Cute Eco-Friendly Activewear Brands You Can Actually Afford
I’m getting back into my fitness routine as summer is just around the corner, and I was wondering where could I find cute sustainable workout clothes that won’t break the bank. So went through all the lists and recommendations to find the brands that check all three boxes: sustainable, affordable, have cute clothes.
What I realized is that workout clothes are not cheap at all. So the upper limit I set for a brand to fit in the affordable category is $75 for a pair of leggings. At most brands, this is only the starting point, and everything under that is really the lower end of the spectrum. I just felt like I needed to mention that quickly.
But in the end, I’ve found some brands that are really affordable, and some that are at an okay price. The brands also focus on different aspects of sustainability and ethics so you can choose whichever is most important to you. Most brands are from the US, but there are some from Europe and Australia as well, so you can go for the closest one to reduce the carbon footprint of the shipping! What all of them have in common is that they all stock stylish leggings and bras that’ll make you look you’re best when sweating at the gym.
But you’re probably here for the list, so I’ll give you that right now, and then if you feel like reading more about each brand, you can scroll down to find further info!
Sustainability & Ethics: small steps towards sustainability
Size inclusivity: up to US size 28
I know, I know, Adidas is probably not the first brand that comes in mind when talking about sustainability and ethical fashion. But we have to admit that Adidas is trying to make an effort. They had made a commitment to making half of their products using recycled polyester from 2020 and from 2024, all their range will be recycled to reduce ocean pollution. And that’s going to make a huge impact considering the size of the brand.
While Nike also addresses sustainability on its website, its statements are vaguer and it seems like Adidas is way more ahead in this area. While we have heard horror stories about factory workers of both companies, Adidas is very transparent about the issues of its supply chain and actively works on improving its workers’ conditions.
Not all of us have access to all the other activewear brands on this list. And not all of us are ready to shop from a brand they’re not familiar with. And that’s fine. But what can all do, is when we need to choose between Adidas and Nike, we can choose Adidas.
BAM Bamboo Clothing is a UK clothing brand that mainly focuses on activewear but also stocks some casual everyday wear. All their clothes are made with bamboo which is a great sustainable material. Bamboo is a fast-growing plant that uses much less water than cotton, for example, it doesn’t require pesticides or fertilizers, and it’s better for the soil than many conventional crops.
Bamboo clothes are great for activewear because they’re super soft and kind to your skin. They’re also great for absorbing moisture, aka sweat. Thanks to bamboo’s thermal properties, it’s very warm, but also breathable which makes it perfect for all temperatures.
Apart from being as sustainable as possible, BAM puts a huge effort into being ethical, and transparent. They aim to treat their factory workers with the highest amount of respect just as much as their customers.
BAM’s workout clothes come in various different colors, prints, and styles to make sure you find what you’re looking for. And they’re all very cute and fairly priced!
Looking for the activewear brand that checks all the boxes in terms of sustainability, ethics, and size inclusivity? But you also want your workout clothes to be as trendy as your everyday wear? I have great news for you, my friend! Girlfriend Collective makes all your wishes come true with a range of extremely stylish leggings and bras.
Girlfriend Collective workout clothes are made with recycled plastic bottles and they’re also Oeko-Tex certified. Their aim is to keep plastic out of our oceans and landfills by recycling them into cute clothes. Buying sustainable activewear has never been this easy and trendy!
They manufacture their clothes in an ethical factory in Vietnam. The factory which Girlfriend Collective is working with not only offers fair wages and safe conditions, but it’s also certified child-labor- and forced-labor-free. The workers also receive health insurance and healthy, catered meals.
Girlfriend Collective is also one of the most size-inclusive brands out there stocking leggings from XXS to 6XL.
So what are you waiting for? Get your set right now! Or you know, when you actually need it!
Licia Florio manufactures its beautiful activewear line in Italy. They only offer one style of bras and legging, but they have it in so many cool colors! And to most of their sets, they sell matching sustainable, vegan nail polish in the same color. Which is the cutest thing ever!
They started to research more sustainable practices in 2017. They are not perfect yet, but they had made a huge improvement during the last couple of years! All Licia Florio sportswear is made with 100% recycled fabric. The fabric is sourced from an ethical factory, and then it’s sewn in Milan, Italy where some of the top producers of technical sportswear are located.
The brand also donated a percentage of their income to Survival International, a charity that fights for the human rights of tribal people.
So it seems Licia Florio has done so many positive changes in the last 2,5 years, it definitely earned a spot in this list! Their designs are timeless and of high-quality, which makes them even more sustainable. Licia Florio’s workout clothes are not the cheapest you can find, but they are definitely a good investment!
Outdoor Voices creates high-performance sportswear that’ll motivate you to be active every day. According to the brand, moving your body and having fun with friends is the best way to make you happy and healthy. And I couldn’t agree more!
