Sustainable Fashion

How to Clean White Socks (Without Harsh Chemicals)

Learn how to return your socks to pristine whiteness without resorting to harsh chemicals

How To Clean White Socks Featured

There’s nothing better than a crisp, brand-new pair of white socks. But it seems like after just one use, they go from bright white to a dingy beige (and nobody wants beige socks). A regular wash isn’t enough to get them back to their brightest. So what are you supposed to do–throw them out every time they get dirty? No!

For both the planet and your wallet’s sake, there are multiple sustainable ways to get your socks back to bright white. You can clean white socks by soaking, boiling, scrubbing, or washing in cleaning agents like baking soda, oxygen bleach, lemon juice or vinegar, all of which can help return white socks to their former glory without the use of harmful chemicals. 

Woman wearing dirty white socks that are desperately in need of a clean!
White socks seem to pick up every piece of dirt they come in contact with!

To learn more about how to clean white socks and how to prevent them from getting so dirty in the first place, read below! Keep your dirty socks out of landfills and in your sock drawer where they belong. 

What to Use to Clean White Socks 

While your first thought might be to use chlorine bleach or hydrogen peroxide to whiten socks, it’s better for the environment and the fibers of your socks to use gentler, less toxic cleaners. 

1. Baking Soda

Baking soda is a miracle worker in the world of eco-friendly cleaning. You can use it in a variety of ways:

  • Soak your dirty white socks in warm water and baking soda for a few hours 
  • Add it to your washing machine before the wash cycle
  • Sprinkle your wet dirty socks with baking soda and scrub softly

2. Oxygen Bleach

Oxygen bleach will remove dirt stains and get them to a fresh white again in no time. Plus, oxygen bleach is more eco-friendly and less irritating than chlorine bleach. Add it to your load of laundry (white clothes only!) or let your dirty socks soak in it for a few hours beforehand. 

3. Lemon Juice

The citric acid in lemon juice is non-toxic, antibacterial, and antiseptic! So not only will your white socks look fresher than ever, they’ll actually be cleaner than ever! Soak or wash socks in fresh lemon juice for fresh, white socks that also smell good. 

4. White Vinegar

White vinegar has acetic acid, which is a strong acid capable of getting stained white socks back to snow white. Whiten socks by soaking them for half an hour, or wash them in a mixture of white vinegar and laundry soap. 

5. Laundry Detergent

Laundry detergent is an obvious part of washing white socks, but there are a few ways to use it to maximize its cleaning ability outside of the washing machine. Whiten socks with laundry detergent by:

  • Soaking them in a mixture of laundry soap and warm water 
  • Scrubbing wet socks with a brush dipped in laundry soap
  • Mixing regular laundry detergent with baking soda into a paste spread on top of stains

4 Expert Tips For Washing White Socks

Getting white socks clean isn’t always a simple cleaning procedure. Rather than just throwing them into the wash with your regular detergent, use the following methods to get the cleanest socks ever! 

1. Soak Them Before Washing

Giving your white socks time to soak in warm water allows a lot of the dirt to dissolve before you even pop them into the washing machine. You can soak them in water alone. Or for even more effective cleaning, add a small amount of laundry detergent or baking soda to the warm water. 

You can soak dirty socks for as little as 30 minutes or up to overnight in a plastic bag. Avoid leaving them wet for longer than that because mildew can start to grow in as little as 24 hours

2. Boil Your Socks Before Washing

For an even more powerful pre-wash clean, boil your dirty socks for about 15-20 minutes. For both whitening and deodorising, add half a cup of lemon juice or white vinegar to the pot. Once they’ve boiled for your desired amount of time, let them cool, and then add them to the laundry machine. 

This works very well on sport socks because boiling helps remove the oily sweat residue. On the other hand, wool socks should never be boiled. They need a more gentle washing process. 

3. Scrub, Scrub, Scrub

If your socks have dirt stains from mud or other caked-in substances, you’ll want to scrub them with a soft bristle brush to loosen them up. To avoid damaging the fibers, it’s best to gently scrub in small circles with a soft brush in a tub of warm soapy water. If the water gets too dirty, refresh it with clean water until it runs clean. Then, throw your socks into the laundry as normal. 

If you still notice stubborn stains after scrubbing, cover the stains in a paste made of baking soda and detergent for a few hours before washing. 

4. Wash White Socks Separately

While it may be tempting to throw all of your laundry in together, wash white garments separately. And depending on how dirty your white socks are, it may be best to avoid mixing your dirty white socks with your white clothing so the dirt doesn’t transfer in the wash. 

How to Prevent Your Socks From Getting So Dirty

Instead of having to remove stains every time you wash socks, learn how to keep them looking and feeling fresh!

1. Never Wear a Pair for More Than One Day

Trust me, I know how tempting it is to throw on yesterday’s socks again when you’re rushing out of the door. But the longer you wear them without washing, the more stubborn the stains and dirt are going to be. 

2. Keep Your Shoes Clean

If your socks are always getting dirty no matter what you do, check your shoes! Your insoles can get pretty nasty if dust, rocks, and dirt are slipping inside while walking. Clean your insoles with gentle soap and let them air dry in direct sunlight before putting them back into your shoes. 

3. Clean Your Floors

If you notice a pair of socks are dirty after a day spent inside, it’s time to get out the mop! Keep your socks white by regularly using eco-friendly disinfecting products on your floors, especially if you have kids or pets that tend to bring outside dirt inside. 

Megan Lemon

Megan Lemon

Megan is a sustainability writer based in Fiji, where she lives with her partner in the house they built themselves. In her free time, she free dives, spear fishes, and takes long walks on the dirt roads.

Sustainable Fashion

11 Sustainable Socks We’ll Be Wearing in 2023

Wearing sustainable socks is a great way to make an every day choice to reduce your impact on the planet! Here are our top 11 pairs for 2023.

Sustainable Socks Featured

Let’s talk about ~socks~ baby! Did you know that every day you could be making an easy choice to reduce your impact on the planet? When you think about living sustainably, your first thought probably isn’t about your socks. But it should be! 

Sustainable socks use organic or recycled materials and eco-friendly production practices for less impact on the environment. Plus, they’re more durable, so you’re not adding textile waste to landfills. Your socks may seem small in the grand scheme of things, but choosing sustainably is an easy way to help save the planet. 

I’ve found the 11 best sustainable sock brands, so you don’t have to. Whether they use breathable hemp or plant a tree for every purchase, these brands make socks that are eco-friendly and comfortable. So get ready to have your sustainable socks knocked off!

Quick Picks: The 4 Best Sustainable Sock Brands

If you’re having a foot emergency and need sustainable socks now, here are the best of the best! Our top four sustainable socks are:

1. Kind Socks – Fun and Ethical Unisex Socks for Every Occasion

Budget: $

Features: ethical manufacturing, non-toxic dyes, organic cotton, non-toxic chemicals, charity giveback program 

Range includes: unisex crew and ankle socks 

KindSocks Watermelon
Watermelon Socks by Kind Socks (Image by

Eco-friendly socks don’t have to be boring and Kind Socks is here to prove that. Founded with the belief that sustainable fashion isn’t a trend, but the only option, they have created two lines of fun, unique socks. 

Using only organic cotton, none of their socks have toxic chemicals like insecticides or pesticides. Also, their production facilities are ethically and safely run, paying fair wages to their workers. Plus, a percentage of their profits goes to a variety of charities around the world. 

2. Harvest & Mill – Cozy, Minimalist Socks Made With Organic Cotton

Budget: $

Features: organic cotton, grown and made in the USA, natural dyes

Range includes: men’s and women’s crew and ankle socks

A pair of cotton socks by Harvest Mill
Harvest Mill Organic Cotton Socks (image by

Harvest & Mill uses American-grown organic cotton to make luxuriously soft socks. Not only is their cotton grown in the US, they spin all of the fabrics and knit all of their socks in the US as well. This helps lower their carbon emissions because they don’t have to ship materials around the world. 

They also use different varieties of cotton for their colored fabrics, instead of harsh, toxic dyes. From a natural tan-green to a rust-red, you can find socks in a range of natural colors. That means you don’t have to worry about sensitive skin or throwing them into the wash!

3. Thought – Budget-Friendly Sustainable Bamboo Socks for the Whole Family

Budget: $

Features: eco-friendly materials like bamboo, recycled polyester, and organic cotton, vegan, zero plastic packaging 

Range includes: men’s, women’s, kid’s, and baby socks

Thought Semira Bamboo Pear Sock
Semira Bamboo Pear Sock (Image by

If you’re in the market for inexpensive eco-friendly socks for the whole family, look for further. Thought has a wide range of cute, comfy socks made with eco-friendly fabrics like recycled polyester and hemp.

Durable, anti-fungal, and made with anti-odor technology, you’ll never have to throw another smelly, hole-ridden sock away again! Plus, they’re vegan friendly, so no animals are harmed in the making of these cozies! And no worrying about shipping–all of their items come in zero-plastic packaging. 

