Sustainable Sportswear: Shop Your Clothes Carefully

sustainable sportswear

GFW Clothing doesn't offer a sportswear range yet, although we would dearly love to, if only to offer female shoppers an alternative to pink on everything from shoes to vest tops (here's our little video we made about this topic). For you sporty peeps who are concerned to be as sustainable as possible here are some things to consider when shopping.

The impact of fast-fashion on the ecosystem has become a hotly debated topic. Anna Wintour, young fashion designers from around the globe, as well as the iconic models - they are all using their voices and their influence to push this important agenda into the spotlight as much as they can.

Thankfully, when an issue crops up, and the leading heads of the industry begin talking about it, the reasonable suggestions for broad solutions begin to crop up, and they trickle down to all sub-categories of fashion. This includes sustainable sportswear, of course.

The sportswear and sustainability go hand in hand

Still, sportswear is not about high fashion. It is about providing the athlete (whether recreational or professional) with the equipment that will enhance their performance and provide comfort. Now, even in the realm of sport, green materials have become just as important as comfort and efficiency.

Let’s take socks as an example. The requirements athletes seek out pretty much remain the same -odor-free, breathability, durability. Sustainable socks made out of synthetic blends seem to be a match made in heaven with this range of requirements since pure cotton socks tend to soak up profuse sweat and lead to odor.

In other words, the goal of sustainable sportswear is to provide exactly what athletes are looking for, while still relying on sustainable solutions and materials. The same goes for shirts, shorts, and other accessories. Sportswear is one of the shining examples in the clothing industry where it seems to work out like a charm.

The internet is on your side

Thankfully, you won’t have to jump through hoops to find the online stores that sell sustainable clothing, including sportswear. All it takes is typing a few keywords into your search engine, and voila. 

Many well-established and reliable online thrift stores like Etsy, eBay and others deal in sustainable clothes, which means that you don’t have to spend an inordinate amount of money to stay eco-friendly. When it comes to sustainable sportswear brands, new names are appearing in the limelight and becoming synonymous with quality. In other words, this is not an underground movement or an outlier of the broader utopian idea - the shift is truly happening.

Things you need to know as a buyer

As the industry shifts gears, so does the upcycling turn into a prominent part of the sustainable modus operandi in the sportswear industry (and clothing industry in general). It is all about the creative reuses of materials that have been placed into a recycling process, intending to minimize waste and offer quality.

Of course, when we discuss quality, it is only natural that people consider their health. People like to know what comes in such intimate touch with their skin, especially when sweating is concerned, and creating PFC free sustainable clothes has been one of the priorities.

Perfluorocarbons, or PFC for short, are often used in garments, especially technical items, to render them more water repellant. Now, the production of such materials also releases PFC into the air, and it also enters your bloodstream in contact with the skin. Taking this compound out of the equation is of utmost importance, especially in the realm of sportswear.

Now when you are looking for responsibly made sportswear, you should keep an eye out for these few things as well. See to it that the 100% cotton clothes have an organic seal of approval. Why? Cotton is a material with two sides of the coin in terms of sustainability - it is simultaneously its worst enemy, and ally, and it all comes down to practices of growth.

Organic cotton farms avoid genetically modified seeds and don’t use pesticides. It has also been discovered that an organic cotton farm produces only 4% carbon emissions when compared to the cotton farm that is a part of your regular, inconsiderate mass production food chain.

Also, hemp and bamboo have become quite popular eco-friendly materials, and if you read the label on your sportswear that also includes these compounds as part of the blend, it is probably safe to purchase it - though you’ll want to consult the cashier first. This is one of the reasons we chose UK manufactured bamboo viscose fabric over cotton for our unisex boxer shorts range.


Who said that recreation and sustainability cannot go hand in hand? It is perfectly reasonable to argue that the athletic outfits, equipment, and accessories should prioritize comfort and performance-enhancing qualities, but as it turns out, the lofty goals of eco-friendly turnover and the goals in the sportswear industry appear to be harmoniously aligned.

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