2021 Sustainable Cycling Clothing

We’re all becoming more aware of sustainability. There’s an increasing focus on purchasing and using more eco-friendly products in a bid to protect the planet. It’s sportswear’s turn to take a look at its carbon footprint and environmental impact.

For the cycling industry and all those involved with it, it’s an important thing to address. Whilst cycling in itself values nature and the environment, the production of its garments and products, might not.

Everybody wants to do their bit. Endurance minded athletes are now looking to make the most environmentally and socially conscious choices. That means purchasing their clothing from brands that pay attention to their environmental impact.

Here at Presca, it’s our mission to pioneer ways for the sportswear industry to make a positive impact on society and the planet. For us, that means making sportswear better. Better for the cyclist, better for society, and better for the planet.

When looking for cycling gear that does just this, here’s what you need to know.


How can clothes manufacturing harm the environment?

According to the UNEP, fashion is the third most polluting industry in the world.

This pollution comes in a few forms. The biggest is the industry’s ecological impact through its size 14 carbon footprint. Production processes are complex, but the amount of clothing that’s created per year globally uses enormous amounts of water, involves hazardous chemicals to treat, and produces several harmful emissions. On top of that, supply and shipping chains contribute heavily to Co2 emissions from the methods used to transport resources, materials, and end-products around the world.

Fast fashion has always been an important phrase but has also become an increasingly well-known one. Updating ranges of clothing quickly and reducing prices encourages consumers to discard their clothes more often. There are many negative impacts of this type of production that justify its unsustainable reputation amongst industries.

It’s a difficult tide to turn, and the industry is still learning, but there are ways in which clothing brands can change the way they work to reduce their impact on the environment. Here at Presca, we're looking to help inspire that change.

How can cycling clothing be sustainable?

Sustainable clothing needs to address both the ecological and social factors in its production and distribution.

On the ecological side, it needs to be mindful of the chemicals, materials and production methods used in its creation. It must also be high quality and durable so that it lasts the consumer a long time and they don’t need to continually discard and repurchase the same product.

On the social side, payment and conditions for those involved need to be fair and ethical standards must be upheld.  

Due to the society we live in, there is no perfect solution when it comes to sustainability. However, only those that know about the effort they need to make are likely to be making impactful decisions and changes in their processes.

When looking for cycle clothing, there are a couple of things to look out for that reflect a genuine and effective attempt to be more sustainable:

  • Renewable energy used in the manufacturing process
  • Ethical supply chains
  • Fair pay and good working conditions
  • Fabric choices for garments
  • Product longevity
  • Product packaging

Throughout our design, manufacturing, and supply processes, our promise to sustainability explains how every single step makes the most effective choices.

It’s rooted in our foundations to keep sustainability at the heart of our business. We research, we learn, and we develop our offering with the same endurance as the athletes we serve. The result is environmentally friendly and ethical cycling clothing that makes a positive impact on the planet.

We use innovative recycling technology to intercept end of life materials and rebuild them into new fabrics and ultimately brand-new clothing. We create new kit from old and complete the circle.


Does cycling clothing that is sustainable maintain quality?

The quality of cycling garments determines whether it can be considered environmentally friendly or not.

To be eco-conscious, sportswear must be functional and durable, lasting the consumer for a long amount of time. Otherwise, it encourages a quick cycle of purchase and discard which underpins the fashion industry’s current reputation concerning pollution.

The type of fibres used is a marker of both sustainability, but also quality. The right choices mean that the garment will have longevity.

Synthetic fibres are the most durable. Polyester and Nylon, in particular, are two of the most efficient fibres to use in sports clothing. They are hard-wearing, versatile, cheap to produce, dry very quickly, and can be recycled.  

It’s important to recognise and the end-of-life issues with synthetic fibres. That’s why obtaining Polyester and Nylon from recycled materials and intercepting its journey to landfill is an important part of our manufacturing process. Creating a closed-loop lifecycle for synthetic fibres allows their durable properties to be used and reused without the need to waste any resources or produce more emissions. By 2022, all new designs from the Presca sportswear range will be fully circular.

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Natural fibres like organic cotton and wool can also be used in clothing, but there are advantages and disadvantages to its use. Merino wool is a material known for being biodegradable, but it is also very fine and doesn’t last as long. Viscose it incredibly lightweight and versatile, but its production often includes the use of damaging chemicals.

A brand of clothing needs to weigh up all their options when it comes to synthetic and natural fibres to build something that is long-lasting and aims to reduce its carbon footprint while doing so. Using recycled materials is an important part of producing environmentally friendly products. It means that athletes can go further in their sportswear. And the materials they’re made from can too.

You can read all about our fibre choices and how the carefully selected blends mean that both positives and negatives have been weighed up to produce garments that have the highest quality with the lowest impact on the environment. The majority of our garments are made from recycled polyester from plastic bottles and recycled nylon from ghost fishing nets and carpets. With rigorous processes in place, Presca sportswear is sustainable by design.


