Friends with benefits - 5 ecological sports clothing materials

Traditionally, sports clothing has been a challenging category environmentally and healthwise. It’s great that many sustainable sports clothing brands help us get rid of virgin materials, synthetic dyes, and microplastics.

For example, a Swedish brand Houdini has developed safe and innovative eco-materials for quite a while now. A Finnish brand Lilja the Label produces swimsuits and fitness clothes out of plastic waste collected from oceans, and Iron Roots makes antibacterial sporting clothes without plastics.

Take a look at these 5 new sports clothing materials – by choosing them it’s easy to be friendly for yourself and nature.

As in clothes in general, there is not just one pre-eminent material – the brands aim to minimize their environmental impact by using various materials.


ECONYL® fiber is a more sustainable alternative for traditional nylon. It’s made from nylon waste such as fishing nets, rugs, and surplus fabrics. The fiber is traditional nylon quality and can be used and recycled again and again.

ECONYL® fiber has 90% smaller environmental impact than the traditional nylon.

Lilja the Label sports leggings and Revoel unicolored training clothes are mainly made of ECONYL®.


2. TENCEL™ Modal

TENCEL™ Modal fiber is made of beech wood and feels exceptionally soft. The wood pulp comes from sustainably managed forests in Austria and the neighboring countries. The fiber is biodegradable and compostable, so the material can be taken back to nature when it’s lifespan is over.

Iron Roots produces sporty tops made of TENCEL™ Modal and organic cotton blend. The brand only uses plastic-free natural materials as a solution for the world's problems with micro plastics.

Plastic-free alternatives were listed in Vogue UK as one of the most important sustainable fashion trends in 2022.

Iron Roots

3. Fibers with heightened biodegradability

By adding substances that activate biodegradation, it’s possible to shorten the time from hundreds to just a few years. Biodegradation happens safely without micro plastics and chemicals.

Pression Bio Collection compression tights are made of nylon that biodegrades 10 times faster than traditional nylon. The polyester used in tops works the same way as well.

CasaGin GreenPerforming 2.0 tops are also made of this kind of nylon.


4. Recycled polyester

Market shares of recycled polyester have risen already near 15% of the total market. Even though the recycled polyester made of used PET plastic bottles is more environment-friendly than virgin polyester, there still is a challenge with microplastics present.

Houdini Mono Air products are made of innovative Polartec® Power Air Light fabric – the main raw material used is recycled polyester. The small pockets of air around the fibers prevent the microplastics shedding: traditional fleece sheds as much as 80% more.

Houdini products are recyclable and the brand kindly asks you to return the clothes when you no longer use them.

Houdini Mono Air

5. Ecological dyes

Dyes and colorings typically consume a lot of water, energy, and chemicals. The compression clothes made of Pressio EcoPower CK fabric is dyed ecologically. This technology lowers the environmental impact of Pressio clothes even when made of virgin materials.

According to the brand, this eco-coloring technology uses 92% less chemicals and 46% less water, plus causes 63% less carbon dioxide emissions than traditional dyes.


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