The State of Rock Climbing and Sustainable Activewear
Since getting more and more serious about bouldering as a hobby, I’ve naturally started looking more into the bouldering community and industry. Without sounding too hippy-ish, it’s allowed me to gain a deeper understanding of, and love for, the world around us. It’s made me more conscious of doing my part to help protect the land we walk upon (and the rocks we climb on).
Climbing is all about getting as close to nature as possible. Connecting with, getting lost in and feeling at one with nature is harmonious with bouldering. With that said, climbing is responsible for bringing increased traffic to the outdoors, which some may argue, is damaging to the environment as with it comes litter, pollution and potential destruction of biodiversity. Though, it may be best if we leave that topic of debate for another time…
SUSTAINABILITY AND ACTIVEWEAR
With the popularity of climbing being on the rise, we’re also likely to see an increase in ‘fashion’ and activewear designed for climbers. With the tight connection between climbing and the environment, I’ll be interested to see whether this expected spike in popularity takes sustainability into consideration.
Leggings tend to be my go-to climbing attire so when Player Layer sent me a pair of their Eco Layer leggings to feature on my blog it got me thinking about the sustainability of gym wear. Normally, when shopping for gym or climbing wear, I’ll look for clothing that ticks all my boxes for comfort and performance without once thinking about how environmentally-friendly it is. Since trying the Eco Layer leggings by Player Layer, I’ve realised that you can opt for something sustainable without having to comprise on performance, style or comfort.
Eco Layer leggings by Player Layer are made from plastic water bottles taken from the ocean. In fact, each pair of leggings are made from approximately 25 water bottles. Personally, I find it so impressive and exciting when I hear of a company using ocean waste to create sustainable clothing. It’s a breath of fresh air in a sea of fast-fashion clothing… excuse the terrible pun. Hopefully, it’s an act that will soon become more ‘mainstream’ amongst clothing manufacturers and brands.
When it comes to leggings, I’m a fan of a high waist. Seriously, the higher the better and the Eco Layer leggings ticked that high-waisted box without a doubt. Meanwhile, the fabric is beautifully compressive which is another thing I look for when buying activewear. The material is thick (and feels fleece-lined) whilst still being super-stretchy giving me confidence that they will be perfect for days spent hiking or climbing outdoors in the summer. I couldn’t believe the quality of these leggings.
One thing I will note, is that these were see-through on my bum…but I truly believe that’s more down to my sizing. I bought the leggings in a size 6 to fit my legs and waist, worried that a size up would have been too big. Whilst my legs and waist may be a size 6 my bum most definitely isn’t. Because these leggings are made from 4-way stretch compression fabric, I think the next size up would have been a perfect fit for me. Plus, I’m confident that if I had sized up, these leggings wouldn’t have been see-through on my bum. Ah… the joys of trying to find clothes that fit every aspect of your body perfectly!
SUSTAINABILITY WITHIN THE CLIMBING INDUSTRY
Luckily, clothing brands tailored towards the cimbing community are already fairly conscious of the environment. Companies within the industry tend to follow various environmental and manufacturing standards, such as BlueSign certifications, to ensure their impact on the environment is kept to a minimum.
Edelrid, the brand behind my current choice of climbing shoes, hold sustainability at the heart of their company. In their bid to be more sustainable, they designed the first ever climbing ropes that were free from PFC and even designed ropes made from upcycled materials.
Similarly, Patagonia pride themselves on being responsible for the entire lifecycle of their products. With the clothing industrying being the second largest polluter in the world, second only to oil, the longevity of our clothing is more important than you may think. Instead of buying fast-fashion pieces that only last a season, it’s time we start investing in our activewear and buying items that will last us closer to a lifetime of sport and activity. As part of their social & environmental responsibility, Patagonia also help with clothing repairs, reuse and recycling through their Worn Wear program to help you get the most out of your current clothing.
THE FUTURE OF ACTIVEWEAR AND THE ENVIRONMENT
By shopping more sustainably, you’ll also be investing in higher-quality clothing. Similar to how Edelrid use upcycled rope, Player Layer offer ocean waste leggings and Patagonia provide recycling & repair schemes, I believe we will start to see more activewear and outdoor sports brands weaviing recycled materials and environmentally-friendly practices into their future product development.
I’m excited to see what lays ahead in the relationship between sustainability and clothing for the climbing industry! I’m expecting big things, especially if Player Layer’s Eco Layer leggings are to be used as a benchmark.
These leggings, and so many other environmentally-friendly activewear brands, are proving that you can be sustainable whilst also being practical, fashionable, long-lasting and budget-friendly.
What’s your favourite suistainable brand for activewear? Be sure to let me know so I can work on building my eco-friendly wardrobe for the gym, outdoors and climbing.