Responsible athletic wear is nearly synonymous with non-synthetic materials. We stopped using natural fibers for performance apparel because they absorb moisture. While this may seem like an advantage, your clothes will become heavy and weigh you down when you sweat.
The Problem with Synthetic Materials
For the past few decades fabrics like spandex, lycra, nylon and polyester gave material stretch and absorbed less moisture. The problem with these materials is that they are petroleum-based and not biodegradable. Small micro-plastics actually leech into the water supply when you wash them.
Where to Find Responsible Athletic Wear
A new breed of designers creating responsible athletic wear are using recycled materials without compromising on performance.
Tala and Ernest Leoty's Sustainable Essentials collection both use a new recycled, traceable fabric called Q-Nova that is made from regenerated raw materials using a mechanical rather than chemical process.
Michi still uses nylon and spandex but they are Oeko-Tex certified meaning they are independently tested for their use of chemicals to ensure they are safe beyond national and international requirements.
No Ka Oi doesn't list any of their sustainable practices on their site but they are Positive Luxury accredited with The Butterfly Mark which sites their water conservation, cruelty-free materials, and ethical trade practices.