Kristen Seymour, www.thatsfit.com, April 22, 2010
View the original article on www.thatsfit.com
Although many would argue the ultimate act of going green is to consume less, when you do head to the store (and we all do) it is worthwhile to make sure your dollars go to companies that support a sustainable planet and its people.
One of the most obvious companies in the fitness realm is Patagonia. We've all seen the American Express commercial in which Patagonia's founder Yvon Chouinard talks about how closely tied the company is to nature.
The great news is, though they might be the best known, Patagonia is far from the only company that makes a real, tangible effort toward being eco-friendly. In honor of Earth Day, That's Fit has rounded up 11 companies that focus on sustainability and sell sports and fitness-related products from hats and mats to shorts and shoes so your next purchase can be as good for the earth as it is for you.
Knüetes invented the Doubleglove, which allows you to hold hands through your mittens (brilliant!). They have a great selection of kids outdoor accessories. They're both environmentally and socially conscious, utilizing local manufacturers and fabrics from Malden Mills, which are made from primarily recycled content. Take, for example, the Polartec 300 Recycled Fleece: It's made of at least 89 percent recycled fibers comprised of former PET bottles.
Shabby Apple is a company much-beloved by fashionistas with a conscience because of the company's fair-trade practices and fashion-forward clothing. Now, they've launched a new line called Blossom, where fit meets feminine. We'd like to meet this half-zip jacket.
Nau, the sister company of Horny Toad, truly embodies what it means to be eco-friendly. They maintain 75 percent sustainability across all of their lines, use the labor watch dog group Verite to monitor all of their overseas factories, purchase carbon offsets for all their shipping actions, give 2 percent of all purchases to charity (and allows customers to allocate their 2 percent to a charity of their choice), and every single item they produce is fully recyclable! That's Fit is particularly fond of the Stylus Pant -- a girl can't ever have too many yoga pants, right?
Thriv takes it back to basics, offering simple styles that really perform with moisture wicking, UV ray protection and odor blocking technology in the fabric the founders invented called BamCo, a natural bamboo and organic cotton blend. And because we can't get enough comfy, cotton-y pants, our pick here would have to be the Boca Cropped Pant (Sometimes it's just too hot for full-length yoga pants!)
Sometimes, though, simple doesn't cut it, which is where the TerraFrog Frogaliscious Funky Back Tank comes in. TerraFrog purchases wind power, supports the Pembina Institute (which helps fund the research and development of effective strategies to reduce the environmental impact of conventional energy), manufactures everything in Canada (where they're located, although they ship to the U.S.) and uses recycled materials in shipping, packaging and wherever possible.
Ahnu Footwear walks the walk in three ways: By using sustainable materials in its product line, remaining committed to manufacturing its products only at eco-minded and socially responsible factories and by donating a portion of its proceeds to environmentally focused charities. This is especially great because the company offers great casual shoes, but also some pretty cool sneakers, like the Sequoia.
For Pilates, yoga, hiking and more, we're digging the funky foot coverings by kigo. The company is environmentally friendly from the ground up, utilizing technology to minimize commuting. The footwear uppers, lining and packaging are made of recycled elements including CYCLEPET -- plastic jugs are cleaned and broken down to create a fabric that combines strength and softness.
You don't have to totally discount the big guys, either. Take, for example, Nike. They've launched Nike Considered Design with the focus of creating performance products that have a far smaller footprint because the waste is reduced throughout the design and development process and environmentally preferred materials are used. We love supporting the small companies that are green through and through, but we're also a fan of supporting the sustainable initiatives the big guys make.
Yoga Life Style offers a variety of yoga clothing and accessories while actively taking all environmental aspects of their products into consideration. From organic cotton clothing to certified zero emissions yoga mats and bolsters stuffed with organic buckwheat fill, they have plenty to offer. Additionally, Yoga Life Style is 100 percent vegan and aspires to soon be entirely environmentally neutral.
Naturally, you need something to carry your yoga mat with, too, which is where the Yogoco yoga bag is handy. Each beautifully colored and patterned bag (check out Buddha's Garden!) is made from pre-consumer t-shirt scraps. Plus, it not only holds your yoga bag, but also keeps everything else you need in a separate compartment.
A great non-yoga bag option is a non-toxic, PVC-free one from Ecogear -- specifically, the Earth Ocean backpack. The company was created because the founder wanted to do something to make the earth a better place for his children and a backpack made of recycled PET bottles is a good place to start! We can't lie, though -- we're also kind of partial to the adorable Ecozoo bags made of natural cotton and rope and recycled plastic, using non-toxic dyes, in shapes like puppies and pandas. For kids, of course. (Or maybe for ourselves.)
And finally, because showering is far from the most eco-friendly part of your workout, you might want to check out Action Wipes. These are full body wipes that use only natural ingredients, so they're safe for you and the planet. They're also a product of Life Elements as well as a member of 1% For The Planet, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and Green America.
In addition to doing every day things to reduce their footprint (like lowering the thermostat and using reusable bags for shopping), the company uses recyclable packaging for the products, recycled paper for printing, recycled cardboard boxes and packing materials for shipments and ships carbon free through a partnership with Carbonfund.org.
All prices are in CAD.