I try to refrain as much as possible from wearing synthetic apparel, including fitness wear. At the very least I have not purchased any in years since becoming aware of the consequences of wearing tight, plastic clothing.
Synthetic clothing is also devastating for the environment during its production, as we use it, and as we discard it. For example, did you know that when we put our clothes through the wash, we are emitting micro plastic molecules into nature, making wildlife sick? That is, if the fibre is made from things such as acrylic, polyester and nylon.
Synthetic workout clothes also smell worse than sweating in cotton, since the fibres are hospitable to odor-causing bacteria, whereas on cotton they do not thrive.
It can be difficult to find eco-friendly workout wear and organic clothing for fitness. I definitely do not feel that I have explored all the options available, but this is what I have been using in the meantime.
I should note that I am writing about these bands with hesitation as ultimately I would prefer locally manufactured clothing but again, the options are lacking.
Organic Yoga Pants
1). Lole Women Salutation Legging
I have nothing but good things to say about how these pants feel and look. They are extremely soft and comfortable, they have pockets, and seams to complement curves. I love them and they have become a staple for me.
The fabric is composed of 45% organic cotton, 45% Tencell/Lyocell and 10% Elastane.
Tencell or lyocell is a synthesized fibre broken down with solvents from wood pulp. It is considered sustainable to produce with minimal negative impact on the environment, the solvents are non-toxic and are recycled to be used for processing in order to reduce waste. The fibre is also biodegradable.
Lyocell is suitable for active wear because it is naturally bacteria-resistant and won’t retain unpleasant odors. By contrast, petrochemical clothing needs to make use of more toxic chemical finishes to ward off bacteria.
I have come across one article that claims that although the production of lyocell is eco-friendly, it may not always be non-toxic to wear since conventional chemicals may be used to dye the fibre. This would depend on the where it is manufactured.
Unfortunately, Lole doe not mention anything about their manufacturing processes on their website, nor on their parent company’s website, Coalision. They do not mention where they source their organic cotton from or where their lyocell is produced or whether they are concerned with environmentally friendly, safe clothing.
They don’t claim to be an eco-friendly or sustainable fashion brand. They only have some pieces that are labelled “eco-consious” such as the leggings being currently discussed. On the label it says “Made in Thailand”. Many of their other items are made with polyester.
So for these reasons, I’m not eager to support this brand any further. If they were a smaller company and all their products were made with sustainable and organic fabrics then I would. I’ve got the one pair of awesome leggings and that will be enough for me.
2). PACT Organic Leggings
I have quite a few pairs of Pact Organic leggings. They come in a variety of designs and aren’t crazy expensive, so I’ve accumulated a few.
They feel nice and they are soft, however they kind of bunch in the crotch area. For that reason, I prefer to wear them with longer shirts that go past my bum (if I’m going to be in public). I also use them under jeans when its really cold out.
What I like about Pact is that they are very much all about sustainability and worker’s rights. They use non toxic chemicals for growing cotton, have organic certifications, meet standards for biodegradability, and use safe dyes free of toxic heavy metals.
Organic Cotton Bras
The only organic bra I’ve used for fitness is the yoga bra by Synergy Organic Clothing. It surprisingly provides decent support, and so I have three of them now. The only thing is, there isn’t a cup liner, so in public it’s better to wear with a black or loose-fitting shirt. It also does not have adjustable straps.
There are also organic cotton bras available at Blue Canoe. I have tried their yoga bra, but found it didn’t have much support because I got a size too large. I’m considering trying another style from this brand.
I have a hoodie from Pact that is 100% organic cotton, it’s very soft and comfortable. No complaints, just a standard hoodie.
I also have a couple racerback tanks from Pact, which are just fine and I wear them often. Their t-shirts however, I do not recommend. They fit strange on me and the cotton is stiff, so they’re just not flattering.
I also have some organic cotton long sleeve t’s that I found at Mountain Equipment Co-Op.
So in conclusion I haven’t found anything perfect. I hope to find an organic cotton sports bra with great support, adjustable straps and insertable cups for extra coverage. I also wish there were perfectly fitting, nicely tailored yoga pants from an eco-friendly, organic fitness brand. I would also really like to find fitness tops made with an organic and lyocell blend.
Please share in the comments below if you have found any organic and eco-friendly clothing brands, I’d really like to know what else is out there!