I’ve found a sustainable fitness wear company with products so good I’m using them for my Active Retreat business uniform and official merchandise. I can’t pay them a higher compliment than that, but I’m going to try.
They’re a new company called bodytek and they make a range of men’s and women’s activewear from eco-friendly and sustainable materials – mostly bamboo and organic cotton.
I’d heard about the properties of bamboo as a fabric, but until I picked up my bodytek t-shirt, I had no idea what to expect from sustainable fitness wear. In all honesty, I was way more impressed than I expected to be.
The material itself is really soft, but is harder wearing than cotton. That’s important to me, because most of the training I do is olympic weight lifting, which sees a lot of contact between my body and the bar. Cotton can rip easier than you think (trust me, I’ve been through a few t-shirts in my time!), so the extra toughness is appreciated!
The video below shows just how much bar contact a weight lifters clothes have – after the clean, the bar is effectively resting on the chest. With the rough ‘knurling’ on the barbell, this can and does damage the fabric on the t-shirt if it’s not good quality….
There’s more to the fabric than that though. The bamboo is remarkably elastic thanks to 5% elastine content, so the t-shirt allows you to move naturally and freely. When exercising, especially at heavy weights, natural movement is incredibly important. It’s not only sustainable fitness wear, it’s also high performance.
I love the colour and the subtly of the design. The t-shirt I have is a grey marl, which is a suitably muted colour and what’s more, it’s dyed in a natural way, so it’s chemical footprint is lighter too.
bodytek upholds the eco friendly message from start to finish. The owners of the company travelled to meet the farmers who grow the bamboo in a sustainable way. The farmers are certified as sustainable and have to abide by strict practices in order to maintain their sustainability credentials.
The factories where the garments are made are no different. They were selected because of their manufacturing practices and standards.
There are no sweatshops, no slave labour. The people who make bodytek clothing work in nice factories and are paid a good wage. This was important to me, because the ‘Primark effect’ of driving down prices at the cost of working conditions makes me nauseous. Factories full of poorly-paid and poorly-treated people, just so we can buy a shitty t-shirt for three quid? Not for me, thanks.
bodytek Clothing Design features
The first thing I need to mention is the quality of the fabric. You can just tell it’s great quality. You know it’s not cotton – it doesn’t feel like cotton, it feels better. Then you put it on…
It’s fitted, but flattering. It also allows you to move absolutely normally, unlike some items which can feel too restrictive. This doesn’t just feel good, it’s absolutely essential to exercising well, especially when you’re performing weight lifting movements, lifting heavy weights at speed. Technique can’t be restricted be clothing for safety reasons.
Bamboo fabric is ideal for fitness wear, not just because it allows you to move freely, but also because it is harder-wearing than fabrics such as cotton.
As a weight lifter, cotton can be a bit of a nightmare because it suffers from ‘pilling’ and ripping thanks to contact with a barbell. This means some training clothes don’t last as long as they should. With bamboo fabric, you don’t suffer from the pilling like you do cotton. It’s also a fabric that is able to cope with the wear and tear of contact with a barbell much more easily.
This doesn’t just apply to weight lifting – anyone who trains will notice there are areas of friction in their tops. In cheaper materials, these areas suffer from pilling and then eventually rip or wear away into a hole. If you don’t quite know what pilling is or what it looks like, check out the image below…
This doesn’t happen with bamboo, so your workout clothes will last much, much longer.
The fabric is also really light, but not thin. It has a very high thread count so isn’t see-through or anything else that you’d associate with cheaper materials, but it allows you to move freely in a way you’d associate with light weight fabric options. I had no idea that sustainable fitness wear would be such high quality.
Bamboo Fabric is Anti Microbial
I’m going to let you into a little secret here – I’ve done some self-testing on this one! It’s hardly science in its purest form, but it’ll do for now!
My cotton t-shirts smell after I train in them. Nothing unique there – when it’s left, sweat begins to smell when bacteria breaks it down. With the bodytek shirt, I trained hard and sweated a lot in it. I then left it to (for want of a better word), fester so I could put the anti-microbial claim to the test.
It passed! Not only did the armpits not stink, they actually smelt fresh! I know that can sound too good to be true, but I promise it’s the absolute truth. There are better tests than the sniff test, but my logic is that anyone who would be wearing the items would have only their nose for apparatus anyway, so it’s a pretty good standard barometer!
The key/card pocket
This is a subtle design feature but one I really like! It’s a small (big enough for a car key/locker key/credit card/gym card), so it’s handy for when you’re out for a run or in the gym and don’t want to/can’t carry anything with you.
You can lock your belongs away in your locker or car and keep the key with you in a hidden pocket on the seam whilst you do your exercise. The pocket is low down on the side seam, so it actually sits near your hip – well out of the way of your hands and arms and doesn’t affect your movement in the slightest.
It’s a really simple innovation but works brilliantly well. I can’t believe other manufacturers hadn’t thought of it before now! No more having to hold onto your keys as you run, or wear a pouch to keep your belongings in….
Final thoughts on bodytek sustainable fitness wear…
The quality of these bodytek clothes is all the proof I needed that sustainable fitness wear is here to stay. In a world of throw-away items, it’s really nice to support a company who not only design brilliant workout clothing, but do so in a way that is eco-friendly and sustainable. Ethically, they’re a company who can be proud of what they do.
The products are really well made, do the job they’re designed for better than their competitors and are reasonably priced. What’s not to love?! In a world where reminded about the urgent need for us to reduce the effects we have on our planet, why not start with your gym clothes?
Sustainable fitness wear is a great start and bodytek upholds their eco principles to a much higher standard – they also use eco-friendly dyes in their clothing and packaging, and their fulfilment is plastic free. The package in paper bags and boxes ad wrap the products in either paper or a potato-starch wrapper which is 100% bio-degradable.
If you’re interested in buying anything from bodytek, or checking out their range, head to their website by clicking this link.
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