4. Patagonia – Sustainable Athletic Socks That Last for Years

Budget: $$

Features: fair labor practices, sustainable fabrics like recycled cotton, renewable energy

Range includes: men’s, women’s, and children’s socks 

Patagonia Hemp Quarter Socks
Hemp Quarter Socks by Patagonia (Image by

For high-performance socks you can use for any outdoor (or indoor) adventure, Patagonia has you covered. They’re made from a unique blend of eco-friendly materials like recycled cotton, recycled nylon, and hemp for comfortable, durable socks. 

Made in fair trade certified factories, their socks are guaranteed to last you for years no matter what you put them through. Plus, Patagonia’s Worn Wear program means you can get your socks darned to keep them out of the landfills. 

5. Organic Basics – Vegan Eco-Friendly Socks You’ll Never Want to Take Off

Budget: $

Features: GOTS certified organic cotton, PETA Vegan approved, living wages

Range includes: men’s and women’s socks

Organic Basics Striped Socks
Color Striped Socks by Organic Basics (Image by

Organic Basics makes just that–basics made with GOTS certified organic cotton. Their socks are incredibly soft and comfortable, so they’re the ideal everyday pair. And because they’re organic, you don’t have to worry about any nasty chemicals left behind in the manufacturing process.

They take sustainability so seriously that even their default website is low-impact and shows you how much CO2 you’re saving. Plus, Organic Basics pays all of their workers not just fair, but living wages to work in safe facilities. 

6. Conscious Step – Organic Sustainable Socks That Give Back With Every Purchase

Budget: $

Features: charity give back program, natural materials like GOTS certified organic cotton, recycled materials 

Range includes: men’s, women’s, and children’s socks 

Conscious Step Socks That Plant Trees
Conscious Step’s Socks That Plant Trees (Image by

Conscious Step socks are comfortable, durable, and oh-so cute! They’re made with organic cotton and recycled polyester to reduce their impact on the planet. They use less water and electricity to make socks even softer than those conventional cotton ones you find in supermarkets!

If you want to find guilt-free socks, these are it. They’re vegan, fair trade certified, and a 1% For The Planet company. That means when you buy conscious step socks, they give back to causes like ocean conservation and tree planting programs. 

7. Colorful Standard – Organic, Sustainable Socks Perfect for Work

Budget: $

Features: organic cotton, PETA Approved Vegan, OEKO-TEX® environmentally friendly dyed yarn, recycled merino wool 

Range includes: men’s and women’s socks 

A range of colorful formal socks by Colorful Standard
Organic Socks by Colorful Standard (Image by

If you believe your feet deserve sustainable love, you’ll get along great with Colorful Standard’s comfortable, eco-friendly socks. Using organic cotton and OEKO TEX® eco-friendly dyed yarn, their socks are anti-pilling and perfect for work, lounging, and everything in between.

If you’re looking for an even cozier pair, check out their luxe and ethical merino socks. Made with recycled merino wool from old sweaters, these socks are Global Recycled Standard approved! And did I mention they’re cozy?

8. Boody – Sustainable Bamboo Socks That Stay Up All Day

Budget: $

Features: organic, ethically sourced bamboo fabric, transparent manufacturing process, low water use

Range includes: men’s, women’s, and children’s socks 

Boody Socks
Active Sports Sock by Boody (Image by

For lightweight, breathable socks, check out Boody! They make super soft socks made out of sustainable bamboo rayon. The best part? These socks are built to stay up all day, which means you won’t be bending over every ten seconds to yank your socks back up ever again! 

Boody has a seriously transparent business model where you can see the exact environmental impact of each item they sell. By using organically grown and ethically sourced bamboo, just one pair of their socks saves 132.9 hours of LED bulb energy and 82.7 liters of drinking water. 

9. Pact – Everyday Socks Made From Organic Cotton for Comfort and Sustainability 

Budget: $

Features: GOTS certified organic cotton, carbon offsets, recycled nylon

Range includes: men’s, women’s, and children’s socks

Pact Crew Socks
Pact Crew Socks (Image by

If you need ethical socks for the entire family, you’ll love Pact. Made with the unique blend of certified organic cotton and recycled polyester, their socks are soft, breathable, and durable. Plus, they have a special labeling system, so you don’t have laundry sock mixups anymore–one stripe for the kids, two for women, and three for men! 

Pact also purchases carbon offsets for their entire collection. For a pair of no-show socks, they send money to efforts like a wind power farm in India and a reforestation project in the United States. 

10. Allbirds – Cozy Sustainable Socks Made With Recycled Fabrics and Merino Wool

Budget: $

Features: carbon neutral, recycled materials like nylon, ethical merino wool

Range includes: men’s, women’s, and children’s socks

Allbirds Trino Cozy Crew
Trino Cozy Crew Socks by Allbirds (Image by

Do you want warm wool socks without having to think about animal welfare? Enter Allbirds. They made cozy, ethically and sustainably sourced merino wool socks aka the perfect ethical winter socks! Their socks are made with recycled nylon and polyester blended with merino wool for comfort and coziness! 

If you’re worried about how sweaty wool socks can be, don’t be. Allbirds add eucalyptus to their socks for odor-free and breathable wool socks. Plus, their entire operation is carbon neutral. They keep careful track of each product’s environmental impact and then balance the emissions. 

11. 8000Kicks – Breathable Hemp Socks For A Well-Rounded Sustainable Wardrobe 

Budget: $$

Features: premium hemp fiber, antibacterial and antimicrobial socks

Range includes: unisex socks

8000 Kicks Stripe Socks
Stripe Socks by 8000 Kicks (Image by

Hemp is well-known in sustainable fashion circles for its breathability, so it’s no wonder that 8000Kicks’ hemp socks are some of the most breathable sustainable socks out there! Known for their waterproof hemp shoe, they added a sock to keep your entire footwear collection sustainable. 

They use premium organic hemp to make their socks, so you don’t have to worry about any nasty chemicals like pesticides. Plus, they’re super durable, which means you won’t have to continuously cycle through packs of $5 bargain bin socks anymore.


It may seem like we’re splitting hairs when we talk about wearing sustainable socks. It seems like such a small, unimportant choice compared to the big problem of climate change. But when you support brands that use zero waste practices, recycled materials, or eco-friendly supply chain management, you’re sending a message to the rest of the industry. 

Start small or finish out your ethical wardrobe with the best eco-friendly socks! All of the brands mentioned above use sustainable practices to make cute socks that are good for you and the planet!

Megan Lemon

Megan Lemon

Megan is a sustainability writer based in Fiji, where she lives with her partner in the house they built themselves. In her free time, she free dives, spear fishes, and takes long walks on the dirt roads.

Sustainable Fashion

How Many Socks Should I Own?

Just how many pairs of socks do you really need? It may be less than you think!

How Many Pairs Of Socks Featured2

Rejecting the idea of cheap, replaceable, fast fashion in favor of high-quality, long-lasting, sustainable pieces is essential to living a more sustainable life. But buying just enough to live comfortably without being excessive can be a difficult balance to strike, especially with small items like socks. 

So how many socks are too many socks? The average person needs about ten pairs of socks in total. Having a balanced range of socks like dress socks, casual socks, athletic socks, cozy socks, and more depending on your lifestyle will ensure you have a sufficient number of socks for every occasion. 

For the best breakdown of the types of socks you should own, read below. Plus, I have tips for making your socks last longer and specific recommendations for each type of sock from the best sustainable sock brands! 

How Many Pairs of Socks Should I Own?

While the average person needs ten pairs, you might need more or less depending on your job, activity level, or location. I’ve broken it down into types of socks with recommendations for how many pairs of each type you should have keeping lifestyle in mind. 

Look Smart for Work? You’ll Need Five Pairs of Formal Socks

If you work in an office, you should have at least five pairs of formal socks. This means you’ll be able to do a full work week without having to scramble for a fresh pair of clean socks. 

A range of colorful formal socks by Colorful Standard
Organic Active Socks by Colorful Standard (Image by

How many pairs of socks do you need if you work in a more casual place? You should still have one or two pairs of high-quality socks for formal occasions like weddings or funerals. Nobody wants to be running around to the shops looking for a nice pair of socks hours before an important event!

For quality dress socks, check out Colorful Standard! They use organic cotton to make neutral and colorful socks that stay up all day.

Add 2-4 Pairs of Casual Socks

To wear with your casual sneakers, you should have a few pairs of everyday socks for casual wear.

A pair of Monstera Socks by Kind Socks
Monstera Socks by Kind Socks (Image by

Ideally, you’ll have one to two plain socks plus one to two colorful socks that express your personal style. Make sure to have both ankle socks and higher-cut ones that can fit comfortably under boots or higher-profile sneakers. 

Organic cotton socks from Kind Socks are great for every day because they’re cute and comfortable! 

