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These 5 Athleisure Brands Are Changing the Sustainability Game

These 5 Athleisure Brands Are Changing the Sustainability Game

These industry disruptors are giving back and building a better tomorrow

This Earth Month, environmental issues are taking center stage. But consumers are becoming more conscious of their choices year-round when purchasing everything from food and cars to apparel.

Many in the fitness and fashion industries have noticed this shift, as activewear companies have been experiencing their own awakening when it comes to environmental impact.

Fashion production has more than doubled since the 2000s and is expected to triple by 2050, while polyester production, which is commonly found in athleisure wear, has increased ninefold in the last 50 years. 

While customers enjoy shopping for new clothes, the World Economic Forum issued a stark warning in 2021, naming the fashion industry and its supply chain the world’s third-largest polluter, releasing 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions each year. 

Some fitness-focused apparel brands have taken innovative measures for a better planet, promising to cease using chemical-ridden fabric and sourcing sustainable material.

Although many businesses may post an Instagram message celebrating the Earth, here are 5 athleisure brands that have committed to going green and are taking measurable action.



There couldn’t be an environmentally friendly list without mentioning Patagonia, a brand known for its ethos of the great outdoors and adventure.

The apparel company has long been known for its mission to better the world, which is more than just lip service or a PR move. 

Patagonia’s founder, former rock climber Yvon Chouinard, announced last fall that the company’s ownership has been transferred to an environmental trust, the Patagonia Purpose Trust, and a nonprofit, Holdfast Collective. At the time of the announcement, Chouinard, now 84, stated that Earth is now Patagonia’s only shareholder.

The company has pledged to become carbon-neutral by 2025.

What has set Patagonia apart is its steadfast commitment to create long-lasting apparel and products, even rolling out a repair and re-use process for customers.

Girlfriend Collective


Athleisure made from post-consumer materials such as water bottles, abandoned fishing nets found at sea and fabric scraps may sound unusual, but Girlfriend Collective has pulled it off, creating colorful leggings and activewear.

The eco-friendly clothing company says it’s earth’s biggest fan and uses 100% recycled and recyclable packaging.

Girlfriend Collective uses eco-friendly dyes and strives for transparency, publishing factory certifications on the Girlfriend Collective website


Allbirds, an American-based footwear and apparel company, focuses on eco-friendly products and is a certified B Corporation, a designation given to for-profit businesses that are committed to social and environmental issues.  

Tim Brown co-founded the footwear company after receiving a research grant from the New Zealand wool industry to develop a sneaker. After launching the idea on Kickstarter and raising nearly $120,000 in five days, he teamed up with Joey Zwillinger, a biotech engineer and renewable materials expert. The brand officially launched in 2016 and raised $7.25 million in its first year from investors. 

Allbirds is committed to using 75% sustainably sourced natural and recycled materials by 2025, as well as reducing raw material carbon footprint by 25%. The footwear company also wants to double the lifespan of its sneakers and apparel.

While Allbirds has intended to replace petroleum-based synthetic materials with natural alternatives, it has invented other solutions when necessary, such as SweatFoam, a sole shoe material made of carbon negative green EVA and plant leather. 

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Canada-based Tentree is committed to ethical manufacturing practices and plants ten trees for every item purchased. The brand sells activewear, loungewear, and even bio-based sneakers made from recycled and organic textiles.

Planting trees does more than just replenish oxygen sources. According to Tentree, it’s mission of planting trees regenerates ecosystems, captures carbon and creates planting jobs in communities all over the world. 

Tentree’s apparel and products are made in fair and safe working conditions with materials that are sustainably sourced and recycled, such as Tencel lyocell, organic cotton and Repreve.

Tentree’s CEO, Derrick Emsley, sees the brand as more of a tree-planting company that sells apparel than an apparel company that plants trees. Emsley told Forbes in December that Tentree’s investment in nature is reflected in every piece of clothing it sells.

Happy Earth Apparel

Happy Earth, a company that sells plant-based athleisure, uses the proceeds from sales to pick up trash, fight climate change and plant trees. 

The brand is also a Certified B Corporation with carbon-neutral, fair trade, and WRAP-certified facilities, and its packaging is made entirely of recycled materials.

All products are vegan, and the company uses eco-friendly materials that reduce the amount of chemicals, water and wastewater used in manufacturing.

Happy Earth’s co-founder, Victoria Gennaro, PhD, was working on her doctorate in cancer biochemistry when she launched the eco-friendly brand, and, surprisingly, she had no prior experience in fashion or business. Nonetheless, Gennaro was passionate about environmentalism and the looming climate crisis, and she used her research skills to discover how fashion plays a significant role in environmental issues. 

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