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Top 5 Sustainable Fabrics for Activewear

Top 5 Sustainable Fabrics for Activewear

Nov 21,2022
renewable fabric sportswear
renewable fabric sportswear
Would you like to switch to renewable fabric sportswear? You made the right decision! Ethical and eco-friendly fashion is not just a trend. Still necessary.

The fashion industry is one of the world's largest polluters. It is the culprit behind toxic chemicals and plastic microfibres that cause massive amounts of textile waste, greenhouse gas emissions, and water, air, and soil pollution.

Fortunately, the green movement is thriving. More and more consumers are becoming aware of how purchasing clothing can harm human health, ecosystems, and the planet as a whole.

If you are committed to an environmentally friendly and socially just lifestyle, you also need ethical and sustainable activewear.

As consumer demand for sustainable fashion continues to grow, many activewear, activewear, and athleisure brands are starting to incorporate eco-friendly materials in their new collections.

But ethical and eco-friendly activewear remains a niche market. Designers and brands should do more to bring sustainable clothing to high-end stores and online.

If you're new to the conscious fashion movement, you might be wondering where to start. There are too many terms and different labels to be aware of.

High-quality activewear is important to keep you comfortable, confident and motivated to stay active during your training sessions. You don't want to worry about your clothes while exercising.

If you're considering purchasing new activewear made from sustainable fabrics, take note of the following features:

Renewable, socially and fairly produced fashion without animal materials
The ecological, significantly economical and resource-efficient manufacturing process

Water, energy, and CO2 reduction supply chain

Reusable, recycled, biodegradable, or recyclable clothing

When it comes to renewable materials for sportswear, you can choose between natural organic fabrics and synthetic recycled fabrics.

Buy clothes made from high-quality, durable materials. Buying less high quality is the most sustainable habit you can have to minimize your environmental impact.

If you're looking for sustainable fitness gear, here are the top 5 sustainable activewear fabrics.

1. Recycled Cotton

Recycled or upcycled cotton is one of the most sustainable fabrics for activewear. It is more environmentally friendly than organic cotton. It limits additional textile waste generated during raw cotton production.

Cotton is an extremely resource-intensive crop in terms of water, energy, labor, pesticides, and pesticides. However, recycled cotton requires far fewer manufacturing resources than conventional or organic cotton.

Recycled cotton is made from post-consumer and post-industrial cotton waste. It greatly reduces the environmental impact of cotton production. Recycling one ton of cotton saves 765 cubic meters (202,000 US gallons) of water.

Recycled or upcycled cotton is made from post-consumer and post-industrial cotton waste. Unfortunately, it's still expensive to produce and hard to find, especially in sportswear.

Some salient features of recycled cotton are:






2. Organic Hemp

Organic hemp is an excellent alternative to cotton and is more ethical than cotton or bamboo. Hemp is a very sustainable fiber that has been used in clothing for thousands of years.

As a natural fabric, organic hemp is one of the most sustainable and durable options for activewear. Cannabis plants do not need a lot of water to grow.

Hemp is grown without the use of herbicides, pesticides, or fertilizers. It is also very durable compared to other natural fibers.

Hemp grows very fast in the most sustainable way, far outpacing cotton. In many regions, including China, South Korea, the Netherlands, and Chile, cannabis cultivation goes back generations.

Hemp has been the source of fabrics in Korea since ancient times. North Korea was the world's largest producer of industrial hemp in 2018, with an annual output of 14,891 tons, according to the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization.

Many sportswear brands are turning to hemp for sustainable apparel and accessories. However, it is still difficult to find applications for hemp in the textile industry, as fibers tend to be short for fabrics.

Many companies are working on new technologies to improve the quality of hemp fiber. Demand for hemp textiles is likely to grow in the coming years.