Plus at Least a Couple of Pairs of Athletic Socks

Most people can get away with having about two to three pairs of socks you can be active in. Even if you’re not big into exercising, one or two pairs of socks you can hike or walk in won’t crowd your sock drawer.

A Pair of Patagonia Crew Socks
Patagonia 3/4 Crew Socks (Image by

If you live a very active lifestyle though, you should have enough socks to get through an entire week of workouts without having to do laundry or re-wear dirty socks. Nobody wants to put on sweaty socks before a workout!

I love Patagonia’s Lightweight Merino Performance Crew Socks! They’re great running socks because they wick moisture away quickly thanks to their responsibly sourced merino wool. 

Don’t Forget Cozy Socks for Winter

Cozy socks are one of life’s simple pleasures, so don’t miss out! If you live in a warmer place, you can survive with one pair of warm socks to wear on rainy nights. If you’re from a colder place, having three to four pairs will keep your feet warm all winter long!

A pair of cotton socks by Harvest Mill
Organic Cotton Socks by Harvest & Mill (Image by

Using merino wool performance socks as your cold weather pair is also a great option for people looking for minimalist wardrobes.

Harvest & Mill uses American-grown organic cotton to make the ultimate sustainable cozy sock! 

Add Other Pairs of Socks According To Your Lifestyle

Having enough pairs of formal, athletic, casual, and warm socks is sufficient for most people. However, people with certain medical conditions or lifestyles might need a few different types like:

  • Compression socks: pregnant people, athletes, people who frequently use wheelchairs, some people with certain medical conditions like diabetes or varicose veins, or people that travel a lot might want to invest in a good pair of compression socks. They help maintain blood flow and reduce painful swelling! 
  • Toe socks: for running socks that prevent blisters, try ones with individual toes! They’re great for endurance athletes like runners or backpackers.
  • Low profile socks: if you wear a lot of loafers or flats where normal socks show, grab multiple pairs of low profile ones that stay hidden.

Tips for Longer Lasting Socks

Now that you know how many socks you should own, learn how to make them last for years. Although it seems like a few pairs of cheap socks thrown out won’t make a big difference for the health of the planet, reducing the amount of waste you create is an important part of living a sustainable lifestyle. 

  • Invest in good quality socks! As tempting as those bins of cheap socks in the checkout line are, premium socks will save you money in the long run because you won’t have to replace them month after month. 
  • Learn how to darn! If you’re like me, your socks frequently get holes at the heel or toes. Instead of throwing them out, learn how to darn the holes! 
  • Buy multiple pairs of the same type! Do you have a ton of odd socks that don’t have a matching partner? Avoid it by buying packs of the same pair, so you’ll always have a match! Black socks and white socks are the best options for packs.
  • Hand wash your socks! So you don’t have to start a new laundry cycle every time you run out of socks, learn how to hand wash them. You won’t have to wait until your regular weekly cycle to have fresh socks. They’ll also last longer because it’s gentler than a machine.

So, How Many Socks Do You Actually Need?

There is no perfect answer for how many socks you need that fits everyone, but most people find that ten pairs of socks is just right! Depending on your workplace, workout regimen, climate, and more, you’ll want to have a balance of dress, athletic, casual, and cozy socks. 

If you prefer fewer socks or to have extra socks just in case of a foot emergency, that’s totally fine! Have as many pairs of socks as you need to live comfortably without unnecessarily buying socks or not wearing the ones you have. 

Megan Lemon

Megan Lemon

Megan is a sustainability writer based in Fiji, where she lives with her partner in the house they built themselves. In her free time, she free dives, spear fishes, and takes long walks on the dirt roads.

Sustainable Fashion

The 10 Best Sustainable Swimwear Brands for 2023

Our roundup of our top sustainable swimwear brands - click to get ready for summer!

Sustainable Swimwear Brands Featured

There’s nothing like a refreshing dip on a warm day. But conventional swimsuits use synthetic materials like virgin nylon that releases microplastics into the ocean as you swim. So what’s a sustainable swimmer supposed to do? Buy eco-friendly swimwear!

Sustainable swimwear brands use recycled fabrics to create swimwear that protects our oceans instead of polluting them. Plus, they use eco-friendly and fair labor practices to make swimwear you’ll be proud to wear! With billions of pounds of trash entering the ocean every year, everyone has to do their part. 

I’ve rounded up the best sustainable swimsuits from swimwear brands that use certified materials like regenerated nylon made from plastic waste like old fishing line. Shopping sustainable swim has never been so easy!

Our Quick Picks for Your Next Sustainable Swimwear Brand

There’s good news for sustainable swimmers! Many brands are getting the hint and finally creating ethical swimwear that’s good for you and the planet. Here are some of our favorites!

  • Best for Men: Patagonia – comfortable and classic swimwear made by one of the most ethical brands.
  • Best for Women: Girlfriend Collective – size inclusive, cute swimsuits perfect for swimming, water sports, and long walks on the beach.
  • Best for Fashion: Carve Designs – sustainable swimwear made in adorable patterns and cuts.
  • Best for Water Sports: Outerknown – created by pro surfer, Kelly Slater, Outerknown knows how to make suits that work with you, not against you!

1. BOLD Swim – Inclusive, Sustainable Swimwear Brand for All (Men’s & Women’s)

Budget: $$$

Features: Biodegradable Yarn, Oeko-Tex Certified, Toxic Dye-Free, Small-Scale Production

Range includes: Women’s S-XXXL, Bikinis, Swim Shorts, Cover-Ups, Swim Shirts, Men’s Trunks, One Pieces

BOLD Swim is a leader in making sustainable bathing suits that look good! They make all of their swimwear with Amni Soul Eco® polyamide yarn, which is both biodegradable and has a low environmental impact production. It’s also free of any toxic dyes or chemicals, so you don’t have to worry about leaving a trail of toxins while you swim.

BOLD Swim Amethyst Allium Textured Bikini
Allium Textured Bikini Set by BOLD Swim (image by

Plus, BOLD Swim uses small-scale production, which means very little waste left over. They also ship all of their gorgeous goods in compostable bags. And they offset their carbon shipping footprint by planting trees through their partnership with ecodrive.

Our top pick: the Amethyst Allium Textured Bikini Set is the jewel-tone bikini of your dreams!

Browse BOLD Swim

2. Summersalt – Eco-Friendly Bathing Suits Made From Recycled Fishing Nets (Men’s & Women’s)

Budget: $$

Features: Recycled Polyamide, UPF 50+ Protection, Chlorine Resistant, Size-Inclusive, Recycled Materials

Range includes: Men’s (S-XL), Women’s (0-26), and Kids Swimsuits (Infant-12), One Pieces, Bikinis, Swim Shorts, Cover-Ups

For cute bathings suits that are good for the planet, check out Summersalt. They make their swimwear with 78% recycled polyamide made from nylon waste like old fishing nets pulled from ocean waste. Also, they use packaging made with recycled materials!

Three women wearing Summersalt Sidestroke swimsuits at the beach
‘The Sidestroke’ by Summersalt (image by

A suit from Summersalt will last a long time thanks to their beach and UV proof fabrics. Their suits won’t wear out from sand, salt, sweat, or chlorine, even after 100+ hours of use, which means fewer suits going to the landfill every year!

Our top pick: you can’t go wrong with their iconic The Sidestroke suit, which was once called the “unicorn of swimsuits” by The Today Show!


3. Outerknown – Pro-Surfer Approved Sustainable Swimwear (Men’s & Women’s)

Budget: $$

Features: Fair Labor Practices, Living Wages, Recycled Polyester, Resale and Repair Programs, Transparent Supply Chain, Recycled Materials 

Range includes: Men’s Trunks (28-38), Women’s Suits (XS-L), Rash Guards, Bodysuits, Bikinis, One Pieces

Outerknown is a well-known sustainable brand and their swimwear line is no exception. Their circular business mode keeps clothes out of landfills with their resale, repair, and recycling programs. Plus, they use recycled polyester made from post consumer plastic bottles to make their swimsuits. 

Outerknown Apex Trunks by Kelly Slater
Designed by a world champion surfer! (image by

And if you’re concerned with the human impact of your swimwear, and not just the environmental impact, Outerknown will become a new favorite. All of their ethical production facilities are Fair Trade Certified™. 

Our top pick: The Apex Trunks were designed by 11x World Champion Surfer Kelly Slater himself!


4. Londre – Stylish Sustainable Swimsuits Made With recycled Textiles (Women’s Only)

Budget: $$

Features: Made From Recycled Plastic Bottles, Recycled Water, Repair Program, Oeko Tex Certified

Range includes: Women’s XS-5XL, One Pieces, Bikinis, Coverups

Londre makes all of their swimwear from at least 6 recycled plastic bottles, so you can swim easy knowing you’re helping keep our oceans clean! Plus, they recycle all the water used in production. And they’re only able to do that because there aren’t any harmful chemicals in it, a win-win!

