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From fishing nets to eucalyptus trees, sports brands are jumping on the green wagon in a big way.

MANY sports labels have leapt on to the green wagon in the move towards sustainability.

Sports promotes time spent outdoors so it’s important for athletic brands to be aligned with environmental-friendly values.

Sustainability in sportswear means reducing carbon emissions and using no harmful chemicals while increasing the amount of recycled resources to manufacture products.

From a social perspective, sustainability also involves respecting human rights throughout its supply chain like guaranteeing fair wages and safe working conditions for employees.

The altruistic purpose of making a positive difference incorporates the use of eco-friendly materials like recycled polyester or Repreve, a high-quality material made of recycled water bottles.

Other materials include blended fabric made from recycled fishing nets, which makes a great alternative for lycra, a material used to add elasticity in clothing. The use of eco-friendly materials is not only kinder to the environment but also spurs innovation for super durable products.

Nike debuted progressive new collections featuring sustainable materials for all athletes ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Nike debuted progressive new collections featuring sustainable materials for all athletes ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.


Nike’s move towards sustainability was made way back. At the 2012 London Olympics, it manufactured Olympic kits using more recycled plastics.

Basketball teams from Brazil, China and the US wore uniforms made from reclaimed 22 recycled bottles. The use of recycled materials translates to a lower impact on the environment and lighter fabric provides better comfort for athletes, resulting in better performance.

For the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, Nike is making medal ceremony outfits, track and field uniforms and sneakers from recycled polyester and ground-up shoe parts.

Chief design officer John Hoke says each piece of equipment underwent comprehensive testing with top athletes at the Nike Sport Research Lab in Oregon, USA.

The Nike Air Zoom Alphafly, the brand’s newest race shoe that features sustainable materials and worn by Eliud Kipchoge who broke the two-hour marathon barrier in Vienna last October, will make its debut too.

The first Adidas x Parley sneaker collaboration.
The first Adidas x Parley sneaker collaboration.


Adidas has proven to be consistent in working towards becoming a sustainable brand. In 2015, the company partnered with Parley for the Oceans, an environmental organisation that raises awareness on plastic pollution. Through this collaboration, ocean waste and illegal deep-sea gill nets collected on beaches and coastal regions are repurposed into shoes.

To produce the shoes, both parties used Adidas’ existing footwear manufacturing process but replaced the yarns with fibres made from plastic and fishing nets. It was said that the nets used for the upper part of the shoes were retrieved during a 110-day expedition to track illegal poaching vessel off the coast of West Africa.

Patterned with contours of green stitching, the design is stylish too. It was also reported that Adidas will stop using virgin polyester completely by 2024.

One of Uniqlo’s global brand ambassador Roger Federer will don game wear made from Dry-Ex material.
One of Uniqlo’s global brand ambassador Roger Federer will don game wear made from Dry-Ex material.


Reebok announced its move towards sustainability with the launch of its Forever Floatride Glow, a plant-based running shoe made from eucalyptus trees, algae foam, castor beans and more.

This new range, an updated version of the Reebok Floatride Energy, will be available later this year.

The brand took three years to research and test out various materials to create a sustainable design. While the upper material of the shoe is made from eucalyptus tree, the rubber outsole is sourced from rubber trees and the midsole from castor beans.

Uniqlo kicked off 2020 with the announcement that it will dress its globalbrand ambassadors — Roger Federer, Kei Nishikori, Shingo Kunieda and Gordon Reid — in game wear made from Dry-Ex material incorporating polyester fibres from PET bottles for tournaments in the future.

The development of the materiel using polyester fibres recycled from PET bottles is one of the brand’s initiative to incorporate sustainability.

Other companies have also stepped up their game in sustainability. H&M, for example, designed Sweden’s Olympic and Paralympic teams uniforms back in 2016 with recycled polyester.

Sustainability has grown to be far more than just a trend. Within the fashion, sports and beauty sphere, more is being done to make positive changes. There’s no doubt that the sustainability movement will continue move the sports industry forward.

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