Dutch Startup Creates The World’s First Microplastic-Free Sports Shorts

Sports brand Iron Roots starts a crowdfunding campaign to bring sustainable sports shorts to the market.

Plastic and sportswear. These words are less weird to find in one sentence than you might expect. More than 90% off all sportswear is created from plastics like polyester and nylon. The first big problem here is that plastic is made from oil.

But the founders of sustainable sportsbrand Iron Roots believe there is a ‘smaller’ problem with bigger consequences; microplastics. “Microplastics are small plastic particles that are released by washing plastic sportswear. These pieces can end up in our oceans, where they wreak havoc on the environment,” explains Erik de Groot from Iron Roots.

Iron roots sports shorts

A Natural Alternative

Since 2018, Iron Roots has been creating microplastic-free sportswear. So far, they brought hoodies, T-shirts and joggers to the market. They are all made from sustainable, natural materials like hemp, eucalyptus, and beechwood. 

De Groot: “One of the biggest challenges in creating sportswear without plastic is that natural fabrics can’t really be made as thin as plastics can.” Together with their partner factories in Greece and Turkey, Iron Roots has now cracked that code. 

More Than Just Sustainable

The new sports shorts are made from one of the most sustainable resources: eucalyptus trees, which are grown within Europe in FSC-certified forests. The material is not only sustainable, but also good for workouts. Naturally, eucalyptus is antibacterial, which means less smell from sweat and fewer laundry cycles. 

‘Normal’ plastic clothing also gets static on your skin, which irritates many athletes. Because the Iron Roots sports shorts are antistatic, this is a thing of the past.

Man holding sports shorts
Iron Roots co-founder Erik de Groot


To bring these unique shorts to the market, Iron Roots has started a crowdfunding campaign on kickstarter. De Groot: “Through this campaign, we can make a lot of people more aware of microplastics and the solutions to them.” 

Currently, the team has already achieved more than 40% of their campaign goal. When they reach at least 100%, the sports shorts will be taken into production.