Is there anything better than a good pair of sweatpants? A good pair of sustainable sweatpants of course! So if you’re on the hunt for some well-made, eco-friendly sweatpants, you know we’ve got your back – hold the unethical labor practices, toxic production methods, and not-so-great fabrics and materials. They will go super well with your comfy sustainable socks, ethical fair trade sweaters, or sustainable winter hats & beanies. But before we get into it, let’s have a look at why we should consider investing in organic sweatpants.
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Things to look for while shopping for sustainable sweatpants
Whether we are looking for sustainable swimwear, ethical winter coats, or winter boots, we consider 4 main criteria which serve as a guide for what to look for in more sustainable clothing. They are fabrics and materials, ethical sourcing, corporate responsibility, and inclusivity. We are not looking for perfection but for marked improvements from conventional products that do not account for sustainability at all. Though some brands are further along than others and we favor that where we can afford to, it is pretty easy to do better than zero accountability whatsoever.
For materials and fabrics, we prefer natural and organic things like hemp, jute, organic cotton, ethical leather, and wool — as well as recycled PET or recycled nylon which is better than virgin synthetic materials. Faux leathers made from fruit waste like Pinatex and apple leather are also great. Especially as an alternative to polyurethane (a.k.a plastic) based faux leather products. Other innovative materials with a lighter footprint include LENZING Modal and TENCEL Lyocell.
We also look out for certifications and reputable brands (like LENZING) in order to avoid any greenwashing. Certifications from the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), the Global Recycle Standard (GRD), and the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) are a good points of reference. For other materials like dyes look for certifications from Bluesign and OEKO-TEX® 100.
When it comes to sweatpants, the brands featured in this article make it easy to avoid difficult to recycle buttons and other hardware, which are replaced with a simple cotton cord. But elastic waistbands may be something to pay close attention to if you want to avoid synthetics altogether. None of the brands featured offered any specifics on elastic waistbands, where present.
Next, we look at sourcing practices. Where raw materials come from, where garments are made, and how the people who make them are treated. This is super important to consider in order to avoid the unethical practices discussed above and certifications are very helpful here too. Look for reputable certifications like WRAP, Fair Labor Association, Fair Trade, ETI, GOTS, ISO 14001, or SA8000, among others.
For corporate responsibility, we look for brands who do more to reduce their impact on the planet, take accountability for their actions, and give back to people and the planet. This looks like carbon neutrality efforts, net negative initiatives, sustainable packaging, environmental initiatives, charitable works, and the like.
Inclusivity is also a major part of sustainability which is often overlooked though it is critical for us to create a more sustainable future. Here, it looks like size inclusivity, and you will find size ranges along with every brand featured to facilitate the process of getting you into your next favorite pair of eco-friendly sweatpants.
If you want to learn more about the impact of fast fashion and this industry, in particular, jump to this section.
Our Top recommendations for sustainable sweatpants
With that out of the way, let’s get into the fun stuff with our top recommendations for sustainable sweatpants.
Outerknown is a lifestyle brand committed to sustainability, and in their own words, that is “driven by a passion for responsible action, courageous change, and great clothes”. They’ve embraced a circular model as they work to reach their goal of making 100% of all of their products circular by 2030, among other things.
A great option sustainable jeans too, find sweatpants for both women and men. Their selection for women is available in colors like Lawn Party (green) and Night (blue) with sizes ranging from XS-XL. For men, sizes range from S - XXL with several color options like Sienna (orange), Atlantic Blue, and Ember (dark grey), to name a few.
If you are more likely to look in the feminine section, I’d definitely consider looking over in the masculine section for the comfiest sustainable, and ethical sweatpants. The Sur Sweatpants for men are highly praised for being super comfy, although for the taller ones among us they may be a little short.
Outerknown — fabrics and materials
Here you will find options made from recycled cashmere and merino wool, and organic cotton and recycled polyester blend which is good though it is unclear where these fabrics come from and if they are certified by any reputable third parties.
Outerknown — ethical sourcing
As part of their commitment to champion fair labor, Outerknown works with Fair Trade Certified factories and with the Fair Labor Association (FLA) to ensure fair wages for workers across their supply chain. They also offer a look into their Tier 1 suppliers which is a good step toward greater transparency, accountability, and sustainability.
Outerknown— corporate responsibility
To be more circular, Outerknown now offers a re-selling platform, and we really love that. It’s called Outerworn, and it is specifically designed to give new life to pre-loved Outerknown garments. So far, over 1,300 garments have been kept out of landfill so be sure to check out what’s on offer there. You know we love secondhand options here at The Eco Hub!
