Wolven is a US-based activewear brand known for its colorful and intricately-patterned clothing made from recycled plastic bottles. While its pieces are most popular among yogis, Wolven clothing can be worn for other activities and everyday wear.
As a sustainable fashion blogger and runner, I’m always curious about conscious activewear brands, and I was able to put Wolven to the test when they gifted me the Pocket Bike Short and Crisscross Bra. In this post, I’ll review their sustainability measures, quality, sizing, and more.
This post isn’t sponsored, and I was gifted two Wolven pieces with no obligation to post. I am an affiliate, meaning I may earn a small commission through any purchases through the links or discount codes in this post, at no extra cost to you.
Is Wolven Ethical and Sustainable?
Wolven is owned by Kiran Jade, a woman of South Asian heritage who was born to a Hindu Indian father and Muslim Pakistani mother. She founded the company to bring traditional South Asian patterns and aesthetics—with their geometric, colorful patterns—to Western activewear. And she wanted to do so without harming the planet and its people.
Most of Wolven’s clothing is made from rPET, or recycled plastic bottles. rPET is a controversial fabric since it still sheds microplastics as a synthetic fabric, and it takes plastic bottles out of a loop that allows them to be infinitely recycled into new bottles.
But, activewear needs to be sweat-wicking and stretchy, and recycled synthetics are one of the only good options currently. Wolven’s rPET is Global Recycled Standard and Oeko-Tex certified, so the fabric is made from actually-recycled materials (some “recycled” plastic bottles are actually not post-consumer), and it’s free from harmful substances.
Wolven also has some pieces made from carbon-neutral modal that is produced from sustainably-harvested beech trees. The process of creating modal can involve toxic chemicals, so I’d like to see more info around how Wolven’s modal is made.
Wolven pieces are sewn primarily in China (with the modal pieces being sewn in Los Angeles). Import shipments are carbon offset. Their Chinese manufacturer is audited by Intertek’s Workplace Conditions Assessment, and it scored 87% overall across the categories of labor, wages & hours, health & safety, management systems, and environment. Wolven also shares images of their Chinese workers and factory. The LA manufacturer is woman-owned and has a small team of five people.
This labor transparency is a good start, but I’d like to see more info around wages and working conditions, such as being able to actually see the WCA assessment results themselves.
Diversity-wise, Wolven features models of different backgrounds and sizes. Their size range only goes from XS-XL, however, so there’s room for improvement there, especially when it comes to offering plus sizes.
The company does recognize the importance of intersectionality in environmentalism and is committed to supporting intersectional organizations through their 1% for the Planet contributions.
Wolven pieces are shipped in in minimal packaging. The mailer is 100% recycled poly or a paper box, and the pieces are wrapped in hemp twine.
When you’re ready to pass your Wolven activewear on, you can sell them on the pre-loved section of their site. You can also buy used Wolven clothing or slightly-imperfect new pieces in this section. It would be great to one day see a recycling program for their activewear that’s too worn to be resold.
Overall, Wolven has some good sustainability measures, but I’d like to see even more labor transparency and a larger size range.
My Experience With Wolven
I ordered both the Pocket Bike Short and Crisscross Bra (sold out—here’s a similar bra) in size small in Turmeric. I’ve had my Wolven shorts and sports bra for a couple months now, and here’s what I think about them.
I was impressed by how small the package was for the two pieces. They were both rolled up and tied with a piece of twine, and placed in a small recycled plastic mailer.
The package also came with a handwritten note and stickers, which were a sweet touch. It would’ve been nice to be able to opt in or out of the stickers though, since I’m not sure I’ll use them all.
The Turmeric color is a beautiful earthy orange. I later realized that it’s kind of close to my skin tone after a summer in the sun, but I don’t mind.
You’ll be glad to know that the shorts are pretty much panty-line free. I usually wear full-coverage underwear (huge fan of high-waisted granny panties lol), and the panty lines aren’t that noticeable compared to my other lighter-colored compression shorts. I’ll spare you a photo of my butt though.
After a hard workout, the sweat also doesn’t show up on the lighter fabric. You won’t need to worry about looking like you peed your pants or something haha.
For reference, I’m 5’4″, 125-130lbs, 28.5″ waist, and 36″ hip. According to the size chart, I actually should’ve gotten a medium (28-30″ waist) since a size small is actually for 26-27″ waists. But, I’ve always been a standard size small in activewear and didn’t even look at the size chart (oops).
When I first saw the shorts, I was worried that they wouldn’t fit. They seemed way tinier than my other bike shorts, and the waist was only 11 inches across.
When I put the bike shorts on, they felt a little snug at first in the waist and leg openings. I thought I was going to have to exchange them, but after comparing the feel to my other bike shorts, I realized that all of them were a little compressive. After a couple wears, the shorts also seemed to stretch a bit and feel just right.
The bra fit just fine, and there were no problems there. It measured 12.5 inches across (I have a 32″ bust and 30″ band).
Wolven’s activewear is made from 84% rPET and 16% spandex. The fabric has a vegan suede finish that isn’t not glossy like most activewear and has a bit more texture. Their fabric is soft, stretchy and extremely comfortable.
While I like the suede-like material for my shorts, I will say that I’m not as big of a fan when it comes to the bra, as it can feel a little itchy sometimes. That said, I do have more sensitive skin in my torso.
Otherwise, the shorts and bra feel great. They’re compressive as activewear should be, but not too tight. The pockets of the shorts are roomy and can easily hold a phone or a tennis ball. The bra is supportive and I can go on runs with it (though if you have a larger chest, I’d recommend getting their Racerback Bra instead).
The shorts and bra are well-made and have held their shape after a handful of washes. The band of the bra sometimes gets twisted inside the vegan suede casing, but I’m able to reshape it easily. I may sew a couple stitches to hold it in place.
The vegan suede material does attract more lint than your standard activewear since it’s more textured. On the Turmeric color pieces, it’s not really noticeable; I usually just see some around the interior of the shorts waistband and the bra waistband. If you order a darker color like Onyx (black), however, it will be more noticeable, and you may want to use a lint roller.
Wolven recommends washing on cold in a bag that catches microfibers, like the Guppyfriend bag. You can then air dry the activewear.
Since their clothing is anti-microbial, and many pieces are reversible, Wolven recommends washing less frequently. If I don’t sweat much or do a lower-impact activity, I usually rewear the activewear before washing.
I’m a big fan of the fit and feel of Wolven’s shorts. I’d definitely consider getting more shorts when I need them and trying out their pocket leggings. I probably wouldn’t get another bra because the suede-like finish is a bit itchy for me on my chest, but it did fit well.
Where to Buy Wolven Clothing
If this review was helpful and you’ve decided that Wolven is right for you, it would mean a lot if you purchased through my affiliate link. You can also use code imperfectidealist for 20% off your first purchase.
Let us know what you think in the comments if you end up buying from Wolven! For more ethical brand suggestions, check out my sustainable brand directory.