Well it’s February 1st, and by now my guess is that 92.5% of you have ditched those New Year’s Resolutions. For the 7.5% (I think I did that math right) that are still on track and have committed to working out more regularly in 2017, I present to you some eco-friendly workout gear options.
Unfortunately, a lot of the gear that helps us get healthy is not so healthy for ol’ Mother Earth. Whomp whomp.
That being said, there are a ton of companies that are working to change that, with more and more getting on board every day. So whether their entire line is made from sustainable materials or just a capsule, I’ve come up with some options for workout clothes that will make you feel as good as your workout (and just so we’re clear — not the tired and sweaty feel after your workout, more the good, pumped up and full of endorphins feel after your workout).
When shopping for workout clothes, it’s hard to find an option that doesn’t sacrifice style and performance for sustainability. Fortunately, Twizel (yes, I’ve mentioned my affinity for them before) is one company that has figured out it. Twizel’s in house brand, TWZL, looks great and is made from ultra-fine, traceable (i.e. ethically sourced) Merino Wool. Wool is a great performance fiber, as it helps regulate body temperature, is naturally odor resistant and insulates when wet. They’ve also sourced their wool from sustainable sheep stations in New Zealand. Good on you, mate. Or is that just an Australian saying? Added bonus, all of the product on their in house line is made here in the U.S. And in addition to their own line, Twizel also carries other workout brands that are also using sustainable materials and following socially responsible practices.
Prana is another company that is dialed in. Prana was founded on a belief in sustainability, and uses environmentally conscious materials, recyclable packaging and works with Fair Trade Certified manufacturers.
If the Shoe Fits
Similar to fashion, there are a ton of unsustainable practices in the shoe world. A lot of sneakers used to be made of polyvinyl chloride or PVC, which is an environmentally toxic form of plastic and also a known carcinogen. No thank you.
Those who moved on from PVC started using polymers, which are still not so good for the environment as they are still plastics. In addition, the sneaker industry is in the habit of using a lot of crude oil to make the synthetic parts of the shoes.
Again, there are companies changing the industry here. Newton Running is one such company. Newton Running was the first running shoe company to be awarded B Corp status. Kind of a big deal since B Corp status is only given to companies that “use the power of business to solve social and environmental problems.” In order to gain the certification a company has to be committed to meeting rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability and transparency. They’ve incorporated sustainability into their shoes, their boxes and their headquarters, and boast the world’s most responsive running shoe, to boot.
Another company making great strides (pun intended) is Merrell. Merrell has been has been consistently working to make sure their shoes (and all the materials that come with them) have a smaller impact on the planet. They also are incorporating sustainable practices at their headquarters to offset their carbon footprint.
There are also companies like Brooks Running with programs like Brooks Running Responsibly Program, which is a strategic and holistic corporate responsibility platform. Brooks measures sustainability through five pillars — community, fair labor, product design and materials, manufacturing and their footprint.
And it should be noted that the big guys like Nike and Adidas are also getting in on the action. Nike is working vigorously towards a “closed cycle” manufacturing process, meaning that it will recycle all materials used in new products without creating any waste. And Adidas recently partnered with Parley for the Oceans to create the world’s first shoe with an upper made entirely of recycled ocean plastic and Gillnets.
Sock It To Me
Most socks are made from bleached cotton and other chemical-based materials that are sourced from non-renewable resources. Bummer.
That being said, Teko Eco-Performance Socks not only uses responsible materials (merino wool, recycled polyester made from plastic bottles and polyamide made from recycled fishing nets), but they’re actually taking more of an 11-pronged approach to their eco-commitment. They are making green a priority in every way from the energy they use at their home office and factory, to their non-toxic dyes to their packaging, to their prices.
And instead of grabbing a plastic water bottle and contributing to the millions that are thrown away each day (sorry ocean), try a reusable water bottle instead. Klean Kanteen is always a good standby for a simple stainless steel option. But one of my new faves is Alex Bottle. Made from premium grade 50% recycled steel. Alex Bottles are also super easy to clean and customize since they twist apart at the center.
Stretch It Out
Similar to shoes, yoga mats are often made from PVC and other yucky materials. But Jade mats are made in a sustainable manner. Jade mats use natural rubber tapped from rubber trees (a renewable resource), so they contain no PVC or other synthetic rubbers. They’re also made in the U.S. and have partnered with Trees for the Future, so they plant a tree for every Jade mat sold. Gotta make you feel as good as happy baby pose, right?
What do you think? Enough to pump you up to get pumped up? Or am I missing some major players in the ethical workout gear world?