Ethical Running Clothes

If you’re a keen runner no doubt you have plenty of clothes specifically for this use. Sportswear is tricky because it needs to be comfortable, keep you at a consistent temperature, be practical and not break the bank. You might think that style advice in terms of running is unnecessary, but for many people, how you look can make a real difference to your performance.

For people interested in ethical consumption, the shopping decisions are made even harder as most of the choice comes from the huge sportswear brands. With all of the sweatshop stories that have made it into the news over the last couple of decades it’s really difficult to know who to trust. There are however, ethical options out there, whether you’re concerned about social ethics or environmental ethics.

For more leisurely runners, you might be happy to wear organic cotton. It won’t have to same ‘wicking’ properties of synthetic fibres but it is breathable and kind to the skin. UK based brand Gossypium seem to have it sussed, they say: “Gossypium has set itself the goal to design attractive and stylish active cotton sports clothing for fitness, running, yoga and Pilates, using a fine blend of Organic & Fairtrade cotton mixed with under 10% of Lycra”. Here you have a bit of everything – organic cotton for the sake of the environment, Fairtrade cotton for the producers of the fibre and a bit of Lycra to benefit, you, the wearer.
Plenty of shops now have small organic or Fairtrade cotton ranges and they often come in the form of basic t-shirts, sweats and pants that could fit in well with your fitness routine. For more technical sportswear try Patagonia. Patagonia sell outdoor equipment and fitness wear, whilst having a strong environmental focus to their company.

They do basic t-shirts perfect for high intensity running or trail walking made from a Capilene baselayer. Capilene is made from recycled polyester, can be recycled again, and is equipped with natural odour inhibitors. 
 Yes, comfort comes first, but if you feel good about what you’re wearing, you are bound to feel good about what you’re doing.

Emma Waight is a PhD student and freelance writer. She writes fashion news and trend stories at but her real passion is ethical fashion and sustainable consumption.

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