World Environment Day

How green is your workout?

So you’ve heard of Nike’s range of shoes made from recycled sneakers, plastic bottles and manufacturing scraps. Or Reebok’s latest biodegradable corn sneakers. But what do you know about these lesser-known brands that design ethical, vegan fitness gear and apparel?

Veja, Paris

Creating sneakers using fair trade cotton, vegan suede and sustainably-sourced rubber, this Paris-based company brings together several ethical practices and materials. Sourcing wild latex in Amazonia and waterproof B-mesh or plastic bottle mesh from Santo André (each pair needs three bottles), Veja also uses leather made from the skins of farm-raised tilapia, a tropical fish (nine skins go into a pair).

So, despite being one of the most ethical brands around for over a decade, why don’t they advertise? Founder Sebastien Kopp says a pair of their sneakers costs five-seven times the price of a regular one, but by saving on advertising costs, they can sell it at the same price. “Veja means ‘look’ in Portuguese and we want customers to look beyond the sneakers, to how they are made and by whom.” Their Spring-Summer 2017 collection integrates J-mesh (made with 50% recycled cotton, 29% jute and 21% recycled plastic bottles), and are produced in high social standard factories in Brazil, working with social inclusion NGOs in Paris.

Priced from ₹5,200 onwards, on, the shoes are shipped worldwide.

Indosole, USA

Giving discarded tyres new life for the last eight years, US-based Indosole is the brainchild of Kyle Parsons, who became fascinated with the idea after picking up a tyre-soled sandal in Bali. Not using animal products or fuel-powered machinery, their footwear is made with tyres sourced from Indonesia’s overflowing landfills.

From sourcing the materials, to cutting and sanitising, and the actual cobbling of the shoes, each production step is performed by skilled artisans. Parsons says they are soon going to launch a new line of sandals with their lowest price point to date: $30 (₹1,950 approximately). “Our story is not limited to our tyre count. We want to encourage consumers to seek out similar ethically-minded and sustainable brands,” he says. Also look out for their tote bags lined with repurposed rice bags and organic cotton apparel.

From ₹1,950 to ₹4,850, on

Carrot Banana Peach, UK

Work out in banana power shorts, aloe vera leggings, and milk culottes from this UK-based brand that specialises in naturally fabricated active and leisure wear for men and women.

With organic cotton sourced from the US and other raw materials like bamboo, banana, aloe vera and soybean from China and other parts of South East Asia, each product is unique. All materials go through an extraction and cleaning process and are then blended for variations. “Each variation can create unique weights and textures to create the desired effect or performance. Once the infused yarn is created, we knit the fabric and then dye it accordingly,” says Alice Sonnette, of marketing, who explains that they are currently in development for using only vegetable dyes, post a recent breakthrough on the colour fastness with natural dyes.

Prices begin from ₹2,550 for women’s clothes, and ₹2,950 for men’s clothes, on

Keep, USA

Heavily influenced by social and political values — fromindependent music to the arts community — Keep strives to recreate old handicraft traditions from different cultures, such as Japanese indigo prints, hand-pieced quilt patchwork and Mayan textiles.

Creating from source, their ikat fabric, for instance, is woven by a Guatemalan family that has been in the textile business for generations. For their custom products, they often work with Japanese mills that produce organic textiles or an American mill with a long tradition of craftsmanship.

Adidas: Trash to thread
  • Recycled marine plastic debris now find their way into the brand’s latest range of blue sneakers, inspired by the colours of the ocean. Adidas has collaborated with US-based awareness group, Parley for the Oceans, for the new range that hit the market on May 10. Reusing an average of 11 plastic bottles per pair, UltraBOOST Parley, Parley UltraBOOST X and UltraBOOST Uncaged Parley feature laces, heel webbing, heel lining and sock liner covers made from recycled PET material, says a comapny spokesperson. To commemorate World Oceans Day (June 5-11), Adidas is organising the Adidas x Parley Run for the Oceans digital event, hosted by Runtastic. Runners are invited to show their commitment to the cause by joining the run — from the city streets, the beach, or wherever you happen to be during that week. Prices start at ₹20,999, and they are available across Adidas stores and at

Collaborations with chefs, artists and musicians have led to the creation of simple, streamlined designs, with their most recent collaboration being with Adam Horovitz, aka Ad-Rock from the Beastie Boys, and bands Tegan and Sara, and Bon Iver. “For the Keep x Deakin Ramos, which we did with musician Josh Dibb from the band Animal Collective, he designed a midtop using our Ramos silhouette that had the comfort of a sleeping bag, utilised silicon-coated, rip-stop nylon and a deconstructed, soft upper that forms to the shape the foot,” explains founder Una Kim. Keep has several collaborations in the pipeline, including further production of their non-slip kitchen shoes with chef Alvin Cailan, and projects with the acclaimed indie band, Real Estate, and visual artist Jen Stark.

From ₹3,560 onwards, on

Satva, Mumbai

Their vibrant range of ‘athleisure wear’ comprises athletic and yoga clothing made from organic cotton. Chemical-free (including bleaches, toxic waxes, sulfur and heavy metals), Satva uses natural, non-toxic plant-based dyes to create their designs.

Their new range includes crop tops, jackets and T-shirts. “We have partnered with Suminter India Organics, a socially-conscious organic cotton production corporation. Our farmers are provided with the highest quality organic, non-GMO, non-treated cotton seeds during cultivation, which go into the making of allergen-free cotton fitness apparel,” says founder Rina Nathani.

In the ₹999 to ₹3,499 range, shop at

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Printable version | Apr 30, 2021 6:30:47 PM |

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