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The best sustainable cycling clothing brands 2022

Emma Cole
1 Mar 2022

The ultimate guide to the cycling clothing brands focussing on sustainable kit

Cycling is traditionally viewed as an environmentally friendly sport. Two wheels are better than four. But it’s no secret that the sport contributes to climate change, particularly if we look at what we wear on our bikes. 

According to the Apparel Impact Institute’s latest report, the sector’s emissions in 2019 accounted for about two percent of annual global greenhouse gas emissions, and without drastic change, this is only set to grow as the sector is ‘well off pace’ to stick to the 1.5C warming limit set out in the Paris Agreement

The report adds that in order to mitigate these emissions, the industry needs to increase energy efficiency and switch to renewables and recycled polyester. 

What do we mean by sustainable cycling kit?

The most sustainable cycling clothing is that which is already in your wardrobe, but if you are in the market, we’ve got the lowdown on the most sustainable brands to help you make a more conscious choice. The brands are listed alphabetically and key things taken into consideration are:

  • Fabrics
  • Manufacturing
  • Shipping
  • Energy sources
  • Transparency
  • Circularity

To an extent we have to take a brand’s claims at face value given we can’t assess a garment’s precise material composition ourselves, or see a company’s actual energy bill. 

A quick side note: many brands use third party organisations to guide them on their sustainability journey such as Bluesign and Oeko-Tex which are regularly mentioned here.

  • Bluesign is a sustainability standard which evaluates organisations, reviews supply chains, and particularly considers the chemical composition of textile products to ensure healthy and safe materials.
  • Oeko-Tex is a standard based on a testing and certification process which certifies non-hazardous end-products and all of their components.

9 of the best sustainable cycling clothing brands 

  1. Cadenzia 
  2. Endura
  3. Isadore
  4. Maap
  5. Presca
  6. Rapha
  7. TIC CC
  8. Universal Colours
  9. Velocio

1. Cadenzia

Cadenzia, which is launching in Spring 2022, uses a 44% bamboo viscose and 56% recycled polyester blend in its cycling jerseys.

‘The Bamboo is woven with the recycled polyester into a highly durable long lasting ultra-soft ripstop performance fabric,’ explains co-founder Rob Stross.

‘Bamboo is a sustainable yarn, with natural performance benefits and also happens to be one of the fastest growing plants on earth, and one of the world’s most sustainable, naturally-replenishing resources.’

‘All our polyester and nylon fabrics are recycled and Oeko-Tex certified and we only use YKK Natulon recycled ocean plastic zips.’

The brand will have a small essential cycling range, with three non-seasonal and non-gender colours in its range, with the aim of eliminating waste.

‘Our jersey fabric is made in only one colour, natural unbleached white and the other colours are then computer printed using eco dyes straight onto the pattern pieces,’ adds Stross.

At present products that are verified to contain at least 20% of recycled material can be classified as recycled and all its waterproof products are PFC free (perfluorinated chemicals are used to make fabrics waterproof and are very harmful to the environment).

Cadenzia products are manufactured in China and shipped to the UK. When the company set up its supply chain in Shanghai, it set it up to be fully localised around the local area so it could track and minimise its carbon footprint.

2. Endura

Kit that’s built to last is sustainable in its own right which is where Scottish brand Endura comes in which has a reputation for durable kit.

Endura incorporates recycled fabrics into its range with the aim of eliminating waste.

‘We have chosen to use recycled fibres on polyesters and not nylons because it is most impactful with polyesters and addresses the problem of plastic bottle waste,’ says Pamela Barclay, product director at Endura.

‘That is a reflection of why we don’t have more styles with recycled fibres.’

According to the brand, 100% of its mountain bike jerseys use recycled fabrics compared to 33% of its road jerseys. However, the brand hopes to increase the latter figure to 100% in 2023 onwards.

The brand also only markets a product as recycled if it uses more than 50% recycled yarns.

In 2020 Endura launched its One Million Trees initiative, where it committed to planting one million trees every year for the next ten years in order to offset its carbon footprint and aims to become carbon negative by 2024.

The tree planting began in Mozambique, and has now also started in Scotland, the brand’s home.

