
- They’re really good humans: Suminter and Satva launched Disha, an initiative that sponsors the education of young girls in villages where organic cotton is cultivated for Satva garments.
- Website: https://satvaliving.com
- Yoga Democracy
- If you love insanely fun patterns, this company is for you! Yoga Democracy also creates their own yoga mat and accessories and swimwear.
- Eco-Practices: The nylon they use is not just recycled, but specifically sourced and is helping to clean up the world’s oceans and landfills. Much of the material that goes into our recycled nylon comes from discarded fishing nets.
- Website: https://yogademocracy.com
- All Birds
- These gorgeous merino-wool shoes are a must-have for a daily active life.
- Eco-Practices: Allbirds is certified B Corp and is committed to going “carbon neutral” by the end of 2019. They use ethically sourced wool, use 90% post-consumer recycled cardboard packaging, and participate in Soles4Souls.
- Website: https://42birds.com
- For Your Earth Shoes
- “Striving for sustainability by using recycled materials…” is what the first page of their website says. The aim of FYES is to minimize environmental impacts by maximizing the use of recycled materials.
- Eco-Practices: The upper part of their shoes are made from recycled plastic bottles and polyester waste. The soles comprise 50% recycled rubber shoe soles and 50% new rubber. And the laces are organic cotton.
- Website: http://www.foryourearthshoes.com.au
- Now, EcoAlf is a company that does much more than shoes, so if you’re looking for an all-around great place to shop, they’re it!
- Eco-Practices: “Upcycling the Oceans” was/is a huge undertaking by EcoAlf to help remove and reduce debris in the oceans and convert it into wearable items. Their shoes are made from recycled plastic bottles collected from the ocean, recycled nylon (also mostly collected from the ocean and old fish nets), recycled wool, recycled cotton, and finally recycled and used tires.
- Website: https://ecoalf.com/en/sneakers-180
- Newton Running
- Their company mission is “... to be the world’s leader in natural running shoe technology and form, and use our platform to advance social responsibility initiatives to help make the world a better place.” So you’re saying I get to look cool, while successfully running (maybe), and am bettering the planet? OH YA.
- Eco-Practices: their packaging is made from 100% post-consumer recycled cardboard, and is specifically designed so that it minimizes the amount of packaging required.
- They are helping not just the planet, but people too by working with Soles 4 Souls, Trickle Up, and One World Running
- Website: https://www.newtonrunning.com
- Adidas partnered with Parley, and has now created an entire line dedicated to keeping plastic from entering our oceans.
- Adidas is still not the most eco friendly company to be highlighted, but they are making a huge effort and it should be rewarded.
- Website: https://www.adidas.com/us/parley?grid=true
- 42 Birds makes eco-friendly yoga mats and accessories using cork from Spain and Portugal. Our brand is driven by functionality, sustainability and natural beauty.
- Website: https://42birds.com
- WE LOVE GAIM AND ALL THEIR PRODUCTS. This awesome company began with just items for yogis, but now has a whole range of products that are for the home and recovery. Now, not all of their items are eco-friendly, but they have a large amount of their product catalogue that is, so let’s celebrate that.
- Website: https://www.gaiam.com/collections/eco-friendly-products
- Suga Mats
- These excellently crafted yoga mats are made in the USA out of recycled wetsuits!
- We have implemented two programs for our products, both of which allow our customers to return our used mats to us for recycling. We are also a proud member of 1% for the Planet.
- Website: https://www.sugamats.com
- Dakine has a huge range of products, but we particularly love their bags.
- Their motto is “Respect the land, the sea, and the locals.”
- Dakine makes products that are focused on durability, and on using environmentally friendly materials. They’re theory is that if it’s made well, and sustainably, our consumer impact becomes dramatically less. Makes sense to us!
- Website: www.dakine.com