Woman wearing a black Londre Minimalist Swimsuit in front of a plain background
The Minimalist – a true classic (image by

The center of their entire business model is sustainability including their repair program, which lets you keep rocking their designs longer! They also only produce swimwear in small batches to minimize waste. 

Our top pick: The Minimalist is a classic suit you could wear for years and never look out of style! 


5. Vitamin A – Sustainable Bathing Suits Made From Plant-Based and Recycled Materials (Women’s Only)

Budget: $$$

Features: 1% For The Planet, Recycled Materials, Low-Waste Materials, Renewable Energy Production, Recycled Nylon

Range includes: Women’s XS-L (including a D-cup size), Bikinis, One Pieces, Long-Sleeve Swim Tees

Vitamin A founder, Amahlia, didn’t take no for an answer when she first set out on creating swimwear from recycled fibers. After mills kept saying it was impossible, she made it herself with EcoLux™, made from recycled nylon. They also use other sustainable materials like linen, GOTS certified organic cotton, and hemp to make their swim apparel.

Model Wearing Rossi Long Sleeve Swim Tee in Black Superrib
This long sleeve swim tee is a stylish way to cover up (image by

Beyond using eco-friendly materials, they also produce all of their swimwear in factories with very strict environmental standards including reduced water use, minimized waste practices, and low carbon emissions. And they routinely give money to environmental projects like ocean conservation efforts to help keep the planet healthy. 

Our top pick: The Rossi Long Sleeve Swim Tee will protect your arms from a nasty burn while bumping your chicness up to a whole new level! 


6. Patagonia – Sustainably Made Swimsuits from Well Known Eco-Conscious Brand  (Men’s & Women’s)

Budget: $$

Features: Recycled Materials, Fair Trade Certified™, 1% For The Planet, Recycled Nylon, Certified B Corp

Range includes: Men’s (28-44), Women’s (XS-XL), Kids, Rash Guards, Board Shorts, Bikinis, One Pieces

You can’t talk about sustainable swimwear brands without mentioning Patagonia. They make high-quality bathing suits with recycled polyester, recycled nylon, and low-impact dyes. And they makes all of their sustainable swimsuits eco-friendly factories that emit fewer greenhouse gases and pay fair wages to their garment workers. 

Patagonia Mens Baggies Swim
Stylishly understated – Patagonia’s ‘Baggies’ for men (image by

Plus, not only are they part of the 1% For The Planet alliance, the founder of Patagonia, Yvon Chouinard, actually started it. And as of September 2022, Chouinard transferred ownership of the entire company to a trust that fights climate change. 

Our top pick: the iconic Men’s Baggies™ Shorts are perfect for swimming, surfing, and suntanning. 


7. Do Good Swimwear – Eco-Friendly Surf-Ready Bathing Suits (Women’s Only)

Budget: $$

Features: Regenerated Nylon, Small Batch Production, Low-Waste Manufacturing, Repair and Recycle Program, Carbon Offsetting

Range includes: Women’s S-XL, Two Pieces, Rash Guards, One Pieces

Do Good Swimwear does just that with their ethical swimwear line made of ECONYL® yarn. This yarn is made of recycled post consumer waste nylon from trash like fishing nets and industrial plastics. They also use deadstock fabrics to keep textiles out of landfills. 

Surfer surfing while wearing orange Do Good Swimwear Jazzy High Waist Bottoms
Do Good’s Jazzy High Waist Bottoms in action! (image by

They consciously produce all of their ethical swimwear in small batches to avoid excess waste and ensure a high-quality, durable product. But if you do break a strap or snag a tear, their repair program allows you to get it fixed easily! 

Our top pick: for extra support and coverage, try the ultra-comfy Jazzy High Waist Bottoms!


8. Carve Designs – Sustainable Swimwear Made From Recycled Plastics That Look and Feel Great (Women’s Only)

Budget: $$

Features: Made From Recycled Plastic Bottles, Sustainable Apparel Coalition, Compostable and Biodegradable Packaging, 

Range includes: Women’s XS-XL, Bikinis, Board Shorts, Tankinis, One Pieces, Coverups, Rash Guards

Carve Designs makes their entire swimwear line out of recycled plastic bottles. In fact, one swimsuit uses five plastic bottles that would otherwise be in landfills or the ocean! For their apparel like swim shorts and coverups, they use other sustainable materials like coconut balsa, which is made from old coconut husks.

Model wearing All Day One Piece by Carve Designs
The All Day One Piece by Carve Designs (image by

As part of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, they prioritize eco-friendly practices across their business model with 100% plant-based and compostable packaging.

Our top pick: for full on protection from the sun and surf, try the All Day One Piece!


9. Girlfriend Collective – Size Inclusive, Eco-Friendly Swimwear Made From Regenerated Nylon (Women’s Only)

Budget: $$

Features: Regenerated Nylon, Recycled Fabrics, UV Resistant, Size Inclusive, Ethical Production Model, Healthy Seas Partner

Range includes: Women’s XXS-6XL, Bikinis, One Pieces 

For a cute, sustainable swimsuit, Girlfriend Collective has you covered. Best known for their athleisure, they make comfy, supportive swimwear in classic styles from regenerated nylon. And for every swimsuit you buy from them, they’ll give 1% to Healthy Seas, a nonprofit that cleans up our oceans!

Woman wearing the Proven Palma Plunge Bikini Top by Girlfriend Collective in front of a plain background
The Proven Palma Plunge top by Girlfriend Collective (image by

Their business model puts sustainability first, which you can see on each product page with their individual sustainability report. You get to see how much oil was conserved, CO2 prevented, and energy saved for every cute bathing suit you buy! 

Our top pick: the Provence Palma Plunge Top is the ultimate sustainable bikini top — sexy, cool, and good for the planet!


10. Salomé – Sexy and Sustainable Swimwear Made in the Dominican Republic (Women’s Only)

Budget: $$

Features: Women-Owned, ECONYL® Regenerated Nylon, Chlorine and UV Resistant, Recycled Water

Range includes: Women’s XS-XL, Bikinis, Coverups, One Pieces

Ethically produced by women in the Dominican Republic, Salomé makes swimwear you can feel (and look) good in! Made with ECONYL® recycled nylon material, it’s super durable while still being ultra-soft. 

Woman wearing Salome Anacaonda Swim Top in a tropical location while covering face with giant leaf
Get tropical with the Anacaona Top by Salomé (image by

They put the planet first by reducing water usage, minimizing waste, and using recycled chemicals to keep their footprint as small as possible. Plus, when you buy from Salomé, you’re supporting the women who make their swimwear in the DR! 

Our top pick: for a flirty beach day with minimal coverage, check out the Anacaona Top!


Megan Lemon

Megan Lemon

Megan is a sustainability writer based in Fiji, where she lives with her partner in the house they built themselves. In her free time, she free dives, spear fishes, and takes long walks on the dirt roads.

Sustainable Fashion

14 Best Ethical & Sustainable Shoe Brands 2023

Our roundup of our top ethical shoe brands - find your next favourite inside!

Sustainable Shoe Brands Featured

Are you shopping for shoes that are fashionable, affordable, and gentle on the environment?

Sustainable shoe brands are an alternative to traditional shoe brands that participate in fast fashion — a production strategy that uses low-quality materials and unethical practices. Instead, sustainable brands use renewable materials that enhance the quality of footwear. Other shoe brands remove toxic materials from the environment by using recycled plastic bottles and textiles.

In this article, we will discuss the 15 best sustainable shoe brands that combine fashion, comfort, and Earth-focused values. To be featured in this list, companies must design high-quality footwear, source eco friendly materials, and use ethical practices that benefit customer satisfaction and environmental conservation.

Quick Links

  • Best for the office: Rothy’s – uses renewable materials and recycled ocean plastic
  • Best for casual shoes: SAOLA – bio-based shoes that support wildlife conservation programs
  • Best for luxury fashion: VEERAH – vegan designer shoes with interchangeable accessories
  • Best for sports & exercise: Allbirds – high-performance, sustainable sports shoes
  • Best for orthopedic therapy: SOLE – carbon-negative shoes recommended by physical therapy patients

1. Rothy’s – Recycled Ocean Plastic Dress Shoes

Budget: $165 – $275

Features: Zero-Waste Certified Factories, Fair Wages, Recycled Water Bottles, Renewable Materials, Machine Washable, Versatile

Sizes: Full & Half sizes, Men’s, Women’s, Kids’

Rothy’s is a Zero-Waste Certified company fueled by a passion for combating our world’s plastic pollution crisis. Plastic is a non-biodegradable material and a danger to our ocean. Rothy’s reduces marine plastic by recycling plastic bottles into their signature thread. Wearing their shoes keeps plastic out of the ocean. Read Rothy’s blog to learn more about their sustainable achievements and dedication.

Woman wearing 'The Driver' slip-on loafer by Rothy's
‘The Driver’ by Rothy’s (image by

What is Rothy’s secret for designing soft and comfortable shoes yet so durable? Rothy’s Signature Thread is blended with recycled water bottles, ethically sourced RWS-Certified Merino wool, and hemp fiber, which strikes the perfect balance for long-lasting comfort. Their shoes are also made with bio-based materials, including algae, corn, natural minerals, and castor beans.

