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A pair of white and green Asics sneakers splashing into a puddle.
14 Jun
A pair of white and green Asics sneakers splashing into a puddle.

How Ethical Is ASICS?

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ASICS says it exists to “uplift the world through sport”, but how ethical is ASICS? Here we dive into the brand’s “Not Good Enough” rating, which was published in April 2023 and may not reflect claims the brand has made since then. Our ratings analysts are constantly rerating the thousands of brands you can check on our directory.

‘Sound body and mind’, but how are its ethics?

Sportswear brand ASICS was founded in post-war Japan in 1949, originally manufacturing basketball shoes but expanding to activewear and accessories in the decades since.

The popular company has a mission to “shine a light on the value of movement on the mind”, hoping to inspire more people to move for positive mental health. This is a crucial message today for people from all walks of life, and the brand also claims it has “committed to a sustainability strategy that includes reducing our reliance on non-sustainable materials and processes”. This all sounds great, but we’re here to shine a light on a brand’s practices behind the scenes—and ASICS has some work to do, promises and positive affirmations aside.

So how exactly is ASICS impacting people, the planet, and animals? We ask, how ethical is ASICS?

Environmental impact

Our planet rating evaluates brands based on the environmental policies in their supply chains, from carbon emissions and wastewater to business models and product circularity. Here we rate ASICS “Not Good Enough”.

The brand uses few lower-impact materials. And while it has set a science based target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in both its direct operations and supply chain, there’s no evidence it is on track to meet it.

ASICS also doesn’t appear to minimise microplastic impacts nor protect biodiversity in its supply chain. The brand has a lot of work to do if it hopes to improve its score for environmental impact.

Labour conditions

Workers’ rights are central to our people rating, which assess brands’ policies and practices on everything from child labour to living wages and gender equality. ASICS is also rated “Not Good Enough” here.

It received a middling score of 41-50% in the 2022 Fashion Transparency Index, and traces some of its supply chain, but the rest doesn’t look so hot. There’s no evidence it has programs or policies to empower women in its supply chain, which can lead to promotions and higher wages. It also doesn’t appear to support diversity and inclusion in its supply chain.

Worst of all, ASICS doesn’t ensure workers are paid living wages across its supply chain, which is crucial for a more ethical and sustainable fashion industry.

Animal welfare

Brands’ animal welfare policies and, where applicable, how well they trace their animal-derived products are the focus of our animals rating. Unfortunately, ASICS is also “Not Good Enough” for animal welfare.

While the brand has published a general statement about minimising animal suffering, it doesn’t have a formal animal welfare policy, nor does it trace any animal-derived materials to the first production stage.

ASICS uses down, and some of its leather products are made from recycled leather, which is a good start. And while it has a policy to source wool from non-mulesed sheep, it doesn’t provide any evidence to verify its claims.

It doesn’t appear to use fur, angora, exotic animal skin, or exotic animal hair. However, it needs to step up its game with the animal-derived materials it does use, or better yet, remove them altogether.

Overall rating: Not Good Enough

Overall, ASICS rates “Not Good Enough” based on our research. For a brand that claims that “to help people achieve a sound mind in a sound body, we need a sound earth”, it needs to be doing much more on all fronts. ASICS needs to strengthen its environmental practices, use more eco-friendly and less animal-derived materials, and ensure its workers are paid a living wage.

Note that Good On You ratings consider hundreds of issues, and it is not possible to list every relevant issue in a summary of the brand’s performance. For more information, see our How We Rate page and our FAQs.

See the rating.

Good swaps

“Good” and “Great” alternatives to ASICS

Adidas by Stella McCartney

Rated: Good

In a collaboration we didn’t know we needed but definitely deserve, footwear company Adidas paired with luxury fashion brand Stella McCartney to create stunning sneakers and activewear that look and feel great. Made from a percentage of recycled Parley Ocean Plastic®, you can walk the walk knowing you helped prevent plastic waste from reaching the ocean.

The shoes are available in EU sizes 36-47.

See the rating.

Shop Adidas by Stella McCartney @ LVRSustainable.

