Running is a great activity that most people can pick up at any stage of their life, though it can be a daunting to start with. Activewear brands are particularly exciting right now, combining technical performance in their clothes with inventive sustainable fabrics, charity partnerships, ethical manufacture, and climate activism. When buying clothes, particularly activewear, you want to feel good, and you always feel better knowing your clothes do good.
So, whether you’re a seasoned marathon runner, experimenting with fell running or going out on your first jog, here’s a rundown of running brands whose clothes look good, work well and are ethically made.
Sundried was founded in 2015 by triathletes, for triathletes. They offer a recycled collection made from plastic and coffee grounds. In 2008 they found that using recycled coffee grounds had immense benefits for activewear, such as being naturally anti-bacterial, faster drying than cotton, de-odorising and sweat wicking.
Who knew coffee and running would go so well together!
Additionally, they aim to maintain a responsible and ethical supply chain, with their factories audited by SMETA.
Some great items from their EcoTech Collection are the Recycled Quilted Gilet and Les Rouies 2-in1 Women’s Shorts. The gilet is perfect for harsher weather, so you can go for your run come rain or wind. Ranging from sizes XS-XL, the gilet comes in a black colour with red details, zip pockets for your valuables and a detachable hood (£48).
The shorts also come in the same size range of XS-XL, with a reflective band for safety in low light and inner compression shorts that help combat chaffing. (£24).
(Images and information from Sundried.com).
The Running Republic
Founded in Barcelona in 2017, 100% of the clothes are made of recycled materials such as plastic bottles. In the past five years the company has been recognised by the Fair Trade Foundation, Global Recycled Standard, Global Textile Standard and is PETA approved vegan. Their Sustainability manifesto details the making and creating of their clothes in Portugal based factories. Some exciting standouts for the brand are their partnership with Belgium NGO WEFOREST, giving you the option to buy a product that will plant a tree in the Amahara reforestation project in Ethiopia. Additionally, the company also offers customised designs for running groups and race organisers.
A top pick from the brand has to be their Women’s Ultra Light Tank Top 2.0. With sizes ranging from XS-XL, you can choose from black, navy, tie dye print, watercolour print or from the two activist designs. This lightweight top made from recycled micro plastics is perfect for working up a sweat. £33.93
(Image and information from therunningrepublic.com)
Now this brand has been making a positive impact in the activewear world since 2003. Founded in Cornwall, Finisterre was the first UK outdoor clothing company to become B Corp™ certified in 2018 and in 2021 announced that they have improved their B Corp™ rating. They have a whole page dedicated to their factories, so you can get to know who is making your clothes and where. Finisterre offers some very exciting services to improve the longevity of their clothes, such as a repair service for rips, seams, cuffs and zip malfunctions. Also, if you fall out of love with your purchase, you can send it back in return for store credit and they will resell your pre-loved garment with their partner, ReSkinned. Their packaging is biodegradable, water soluble and ocean safe too.
Some clothes to consider would be the Vela bamboo Long Sleave Base Layer, that you can also get in a ¼ zip style. Made with bamboo viscose, the natural properties of which include fabric breathability, temperature regulation, sweat wicking and anti-bacteria, you can get the top in black, grey or blue. This vegan item comes in sizes 8-16 for £45.
If you’re interested in leggings, the Zonda Legging in either a full length or cropped design is the one to check out. Made from recycled polyester and elastane, this durable garment is sweat wicking and includes a handy side pocket for your phone or house key. The sizes range from XS-XXL and you can get it in plain black, or navy with khaki panelling, or charcoal with grey panelling. £65.
(Images and information from Finisterre.com)
The brand officially launched in 2020 by GRN Sportswear LLP, a company founded by a group of triathletes in 2014. With their workshop based in Bristol, Presca is the culmination of their years of work and innovation to create their recyclable garments made from recycled fibres. That’s right, their clothes are recycled and recyclable. One of their main manufacturer partners uses completely renewable energy, the clothes come in compostable packaging and Presca offers repair and alteration services.
The clothes themselves are vegan, made of consumer wasted plastic bottles and fishing nets in European factories. You can choose to buy their clothes with Greenstory, an opportunity to offset carbon emissions created through the making and mailing of the clothes. Their website also advises customers how to wash and care for their clothes in a more environmentally manner.
The Conscious Capsule Shorts would be a great buy if you desire breathability and flexibility for your running. They come in sizes XS-XL and either a green or black colour. (£55).
Another standout is the Conscious Capsule Vest. In a racerback design, this top is perfect for those warmer runs. You can get it in purple, black or teal in sizes XS-XL. (£35).
(Images and information found from presca.com)