Rothy’s receives thousands of highly satisfied reviews from customers who love the all-day comfort, versatile options, and sophisticated style. To find your perfect fitcheck out Rothy’s style guide. When you purchase Rothy’s shoes, you are not only being promised comfort, quality, and style; you are joining conservation efforts to restore our ocean’s health.

Range includes: Flats, loafers, slip ons, sneakers, boots, Mary-Janes, business, casual, formal, kids’ shoes

Our top picksThe Point (Women’s)The RS01 Sneaker (Men’s)The Driver

2. SAOLA – Breathable Shoes Supporting Wildlife Conservation

Budget: $40 – $120

Features: Breathable Design, Casual, Sustainable Manufacturing, Biodegradable Materials, Proceeds Benefit Wildlife Conservation

Sizes: Full & half sizes, men’s & women’s

SAOLA was born with a passion for protecting endangered animal species and raising awareness about environmental issues through their famous line of eco friendly shoes. Their company is named after one of the most critically endangered species. With only a few hundred saolas (a relative of cows that resemble antelope, nicknamed the “Asian unicorn”) left, this sustainable shoe brand is fighting for its recovery.

Man wearing Saola Tsavo Sneakers with chinos
Saola Tsavo Sneakers (image by

For every pair of shoes purchased, SAOLA donates 1% of the proceeds to 1 of 6 restoration programs, which protect environmental regulations, coral reefs, and endangered species, including sun bears, sea turtles, bonobo monkeys, and animals native to Kenya. Visit SAOLA’s Wildlife Conservation page to learn more about the conservation programs associated with SAOLA.

SAOLA is highly rated for the lightweight comfort of their everyday sneakers and summer shoes. Their styles are made from recycled plastic bottles, which simulate the comfort and support of animal-based leather. Their shoes are constructed with Bloom algae outsoles, organic cotton laces, and natural cork insoles, which hug the bottom of your foot for custom comfort.

Range includes: Running sneakers, slip ons, casual footwear, sandals

Our top picksTsavo Sneakers (Men’s)Virunga Slip-on Shoes (Women’s)

Browse SAOLA

3. VEERAH – Beautiful Cruelty-Free Designer Shoes

Budget: $220 to $400

Features: Designer, Bridal, Customizable Add-ons, Comfortable Stilettos, 100% Vegan, Organic Cotton Lining, Recycled Plastic Bottles

Sizes: Women’ s full & half sizes

VEERAH is our designer pick! Their vegan heels are gorgeous, cruelty-free, and truly one-of-a-kind. Whether you’re shopping for your wedding day or searching for a unique accessory to complement your signature look, their shoes are perfect for any special occasion. Their shoes feel as luxurious as they look — and each pair is artistically designed to make any outfit unique.

Woman wearing Veerah Venus Strappy Heels with ribbon accessory and a long black dress
Veerah Venus with ribbon accessory (image by

VEERAH combats ocean plastic pollution by recycling plastic water bottles into high-end fashion. They also use renewable materials like algae, apple skins, and organic cotton. Check out VEERAH’s Shoe Accessories, which include clip brooches, straps, ribbons, and tassels, to achieve multiple looks with one pair of shoes.

Range includes: Boots, flats, sandals, mules, heels, pumps, bridal

Our top picksVenus Strappy Heel w/Ribbon add-onHedy Ankle BootMulan Vegan Suede Pump


4. Allbirds – Eco Friendly Shoes Made For All Forms of Exercise

Budget: $40 – $160

Features: ZQ-Certified Wool, Wind Farm Partnerships, Fair Trade Practices, Water-Repellent Sneakers, Allbirds ReRun (Consignment Shop)

Sizes: Men’s, Women’s, Standard & Half sizes

Allbirds manufacture sustainable sneakers using 100% renewable energy and sponsors organizations that do the same. Allbirds Flight Plan outlines the company’s detailed plan to track, analyze, and ultimately eliminate their carbon footprint. They advocate for reducing pollution caused by fast fashion. Visit Allbirds ReRun, where you can also purchase or trade-in gently used Allbirds shoes.

All Birds Tree Dasher 2
Allbirds Tree Dasher (image by

Allbirds uses innovative, natural materials like sugarcane, recycled plastic bottles, ZQ-Certified wool, and Trino® (a combination of Merino wool and tree fibers). They also uses FSC-certified eucalyptus tree fibers grown in South Africa, where the trees can rely on natural rainfall. By eliminating traditional irrigation practices, Allbirds reduces their water usage by 95%.

Allbirds athletic shoes are made with eucalyptus fibers, which make shoes breathable, supportive, and perfect for running and high-intensity exercise. Looking for your next go-to pair of shoes? Check out their Water-Repellent Sneakers, made with cruelty-free wool and designed to wick away moisture to keep your feet dry and warm in cool, drizzly weather.

Range includes: Athletic shoes, vegan sneakers, casual footwear, hiking shoes, slippers, sandals

Our top picksMen’s Tree DashersWomen’s Wool Dasher MizzlesWomen’s Tree Breezers


5. SOLE – Orthopedic-Approved Bio-Based Footwear

Budget: $65 – $150

Features: Carbon-Negative Materials, Partners With ReCork, Quality Arch Support & Orthopedic Treatment

Sizes: Men’s, Women’s, Standard & Half sizes

SOLE insoles and footwear are stylish, sustainably certified, and clinically proven to prevent and rehabilitate foot pain and injury. They design their products by setting strict standards of ethical practices and consulting medical expertise regarding orthopedic health. Their footbeds and footwear are clinically proven to help rehabilitate injuries and reduce strain in conditions like plantar fasciitis by 34%.

Sole Women's District Shoe by ReCORK Lark paired with black trousers
District by Recork Lark by Sole (image by

SOLE uses carbon-negative materials (natural materials that benefit the environment) like Bloom (algae harvested from harmful algal blooms) and cork, harvested from the tree bark without harming or cutting down the tree itself. SOLE also partners with ReCork, a recycling program that sets up stations for the public to drop off their unwanted wine corks to be recycled into high quality products.

Cork is porous and lightweight — ideal for insoles and footbeds. It effectively wicks away moisture and provides outstanding shock absorption so that long days are not tough on your feet. SOLE carries a wide selection of sustainable boots, booties, and attractive, flip-flops which physical therapist patients widely recommend for their outstanding arch support and overall comfort.

Range includes: Flip-flops, supportive running shoes, casual footwear, boots, flats

Our top picksDistrict by Recork Grade (Men’s)District by Recork Lark (Women’s)

Browse SOLE

6. Reformation – Fair Trade Certified Sustainable Shoes

Budget: $50 to $430

Features: Climate Neutral Certified, Innovative & Sustainable Materials, Green Business Certified, Elegant Fashion, thredUP Partnership

Sizes: Women’s full & half sizes

Reformation is a Climate Neutral Certified clothing and footwear company leading the fashion industry in earth-friendly manufacturing practices. They also partner with thredUP, an online consignment shop that encourages shoppers to purchase gently used clothing and apparel to reduce the amount of textile waste contributing to landfills worldwide.

Seated woman wearing Reformation Alessa Lace Up Wedge Espadrilles paired with a white flowing dress.
Reformation Alessa Lace-up Espadrilles (image by

Reformation’s Better Materials page rates sustainable materials based on their environmental impact. Their eco friendly materials include recycled cotton, Deadstock (leftover fabric from the fashion industry), NATIVA (ethically sourced wool), and TENCEL™ from fibers (FSC-Certified wood fibers). Visit their website to read about their transparent goals and ambitious mission to be Climate Positive by 2025.

Shop for summer-themed strappy sandals, vibrant colored pumps, classy black heels, or elegant wedding shoes. Reformation shoes are made with Gold and Silver-standard vegetable tanned leather, which they plan to swap out for sustainable vegan options in the future. Check out their vegan styles like the Alessa Lace-Up Wedge, which is made with flax and significantly reduces water usage.

Range includes: Boots, flats, heels, sandals, wedges, sneakers, mules, loafers, platforms

Our top picksAlessa Lace Up Wedge EspadrillePia Knotted Heeled SandalMillie Lattice Flat Sandal


7. Will’s Vegan Store – High Quality Dress Shoes & Work Boots

Budget: $50 – $200

Features: Carbon Neutral Certified, 100% Vegan, High Quality Shoes, Organic Cotton Lining, Green Packaging, Dress Shoes, Waterproof Boots

Sizes: Full & half sizes, Men’s, Women’s

Searching for vegan leather shoes that look as sophisticated and classy as traditional cow leather? Will’s Vegan Store features high quality, beautifully-made Italian vegan leather dress shoes, heels, and work boots designed to treat nature right. Customers report wearing their Will’s Vegan shoes for years without any breakdown in durability.

