Activewear Brands and Ethics

I’m going to be talking about how ethical many of the large activewear brands are. I think it’s important information to know, as most of us buy trainers. And it’s not good enough to turn around an say ‘ah well, everything is made by children these days, right?’. No.

To find out your own information about labour practices, the environment and animal welfare with all these brands, the GOOD ON YOU website is great. Also a quick google search is another way to find out fast.

Unfortunately, much of the fashion industry is still really bad in terms of how it treats its workers. I’m going to link some resources at the end for more information, about how some of these companies have so much influence and responsibility and yet completely abuse their power.

Nike ///

The Biggest. Also the one most synonymous with sweatshops. Currently it’s labour conditions just aren’t good enough for a multi-billion dollar company. They need to step up their ethical practices until I would be comfortable buying from them. A bit of progression environmentally, but just not good enough in terms of labour. Also, pretty good at avoiding paying their tax ….

Until then, I will only be buying Nike secondhand. I don’t think that company deserve your money.

Adidas ///

Much better in terms of ethical practice. Better on environmental strategy, and looks like they treat their workers better by being more transparent with supply chains and a degree of a living wage.

For now, I’m happy to buy brand new Adidas.

Reebok ///

Brand owned by Adidas. From my research I would be happy to buy from.

Puma ///

Given a 3/5 rating from Good on You. Better than Nike, worse than Adidas. Still found some evidence that their labour practices aren’t good.

Asics ///

From my research do not come across well in terms of human rights and treating their workers well.

New Balance ///

Closely associated with a certain American politician I don’t like. Won’t be giving the company my money.

Veja ///

Good human rights and workers rights record. Big players in terms of sustainable materials. Love the look of this brand. Plus, a bit more niche, so you won’t be wearing the same trainers as everyone else.


Of course as always, do your own research. The policies and codes of conduct of the big brands are ever changing, so just be aware.

watch THE TRUE COST on Netflix


Disclaimer: Not an ad. All thoughts my own. Yes, I do own Nike, and have bought Nike in the past. What I’m saying is that I will avoid it from now on.

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