All Endura products have been PFC Free since 2018 and the company produces all of its custom garments in its factory in Scotland and the rest in China and Asia.

3. Isadore

The brainchild of ex-pros and brothers Martin and Peter Velits, Isadore releases a sustainability report every year, with details of where its products are produced, progress it has made, as well as new aims and initiatives.

The brand is working on core garment traceability and aims to replace all virgin synthetic materials in its products with their recycled counterparts by 2025.

Mucho of Isadore's kit is made from recycled materials and the brand recently introduced a majority recycled indoor line.

‘The most important part is that there is no performance difference between using virgin synthetics or recycled fabrics,’ explains Martin. ‘Our Alternative line is made entirely from recycled fabrics and we hope to eventually use 90% recycled sources for the synthetic materials.’

Isadore also uses a lot of merino wool in its products. The wool comes from New Zealand and Australia and then gets processed in Germany where the yarns are produced. The fabric is then woven or laminated in the Czech Republic.

Isadore only works with Oeko-Tex and Bluesign certified suppliers and manufacturers.

Isadore currently doesn’t have the resources to measure and communicate its carbon emissions but is working with its shipping partners to switch to carbon neutral or zero emissions programmes.

The brand plans to have an independent audit to go through all its processes in the future.

4. Maap

Australian brand Maap was the first cycling brand to join Bluesign as a full partner.

‘If something is a Bluesign partner, you know that audits have been done and that there will be a certain level of sustainability, which automatically gives you that peace of mind,’ explains Darren Tabone, VP of product at Maap.

‘In our case, Bluesign act like a bit of a big brother, they evaluate your organisation, help review your supply chain and look at all different tiers of the code. Becoming more sustainable is a journey and there's no real end goal in the sense that you are constantly evolving and learning.’

The brand current uses 95% Bluesign or Oeko-Tex materials and aims to up this to 100% by the end of 2022.

The majority of Maap’s printed fabrics use Green Soul technology which combines sustainable recycled fibres with the environmentally friendly dyeing and finishing processes.

The bulk of Maap products are made in Europe and it is expanding its Asia source base. 

The brand is not tracking the carbon emissions yet but this is part of its future plan. It is currently in the process of working out the tonnage of products which are from Blue Sign approved raw materials. 

  • Buy kit from Maap 

5. Presca

Bristol-based brand Presca which aims to become the world’s first circular sportswear brand and is keen on education and pushing back on a disposable mentality. 

‘We need to re-educate the consumer into buying good quality clothes which they keep for a long time rather than just continuously replace them,’ says Presca CEO Rob Weddon.

‘We launched our first fully circular garments in 2020 and we’re aiming for all of our new ranges to be fully recyclable by 2022. Circularity is a crucial part of making the industry sustainable.’

Presca offers a trade in service for its own garments and also the first pad replacement service – send in any brand of shorts and Presca will replace the pad.

Presca has always used recycled fabrics in its cycling gear, with the exception of elastane for cuffs.

The brands fabric mills are all in Europe and Presca does its own audits of its factories.

Presca is aiming to be carbon neutral across all operations (in-house and supply chain) by 2022 and will be releasing an annual report on its carbon emissions, how it is measuring them, what emissions it are measuring, and its plans to reduce them.

6. Rapha

Rapha currently produces 90% virgin materials and 10% environmentally preferred materials (recycled, certified organic or animal welfare versions) by volume but has pledged to flip this on its head by 2025.

‘Some people might be not impressed with 10% today, but it’s all about what we’re trying to get to,’ explains Duncan Money, Rapha’s head of social and environmental impact. ‘It is a journey, and we will be doubling that figure nearly every year to get there.’

Like Endura, Rapha doesn’t publicly market a product as environmentally preferred until this accounts for more than 50% of the product by weight.

Rapha aims to become carbon neutral by 2025, across scope 1,2 and 3 emissions.

  • Scope 1 emissions refer to direct GHG emissions that occur from sources that are controlled or owned by an organisation, such as emissions from company vehicles
  • Scope 2 emissions refer to indirect GHG emissions associated with the purchase of electricity, steam, heat, or cooling, and are a result of an organisation’s energy usage
  • There are also Scope 3 emissions, which include all other indirect emissions that occur in a company’s value chain

It is currently working on its Science-Based Targets and will release these in the middle of the year.