Will's Vegan Store High Heeled Vegan Cut-Outs
Will’s Vegan Store High-Heeled Cut-Outs (image by

Vegan leather qualifies as sustainable when it’s constructed with bio-based and recycled materials, manufactured using eco-conscious practices, and when the quality is so exceptional that it reduces the number of shoes ending up in landfills. Will’s Vegan Store uses sustainable materials like organic cotton, plants from cereal crops, and viscose (a natural oil derived from eucalyptus trees).

Will’s Vegan Store does not participate in fast fashion trends like Black Friday and summer sales, resulting in shoppers tossing out unwanted impulse purchases. Instead, Will’s shoes are made to love and last for years. Whether you’re shopping for fashion, function, or both, Will’s eco friendly shoes are worn in the office, rain, workshop, mountains, snow, and everyday setting.

Range includes: Boots, dress shoes, vegan sneakers, running trainers, heels, pumps, flats, sandals, work boots, hiking shoes, dock boots, waterproof & insulated options, high traction

Our top picksWork Boots (Men’s & Women’s)High Heeled Cut Outs (Women’s)Slim Dress Shoes (Men’s)WVSport Waterproof Hiking Boots (Men’s & Women’s)


8. Nothing New – Low & High Tops Made From Recycled Materials

Budget: $95 – $180

Features: Casual, Iconic Design, Recycled Water Bottles, Recycled Rubber, Ethical Production

Sizes: Full & Half sizes, Women’s, Men’s

Nothing New is a sustainable shoe brand that manufactures shoes made from upcycled industrial fishing nets, recycled polyester, and natural rubber. Their iconic low-top and high-top designs are meant to be classic and minimalistic so that one pair will become your go-to pair. Every pair of their sneakers repurposes 5.6 plastic water bottles, which reduces plastic waste.

Nothing New Classic High-Top
Love these Classic High-tops by Nothing New (image by

Nothing New is Global Recycle Standard certified, which guarantees that their fabric is safe for the environment. Above all, Nothing New prioritizes sustainability. They started the Virtuous Cycle Program, which encourages customers to send back their worn-out Northing New shoes for a $20 credit towards a new pair.

Mix & match Nothing New high & low-tops by choosing from various colors, which can quickly change your look from casual fun to edgy chic. Check out their collection of Better Canvas, featuring shoes made with 100% recyclable materials, and the Leather² collection, featuring shoes made from upcycled Italian leather, which reduces water usage and carbon emissions by 80%.

Range includes: Casual shoes, low tops, high tops

Our top picksClassic High Top (Men’s & Women’s)Classic Low Top (Men’s & Women’s)Wave (Men’s & Women’s)


9. Baabuk – B Corp Certified Moisture-Wicking Wool Shoes 

Budget: $90 to $160

Features: B Corp Certified, Ethical Practices, Natural Materials, Customizable Designs, Water-Repellent, Machine Washable

Sizes: Full sizes, men’s & women’s

Baabuk is a B Corp Certified sustainable footwear company that sells high-quality eco friendly shoes. They use ethically-sourced wool, which follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the health and wellbeing of free-range sheep. Wool is a natural, biodegradable material favorable for its moisture-wicking properties, making Baabuk shoes water-repellent, breathable, and cozy.

Woman wearing Baabuk Urban Wooler shoes reclining between two pillars
Baabuk Urban Woolers (image by

Sheep need their coats trimmed regularly to avoid illness and mobility issues. Sustainable shoe brands like Baabuk care for their sheep by maintaining their coats and providing adequate food, water, shelter, and pastures. They also work with endangered sheep through their Miss Baabuka Program, which protects and rehabilitates six different breeds of sheep native to Switzerland.

Baabuk’s website features many minimalist style sneakers, high-tops, ballet flats, and slippers. Their lightweight footwear is built for all seasons and made with soft, itch-free Merino wool lining. The natural latex soles are durable and slip-resistant. Their sustainable shoes are available in various colors, including the option to customize your sneakers to create your perfect look!

Range includes: Everyday shoes, high-top sneakers, ballet flats, slippers

Our top picksUrban WoolerBlacknose Sky WoolerWool BallerinaMel Slip-in Slipper


10. Thousand Fell – 100% Recyclable Bio Leather Shoes

Budget: $100 – $110

Features: Zero-Waste Company, Recycled Shoes Program, Vegan Bio Leather, Minimalist Design, Organic Cotton Tote Packaging

Sizes: Full & Half sizes, Men’s, Women’s

Thousand Fell uses responsibly sourced and recycled materials to design Zero-Waste slip-on and lace-up sneakers. Their closed-loop manufacturing system means that their sneakers can be recycled instead of added to a landfill. Thousand Fell’s RECYCLE NOW program credits their customers $20 to send in their worn-out sneakers, which will get recycled into a new pair!

Thousand Fell Women's Lace Up

Thousand Fell recognizes the unavoidable environmental hazards of using leather (see FAQ section). Instead, they use plant-based and recycled materials like aloe vera, recycled & natural rubber, castor beans, coconut husk, sugar cane, and of course, recycled bottles.

Thousand Fell sneakers have a minimalist aesthetic and durable design. Their signature bio leather mimics the appearance and quality of white leather sneakers. Their shoes feature a stain-proof, water-resistant coating made from natural quartz to enhance longevity. They also include insoles made from recycled yoga mats, which feel as comfortable as they sound!

Range includes: Lace-up sneakers, slip-on shoes, court shoes, white bio leather sneakers

Our top picksLace Up (Men’s & Women’s)Slip On (Men’s & Women’s), Court Shoes (Men’s & Women’s)


11. ABLE – Timeless Styles Made From Repurposed Leather 

Budget: $70 – $125

Features: Versatile, Long-Lasting, Repurposed Materials, Recycled Packaging, Fair Trade Practices

Sizes: Women’s Half & Full sizes

ABLE is an eco-conscious fashion company that prioritizes product quality and longevity. Their sustainable shoes are versatile to fit any occasion and well-made, so you can expect to wear them for years to come. The fewer items we have in our closet, the closer we get to reducing textile waste’s impact on the environment.

Woman wearing ABLE Emmy Sneakers and blue jeans standing on a wooden floor near a potted plant
ABLE Emmy Sneaker (image by

ABLE works with the Leather Working Group to repurpose discarded animal hides and scraps into leather shoes built to withstand a lifetime of love. Instead of using toxic chemicals, ABLE opts for vegetable tanned leather, which is environmentally safe. They also partner with leather companies that use closed-loop watering symptoms, which reduces water consumption.

Range includes: Sandals, sneakers, boots, heels, wedges, flats

Our top picksEmmy SneakerJones HeelElisa Sandal

Browse ABLE

12. VEJA – B-Corp Certified Sustainable Shoes for All Ages 

Budget: $100 – $350

Features: B-Corp Certified, Zero-Waste Practices, Company Transparency, Fair Wages, Renewable Materials, Vegetable Tanned Leather Shoes 

Sizes: Full & Half sizes, Unisex sizing, Men’s, Women’s, Kids’ shoes

VEJA is widely known for their exceptional sustainable shoes and transparent values of environmental & social responsibility. VEJA fairly made shoes cost significantly more to manufacture because they carefully select innovative materials, follow strict fair trade guidelines, and eliminate the use of ads, which allows them to oversee every stage of production firsthand. Learn more about VEJA’s ad-free production here.

VEJA Esplar Se Canvas White Matcha
VEJA Esplar Se Canvas White Matcha (image by

VEJA takes time to strategically design shoes they believe their customers will love today and 10 years from now. They design shoes made with bio-based and recycled materials, including recycled plastic, organic cotton, sugar cane, corn, and chrome free leather sourced from the Leather Working Group and has been repurposed as a by-product of the meat industry.

VEJA sells a combination of Gold-standard leather shoes and bio-based vegan styles, which they plan to expand in the future. Their shoes range from fun & colorful everyday sneakers to comfortable & supportive running shoes that feature shock absorption, lightweight cushioning, and natural rubber soles.

Range includes: Unisex sneakers, everyday footwear, velcro options, kids’ shoes

Our top picksImpala Jacquard Black Cream Sneaker (Unisex)Condor 2 VEJA X Ciele Nautico Orange Fluo (Unisex)Esplar Se Canvas White Matcha (Unisex)

Browse VEJA

13. Good Guys Don’t Wear Leather – Animal-Friendly Shoes Made With Long-Lasting Materials 

Budget: $110 – $270

Features: Cruelty-Free Practices, 100% Vegan Leather, Modern Fashion Designs, AppleSkin Leather

Sizes: Unisex sizes, full sizes

Looking for a sustainable shoe brand that cares as much for animal welfare as they do customer satisfaction? Check out Good Guys Don’t Wear Leather, a company that started their business with one main idea: selling cruelty-free vegan leather shoes and accessories that fit their customers’ comfort, modern fashion trends, and ethical principles.

