How to make your gym style more sustainable

Just because you’re doing 25 miles an hour on an exercise bike, not everything about your workout needs to be fast. You can still embrace slow fashion as you race towards fitness.

And the more you hit the gym for that workout routine, the quicker you can get through gymwear. This makes it even more important that you choose your workout gear wisely. While getting into a regular gym routine might be great for your body, it’s not always so good for the planet. Changing our fitness habits feels good in more ways than one.

The good news is that there’s now plenty of choice in sustainable sportswear for your gym bag. Just bear a few key considerations in mind and you can easily make your gym style more sustainable fitness.

gymwear style for women

From the ground up

Your trainers usually take the brunt of your workout. Just think about the punishment they take every time they smash into the treadmill. Depending on how intensive your gym regime is, you can get through a pair of trainers in around 6-8 months.

Your trainers could last as little as 300 miles, so the next time you feel good about clocking up the miles on the treadmill, spare a thought for your poor trainers. They take a real beating, which feels better when they are made from recycled plastic bottles.

Of course, you don’t want to be exercising in worn-down trainers. Not only will your comfort suffer, but insufficient cushioning can be harmful, particularly to your knees.

So make sure that you’re buying tough, durable trainers that will really last. Or at least try to buy trainers made with the right materials. Look out for those using natural fibres or regenerated waste materials. Then you don’t need to worry so much if you find yourself replacing them sooner, rather than later.

After all, the average production of one shoe produces 30 pounds of carbon dioxide. That’s not something you want to be responsible for too often.

If you suffer with joint problems, it could be that you have to try – and buy – more than one pair of trainers before you find the right level of support. Sometimes, what feels right in the shop just doesn’t feel the same way when you’ve been running in the trainers for 10 minutes. But if you’ve found some sustainably produced footwear, your carbon footprint won’t rise too high, even if you have to buy a second pair of gym trainers.

Many retailers now let you check how sustainable your choice of men’s trainers or women’s trainers are before you put them in your basket.

women in trainers on treadmill

The rest of your kit

Whether it’s shorts, jogging bottoms, vests or sports bras, there are several principles you should consider if you want to work out without waste. And this also extends to an eco friendly workout with natural rubber yoga mats.


When you’ve already been at the gym for 40 minutes, you’re covered in sweat and halfway through a rowing machine session, you really don’t want to be thinking about readjusting your clothes. Working out is hard enough, so if you find something less than completely comfortable, you’re likely to never wear it to the gym again. And that obviously creates waste.

Before you buy your gear, it’s a good idea to read reviews: breathable, flexible fabrics are what you need. Ideally, they’ll be made from sustainable materials, such as natural fibres or pulp. Ethical activewear can still be well-made using sustainable practises, and most luxury activewear brand aim for their entire supply chain to be eco friendly.


No matter how much you’re down the gym, your gym clothes should last quite some time before they start to look and feel worn. Although they go through a lot, there shouldn’t be any question of them ripping or tearing when stretched out during your workouts. They also need to come through repeated trips to the washing machine.

Don’t be tempted to skimp on quality: gymwear has to be durable. If it’s not, you’ll just find yourself needing some new gear after a few sessions which even if made with recycled materials doesn’t fit the ethos.


How wrong can you go when buying a pair of shorts to run in? Well if they’re too tight or too loose, you’ll probably be concentrating more on how they look and feel than your fitness routine.

Before you buy anything, have a good think about what exercises you’ll be doing when you wear it.

Taking spinning classes? Wide-legged jogging bottoms won’t be any good.

Lifting weights a lot? Make sure your top or t-shirt won’t be riding up your back.

If you’re buying online, make good use of size guides and fashion shopping apps with comprehensive details on garments.

Want to go easy on the environment as you work up a sweat? It’s about more than just how your gym gear is made. You also need to consider what purpose it’s made for and how well it’s made.

Choose clothes that are durable and comfortable, as well as responsibly made by sustainable activewear brands, and you can concentrate more on your workout and less on what you’re wearing.