As a 90’s kid, I grew up seeing two sides of Nike. Their clothes and shoes were everywhere; the newest Nike footwear always topped my friends’ Christmas lists and served as a status symbol. And yet, the 90’s were also a time when Nike’s sweatshops, use of child labor, and horrific human rights violations flooded the news. This negative image of Nike was widespread and long-lasting, launching years of large-scale protests and boycotts.
So what about now? Is Nike ethical? Does Nike still use sweatshops and child labor?
Nike has worked hard in the past 20 years to clean up their act regarding labor violations and environmental impact. This is certainly something to celebrate. Even the smallest initiatives taken by a massive company can make an impact.
But Nike still has a way to go. They fail to trace all of their supply chain or guarantee a living wage for all workers. While we hope they continue to make strides in their labor and environmental policies, there is no shortage of ethical activewear and athletic brands that are already doing right by people and the planet! If you’re looking to move away from Nike for now, here are 8 DoneGood approved brands that you can start with:
With the motto “Do Good,” it’s no surprise that Cotopaxi has a similar ethos to DoneGood! Their built-to-last, men’s and women’s apparel and gear is perfect for whatever versatile athletic wear you need. And not only are their products ethically made, but their profits go toward funding poverty relief all over the world!
Brand Values: Empowers workers, eco-friendly, gives back, certified B Corp
Yoga Democracy offers fun and colorful yoga pants, bras, and tops for women and girls with an active lifestyle! Yoga Democracy understands the importance of doing good for people and the planet. Their fabrics are made from recycled fibers, using water-saving techniques, and, instead of outsourcing, all of their products are ethically and locally made in the USA.
Brand Values: Empowers workers, eco-friendly, gives back, vegan, toxin-free, made in the USA, uses upcycled/recycled materials, member 1% for the Planet
20% off your first order with promo code donegood20
t’s no surprise that Patagonia is going to be on every list for great activewear ever. They’re just that good. Patagonia got to be an activewear giant because of their high-quality clothes and gear, but they’ve set themselves apart for their high standards in labor and environmental policies. Whatever men’s, women’s, or kids’ activewear you’re looking for, you can’t go wrong with Patagonia.
Brand Values: Empowers workers, eco-friendly, gives back, Fair trade certified factories, certified B Corp, member 1% for the Planet
Love those dry fit athletic shirts? Then you’ll want to check out Kusaga’s shirt collections for men and women. Not only are they high-quality and high-performance, they’re made with the highest environmental standards—plant-based materials and low impact production. Kusaga's apparel is perfect for a run, the gym, the outdoors, or just everyday wear.
Brand Values: Empowers workers, eco-friendly, gives back, Peta-approved vegan, toxin-free, certified B Corp
20% off your first order with promo code kusagagood
Athletic shoes are Nike’s bread and butter, so if you’re looking for a high-quality alternative, be sure to check out Toad&Co; they carry several versions of the vegan Veja Sneakers! And, of course, while you’re there, check out all the rest of Toad&Co’s men’s and women’s casualwear, designed for adventure-seekers. Toad&Co does good through their production practices as well as by giving back to environmental efforts and to adults with disabilities.
Brand Values: Empowers workers, eco-friendly, gives back, organic, vegan, uses recycled/upcycled materials, member 1% for the Planet
Bewildher is all about empowering women to be...wilder. Everything from exploring and adventuring to workouts and everyday living are simple, fun, and fashionable in Bewildher leggings, tops, shorts, and dresses. Check out their funky and unique designs in up to size 4X. And feel good about being wild in your new apparel—all their products are ethically made in Canada and every purchase plants a tree.
Brand Values: Empowers workers, eco-friendly, gives back, vegan, uses recycled/upcycled materials
Nature-inspired activewear and gear for outdoor-lovers and adventurers—that’s what you’ll find at Seek Dry Goods. They believe in offering high-quality, responsibly-sourced lifestyle goods for your active lifestyle. Seek Dry Goods gives back with every purchase adn they share stories of their own adventures—even tips from their process of turning a cargo van into a camper!
Brand Values: Empowers workers, eco-friendly, gives back, organic, made in the USA, uses recycled/upcycled materials
There is so much to admire about Yogavated Athletics. They’re zero-waste—making headbands from their leftover fabrics—and all their products are made in the USA, supporting their neighbors and providing a fair wage for their employees. What is probably coolest about Yogavated Athletics though is that their designs are originals produced by local artists. For some truly unique athletic and yoga wear, check them out!
Brand Values: Empowers workers, eco-friendly, gives back, made in the USA, uses upcycled/recycled materials, member 1% for the Planet
$25 OFF and a free headband with promo code DONEGOOD25
Writer, editor, and all-around language enthusiast who uses her love of words to help others.