Good Guys Don't Wear Leather Men's AYITA 2.0 Vegan Desert Boots paired with blue chinos
Men’s AYITA 2.0 Vegan Desert Boots (image by

Good Guys centers their choice of materials around ethical treatment of animals and the environment. Their shoes are 100% vegan, manufactured in local family-owned shops, and packaged using biodegradable materials. They keep their styles classic and durable to cut down on the number of pairs purchased. Customers report wearing the original Good Guys design 10 years later!

Good Guys carries eco friendly shoes for all occasions. The AppleSkin Collection features shoes made from recycled apple skins and cores from the fruit juice industry. They sources materials locally and ensures that they meet the Oekotex Standard 100 Class guidelines guaranteeing that companies use sustainable materials and practices to design their products.

Range includes: Sneakers, sandals, boots, clogs, everyday shoes

Our top picksDAISY High heel vegan cowboy boots (Women’s)AYITA 2.0 Vegan Desert Boots (Men’s)MIMI Vegan Cross Strap Sandal (Women’s)


14. Avesu – Retailer of Vegan Shoes 

Budget: $30 – $280

Features: Vegan Materials, Wide Style Selection & Budget Range, High-End Brands, Carbon-Neutral Shipping

Sizes: Full & half sizes, men’s & women’s

Avesu understands the difficulty in finding vegan shoe brands. Instead of spending hours searching for the perfect pair, their company has researched it for you! Avesu is an inventory of animal-free styles. Their website features popular eco friendly shoe brands, including TOMS, VEJA, AHIMSA, and Bourgeois Boheme.

Avesu The Lot Biker Boot by Perfect Jane
The Lot Biker Boot by Perfect Jane (image by

Avesu conducts first-hand inspections with their suppliers to ensure they meet the requirements of cruelty-free practices, eco friendly manufacturing processes, and fair working conditions. They use carbon-neutral shipping through their partnership with DHL GoGreen Shipping services, which makes local deliveries using electric bikes and cars.

Avesu’s one-stop shop offers limitless options to fit any occasion and budget truly. Shop for sophisticated, high-grade faux leather business shoes for your next formal meeting. Or lace up a pair of waterproof hiking shoes made with GORE-TEX lining and built to last years of outdoor adventures.

Range includes: Heels, boots, business, fashion, elegant, hiking, flats, summer, running shoes, rain boots

Our top picksThe Lot Biker Boot by Perfect JaneDavid Cognac Dress Shoe by AHIMSAThe Alpargata Canvas by TOMS

Browse AVESU


Perhaps one of the most eco friendly steps we can take to encourage sustainable fashion is to take the time to research shoe brands before purchasing a pair. Avoid shoe brands that participate in fast fashion and perpetuate the pollution crisis. Shop sustainable shoe brands that take pride in the quality of their shoes and the Earth-friendly practices within their company.


Is leather sustainable?

This list features a few sustainable footwear brands that repurpose animal hides from the meat industry. In some ways, repurposing cowhides from the meat industry is an ethical way to honor an animal’s life because otherwise, it would just be tossed into a landfill. However, severe environmental hazards are associated with the meat farming industry, including deforestation, excessive water consumption, and overusing land to grow feed crops instead of re-planting forests. 

To restore our planet’s health, we must refine our farming practices and cut down on meat consumption. Ultimately, using leather is not sustainable because it requires the same environmentally damaging techniques used to raise cows for meat. 

Is vegan leather sustainable?

Vegan leather is not considered sustainable when it’s manufactured using toxic synthetic fibers that make it difficult to recycle. However, there are several plant-based sustainable materials like AppleSkin, flax, and cork quickly becoming famous for their impressive quality.

Abby Lucy

Abby Lucy-Tucker

I am a writer, educator, and devoted environmentalist with a lifelong mission to serve our planet. My goal is to inspire a natural love and curiosity for sustainable products, companies, and lifestyle choices through my writing.

Sustainable Fashion

20 Best Sustainable Denim Brands for Ethical Living (2023)

Discover the top sustainable jeans brands around the globe. Rock your jeans and protect the planet!

Sustainable Denim Brands Featured

Did you know that your favorite pair of blue jeans, on average, uses about 3,000 liters of water during production? Denim also contributes to extreme pollution of rivers, high CO2 emissions, and poisoning of factory workers. But don’t worry, you don’t have to give up your go-to pants…

Sustainable denim brands allow you to rock your jeans and protect the planet. These brands use a variety of eco friendly processes to make their denim sustainable including natural dyes, organic cotton, industry organization accreditations, ethical labor practices, and in-house denim recycling.

In this article, we cover the best sustainable denim brands of 2022. It covers a wide range of styles, prices, and brands, so there’s a jean for everyone here. The best part is not only will you look good in your new jeans, you’ll be doing good for the planet.

Our Quick Picks For Your Next Sustainable Denim Brand

With every year, more and more brands are adopting more sustainable practices. This means you now have a lot of choices for sustainable denim, but here are some of our favorites. Read on for the full list:

  • Best for Men: Outland Denim – timeless and classic denim pieces produced ethically by survivors of sex trafficking with all organic cotton and no harmful dyes.
  • Best for Women: Everlane – a wide range of jean styles designed for every body type produced with renewable energy, recycled water, and organic cotton.
  • Best for Fashion: Reformation – a fashion denim brand with a cult following, Reformation uses high-quality sustainable fabrics for pieces that are forever in style.
  • Best for Work: Levi’s – the most iconic denim brand’s new sustainable collection uses organic and recycled cotton and is built to last no matter what type of work you need to do.

1. ABLE – Fashionable, Size-Inclusive Sustainable Denim

Budget: $$$
Features: Recycled Water, Reduced Carbon Footprint, No Harsh Dyes, Size Inclusive, Women-Owned

ABLE, based in Nashville, creates fashionable jeans for every woman using sustainable practices, sourcing their denim as locally as possible to avoid carbon emissions from transportation. All water is recycled and they prioritize eco-friendly dyes to avoid water pollution.

Model wearing Whitney boyfriend jeans with brown boots
The Whitney Boyfriend Jean (image by

Beyond environmental sustainability, they also focus on their social impact by donating all denim scraps for use in affordable housing insulation, including women in leadership and decision making at all stages of production, and are committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Their denim pieces come in a variety of styles, from a classic skinny jean to a denim shirt dress and everything in between. They carry sizes XXS-3X, making them one for the most size inclusive denim brands on the market.

Range includes: skinny jeans, straight leg jeans, wide leg jeans, overalls

Our top pickThe Whitney Boyfriend Jean for a super soft, relaxed-fit pair of jeans. Bonus points because they’re handcrafted in Mexico!

Click below to see prices at ABLE:

Browse ABLE

2. Outerknown – High-Quality, Classic Jeans Produced With Sustainability First

Budget: $$$
Features: Organic Cotton, Made in the USA, Lifetime Guarantee, Recycled Denim, Fair Labor Practices

Outerknown is a sustainable fashion powerhouse, known for their durable and stylish jeans. 90% of the textiles they use are organic, recycled, or regenerated, so whether you’re buying their jeans or the other apparel they offer, you can be certain it’s sustainable sourced.

woman wearing outerknown liberty straight jeans with white sneakers and a grey t-shirt
We love the look of these Liberty jeans by Outerknown (image by

Their jeans are made with organic cotton, sourced from the cleanest denim factory in the world, and made in Los Angeles. They come in styles for both men and women and are designed to last.

They also have a lifetime guarantee on their jeans, which keeps jeans in your closet and out of landfills and they’ll even repair your jeans from wear and tear. If they can’t repair them, you’ll get a brand new pair and your old pair will be recycled.

Range includes: boyfriend jeans, slim jeans, straight jeans, skinny jeans, flare jeans, relaxed jeans, women’s jeans, men’s jeans

Our top picks: for men, their Selvedge slim fit is a classic jean made from organic cotton small batch selvedge from Italy. It’s some of the most premium sustainable denim on the market. For women, their straight jeans are mid-rise for a timeless, relaxed look.

Click below to see prices at Outerknown:


3. Katherine Hamnett – Global Organic Textile Standard Certified Denim Jeans

Budget: $$$
Features: GOTS Certified Organic Cotton, Low Water Use, Non-Toxic Chemicals, Recyclable Packaging, Fair Labor Practices

Katharine Hamnett is a fashion-forward, sustainability-first brand. All of their denim is Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certified, which means it passes rigorous standards for organic textiles, ethical production practices, and lower carbon emissions and water usage.

woman wearing katherine hamnett anita flared jeans with white top
Anita light wash jeans (image by

They make clothes ethically and sustainably, preserve traditional skills, source sustainable raw materials, cut carbon emissions by producing clothes in the EU, and practice good labor standards set by the Fair Wear Foundation.

Range includes: flare jeans, straight jeans, men’s jeans, women’s jeans

Our top picks: for men, the Mick Medium Wash Jeans are an everyday jean great for every occasion. For women, the Anita light wash jeans are high-waisted and wide-flared for a stylish, but comfortable jean.

