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- 85% of Athleta‘s redesigned swimwear collection is made from sustainable materials like recycled nylon, putting the company one step closer towards its 2020 goal of making 80% of its materials with sustainable fibers.
- Performance and style aren’t compromised in the process. The supportive, comfortable suits are perfect for active lifestyles, while the UV-protective fabric keeps up with long, summer days under the sun. All the styles are cute, ranging from classic to trendy.
- We tried some of the bikini tops ($49-$79), bottoms ($49-$69), and one-pieces ($98-$128) and found that Athleta’s three-year process of making the swim collection paid off.
If you’re an active woman, you might already know that Athleta is a great place to find all the apparel to help you perform on land, from the leggings you run in and the work-appropriate pieces that are okay to sweat in, down to the underwear you’ll be surprised to find really does make a difference.
This summer, it’s also one of our recommended places to get a swimsuit.
As part of Athleta’s 2020 goal of making 80% of its materials with sustainable fibers, it recently released a new swimwear collection with 85% of the fabrics made from recycled materials.
These two new fabrics are called AquaRib Econyl, made from 100% regenerated nylon fiber from fishing nets, and H2Eco, made from recycled nylon. In making the H2Eco fabric, Athleta has already diverted more than 39,000 pounds of waste from landfills.
Read more: The best women’s swimsuits you can buy
Athleta CMO Sheila Shekar Pollak says, "As a B Corp, we take our role in protecting our planet for the next generation seriously and have incorporated this mission into everything we do. At our size, we know we can make a big impact on perception, on demand, and ultimately on the industry."
More and more companies are making products from unexpected but sustainable materials such as recycled plastic water bottles. We’ve discovered time and again that there’s often little to no compromise in quality, efficacy, and price of the final product, and Athleta’s swimwear is no exception to this positive revelation.
The supportive and stretchy suits let you move around comfortably in and by the water, and since they have a UPF rating (how well the fabric protects against UV rays) of 50+, you won’t have to cut your summer swim time short. The material also dries quickly so you’re not wallowing and soaking in a clingy, too-wet suit.
Read more: The best active swimsuits for women
You have tons of styles to choose from, including classic cuts and solid colors, as well as more flashy or fashion-forward pieces. Right now, the collection has more than 400 items. Bikini tops cost $49-$79, bottoms $49-$69, and one-pieces $98-$128.
4 women at Insider Picks tried these stylish and sustainable swimsuits from Athleta — here’s what we thought:
Athleta swim surprised me in the best possible way. It’s flattering, comfortable, and built for summer days spent laying on a chair beachside or spiking the ball on a sandy volleyball court.
Sometimes swimwear sizing can be tough to gauge online — I’ll order the recommended option for my cup size as I did here (typically medium), and wind up guessing on bottoms (I fluctuate between 26-27 and wear a size four in jeans). I went true-to-size here and got small bottoms and the fit is unusually perfect — not so loose you’re afraid you’ll lose them in an unfortunate wave, and not so tight that it looks like you no longer fit in them. As Francesca notes (below), the best thing about Athleta’s suits may be that they simply sit on top of you, rather than adding segments or panty lines.
All in all, I didn’t expect to love Athleta swim as much as more expensive designer pairs I’ve wound up buying in the past, but these are a great foolproof pair to feel comfortable and confident in — which is ideally the point. —Mara Leighton, Insider Picks reporter
When it comes to bathing suits, I usually keep it pretty simple. I never purchase a red bathing suit because I feel like red is a bold statement, and also the color lifeguards wear. This time, I decided to just go for it. I chose the Loop Back one piece suit in, you guessed it, red! It didn’t look too risqué or like a lifeguard’s uniform.
When I tried it on, I liked the adjustable straps and the ability to create a perfect fit without compromising the intricate, and cute, back. It also felt comfortable around the thighs and butt. Some bathing suits can feel so tight and squeeze you in all the wrong places, but the Loop Back suit sat nicely on my entire body. The one thing I would note is that the cups felt pretty stiff. I’m assuming, with wear, they’ll soften up.
It’s still too cold to really get use out of this suit, but I splashed some water on the fabric and cups, and they both dried fairly quickly. I’m excited to put it on and take a dip this summer! —Francesca Rea, Insider Picks content producer
The classic halter style is given an update with a wrap-around add-on here. The wrap, which is an additional layer attached to the cups, isn’t only a stylish look — it also provides more support around your bust so you feel extra secure, and the back ties give you a more personalized fit.
This top has an underwire, which I personally prefer in my swimsuits for both the aesthetic and functional support, while the cups dry quickly and are removable. I agree with Francesca’s point above — they are slightly stiff, though not uncomfortable.
I loved the Twist Bottom because the cut and fit are the Goldilocks "just right," medium seat-medium rise standard, but they look more interesting than a regular triangle bottom. The twist waistband is flattering and even more importantly if you plan on spending all day at the beach, always comfortable. —Connie Chen, Insider Picks reporter
I’ve shopped at Athleta for years and I have been happy with every one of my purchases from the store, so I was eager to see how the sustainable swim line matched up to the quality of the rest of their products.
Every once in a while I’ll go with a bold print, but I typically play it safe and go with a solid style that provides a clean look. I chose this simple top and was happy to find that the color was eye-catching, but not to the point of being obnoxious.
I loved the overall style of the suit and liked the sporty look of the top. I wasn’t too fond of the material because it felt a little more rigid and less elastic than what I’m used to, but it still had enough stretch to be comfortable while moving around.
The suit looked and fit wonderfully, but due to my preference for a little more stretchiness, it probably won’t be my go-to for the summer months. With that being said, I would still recommend it to anyone looking to be more eco-friendly with their wardrobe. —Megan Foster, Insider Picks intern
The bottom line
All in all, we were pleased to find that Athleta’s swimsuits could be comfortable, performance-optimized, and stylish at the same time.
As you look for ways to reduce your environmental impact, the collection is a reminder that even the small things — like a bikini top — can make a difference.
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