Thursday, November 10, 2011

In Search of Eco-Friendly Exercise Clothing

I participate in many different forms of exercise: running, DVDs, weight training, and most recently, yoga and cycling. Buying yoga clothing has been the most fun. Many retailers offer organic cotton options for yoga wear. However, I have had some difficulty finding appropriate clothing for cycling. My collection of boot cut exercise and yoga pants is not safe when I have extra fabric flapping around between the pedal and the chain.

I am in search of cycling pants and tops that are eco-friendly and non-toxic.  

Bicycle GreenMy Criteria (in order of importance):
  1. Eco-friendly fabric
  2. Eco-friendly dyes
  3. Comfort
  4. Style

I did some research.  In terms of fabric appropriate for exercise, I found options like organic cotton (hard to find for cycling clothing), wool, vintage polyester, and recycled polyester as being the best options. Bamboo is not on my list! Even though bamboo is touted as antibacterial and eco-friendly because it takes so little time to reach maturity, the process of transforming bamboo into fabric is very extensive. Toxic chemicals are used to liquefy the wood and turn it into a fabric similar to rayon. Bamboo itself is good, the process to transform it into fabric is far from being environmentally friendly. I know there are companies out there that sell eco-friendly and sustainable bamboo, but I have not found them yet!

What other types of fabrics can I look into?

What brands are going to be the best?  


Footprint Bamboo Socks and Shirts said... has the good bamboo!

CelloMom said...

Katie, call me a blockhead, but - I don't get why you need special clothes for biking. I love my bike, but don't go fast enough to need low-air-resistance clothing, so on my bike I like to wear whatever I wear the rest of the day. That means comfortable. Polyester gives me smelly sweat: very uncomfortable. Cotton treats me well in the summer, wool in the winter. Wool has serious built-in sweat control. Silks are comfortable, but I find them to be too much work.

What's wrong with leggings or stirrup pants? Those, and equine riding pants that fit tightly around the ankles, come in cotton.
Come winter, I'll pull out the woollens, tops and bottoms. Icebreaker and Smartwool make the itchless, washable kind. For the most desperate days, I break out the merino/angora blend long johns (aahhhh!). My regular cotton corduroys go right over that.

Oh: I did make sure to have a chain guard on my bike. Works for all but the flounciest of dresses.

Unknown said...

@CelloMom - Great information! I finally acquired one wool long sleeve top, but haven't had a chance to wear it yet. I'm very intrigued by wool and plan to go to the REI store that just opening.

I also try to stay with natural fabrics, but you can't beat those dry-fit tops (although they do tend to smell after a while).

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