Perform at your best with the best sustainable running shoes and clothes from Tala, Sundried, Hummel, Zouma, Asics, Hylo, Kit Change, Vivobarefoot and more
The world is getting warmer – and it is becoming increasingly important to make sustainable choices in our daily lives.
Thinking about the clothes you wear is one of the ways you can do this – including what you wear while you’re exercising. Så, how do you find sportswear that supports your running as well as the environment?
You’ll be pleased to know there are now plenty of choices for a sustainable runner.
Hvordan vi testet
We approached this review like any other, measuring them on performance, comfort and style. But we also considered what the products were made out of, searching for long-lasting fabric created from a sustainable source, and how they were made. We also looked at price, as sustainability shouldn’t have to cost the world.
The best sustainable running shoes and clothes for 2021 er:
- Beste generelt – Zouma duo motion singlet: £32, Wearezouma.com
- Best sustainable 2-in-1 running shorts – Sundried legacy women’s running shorts: £ 30, Sundried.com
- Best sustainable running leggings – Kit Change 7/8 Run leggings: £ 55, Kitchange.co.uk
- Best bamboo running kit – BAM Tregarrick bamboo base layer: £44, Bambooclothing.co.uk
- Best sustainable compression shorts – Tala hosta logo seamless shorts: £ 30, Wearetala.com
- Best sustainable cropped top – Hummel seamless sports top: £ 24, Hummel.co.uk
- Best sustainable base layer – Icebreaker women’s merino 200 oasis long sleeve half zip thermal top: £85, Icebreaker.com
- Best sustainable trail running shoes – Vivobarefoot primus trail FG II: £120, Vivobarefoot.com
- Best sustainable road running shoes – Asics gel-nimbus 23: £155, Asics.com
- Best value sustainable shoes – Hylo women’s corn runners: £100, Hyloathletics.com
Zouma duo motion singlet
Beste: Alt i alt
If you haven’t heard of Zouma, you need to get it on your go-to brand list immediately. The brand specialises in sustainable and ethical running products – with a range of sportswear from socks to tops that’s not only better for the planet but also specifically tailored for runners’ needs.
We tested Zouma’s striking duo motion singlet and found it ticked all our boxes. Made from up to six plastic bottles, the manufacturing process sees these plastics crushed, melted and turned into a high performing fabric. The brand says this uses 70 per cent less energy and results in 54 per cent fewer carbon emissions than traditional sportswear manufacturing.
We loved the unique design and fit, finding it performed well on long runs and sprint sessions thanks to its ability to wick sweat away from the body. It is also super lightweight and has flatlock seams, so you can be sure there won’t be any chafing.
Available in five sizes, this top washes well without being on a high temperature. Plus Zouma’s packaging is 100 per cent recycled and recyclable, and it plants a tree for every item bought. Så, what are you waiting for?
Sundried legacy women’s running shorts
Beste: Sustainable 2-in-1 running shorts
Sundried is an activewear brand with a large focus on operating in eco-friendly and sustainable ways. The brand offers two collections made from 100 per cent recycled materials, as well as high-performance products made from eco-friendly biodegradable material.
We tested the brand’s legacy women’s running shorts, which are made from 95 per cent recycled polyester, and they ticked all the boxes when it came to performance and comfort. Available in five sizes, the two-in-one design means runners benefit from a protective inner lining and a split side so you still get the full range of movement. We found they were true to size and loved the attractive 80s-style blue and white piping. I tillegg til, they’ve got a useful side pocket for storing essentials like keys. At £30, we think these are a great value choice for runners looking to make a sustainable step.
Kit Change 7/8 run leggings
Beste: Sustainable running leggings
Launched in November 2020, Kit Change’s sustainability credentials are impressive. The brand says it has repurposed over 49,000 PET bottles since launch, as well as helping to save water and energy via a carefully thought through production process.
One of our favourite products from Kit Change’s range is its 7/8 run leggings. The high-waisted design is comfortable and flattering, with a drawstring to ensure the perfect fit and an attractive five-tone stripe that runs down the side of the leg. We found they were lightweight and breathable, staying in place during runs. And if you also like to go to the gym they are squat proof too.
Each pair is made from 16 recycled plastic bottles, which are ground down into pellets and spun into high-quality recycled polyester. Faktisk, even the zip on the handy back pocket is recycled. I tillegg til, if you are concerned about microplastics and microfibers in your wash, the brand also has plenty of handy tips on how best to care for your new leggings.
BAM Tregarrick bamboo base layer
Beste: Bamboo running kit
If you haven’t tried bamboo clothing before, there are three main reasons why you should; it’s super soft and comfortable, it naturally manages moisture and it’s super sustainable, with bamboo grass absorbing five times more CO2 from the air than the equivalent of hardwood trees.
BAM is one of our favourite suppliers of bamboo clothing. Every piece is climate positive, with the brand going one step further than carbon neutral by offsetting carbon emissions not just from the business but also for a customer washing each item 50 ganger.
There’s plenty to choose from – but as we head into autumn our pick has to be the brand’s super soft, long-sleeved Tregarrick base layer. We found it was great as a long-sleeved running top as the mornings and evenings turned colder. It naturally helped to regulate temperature and wick sweat away from the body, ensuring we stayed warm and dry. The mid-neck design is highly flattering (and also based on Strava-style tracking maps so it’s perfect for Instagram too).