Price range: $$$-$$$$
Patagonia is well-known for its sustainability efforts and quality gear. You will find a selection of sweatpants and joggers for both men and women, including that classic, elastic waistband, and pull-on sweatpants. There’s is made from 55% recycled polyester and 45% recycled cotton. It is available in Black, Current Blue, and Gravel Heather (grey), but there are other styles to choose from too. Sizes range from XXS - XXL for women and XS - 3XL for men.
Patagonia — fabrics and materials
Materials used include organic cotton and recycled content. 87% of Patagonia’s line uses recycled materials.
Patagonia — ethical sourcing
In partnership with Fair Trade USA, Patagonia has been working to offer Fair Trade clothing since 2014. Though not all of their garments are Fair Trade Certified, their Fair Trade program has affected over 64,000 workers spread across 10 countries. Find Fair Trade Certified sewn garments by filtering through their collection online.
In terms of sourcing, all virgin cotton in their products has been organically grown organically since 1996, and the brand continues to invest in and test ways to improve the impact of producing these fibers through Regenerative Organic practices.
Patagonia — corporate responsibility
1% For The Planet Members, Patagonia pledges 1% of sales to environmental conservation and restoration efforts. They also offer a Worn Wear program where you can buy and sell used Patagonia gear. A great option for fair trade sweatpants.
Price range: $$
Per its namesake, tentree plants ten trees for every single item purchased and ensures that all of its products are made under fair and safe working conditions, using only sustainably sourced and recycled materials.
Here you will find environmentally friendly sweatpants for everyone in the family, including kids. For women, sizes range from XS-XL with color options including Meteorite Black, Sea Green, and Lavender Frost. For kids, sizes range from 1T to 5T with colors like Olive Branch Heather, and Heather Grey.
For men sizes range from S to XXL with colors including Jet Black, and Heather Grey, depending on the style. Find their take on the standard sweats in the Bamone Sweatpants (available for both men and women). They are quality and very comfy.
tentree — fabrics and materials
Materials include TENCEL Lyocell, organic cotton, and REPREVE recycled polyester. It is not clear where the elastic comes from for the styles with an elastic waistband. Some of their styles are made from a blend of organic cotton, recycled polyester, and spandex. If you are looking for organic sweatpants you will also find options made from 100% organic cotton in their Outsider Sweatpant and the Organic French Terry Sweatpant in the masculine section.
tentree — ethical sourcing
Tentree offers a look at all of its manufacturing partners located around the world, in China, Turkey, India, and Vietnam. They also only choose “manufacturers and suppliers that are conscious of their environmental impact, and that guarantee a safe and respectful environment for their employees”.
tentree— corporate responsibility
According to the brand, over 81 million trees have been planted to date, creating over 365,000 hours of paid work in the communities where their planting projects take place. Tentree is a Certified B Corporation and Carbon Neutral.
Price range: $-$$
Everlane focuses on crafting modern essentials for men and women using the best factories while skipping the traditional markups. Their selection features a number of sweatpants available in colors like Heather Charcoal, Black, Camel, and more with sizes ranging from XXS - XL for women. For men, find options in Slate (grey), Black, Kingfisher Blue, and more, with sizes ranging from XXS - XL.
Everlane — fabrics and materials
100% GOTS Organic Cotton is perfect for 100% organic sweatpants.
Everlane — ethical sourcing
Everlane’s goal is to build an ethical supply chain that produces high-quality, low-impact, durable products. They work with third-party auditors to evaluate factors like fair wages, labor conditions, reasonable working hours, and safe working conditions. Signatories of the Transparency Pledge, you will find details about all of their partner factories. They also conduct compliance audits that account for child labor, forced labor, conflict labor, discrimination, harassment, hours of work, health and safety, and more.
Everlane — corporate responsibility
As part of their commitment to eliminate all virgin plastic from their supply chain by 2021, Everlane has successfully transitioned 100% of virgin plastics from shipping bags into 100% recycled plastic or FSC-certified paper. They’ve successfully transitioned 97% of apparel materials containing polyester and nylon to be made from certified recycled fibers instead.
And, 45% of plastic footwear components are now made from recycled materials. The brand is currently setting out to emit 55% lower carbon emissions per product by 2030, 46% lower absolute emissions in 2030, and become net-zero emissions by 2050.