What is circularity for cycling clothing?

Up to 100,000,000 items of clothing are made every year, and only 1% of these are recycled.

The average lifespan of an item of clothing includes taking materials from the ground, making the item, selling it, wearing it for a while, then throwing it away. Inevitably, it ends up as landfill within a few years. The resource-heavy process then repeats, damaging the environment every time.

Circularity aims to take the currently linear approach to clothing usage and make it much more environmentally friendly. It’s important to try and extend the lifecycle of an item to reduce the vast amount of clothing that’s made from scratch each year. Circularity makes up the Presca ethos. Our promise to our athletes is that we offer kit for life. By producing elite performance clothing made from recycled materials, the circle is complete.

The first step in manufacturing clothing that promotes circularity is the use of recycled materials to create the garment.

The second is the durability of the item. It must withstand wear and tear and last the user a significant amount of time to discourage the need for additional purchases in a short window. Being functional and fit-for-purpose is an important part of sportswear that will avoid over-consumerism.

The third is the item being repairable. To prolong the life of a garment, there needs to be the option of repair instead of being immediately discarded.

The fourth is recycling. To complete this fully circular approach to clothing production, the items must be biodegradable and recyclable and turned into something else at the end of their lives.

We understand the key principles of circularity and have made efforts at every stage to ensure the loop in the lifecycle of their products is closed. Using recycled plastic to create good quality fabric and material for garments that will have a long life, our products are always eco-conscious. We make new kit from old.

What makes an item of cycling clothing sustainable?

As a cycling wardrobe contains many different items, there are certain qualities individual garments need to have to be functional and eco-friendly.

Sustainable cycling jerseys

Cycling jerseys must be lightweight to allow freedom of movement and breathable to provide the comfort needed through a ride.

Presca’s Grand Tour Short Sleeve Cycling Jersey delivers on both. It also has advanced wicking properties to help balance body temperature, comfort seams that prevent chafing, grip tape at the waist that prevents ride up. The rear of the jersey has three pockets to keep your essentials safe.

Most importantly, made from 86% recycled polyester from recycled plastic bottles, our jerseys have a reduced environmental impact. Our manufacturing uses renewable energy sources and an ethical supply chain.

Sustainable cycling jacket

Protection and comfort are what most people look for in a cycling jacket. That means being waterproof and windproof are the two most important qualities it needs to have.

The Grand Tour IW Cycling Jacket has been designed with pro cyclists for the British cycle racing season to ensure it offers both of these. It has high quality windproofing (>1mm/sec) and waterproofing (>10.000mm) protection, an accentuated spray flap, rear pockets with drainage holes, and a reflective stripe and tab to keep you protected on all types and lengths of a ride.  

The jacket is made from performance recycled fabrics, plastic, and other sustainable materials. Our production process uses a renewable energy source and an ethical supply chain.

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Cycling Jacket
Cycling Gilet

Sustainable gilet

A gilet is there to offer warmth and comfort throughout Autumn, Winter, and Spring cycles.

Presca’s Grand Tour Cycling Gilet is made from high stretch fabrics that provide windproofing and waterproofing whilst allowing for easy movement. The ventilation panel, anti-ride-up grip tape, and reflective tab are all there to offer additional protection and comfort.

As with all our garments, this gilet is made from recycled fabrics, fulfilling our sustainability promise.

Sustainable bib shorts

Sustainable cycling shorts should be the staple of a rider's wardrobe and need to be designed with maximum comfort and classic style to complement other outerwear.

The timeless Grand Tour Black Cycling Bib Shorts are made from muscle control compression fabric to support the body throughout a ride. The close-fitting and aerodynamic design, silicone cuffs, wide shoulder straps, and flatlock stitching are all there to increase and ensure comfort.

Our bib shorts are from made sustainable materials including 30% Post-consumer recycled polyester, 48% Post-consumer recycled nylon, and 22% Elastane.

 All Presca garments show an onsite infographic communicating exactly how they are better for the environment in a measurable way. The graphic includes figures on the days of drinking water saved, the number of driving emissions avoided, and the amount of waste diverted from landfills, so you can find out how your purchase has made a positive impact. 

Explore our full range of eco-friendly cycling clothing and find something that lasts a lifetime at our online shop.

Presca is here for eco-conscious athletes looking to push their limits. That can be anybody. That's why we create sportswear that's not only high performance but is sustainably led, inspiring you to make the best choices for yourself and the planet.

Presca sportswear goes further. For you. For people. For our planet.


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Guy Whitby - Operations Director

Blog curated by Guy Whitby (MSC) and Ironman Athlete

Guy Whitby is a medal-winning athlete and five-time Iron Man finisher. He is Presca's Operations Director and Co Founder, and has drawn on Presca's wide network of professional athletes and sports expertise to collate this blog.

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