Keep your toes warm and the planet cool with these sustainable sock brands that use recycled, natural, and bio-based materials.
Dressing sustainably is a top priority for many eco-conscious consumers. For those looking to lessen their environmental footprint, start with the basics: sustainable socks.
What to do with old socks
Opting for sustainable essentials when shopping—from your underwear down to your socks—is an easy swap to make. Of course, that’s not to say that you should go and throw away all of your old socks in favor of new, more eco-friendly pairs.
The number of old socks that are discarded every year may seem meager compared to garments. (About 11,300 tons of socks made their way to landfills in 2020.) But when they do reach their expiration date—mismatched, stretched out, holey, and all—make sure you discard them sustainably.
There are a number of textile recycling programs, such as the Council for Textile Recycling, Nice Laundry, and Terracycle, that can give your old socks a new lease on life. You can also repurpose old pairs, using them as cleaning rags or dog toys.
Sustainable sock brands to shop
Ready to put your best—and most sustainable—foot forward? Shop these eco-friendly sock brands.
1. Conscious Step
For socks that are ethically and sustainably made, shop Conscious Step. The company’s fairtrade socks feature eco-friendly materials like organic cotton and recycled polyester. Plus, every pair supports a good cause, from socks that save dogs and socks that protect oceans to socks that promote reforestation. For every box sold of “socks that plant trees,” 12 trees are planted through Conscious Step’s partnership with the Maryland-based nonprofit Trees for the Future.
With ankle socks, crew socks, knit socks, and more—Swaggr is on a mission to rid the planet of plastic waste. To date, the company has upcycled more than 100,000 plastic water bottles to create its sustainable socks.
3. Happy Socks
Known for its eclectic and colorful socks, this Swedish retailer is ramping up its sustainability efforts. By 2030, the brand aims to use only recycled and sustainably sourced materials. The company’s sustainable styles feature materials like Tencel and organic cotton. Cat socks, panda socks, mountain gorilla socks—you name it, and Happy Socks has probably got it.
Apparel giant Patagonia has comfy, high-quality socks for all of your outdoor adventures. Although the brand does use some controversial materials like merino wool, 87 percent of its line is made with recycled materials and fibers. For a high-performance sock, shop the Performance Crew Socks, which feature recycled polyester and nylon. And for a cozy, everyday pair, get the Hemp Crew Socks, which are made with a durable hemp-blend fabric.
5. Organic Basics
For organic basics, shop Organic Basics. From athletic tennis socks made from organic cotton to sheer socks made from recycled nylon, the company has every type of sock of your foot’s fancy. The brand creates its sustainable socks using a variety of other recycled materials, including recycled wool and recycled denim.
Creating sustainable apparel since 1995, this company creates comfy socks using bamboo, organic cotton, and recycled polyester. (The brand also uses wool.) Snag a pair of frilly Ariella Bamboo Ankle Socks or a pair of knee-high recycled nylon socks.
“Unbelievably cozy for your feet, recycled, and recyclable for the planet,” this company’s socks are a no-brainer for your feet. The brand’s socks, which are made from recycled plastic bottles, feature inspiring messages like “Waste Not,” “Please Recycle,” and “Slow Down.”
Founded in 2015 by professional surfer Kelly Slater, this outdoor apparel brand knows a thing or two about sustainability. Made responsibly using high-quality organic materials, the company’s collection of plant dye socks feature no harmful chemicals and contributes to zero water waste.
This company’s sustainable essentials are made from naturally grown bamboo. Available in ten signature styles—from crew boot socks and chunky bed socks to everyday ankle socks and sports socks—give your sock drawer an eco-friendly makeover courtesy of Boody.