Price range: $$
prAna is a sustainable lifestyle brand offering clothes designed for yoga, travel, and outdoor adventure lovers. Their selection includes options for both men and women. For women, you will find joggers and pants with sizes ranging from XS - 3X.
And for men, you will find joggers that are more reminiscent of what you may have in mind when you think of sweatpants. Sizes range from XS - XXL and there are a lot of styles to choose from and colors to choose from. Find great eco-friendly t-shirts to go along with those sweats as well.
prAna — fabrics and materials
Find options made from a recycled polyester, TENCEL Lyocell, and elastane blend, a hemp, recycled polyester and TENCEL Lyocell blend, a recycled polyester, polyester and elastane blend, and a recycled polyester, organic cotton, and elastane blend. Be sure to check out the product description, especially if you are trying to avoid virgin synthetic fabrics.
prAna — ethical sourcing
One of the first brands to work with Fair Trade USA for clothing back in 2010, they’ve helped to convert 11 partner factories to being Fair Trade Certified since then. They also ensure that all of the products they make are produced under safe working conditions. Their goal is to have all of their products made in Fair Trade Certified facilities by 2028. You can shop their selection of Fair Trade Certified products using the filters on their website.
prAna — corporate responsibility
prAna works with The Renewal Workshop to give new life to used products for greater circularity. They also initiated a Poly Bag Reduction program to remove as much plastic as possible from their supply chains and are now overhauling their packaging supply chain with the help of Pack4Good.
Price range: $-$$$
6. Amour Vert
Amour Vert is a sustainable women’s clothing brand made in California. A women-led company, Amour Vert prides itself on offering bold femininity, sustainably. Their selection features loungewear pants (with an elastic waistband) that offer a softer, less sporty take on sweatpants that may be to your liking. Sizes range from XS-XL. Color options include Black, Hibiscus (a shade of pink), Blue, and more. Definitely a great option for sustainable fashion sweatpants.
Amour Vert — fabrics and materials
Materials used include a Cottonseed Cupro, made from repurposed plant seed fibers. It is likened to “vegan silk” and will naturally biodegrade. Check out their cottonseed cupro collection for a sophisticated take on some other basics.
Amour Vert — ethical sourcing
Amour Vert partners directly with mills to develop their own fabrics, starting with the best ethical, traceable, and eco-friendly raw fibers and materials. All of their products are manufactured in California in limited runs to ensure high-quality standards and to eliminate excess waste. This gives some assurance through certifications would help to attest to their labor practices.
Amour Vert — corporate responsibility
For greater circularity, Amour Vert has created the ReAmour marketplace which gives a home to pre-loved garments rather than having them wind up in a landfill. For packaging, compostable protective bags for both storage and shipping. These bags are made from recycled materials and soy-based inks. With their Tees for Trees program in collaboration with American Forests, every tee purchased will go toward planting 1 tree. So far the company reports having planted over 350,000 trees since its opening in 2010.
Price range: $$$
Wolven is on a mission to “Make Sustainability Sexy” and we love that. Best known for their colorful patterned leggings, their selection also includes joggers for both men and women. Sizes range from XS-XL for both women and men, with lots of color options and patterns for women.
Wolven — fabrics and materials
Recycled PET fabric is made from plastic bottles. Some of their products are also made from modal fabric.
Wolven — ethical sourcing
Wolven ensures that its partners abide by a strict code of conduct which accounts for health and safety, fair and legal wages, fair working hours, no child labor, and more. In terms of certifications, Wolven promises thorough due diligence, and those suppliers are independently certified. Their activewear and swimwear are currently made with a manufacturing partner based in China. It is certified by the Workplace Conditions Assessment (WCA).
Wolven— corporate responsibility
Wolven is BIPOC and female-founded business based in Los Angeles, California. They are Carbon Neutral Certified. In partnership with Treet, they extend the lifespan of pre-loved Wolven garments. For shipping Wolven chooses recycled and recyclable plastic mailers since it can be more difficult to compost “compostable” bioplastics at home. To incentivize the recycling of their mailers, they’ve implemented a rewards program. They also make sure to package their clothing with a minimal piece of hemp twine, as part of their “Anti-Unboxing Experience” and that is definitely a statement we can stand behind.
Price range: $$
Encircled is a female-founded brand focused on offering comfy, travel-friendly, sustainable garments made in Canada. Along with their selection of clever kits and garments, you will also find some very comfy-looking joggers available in a variety of colors like Mist green, Fog grey, Pink quartz, Sand, and Black, depending on the style. Sizes range from XS - XXL.