Organic hemp is a fast-growing wonder material with the following qualities:





Natural and biobased


3. Organic Linen

Organic linen is the most expensive and sustainable clothing fabric in the world. It is a woven fabric made from natural fibers made from a renewable plant resource: the flax plant. Linen fabric sells for more than cotton because it is difficult to manufacture and has less availability.

Linen is a very old fabric and has been used for a long time (over 6,000 years). In ancient Egypt, it has been used to wrap mummies to help preserve them. More than 85% of the world's flax fiber is produced in Europe. Flax remains a rare product as it accounts for less than 1% of all textile fibers consumed globally.

In hot, humid weather, linen is often preferred over other organic fabrics. It effortlessly releases moisture into the air, keeping it extra cool and fresh. It is also three times stronger than cotton.

Organic linen is a very sustainable resource. Flax plants need less water to grow than cotton. Similar to hemp, the flax plant is a versatile crop. Every part of the plant can be used.

Organic linen is an excellent sustainable activewear fabric because of its amazing properties:


Water absorption


Quick dry

Moisture wicking




4. Recycled Polyester

Recycled polyester is a high-performance sustainable material for sportswear. It is often blended with spandex or elastane for added elasticity.

Recycled polyester is also known as rPET. It is made from PET bottles, industrial polyester waste, or old clothes.

Synthetic fibers are the most commonly used materials for making sportswear. They are durable, inexpensive, and offer many functional advantages over natural fibers.

However, their manufacture requires the use of a process called polymerization, synthetic polymer compounds made from petroleum-based chemicals or petrochemicals. Synthetic materials have a huge negative impact on the environment.

They cause plastic and microfiber pollution, threatening oceans, terrestrial wildlife, and human health. They are not biodegradable and take thousands of years to break down in the ocean.

A better option is to use recycled synthetic materials such as recycled polyester made from recycled resources, and scrap.

The production of natural fibers requires a lot of resources, such as land and water. Recycled polyester reduces energy consumption by 30-50%, carbon emissions by nearly 60%, and reduces the impact on land, air, and water. Recycling also prevents waste from ending up in landfills or emitting toxic gases when incinerated.

However, the recycling process is very expensive, much higher than virgin polyester production. The collection and distribution of textile waste is also challenging. That's why only a few athleisure brands use it.

Polyester is the most widely recycled plastic in the world. In theory, polyester can be recycled indefinitely without changing its quality.

This is a great sustainable fabric for activewear because it:


Water repellent




5. Recycled Nylon

Recycled nylon is a synthetic fabric commonly used in the manufacture of sportswear, swimwear, and athleisure apparel. This is an amazing example of an eco-friendly high-performance technical fabric.

Recycled nylon is made from post-consumer and post-industrial waste such as carpet floors, fishing nets, fabric waste, and industrial plastics from landfills and the ocean.

It is very similar to recycled polyester and is often blended with spandex or elastane.

The production of recycled nylon uses far less energy and water than virgin nylon. For every ton of raw material produced, recycled nylon can save about 7 barrels of crude oil and 5.7 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions.

Not all recycled nylon is sustainable, ethical, and environmentally friendly. Its production still requires a lot of chemicals and water. It is necessary to ensure that the vast majority of resources required in the manufacturing process are reused and not released into the nearby environment.

Recycled nylon has excellent properties for sportswear, such as:





In Conclusion

These are the top 5 sustainable fabrics for sportswear. They are very different from each other and have a clear impact on the environment.

With the rise of conscious consumerism, sustainable activewear will become more popular in the coming years.

I encourage you to make the shift now and lead others to a more eco-conscious lifestyle and way of buying clothing. If you want to buy sportswear from renewable fabrics, please contact us.

YOYOUNG is a professional custom sportswear manufacturer. We cooperate with quality fabric suppliers. From the yarn to the final roll of fabric, there is a series of strict quality control procedures to maintain production standards. Our professional team carefully selects and inspects each raw material to ensure its high quality. In addition, inspections during and after production further ensure the quality of the garments.

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