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Eco Friendly Sports Gear

Summer is in full swing, and the bright sun and sweltering days mean more time spent outdoors. And there’s nothing better before a refreshing dip in the ocean or dive in the pool then building up a good sweat with an afternoon of sports. You’ll want to use gear that’s eco friendly during all of this activity, to save your body from bumping up against toxic material and protecting our environment from further harm. More and more people are voting with their dollars by supporting companies producing goods that respect our planet. Bringing home sustainable sports gear protects our future and your personal needs. So how do you find the best eco friendly sports gear?

There’s a strange dynamic working in the sporting goods market. Many of the things sold in support of these fun, strenuous activities are manufactured with no real thought to the future of the planet, bringing polyurethane, fiberglass, and other toxic materials into play. Luckily, you’ve got plenty of options that fit the bill for both your athletic desires and your hope for a greener tomorrow.

For all the surfers out there, head to OceanGreen’s website and check out their Eco-Foil surfboard. It’s manufactured using balsa wood, not polyurethane, and the wood has been certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. The coating is created from hemp, and the board has won awards since its creation from several green organizations. Best of all, the Eco-Foil uses 90% less emissions than its traditional counterparts. For those boarders who stick to land sports, check out the skateboards and snowboards created by Arbor, which are all overseen by the FSC as well.

Runners and cross-trainers go through a ton of sneakers while training and competing, and sustainable running shoe manufacturers are few and far between. But check out the work by Brooks Sports, who added a green midsole, called the “BioMoGo”, back in 2008. It biodegrades fifty times faster than a traditional midsole, which makes a huge difference in the amount of waste clogging our landfills. You’ll find the new midsole in all of their most popular running shoes. On top of that, they’ve patented a new process for molding midsoles that cuts manufacturing waste by half, and a high performance rubber for the outsole that puts petroleum aside and uses sand instead. For the top of the line, check out their Green Silence, a racing shoe that’s made from mostly recycled materials.

As far as team sports are concerned, one of the best small businesses out there is Fair Trade Sports. They were founded with the mission of addressing a lot of the ethical and environmental issues involved in sporting goods manufacture. Their soccer ball only uses rubber derived from sustainable plantations, and is completely without pesticides. The company also produces equipment and apparel for use in basketball, football, rugby and volleyball. All of their gear comes from factories that put the worker’s health first, and all are union protected. You’ll find no sweatshops or child labor concerns here.

Finally, Nike has answered the call for eco friendly sports gear. They’ve been charged with many problems in the past, but have truly taken on a responsible push into the future. Their recent think-tank development, called Nike Considered, is constantly looking for ways to increase environmental sustainability in their work. They’re working to increase the amount of recycled materials used in their product line, and have been selling tennis, soccer, basketball and training goods with that in mind. So hop on, grab a pair for opening weekend, and deck yourself out in eco friendly versions of your favorite team’s gear.

Clay Miller
the authorClay Miller
I am the creator/writer of and I'm an advocate for oceans, beaches, state parks. I enjoy all things outdoors (e.g. running, golf, gardening, hiking, etc.) I am a graduate of the University of Kentucky (Go Wildcats!!). I'm also a huge fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers. I was born and raised in the beautiful state of Kentucky.

1 Comment

  • It’s so hard to find eco friendly sports gear : ( It’s easier to find “fashion” trainers but as soon as you look for ones to run in it seems to be more of a case of “which company is least bad”. Maybe I should take up surfing; there’s lots of eco surf board companies springing up!

    One comment I have on the BioMoGO…it’s great that it biodegrades more quickly, but I doubt it will have any impact on landfills, as they are not designed for bio-degradation. The waste is sealed and is anaerobic (otherwise methane is produced and can be dangerous) so nothing breaks down, even green matter like food waste. Researchers have found years old hotdogs and newspapers intact! (You can google it) So the sole would be better if it could be composted. Still, it’s great that companies are at least thinking about these issues : )

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