Just like organic cotton, organic wool must be raised chemical-free, including the food the animals eat and where they graze. And since lightweight wool fabrics like merino wool are naturally moisture-wicking, odor-resistant, and breathable, they make a great choice over synthetic fabrics for fitness clothes.
Eco-Enemy? Organic wool is expensive and not widely available, so much of the fabric comes from far away, like New Zealand and Australia. Also, organic certification doesn’t guarantee the manufacturing process is sustainable, so an “organic” wool can still be made with conventional processes that leech chemicals, detergents, and other pollutants and use a lot of energy.
What You Can Do. Again, sourcing locally is a great option. Check to see if your clothes were made with wool from farms close by. Sonoma County in California, for example, has a Pure Grow Wool region where farmers produce organic wool according to strict regulations. Also, since you can’t rely on an organic certification to tell you how the wool was manufactured, knowing how a company processes its wool is important. The merino wool activewear company Icebreaker and sustainable clothing company Nau, for example, both make sure that their manufacturers process wool in an environmentally conscious way.
Eco-Friendly: What’s better than reusing those pesky plastic bottles? Repurposing them into clothes that fit your healthy lifestyle saves on landfill, oil, and other well-known harmful environmental effects of all those bottles we throw away. Plastic can be recycled into many fitness-specific clothes, from cycling shorts to socks. In fact, it takes about 20 bottles to make one bike shirt, so the practice of upcycling can have a major impact on the environment.
Eco-Enemy? Since the quality of recycled plastic fibers can vary, making recycled plastic fabric more difficult to use and very expensive, meaning many manufacturers may not want to offer the material.
What You Can Do. Look for brands that offer recycled plastic wear, like Dirt Republic (cycling gear), Canonndale’s Re-Spun collection, and Billabong’s Recycler Series, which includes board shorts and other swimwear made from recycled plastics.