Rapha is also one of the founding signatories of the Shift Cycling Culture Climate Commitment.

‘Even if you just looked at it by weight, it’s quite obvious which one we should be addressing first and which one people should be challenging us on,’ says Money.

‘The cycling industry has the potential to be an incredible force for good in the world, but to make the necessary changes we need to take action with urgency, together.’

Rapha is a member of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition and uses Bluesign and Oeko-Tex certified materials.

7. TIC CC

In 2019, TIC CC undertook a year-long period of ‘environmental reflection’ which led to 95% of the brand’s SS21 collection being made with recycled fabrics.

The brand also reworked its supply chains so that 98% of fabrics and components now come from Europe.

For TIC CC co-founder Andrew Monk, taking a holistic approach is an important factor to an evolving sustainability journey.

‘We find that a combination of recycled and virgin fabrics works best,’ says Monk.

‘Of course, this will change as technology improves but you have to take a holistic approach, looking at other impacts including production methodology and distance travelled from source.’

Notably, TIC CC advocates using a Guppyfriend washing bag when washing cycling clothing.

Washing cycling kit in this bag prevents microplastic pollution from synthetic micro fibres getting into waterways.

TIC CC and all of its key manufacturing partners use 100% renewable energy and the brand uses Bluesign and Oeko-Tex certified materials.

TIC CC kit is made in Europe, and its caps are handmade in the UK.

The brand has been tracking its emissions internally for the past three years and is considering getting this data accredited in the future.



8. Universal Colours

London-based Universal Colours takes an innovative conscious approach to its products.

The brand uses pre-consumer wase and post-consumer waste fabrics and a fluorocarbon-free durable water repellent (DWR), called C0 which is a sustainable, vegetable-based technology.

The brand aims to produce considerately sourced cycling clothing but to also educate the consumer on how to care for its garments in order to maximise their longevity.

‘With all our waterproof jackets we give a sample of Nickwax aftercare to reproof it,’ says Will Hurd, a designer at Universal Colours. ‘It’s really important that we communicate to our customers the importance of looking after a product. It’s wrong to assume that customers know what reproofing is.’

But it isn’t straightforward as Hurd explains: ‘We have our own paradox and our own complications because we know our price points are not accessible for everyone. But I think we are very clear and transparent about our fabrics, our costs and have strong ethical policies that we stand by.’

The brand also champions a circular approach, notably in its 100% taste-free biodegradable polyethylene bottle constructed using sugarcane, which can be wholly recycled.

At the correct temperature in a landfill or under leaves and soil in a forest, the bio-batch additive activates, and the bottle decomposes into water, humus and gas.

The brand says the composting process takes 1-5 years, compared to 450 years for a traditional plastic bottle, and the bottle becomes part of the natural world again.

Most of its products are produced at LTP in Lithuania which is a bluesign accredited factory, and the brand also works with a factories in China and Taiwan for select products.

Universal Colours is curently looking into tracking its emissions and is also a member of 1% for the planet.

9. Velocio

The majority of Velocio’s products incorporate recycled or natural fibre, including all of its Spring/Summer jersey line. The brand is aiming to expand the use of these materials into the rest of its collection.

Velocio makes its kit in facilities which use renewable energy, primarily solar and produces clothing in small-batch quantities in order to conserve energy, limit overstock and reduce liquidation.

‘It’s ironic given that the bicycle can be such an environmentally friendly mode of transportation, but the industry at large, especially at the aspirational end, has pushed newer/better/faster as their primary marketing language for so long that bikes are essentially disposable,’ says Brad Sheehan, CEO and co-founder of Velocio.

‘That mentality has been absorbed by consumers and it’s the main thing we hope to push back on.’

‘It’s also not enough to just use recycled fabrics. We’re also looking at the manufacturing partners, fabric suppliers, and end of life phases of our apparel to see how we can improve the entire life cycle.’

Velocio uses Bluesign and Oeko-Tex certified suppliers and is also a member of 1% for the planet.

Interested in sustainability and cycling? Check out why climate change is threatening pro cycling and read about Shift Cycling Culture bringing together cycling industry leaders to create a more sustainable future for the sport

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