If you’re trying to be more more mindful of your environmental footprint in 2021, one of the most important places to start is with your wardrobe. And if you love working out — or rather, don’t absolutely despise working out — then making more conscious, sustainable clothing choices also applies to your gym kit.
Leggings are probably the easiest piece of workout gear to swap out for more sustainable alternatives, simply because there are so many options available. There are leggings made from organic cotton, which are stretchy, comfortable, and sweat-wicking but without the chemicals it usually takes to produce those fabrics. Organic cotton is a natural textile that sidesteps any pesticides and insecticides, which have myriad detrimental effects on the environment, not to mention human health.
Most of our favourite eco-friendly leggings, however, are made from Econyl yarn, which is a recycled fibre made from abandoned fishing nets and various other post consumer waste found in the ocean. Once the ocean waste is collected, cleaned, and sorted, the nylon is passed through a regeneration process by crushing it into pellets, melting it, and producing a yarn that is woven to create the fabric. The Econyl yarn is then woven with a small amount of spandex or nylon to add stretch and durability. By using ocean waste, it cuts out the need for raw materials such as crude oil, which is traditionally used to produce nylon. It’s important to note that these options are made with a small percentage of synthetic fabrics like spandex or Lycra (they’ve got to get stretchy somehow), but they’re primarily made from recycled materials, which is better than none at all.
And yes, I know that we all have our favourite name-brand athletic leggings that took us ages to finally find, but when you’re trying to make more eco-friendly choices, it’s probably time to look beyond the big brands we know and love. We not only did a little online shopping deep dive but also test drove a whole bunch of sustainable leggings to find six quality, eco-friendly and ethical leggings that you can not only feel good about buying, but also feel great working out in.