Available in a size 8 to a size 16, it doesn’t need any special care so you can easily wash it with other items – plus it arrives in packaging that’s either compostable or recyclable. We were seriously impressed and will be wearing plenty more bamboo in the future.
Tala hosta logo seamless shorts
Beste: Sustainable compression shorts
Hit the treadmill or track with Tala with these high performing, sustainable compression shorts. We are always a tad nervous about such a close fit design, but these cycle-style shorts are flattering with a contouring waistband and attractive tape design. Not only that, but they performed really well, staying in place throughout training runs and prevented any chafing.
Made from recycled polyamide in Portugal, the brand says the fabrics and production methods have been accredited by the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), which ensures organic fibres are used, some chemicals are banned and working conditions are checked. These are available in black or blue and in five sizes, but the brand recommends sizing up with this pair.
Hummel seamless sports top
Beste: Sustainable cropped top
If you haven’t heard of Hummel, you need to get up to speed. According to the Sustainable Brand Index, Hummel has been Denmark’s most sustainable clothing brand for two years in a row, mixing attractive Scandi design and high-performance sportswear.
There is certainly plenty to choose from in its range – but we went for the seamless sports top. For the bigger breasted ladies, we’d recommend wearing a sports bra underneath this one. To check the support, we tested it during our midweek runs and during cross-training, finding it comfortable and chafe-free. Even with a double layer, the mesh chevrons on the back helped to keep us cool even on the hottest days.
These are made from 65 per cent recycled polyester which is created from waste starting life as old fishing nets and carpets. Som et resultat, the brand says this helps to reduce dependence on petroleum resources, as well as helping with things like reducing landfill and carbon dioxide emissions. I tillegg til, it has been designed to prevent odours – meaning you can wash it less too.
Icebreaker women’s merino 200 oasis long sleeve half zip thermal top
Beste: Sustainable base layer
Icebreaker boasts of producing the “world’s best base layer” – which is a pretty bold statement if you ask us. We’re pleased to say that we weren’t disappointed, finding this one of the most comfortable products we tested.
Som navnet antyder, this long-sleeved layer is made from merino wool, which is known for not only being super comfortable – but also lightweight and breathable. Our natural reaction was that it would be too hot, but we were pleasantly surprised and found it regulated temperature well. It also naturally resists odour, which means you can wear it more times between washes and it, in turn, creates less microfibre in our oceans. And there is the usual flatlock seams to ensure you don’t get chafing.
As a brand, Icebreaker currently uses 91 per cent natural fibres within their range. derimot, it has the ambition to become plastic-free by 2023 – which is a target we can certainly commend. This base layer is going straight into our running bag – and will be keeping us company all winter.
Vivobarefoot primus trail FG II
Beste: Sustainable running shoes
With a name literally meaning “with life” and “barefoot”, Vivobarefoot’s trainers are a natural choice for any runner who wants to feel connected to the world and do their bit for the planet.
These trainers are different in two ways; firstly, they are “foot-shaped” not “trainer shaped”. Their wide design and thin material enable runners to take advantage of their natural stability and senses so they can feel more (in a good way). We found they took a bit of getting used to – but we grew to love the flexibility especially around our local trails.
The second difference is that these are made with lightweight recycled materials, helping to reduce what goes into landfills. This includes an insole made from an alternative material created by removing harmful algae blooms from waterways. Cool, Ikke sant?
If you’re interested, we recommend trying out its trail shoe collection as we found these were also great for road running. And while there’s a 100-day trial for all orders, we’re sure you won’t be sending these back.
Asics gel-nimbus 23
Beste: Sustainable road running shoes
Part of Asics’ Earth Day Pack, these shoes are not just friendly to the environment, but also friendly to your feet. We tested these over long runs and sprint sessions, finding they were super comfortable with a bit of extra bounce that kept us going even when we were tired. We think this is down to the brand’s bespoke cushioning technology and clever design, which means the trainer hugs the foot and helps to keep you stable.
Asics says each pair includes recycled polyester in the upper layer and reports that carbon dioxide emissions are reduced by 45 per cent in the insole dyeing process (when compared to the conventional one). Available in sizes 3-11, we recommend sizing up if you choose to buy a pair.
Hylo women’s corn runners
Beste: Value sustainable shoes
Hylo’s goal is twofold: to use sport to inspire positive change and to use developing thinking around materials to build better products that are nicer to the planet. We’re pleased to say we think the brand has achieved both with its women’s corn trainers.
Designed for everyday running and training, we found these trainers were lightweight and breathable – as well as offering great grip when we needed it most. Our only niggle was that theser were slightly stiffer than some of the other products we tested, so you’d need to wear them in. Even still, these performed well throughout long runs and sprint sessions.
If that’s not enough, these are made from natural materials including corn spring, corn fibre, natural rubber and even a bit of castor beans oil. I tillegg til, the brand says they are carbon negative, which means removing more carbon dioxide from the environment than is emitted. They are available in six colours, and from a UK size 3-9.
Dommen: Sustainable running shoes and clothes
If you want to make more conscious choices, but don’t know where to start then there are some great options above to boost your running kit in a sustainable way.
We love Zouma’s range, including its bright and bold singlet, but there are also some great options from BAM – our go-to brand for bamboo goods – and sustainable specialist Kit Change. But when it comes to trainers, Hylo og Vivobarefoot really stand out on the market.
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