Shop Adidas by Stella McCartney @ Farfetch.

Ecoalf

Rated: Good
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Thanks to recycled materials like rescued ocean plastic, Ecoalf creates more sustainable fashion with the same quality, design, and technical properties as the best non-recycled ones.

Find the range in sizes XS-2XL.

See the rating.

Shop Ecoalf @ Farfetch.

Shop Ecoalf.

Veja

Rated: Good

Veja is a French brand designing ecological and fair trade footwear, and is also a responsible fashion pioneer. The brand uses lower-impact materials, like GOTS certified cotton and vegetable-tanned leather. Veja pays its co-operative cotton growers and rubber tappers between 30% and 100% above the world market price. By not advertising, Veja is able to invest more money into strengthening its practices.

You can find Veja shoes in women's EU sizes 35-46, and men's 35-47.

See the rating.

Shop Veja.

Shop Veja @ Cerqular.

Shop Veja @ LVRSustainable.

Shop Veja @ Outerknown.

Shop Veja @ Threads 4 Thought.

Shop Veja Kids second hand @ Retykle.

Girlfriend Collective

Rated: Good
Two women wearing sports leggings and crop tops in burgundy and green

Girlfriend Collective creates minimal, luxury clothes made with fair labour, certified by the Social Accountability Standard International SA8000. The brand uses lower-impact materials like recycled polyester as well as lower-impact, non-toxic dyes and is fully OEKO-TEX® STANDARD 100 certified.

Inclusively sized Girlfriend Collective offers products from 2XS-6XL.

See the rating.

Shop Girlfriend Collective @ LVRSustainable.

Shop Girlfriend Collective.

Patagonia

Rated: Good

Patagonia is a brand that truly lives and breathes the great outdoors. It makes clothing for trail running, climbing, mountain biking, surfing, skiing, and snowboarding. Patagonia has "Good" labour practices, and uses recycled, rather than virgin, polyester. It has also committed to reducing its energy use and emissions.

The brand stocks sizes 2XS-3XL.

See the rating.

Shop Patagonia @ LVRSustainable.

Shop Patagonia Pre-Owned @ Vestiaire Collective.

Shop Patagonia.

tentree

Rated: Good

Canadian brand tentree believes big change starts small. Small as in bringing your reusable bag to the grocery store, making fewer, more thoughtful purchases, and choosing to purchase more sustainably when you do. The brand plants ten trees for every item purchased to help regenerate ecosystems and provide planting jobs in communities around the world, and has already planted over 65 million trees.

All tentree’s products are created with an Earth-First approach, meaning they're made in fair, safe working conditions, and constructed using lower-impact and recycled materials.

tentree’s super comfy fabrics and easy wardrobe staples are typically available from XS-XL.

See the rating.

Shop tentree.

CasaGIN

Rated: Good
woman wearing sustainable teal singlet by ethical brand CasaGIN

Italian brand CasaGIN designs apparel for those looking to foster a more sustainable and conscious lifestyle in their closet and beyond.

Find most items in sizes XS-2XL.

See the rating.

Shop CasaGIN.

dk active

Rated: Great

dk active is an Australian high-performance brand supporting everybody seeking an authentic edge in life. It uses renewable energy in its supply chain to reduce its climate impact, and reuses all of its offcuts to minimise textile waste. It is also a PETA approved 100% vegan brand.

Find the products in sizes XS-2XL.

See the rating.

Shop dk active.

Nike (Pre-Owned)

Rated: It's A Start

Nike is an American sportswear and activewear manufacturer. The brand has good policies to audit suppliers in its supply chain, but it is not taking adequate steps to ensure payment of a living wage for its workers. By buying Nike second hand you're helping keep clothes out of landfills and helping protect workers by slowing down the fast fashion cycle and the relentless demands on low-paid workers in the supply chain.

See the rating.

Shop Nike Pre-Owned @ Vestiaire Collective.

Editor's note

Feature image via Unsplash, other images via brands mentioned. Good On You publishes the world’s most comprehensive ratings of fashion brands’ impact on people, the planet, and animals. Use our directory to search thousands of rated brands.

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