Sweat wicking, supportive, breathable, squat-proof. Activewear is arguably the hardest-working sector of our wardrobe. Often made from synthetic fabrics to meet our high expectations, these items can cause significant impact on the environment. 

What’s a better option? Cue the launch of the sustainable-athleisure sector. Reflecting the demand from consumers for more environmentally friendly choices, many new and existing brands have created collections with reduced waste by using recycled materials and natural fibres. Next time you want something to wear while you move your body, consider where to spend your money. 

Hakea Metamorphic surf suit, AU$240
Hakea is an Australian swimwear brand with a sustainability focus. Small, high-quality collections are created to last. Swimsuits are made from Econyl, a fabric created out of regenerated ghost fishing nets, discarded ocean plastics and fabric mill scraps. The impressive product is resistant to chlorine, has an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) of 50-plus, and resists breakage up to five times longer than standard fabrics. Shop

Allbirds trail runners, $230
Hometown heroes Allbirds continue the new releases with their first ever designated trail runner. The shoe itself is made from eucalyptus-tree fibre, merino wool and sugar-cane EVA (ethylene vinyl acetate) and the shoelaces are made from recycled water bottles. Shop

Nagnata uptown biker, $250
Nagnata is a luxury fashion brand merging the natural properties of organic and renewable fibres with technology and innovation. These bike shorts are made using organic cotton and knitted in a manner to cause minimal waste. Shop

Nisa Brooke leggings, $144
Nisa’s new sustainable activewear collection joins its range of ethically produced underwear and swimwear. It’s made from recycled nylon fabric and hand-sewn by its Wellington team of women from refugee and migrant backgrounds. Available in sizes XS to 4XL. Shop

Girlfriend Collective full-zip fleece, US$128
Girlfriend Collective says each jacket is made from 59 recycled water bottles and dyed using eco-friendly substances and wastewater that’s first cooled and cleaned. The company even donates the mud waste from the dyeing process to a local facility that recycles it into footpaths and roads. Now that’s some great gym watercooler chat. Shop

Sooti Lotus collection bra, $67
New Zealand brand Sooti is a family affair. Pieces are designed in Auckland by founder Shireen, while the fabrics and production side of the operation is run in India by Shireen’s mother, Sujata. Sooti’s ranges are full of yoga-focused activewear in soft romantic colours and geometric patterns. All fabrics are certified organic. Shop

Reformation Emmy Ecostretch jumpsuit, $195
Reformation is a one-stop shop for trend-focused womenswear. Think of it as a carbon-neutral, environmentally conscious ASOS alternative. This particular piece is made from Repreve, a mid-weight jersey polyester sourced from recycled plastic bottles. Shop

Outdoor Voices Snacks bra, US$68 
Outdoor Voices is a cool-kid activewear brand out of the US. Founder Tyler Haney, who was sick of how macho the big sports brands were, created it to give a softer, fun alternative to consumers who love to work out. Outdoor Voices incorporates sustainable practices in its operations – from how it runs its offices, to fabric selections and packaging. But most importantly, this bra has a storage pocket to hold snacks. Shop

Swannies Golf Legends polo, US$59
Great news for golf lovers. Swannies, a modern golf-wear brand, has released its Legends polo in 100% recycled material. The polo is quick drying, super stretchy and boasts durable performance. Shop

Icebreaker men’s merino tech light II in olive, $99.99
Icebreaker uses 100% natural fibres, with not a petrochemical anywhere. Performance wear made from top-grade ZQ wool offers the same sweat-wicking and temperature-regulating properties as synthetic, and dare I say it, with less need to launder. Shop

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