Surveys by Publications:
Footwear Insight Textile Insight Outdoor Insight
How Sustainability Lifestyle Goals Influence Shoppers’ Purchasing Decisions

It’s obvious that respondents to this months Survey are taking conscious consumerism to heart and shopping more mindfully when it comes to sustainability. Looking at year-over-year results in the charts on the following pages shows that today’s shopper’s are not only willing to purchase goods made with eco-materials but also pay a higher price for these items. For example, 78 percent of Survey participants said they would pay more for items that feature eco-friendly fabrics, up from 60 percent two years ago. Interest in eco-labeling and recycling is also on the rise. Consider that a whopping 98 percent of consumers surveyed said that they would bring unwanted clothing and footwear to a recycling bin, and felt that doing so was a personal responsibility. Recycling efforts also ranked highest in lifestyle sustainability goals outlined for the year ahead. Product packaging is an area to watch going forward. “I’m sick of seeing plastic on everything,” commented one respondent.

The survey, conducted by MESH01, included 116 respondents, men and women active in sports and outdoors, ages 18 to 59.

When purchasing apparel, how important is the use of Eco-friendlymaterial in your final decision-making?
When purchasing footwear how important is the use of Eco-friendly material in your final decision-making?
Regarding footwear, if you selected “somewhat” or “very important”above, which sustainable elements would be most appealing to you?
Are you willing to pay more for apparel or footwear with Eco-friendly fabrics and materials?
Are you willing to pay more for apparel or footwear with Eco-friendly fabrics and materials?
How important is a 3rd party Eco-Certification when purchasing apparel or footwear?

In their words...

Until there is a clear and definitive standards for the certification, I don’t see this as a must have right now.

Depends on whether or not I trust the apparel company in the first place.

This is not important to me and surely results in additional costs being passed on to the consumer.

I like the idea of standardization, but know these certifications often are gamed.

It’s easier to verify the standards of third-party certifiers and then trust their logos on products you buy than it is to confirm claims made by individual manufacturers.

If I’m paying extra, I want to know it has been been certified.

Would Eco-Labeling on apparel and footwear be something of interest to you?

In their words...

I’d find it interesting and it would catch my eye while shopping.

If there is a good sourcing story it is good to know - and can influence my purchasing decisions.

If I knew while I was comparing, I should choose eco-friendly.

Yes, good to know good stuff is happening.

Make it clear and obvious or I’ll miss it.

Can you name an Eco-certification for either apparel or footwear off the top of your head?

Global Organic Textiles
Organic Cotton
Green Shape
Alternative Apparel
USDA Organic Cotton
Save the Planet
Thread 4 Thought
Forest Stewardship Council
People Tree
and Pact

Who should recycle used apparel or footwear?
If you saw a recycling bin at a local retailer, would you bring in your unwanted apparel or footwear items?

Selected Comments

Everyone involved should make an effort to contribute, in every possible way they can, to recycling and make/sell/use/buy recycled products.

I believe it’s the responsibility of all, but I do think brands have a special responsibility since they are aware of what materials they are utilizing to create their products.

This should be on the consumer; however, the stores/brands should supply portals to recycle.

All should play a role. Consumers like myself would be happy to do so if it was easier/easy.

Would you need an incentive?

I would not expect it, but it would be nice.

A coupon on a future purchase seems reasonable.

No, I would not expect it, but a
5-10% discount would inspire me to look around for potentially something new.

No, but it would definitely help me bring in more pairs.

Not at all, it is nice when they offer incentives, but I am more than happy to recycle my unwanted items just because it’s the right thing to do.

No, I would not expect anything, but that might get more people to do it.

I definitely would not expect an incentive.  I appreciate any place that recycles used items for donation.

Yes, I think that’s appropriate offering incentive would be a good to get others involved.

Where do you get all your information regarding Eco-Friendly apparel or footwear? (choose all that apply)
In the past year, how many times have you purchased apparel or footwear that was promoted as “sustainable?”
What are your sustainability goals to live “a more responsible lifestyle?”
What are your sustainability goals to live “a more responsible lifestyle?”
  1. It costs more.
  2. I am suspect about the sustainanbility claims made by the brands.
  3. The materials used are not as comfortable.
  4. It’s not
  5. high-tech.

How important is a “Made In America” product label in your decision making process?


“I prefer to buy American but knowing that many products are sourced elsewhere and only assembled in the US has decreased my interest in shopping this way.” Male / 30

“Love to support local companies, but not a decisive factor in my decision-making.” Male / 28

“If it is comparably priced to a product that isn’t made in USA, I’ll pick the one made in USA.”
Female / 36

“While Made in America is nice to know, price is also important.” Female / 37

“More importantly would be what state it is made in. Made in America feels quite general.” Male / 27

“It is more important when purchasing items online. If I can determine quality (and fit) for a product in a brick-and-mortar store, where it is made does not matter.” Female / 45

“The assumption is a USA made product will be quality but that does not always hold true.” Male / 28

“As long as the company treats their employees fair, it doesn’t matter what country it comes from.” Female / 30

“I generally do not think about where a product is made before grabbing it, but if I happen to notice two products side-by-side and one clearly states that it’s made in the USA, I’ll get that one, depending on the price difference.” Male / 27


“I prefer Made in America to help our own economy grow and because I believe our quality is second to none.” Male / 31

“It will be the decider between two similar items.” Male / 18

Because we make a good quality products Female / 39

“I enjoy most when a product is made here in the U.S. We have all the resources and talent.” Male / 38

“Giving back to American is very important to me.” Female / 38


“There is no clear benefit to ‘Made in America’where product quality is concerned, and price is usually higher regardless.” Male / 32

“I’m more concerned about the brand than where it’s made.” Female / 37

“Things made in America are usually more expensive and not always better quality.” Female / 29

“Great quality products are made [all over] the world. I would love to keep the money in the American economy because I live here but it would not affect my decision to purchase a product.” Male / 31


Do you relate the concern about plastics to your wardrobe products made with polyester?

YES / 34%

“I recently washed a sweater then dried it by mistake. The way it feels and ‘sounds’ makes me wonder what it really is!” Female / 49

“Natural items sound better.” Female / 56

“I do know this is a bi-product, but its synthetic nature outweighs the plastic concern.” Male / 38

“I worry about toxins in all areas of the environment, including my clothes!” Female / 48

“I try and limit plastics both in my housewares and my clothing (like polyester) as they can harm sea-life.” Male / 31

NO / 66%

“I’ve never thought of this before. I think I should.” Female / 41

“I had not considered that before, but it’s a good point that probably gets overlooked due to water bottles and grocery bags getting most of the press.” Male / 30

“I hadn’t thought about clothing being part of the growing plastic accumulation on our planet.” Male / 41

“I haven’t yet, however after reading this question I will be.” Female / 38

“I never really thought about plastic being in polyester. That’s a really great question.” Male / 29

“I’ve never really thought about that to be honest since polyester is so ingrained in the outdoor community.  This is something I’m going to have to research more.” Male / 42