Synthetic athletic tops are often touted for their superior moisture-wicking properties — but one green athletic company wants to help you avoid the marketing hype. Icebreaker, a New Zealand company that makes outdoor apparel from merino sheep sourced directly from growers, wants you to bag synthetics enough to make you a free shoe bag!

That’s right — New Yorkers tired of working out in synthetic fabrics can bring an old, synthetic T-shirt to the Paragon Sports flagship store at 867 Broadway at 18th Street. There, a live seamstress sitting in the store window will turn that shirt into a reusable running shoe bag — free! — between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. every day until Oct. 12.

What’s wrong with synthetic tops? Most aren’t particularly great for the environment, since they’re made of non-renewable materials through chemical processes. Icebreaker also contends that these “moisture-wicking” tops often stink after a run and retain odor — something I’ve definitely experienced after running in synthetic Nike shirts!

In contrast, Icebreaker prides itself in making merino apparel from natural, biodegradable materials — that can be traced back through its supply chain with the Icebreaker Baacode, a transparency program that lets people check online where there garment came from and what process it went through to get to them.

Icebreaker promises its clothes feel and smell better too, but I haven’t tried on any Icebreaker apparel myself to compare them to the synthetics. If you want to give them a try, New Yorkers will be happy to know that marathoners and would-be marathon can get 26.2 percent off Icebreaker GT purchases — plus a free pair of Icebreaker socks — at Paragon Sports’ flagship store until Oct. 12.

Get synthetic tops transformed into shoe bags
Take synthetic T-shirts to the Paragon Sports flagship store in NYC -- and a seamstress will turn it into reusable shoe bags!