But in order to have fun outdoors, we have to protect our “playground”. That’s why Outdoor Voices is committed to becoming as sustainable as possible. From the materials they source to the design of their stores, they make a conscious effort to do better.
Most Outdoor Voices workout clothes are made with eco-friendly materials such as recycled PET, recycled wool, and sustainable cotton. And they are designed to fit for a lot of different activities and to be kept in our gym bags and out of landfills.
Even though the brand is doing pretty awesome things already, it doesn’t stop them to thrive for being more transparent and sustainable. Their short term goals include eliminating all waste from their community events, launch a product take-back and repair program, and to include more traceable and bluesign certified fabrics in their collections.
Sustainability & Ethics: fair trade, recycled materials, 1% donation for the environment, clothing recycling
Size inclusivity: up to US 18
Patagonia was one of the first clothing brands that realized how big of an impact fashion has on the environment. For the last 40 years, the company has been continuously looking for ways to improve their practices in terms of sustainability and transparency. Going completely in the opposite direction then all the other clothing brands since the beginning of fast fashion. Yet Patagonia still became one of the most well-known activewear brands in the world.
So what makes Patagonia that awesome? First of all, it’s a huge brand, so every positive change they make has a much bigger impact. Secondly, they have made tons of positive changes so far and they are planning to do even more! As for materials, Patagonia uses recycled materials for more than 70% of its products and is moving toward a 100% recycled or renewable range. More than 75% percent of Patagonia clothes come from Fair Trade certified factories. That means better working conditions for 66000 workers!
But the company does so much more: it donates 1% of its sales to environmental organizations, it has a clothing recycling program, it supports organic farming practices, it offers a platform for individuals to connect with environmental groups and events near them, and, last but not least, it encourages other sportswear brands to work with ethical factories too.
We love Patagonia because they make responsible clothing and gear for all the sports you can think of.
People Tree is another veteran in the field. Since having been found in 1991, the companies mission is to create quality clothing made to “the highest ethical and environmental standards from start to finish”. The brand has a big range of responsible clothing which mostly consists of pretty dresses and blouses in playful prints and everyday basics. And luckily for us, it also has a couple of very affordable activewear pieces.
If you like your workout clothes all black, affordable, and fair trade, People Tree is going to have what you need. Their activewear line is made with organic cotton which isn’t only better for your skin, but also more environmentally friendly than regular cotton. The GOTS certified organic cotton helps to reduce cotton’s carbon emissions, keep the soil healthy and the drinking water clean.
In addition to using only the most sustainable materials, People Tree also pays a lot of attention to its makers. The company was the very first fashion brand to receive the World Fair Trade Organization’s Fair Trade product mark. They work closely with different groups of artisans in developing countries. Each group is focused on a specific skill or help a particular community. People Tree provides living wages, safe working conditions, training, and even more to these communities.
The activewear collection is made by Assisi Garments, a factory that employs deaf and economically disadvantaged women in South India.
Tala is a UK activewear brand that manufactures edgy, on-trend workout clothes that won’t break the bank. It is one of the best brands to purchase from if you want to stay your most stylish self even when sweating in the gym.
The main fabric Tala uses is called Q-Nova. It’s a very lightweight and breathable nylon fabric that is perfect for activewear. Q-Nova is mostly upcycled from pre-consumption waste materials that couldn’t have been used otherwise. The innovative material is certified by the Global Recycled Standard and the EU Ecolabel. Currently, 92% of Tala products are upcycled but they aim for reaching 100% in the near future. Their packaging is entirely recycled and recyclable, and the tags are made with plantable paper that you can plant and grow which is such a nice little detail.
Tala checks all the boxes: good-looking, eco-conscious, and affordable! If I had to choose only one brand for this post, this would be it. They are not perfect, but neither am I. And it shows that they put a lot of thought into what they produce and how they produce it.
In addition, body positivity is a big part of the brand. They make inclusive, high-performance, on-trend gym clothes that look good on every body type!
Sustainability & Ethics: sustainable materials, ethical factories, donations to refugees
Size inclusivity: up to US 18
Threads 4 Thought was founded in 2006 with the goal of leaving a positive impact on the world. The brand uses sustainable materials such as organic cotton, recycled polyester, and modal to responsibly manufacture its clothes. T4T focuses on everyday essentials that everyone needs, like basic T-shirts, as an alternative for people who want to support ethical clothing with their wallets.
In addition to sourcing their clothing ethically, Threads 4 Thought donates part of its income to the International Rescue Committee that helps refugees all around the world.
Their sportswear line which is called ReActive is created as a response to the global plastic crisis by being reactive to it. The collection is made with recycled plastic bottles and recycled fishing nets so you don’t have to sweat about them filling up the oceans and the landfills anymore. Their activewear is not only sustainable and ethical but it’s also very stylish and it’s on the more affordable side of the spectrum.
Threads 4 Thought is the perfect choice for someone who loves cute, comfy, casual clothes, leaving a positive impact on the world, and keeping the plastic out of our oceans!