4 ways to consume sportswear sustainably

The demands on modern sportswear are high: it should not only fit and look good, but also be breathable, sweat-absorbent, quick-drying, ultra-light, extra stretchy and much more. All at once, of course.

But a plus in functions usually also means a plus in chemistry. Because despicable cotton cannot meet such high demands. The sports fashion industry is therefore working flat out to develop new synthetic fibres. Apart from functional advantages, these unfortunately also have some disadvantages for the environment. That is why we need to rethink!

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Why is it important to buy sustainable clothing?

Synthetic fibres are generally based on crude oil, a resource that is known to be finite. According to Greenpeace, however, crude oil also has an extreme impact on the environment, from its exploration, extraction, processing, transport and consumption. For example, (primeval) forests are often cleared for the construction of extraction and transport facilities, and unspoiled coastal regions are transformed into industrial plants.

That alone would be bad enough, but unfortunately it is by no means everything.

Should I just throw normal sportswear in the trash?

Please don’t! The disposal of petroleum-based synthetic fibres must also be viewed critically. They are not biodegradable, i.e. they do not rot and accumulate in the oceans, for example. Keyword: microplastics.

In addition, synthetic fibres often contain harmful substances that can be harmful not only to the environment but also to health. It is therefore better to dispose of them at a specialist dealer or in special collection containers. Even more environmentally friendly: Simply wear it longer!

Sustainable fashion is so stylish

How can I consume sports fashion sustainably?

All this does not mean, of course, that you should preferably do sport naked. It is enough to consume sportswear a little more consciously. How exactly this can be done and which sustainable and fair sports brands are available is revealed here.

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1. more sustainable means less clothing with fewer functions

The disadvantage of sustainably produced clothing is often a correspondingly high price. Instead of living beyond your means, you could simply buy less. Sounds stupid, but this way you not only save money, but also protect the environment. Yes, shopping less is hard. The statistics show that too. Germans alone throw away 750,000 tons of clothes every year. Precisely because so many men and women are constantly tempted to buy supplies.

The statistics would look better if you would ask yourself before every purchase whether you really need this part. Yeah, yeah, killjoy… But there’s a very simple calculation for sportswear: Do you really need four functional shirts if you only train twice a week? Of course not!

Also very important: Save on functions if you do not necessarily need them. For example, if you always train in the gym and only go jogging outside when the weather is fine, you don’t need a running jacket with a solid rain cover.

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2. recycled clothing saves resources

It is even more sustainable to buy not only little but also recycled material. This is because the production of recycled clothing uses only about half the amount of energy as new fibres produced from crude oil. More and more sports fashion brands are therefore producing textiles or shoes that are made entirely or largely from recycled fibres. Wow!

For example, the guiding principle of the joint eco-collection of Adidas and the ocean protectors of Parley: waste does not have to remain waste forever. Shoes and clothing from the Parley series are made from plastic waste collected from beaches and coastal areas before it can even be discharged into the sea.

Sports equipment is also available in recycled versions, for example the yoga mats from hejhej-mats. By the way: You can usually recognise recycled sportswear at first glance by advertising slogans such as “I used to be a bottle”. If you want to know exactly how much recycling is in your new shirt or shoe, look at the label. It must be stated here. Also a solution, but maybe not every woman’s taste, especially when it comes to sportswear: Buying second hand – more recycling is not possible!

3. organic sportswear uses renewable resources

People who wear clothing made from renewable resources leave a much smaller CO2 footprint than with fast fashion goods made of plastic. More and more labels are therefore relying on renewable raw materials in their production. For example Mandala Yogawear and Bleed.

For production, manufacturers like to use unusual materials such as cork, hemp and eucalyptus. Sounds weird, but feels great, is low in pollutants, environmentally friendly and kind to the skin. Classic natural fibres such as merino wool are also being used more and more frequently. The sustainable sports brand Kaipara Merino Sportswear, as the name already suggests, is made entirely from merino wool – fairly produced and made in Germany. Which brings us to the next point.

4. fair sportswear also protects human resources

Buying clothes with a clear conscience is one thing. This also applies to sports fashion. After all, in order to produce cheap disposable fashion, workers in low-wage countries are all too often exploited. Of course, simply paying a high price is no guarantee that a piece has been fairly produced. Therefore, pay more attention to the Fairtrade seal. It tells you that basic social and also ecological conditions prevail during production.

If you buy sportswear in an environmentally conscious manner, you don’t have to make any compromises! In appearance and even in function, nature-friendly fashion can easily keep up with conventional sports textiles. The higher price can be compensated for by less consumption.

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