As promised, here’s part 3, and the last instalment, of my sustainable active wear review series – a collection of blog posts which reviews four sustainable brands I recently bought from. In part 1 I review DK Active, in part 2 I review Boody and Dharma Bums and today I’ll be reviewing a few pieces I bought from Adidas. I hope you find it helpful if you’ve been interested in trying some sustainable brands or are in need of new active wear.
One of my favourite active wear purchases, design wise, was Adidas’s Adicolour classics long sleeve tee in black (also available here). I absolutely loved the square neckline and the long sleeve crop design. Adidas’s iconic white stripe trio down the sleeves completes the look. It’s one of the most elegant active wear tops I’ve seen. It’s made from 89% recycled polyester in part with Parley Ocean Plastic. It’s very comfortable, although probably not as breathable as a sport top made from natural fibres. This design also comes in two other colours; white with black stripes and red with white stripes. The sleeves were slightly too long for me and, while this didn’t really bother me, it’s probably something to keep in mind if you’re petite. That said adjusting the sleeves would be an easy alteration.
I also purchased Adidas Essentials Cropped Tee in a white (it’s actually more of an off white / cream colour). I like how this is just a basic top I can layer over a sports crop. This top did end up being slightly more cropped than expected (I thought it would fall mid waist – where as it finishes at the base of my rib cage) but having referred again to the images on the website again this was a mistake on my part rather than that of the design images on the website. Nonetheless, I still liked the design and it looks great pared with high waisted running tights. It’s made from 100% cotton and seems to be very comfortable and breathable. The real test with t-shirts is how long they last but the fabric feels substantial so hopefully it will survive many a wash.
Sun protection is very important for me and I liked how both of these pieces were stylish but provided significant coverage from the sun (thus requiring less sunscreen application if I’m going to be outdoors for a long time).
Both pieces I purchased were true to size. I wore an extra small.
When researching sustainable active wear brands I was pleasantly surprised to see this longstanding, iconic sports wear brand rated as “good” on Good on You (rating last updated in July 2020).
Between 2015 and 2020 Adidas reduced its “combined net” emissions by over 55%. The brand is aiming to achieve carbon neutrality for its operations by 2025 and to achieve climate neutrality in its supply chain by 2050 (you can find details about their targets here). Currently 60% of their products are made from sustainable cotton or recycled polyester and from 2024 stated that they will only use recycled polyester. By partnering with Parley For The Oceans over the past six years, Adidas have created shoes from plastic waste collected from the seas. According to this media release, they have “collected almost 7,000 tones of plastic waste – corresponding to around 350 million plastic bottles”. It’s not an exclusively vegan brand but some of their products are vegan and their website states that they are expanding this range.
Adidas is accredited by the Fair Labour Association, which mean they have committed to following Fair Labour Association Workplace Code of Conduct. It receives a 61-70% score on the Fashion Transparency Index.
Amongst other things they have created a document titled Work Place Standards, being guiding principles to assist them in “selecting” business partners and “identifying” and “addressing” areas of concern. This document covers human rights and employment standards (including forced labour, child labour, discrimination, wages, working hours, freedom of association and collective bargaining, disciplinary practices) and health and safety issues.
Because of their complex supply chain they do not carry out “human rights impact assessments” for each entity but address human rights issues through “due diligence” processes, “influence” and remediation. They have also established a third party complaints mechanism to investigates labour or human rights violations related complaints and this document are FAQs about their approach to human rights and responsible business practices.
For an active wear household name, I was impressed by the information available on Adidas’s website and their commitment to sustainability and ethical production. They have a range of well made, stylish designs and I look forward to purchasing more pieces from them in future. This brand might be suited to you if you are looking for the following:
- Design: a large range of stylish active wear and sports products
- Cost: active wear in the mid price range
- Fit: The two pieces I tried were true to size.
- Sustainability and ethics: An accessible house hold name which has made a genuine commitment towards sustainability and ethical production and has some great sustainability initiatives. A brand which uses a large quantity of sustainable materials in their products (and is increasing the percentage of sustainable products used over the next few years), is reducing their carbon emissions and which stock vegan products.
- Adidas website: General approach to sustainability, Environmental Approach page, Human Rights Approach page, Sustainability History page, Media release: “Adidas: In 2021, for the first time, more than 60 percent of all products will be made with sustainable material” (published 28 December 2020), Factory Worker page, FAQS on Human Rights and Responsible Business Practice, Policy and Standards page and Workplace Standards document.
- Good on You: Adidas Brand rating (updated July 2020), How Ethical is Adidas? (published 09 December 2020).
- Fair Labour Association
I hope you enjoyed and found helpful this little series on sustainable active wear. I think it’s important to note that I don’t buy exclusively from sustainable brands. However, I really try to support brands that are making a genuine attempt to look after the people and earth where possible.
I’d love to know if you have tried any of the brands the subject of this review and what you thought of them? Are there any sustainable brands you think I should try? Would you like me to do a review of any other clothing brands?
Outfit 2: Adidas Essentials Cropped Tee and Dharma Bums Leggings (see outfit 1 above)