Encircled — fabrics and materials
Find an organic cotton and spandex blend, a Rayon from Bamboo, cotton, spandex fleece, and a TENCEL Lyocell, organic cotton, spandex French Terry. The dyes used are hypo-allergenic and OEKO-TEX Standard 100 certified.
Encircled — ethical sourcing
To make their garments, Encircled partners with factories that are located right near their studio/offices where they ensure workers are treated fairly under safe working conditions, following the labor standards of the Province of Ontario. For transparency, the brand offers details about these factories and the products they make for them. They also invest in local suppliers which reduces their carbon footprint.
Encircled — corporate responsibility
Encircled is a Certified B Corporation which reflects its commitment to greater sustainability across the company.
Price range: $$-$$$$
Thought focuses on easy-to-wear clothes made sustainably. Their mindfully crafted products are made using natural fabrics like hemp, organic cotton, and bamboo. Their garments are also vegan-friendly. Here you will find lounge pants for women and joggers for men. For women options in black, grey, and navy, with sizes ranging from XS - 2XL. For men find options in black, with sizes ranging from XS - 3XL.
Thought — fabrics and materials
Materials used include a viscose from bamboo, organic cotton, and an elastane blend for women. A GOTS certified organic cotton, elastane jersey blend, and a 100% GOTS organic cotton jersey for men.
Thought — ethical sourcing
It is unclear where their manufacturing is done but the brand states that it is committed to working with ethical factories, and to the best for the workers who make their garments. More and more of their garments are also GOTS certified or Fair Trade certified.
Thought — corporate responsibility
Thought offers a recycling program where pre-loved clothing can be donated thanks to a long-term charitable partnership with Traid, to promote greater circularity.
Price range: $$
Why consider investing in organic sweatpants?
Poor labor practices are chief among the issues to consider, where people in less developed countries are exploited for cheap labor, and made to work under unfair and unsafe conditions.
There have been countless incidents showing the ubiquity and neglectful conditions garments workers are subject to, particularly in Asia. This is what gave birth to the slow fashion movement which calls for more ethical practices for the estimated 60 million workers involved in the global garment industry.
The environmental impact of the garment industry is also ghastly. By some estimates, it is one of the most polluting industries in the world — releasing toxic heavy metals and other pollutants involved in dyeing and other processes, into our waterways. Things like lead, mercury, and arsenic have long been known to be harmful to humans.
But well before that, where conventional cotton is used and requires lots of pesticides and synthetic fertilizers, conventional products end up being very harmful to us and to the planet from the very start of the supply chain.
There are big concerns surrounding water consumption too. From the irrigation of conventional and organic cotton crops alike to the estimated 200 tons of freshwater used per ton of dyed fabric, the garment industry really rakes it in.
But that doesn't mean synthetics are better. In fact, the pervasive use of synthetic fabrics derived from fossil fuels is an issue too. This not only supports the fossil fuel industry but leads to microfiber pollution.
Not to mention the fossil fuels used to power factories, stores, offices, etc — and for the sourcing of raw materials and the distribution of finished goods.
If you’ve ever watched any of these zero waste documentaries you’ve probably heard about all of the waste we generate each year. When it comes to garments, an estimated 92 billion tons of textiles waste is created every year globally.
That’s why it’s so crucial to reach for sustainable fashion brands and slow fashion brands. But also to consume only what we really need. Consider a minimalist wardrobe. You can swap out pieces over the course of the year(s) by hosting a clothing swap party, selling used clothes online, or donating old clothes where appropriate. And if you are concerned about pricing there are more affordable ethical clothing brands, some of which are featured in this list. And there are always secondhand options to consider.
A final word on sustainable sweatpants
If you ask us, sweatpants are one of the best pieces of clothing invented. They are comfy, versatile, and can help to keep you toasty over the winter months. Thanks to these brands, we don’t have to forego any of that, and we can instead mindfully choose from some of the most sustainable sweatpants for men and women. That’s a small win if I’ve ever heard of one and we hope you find just what you are looking for.
For more sustainable living essentials please see the brand directory with everything from sustainable men’s clothing, and green beauty products to homewares and plastic-free alternatives.
And if you are looking to learn more about sustainability be sure to check out these sustainable books. There are also some great environmental podcasts to keep you company and more informed while you do chores or on your commute.