Sustainability in bicycle clothing

If you go cycling regularly, your equipment includes suitable cycling clothing, consisting of a cycling jersey and cycling shorts. Because this is not only more comfortable than normal clothing, but is more breathable and transports sweat to the outside and you do not feel so wet. But is there actually sustainable bike wear?

When is clothing really sustainable

The word sustainability in relation to clothing may only be used if it does not harm humans or animals during production. More precisely, all these factors should be observed:

1. Slow Fashion: The clothing should be of good quality so that it is durable (as opposed to fast fashion). It should have a classic design and not follow a current fashion trend, so that it can be worn for a long time and always.

2. Social component: Fair working conditions are a prerequisite such as no child labor, fair working hours and pay, no discrimination, right to free time as well as vacation and safety.

3. Resource efficient manufacturing: The prerequisite for sustainability is lower water and energy consumption, no or few chemicals, short supply routes, better dyeing processes(z.B. Direct dyeing of the thread or that only every second thread is dyed), use of organic plant fibers, in the best case rapidly renewable raw materials (z.B. Bamboo) or waste products (z.B. Pineapple leaves).

4. Recycling: If possible, materials should be recycled and also be recyclable. The best example is plastic or fishing nets from the sea, but it can also be simply old clothes that are reused.

5. Locality: If clothing is also produced where it is used, long transport routes are eliminated, which saves quite a bit of CO2. It also supports the local economy and secures jobs.

As you can see, there are a number of factors involved in being able to call clothing sustainable as well. But how does this look now for bicycle clothing? Can this be sustainable at all?

This is how it looks with bike clothing

Bicycle clothing per se cannot comply with all the factors because it cannot be made from natural raw materials. Breathability and moisture wicking is only possible with the use of synthetic fibers. Or you make trade-offs. This is possible for example with merino wool or silk as well as organic cotton, but the functionality is not the same with natural products. For this reason, more and more brands are using recycled plastic, especially plastic bottles or plastic from the sea, to achieve the same functionality.

Sustainability in bicycle clothing

The most sustainable brands

Vaude: To manufacture their products, they use either natural products, such as merino wool, or recycled materials to save up to 50% of energy and CO2 emissions, as well as fossil raw materials. They are also committed to fair conditions.

Isadore Apparel: Isadore Apparel has been committed to being the most environmentally friendly and highest quality cycling apparel brand since its inception. They produce fairly and locally and use recycled materials. Löffler produces sustainably. Almost exclusively in Europe. They use natural basic materials, keep their energy consumption low and dispose of their waste in an environmentally friendly way.

Triple2: The bike label from Bavaria uses mainly merino wool for their clothing in combination with recycled polyester fibers, which come exclusively from Europe. Produced in Croatia.

Biehler: Since its foundation, Biehler has been committed to sustainability – short transport routes, pollutant-free fabrics made from recycled fibers, fair working conditions, repair instead of waste.

But sporting goods manufacturers are also increasingly focusing on sustainability in their own brands. Z.B. Decathlon labels products (including cycling apparel) that are produced sustainably with the Ecodesign label.

As you can see, it's not quite as simple with functional apparel. But there are more and more brands that try to keep their ecological footprint as small as possible.

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