Click below to see prices at Katherine Hamnett:


4. Nudie Jeans – 100% Organic Cotton Jeans in Modern Fits

Budget: $$
Features: 100% Organic Cotton, Recycling Program, Fair Wear Foundation Leaders, GOTS Certified Organic Cotton

Nudie Jeans are a cult favorite thanks to their ultra-soft, 100% organic cotton jeans made in timeless styles with modern fits and denim technology. Their organic cotton is certified by GOTS, so you can be sure of what you’re purchasing, and they use recycled polyester in their linings.

woman wearing breezy britt jeans by nudie jeans
Breezy Britt Jeans by Nudie (image by

Sustainability is a main pillar of Nudie Jeans, so they make their manufacturing process very transparent with a full view of carbon emissions, water usage, and carbon offsetting for their entire supply chain.

They also created the Ture Recycled Blanket initiative, recycling post-consumer Nudie Jeans and used wool to create the perfect picnic blanket.

Nudie Jeans have won a lot of industry awards, including the Drapers Sustainable Fashion Award, Fairtrade awards, and have also been nominated by the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency for their Courage and Pace award.

Range includes: men’s jeans, women’s jeans, skinny jeans, straight leg jeans, slim fit jeans, boyfriend jeans

Our top picks: for men, the Lean Dean Well Worn jean is the ultimate cool jean– a slim fit with a grayish-blue wash and just the right amount of rip at the knees. For women, the Breezy Britt in Friendly Blue is the ultimate 90s jeans with a high-waisted fit, tapered leg, and marbling wash effects.

Click below to see prices at Nudie Jeans:


5. Amour Vert – Women’s Luxury Ethical Denim in Classic Styles

Budget: $$
Features: Resale Available, Recyclable Packaging, Made in the USA, TENCEL™ Fiber, Eco-Friendly Raw Textiles

Amour Vert is a US-based clothing brand that focuses on designing classic, timeless jean fits. They develop their own fabrics with mills to ensure all of their clothing is made with the most sustainable and comfortable materials. They use compostable packaging to ship your items to you, replacing 137,206 plastic poly bags since 2018.

woman wearing amour vert agolde criss-cross jeans
Amour Vert’s Criss-Cross jean puts a twist on the classic straight jean (image by

Unique to Amour Vert is their resale marketplace, ReAmour, where you can find pre-loved Amour Vert clothing for discounted prices. This allows more customers to access their clothing and prevents clothing from ending up in a landfill if the original owner no longer wants it.

Amour Vert is known for their well-fitting and classically styled denim. Instead of super trendy pieces that get thrown out after a season, Amour Vert’s pieces are made to last and stay in style forever.

Range includes: high rise jeans, mid rise jeans, straight leg jeans, skinny jeans, boyfriend jeans

Our top pickAGOLDE Criss Cross Straight Jean for a fun twist on a classic style

Click below to see prices at Amour Vert:


6. Etica – Ethically Made Denim That Plants One Tree With Every Purchase

Budget: $$
Features: Fair Labor Practices, Local and Global Community Investment, Reduced Water and Energy Usage in Production, Non-Toxic Chemicals, 100% Vegan

Etica is a denim brand that puts sustainability first in every step of their process. Their denim is made with the most sustainable fabrics they can source – from organic cotton grown in the US, to cellulose fibers like TENCEL™ and Refriba that do not use pesticides, irrigation, or genetic modifications to grow. All materials are plant based, meaning vegans can shop here without worry.

Woman wearing Iris relaxed taper jeans by Etica
Comfortable AND Dressy – Iris jeans by Etica (image by

With new technologies and a energy efficient production proceeds, they have been able to reduce energy consumption by 64%, water usage by 90%, and chemical usage by 70%. They also give back to local communities by recycling their water for local farmers and donating old wash stones to build low-income housing.

Etica has accreditations from OEKO-TEX Standard 100, WRAP, Cradle to Cradle™, and GOTS. They’re also a Better Cotton Initiative™ member and follower of the Fair Labor Association and Bluesign™ codes of conduct.

Range includes: straight leg jeans, high rise jeans, mid rise jeans, wide leg jeans, crop jeans, boyfriend jeans

Our top pick: the Iris Relaxed Taper jean for a comfortable, dressy white jeans option

Click below to see prices at Etica:

Browse ETICA

7. Everlane – Environmentally-Friendly Everyday Jeans for Men and Women

Budget: $$
Features: Reduced Carbon Footprint, Recyclable Packaging, Recycled Fabrics, GOTS Certified Cotton, Recycled Water

Everlane makes sustainable jeans for both men and women. They have specific environmental initiatives for their denim with the goal of producing 100% clean denim and having zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Woman wearing Everlane-Way-High Skinny jeans with black flats
The Way-High Skinny (image by

They use certified organic cotton with Roica® V550 yarn–the only stretch yarn in the world made without harmful chemicals–for a comfy fitting jean that isn’t bad for the environment. Their jeans are also produced in clean factories that recycle water, use renewable energy, and recycled denim waste.

Range includes: women’s jeans, men’s jeans, high-rise jeans, mid-rise jeans, skinny jeans, straight jeans, boyfriend jeans

Our top picks: for men, the slim fit is a great everyday jean that you can easily dress up for a nice dinner. For women, the Way-High skinny is comfortable, flattering, and sleek enough to style any way you want.

Click below to see prices at Everlane:


8. Filippa K – Luxury Sustainable Jeans Made To Last For Years

Budget: $$$
Features: Recycled Fibers, Resale Platform, Reduced Carbon Footprint, Low-Waste Facilities, Scrap Recycling

Filippa K has been in the sustainable denim business since 1994, so they are well-practiced in producing environmentally friendly jeans.

Model wearing Filippa-k Briony Jeans with a black top and sandals
The Briony Jean is subtle and stylish (image by

Their main philosophy of sustainable denim production is a model of circularity. They follow the four Rs: reduce, repair, reuse, and recycle. By creating high-quality, durable denim, they reduce customer’s consumption and over production of clothing. They also only buy what they are going to sell, reducing the amount of waste they produce.

Filippa K offers DIY repairs guides, so you can wear your favorite jeans over and over again. They also reuse past season’s materials and created an online shop for preowned Filippa K clothing.

Range includes: women’s jeans, men’s jeans, straight leg jeans, flare jeans, skinny jeans, boyfriend jeans

Our top picks: for men, the Bruno Textured jean is a tailored, straight leg jean made of artisanal hand-spun cotton for a luxurious feel. For women, the Briony jean is cropped and  slightly flared in a dark blue denim, making it a subtle stylish choice.

Click below to see prices at Filippa K:


9. G-Star – Raw Denim Produced in Ethical Facilities

Budget: $$
Features: Raw Denim, Fair Labor Practices, Cradle to Cradle Certified™ Fabrics, Reduced Supply Chain Carbon Footprint, Greenpeace DETOX Committed, Better Cotton Initiative

G-Star makes reasonably priced raw denim jeans for men, women, kids, and in unisex fits.

Man wearing G-Star regular tapered jeans
These tapered jeans are a great choice for men (image by

They only use sustainable materials to create durable raw denim that will last use after use. By 2025, 20% of their apparel will be made with Cradle to Cradle Certified™ fabrics, the most rigorous certification for sustainable clothing production. By 2030, 100% of their apparel will be made from organic, recycled, or compostable fabrics.

They have also signed the DETOX Commitment with Greenpeace, so they are phasing out all unsustainable chemicals in production, making their denim raw and clean. Beyond production, they are committed to reducing their supply chain’s carbon footprint.

Range includes: men’s jeans, women’s jeans, kids’ jeans, unisex jeans

Our top picks: for men, the 3301 Regular Tapered Jean is a classic, slightly cropped jean available in a variety of colors. For women, the Kate Boyfriend Jean is a relaxed fitting, low waist jean with usable pockets (!).

Click below to see prices at G-Star:

Browse G-STAR

10. Madewell – Quality, Staple Denim Pieces Made Increasingly More Sustainable

Budget: $
Features: Fair Trade Certified™, Better Cotton Initiative, Resale Shop, Cotton’s Blue Jeans Go Green™ Recycling Program, Recyclable Packaging 

Madewell has made huge strides in sustainability over the last few years, especially with the introduction of their Do Well collection. Like many denim brands, they have adopted a circularity model to elongate a product’s lifetime, increase recycling, and use sustainable materials.

Woman wearing madewell perfect vintage jeans with white blouse
These Perfect Vintage jeans will go with almost anything (image by

In their denim, Madewell uses 44% organic or recycled cotton, with the goal of using 100% organic cotton by 2025. They also use cellulosic fibers like TENCEL™, a sustainable fiber which allows for a stretchy, comfy jean.

They are also actively decreasing and offsetting their carbon footprint by using energy-efficient light bulbs and recyclable packing. They also partner with programs like the UPS’s Carbon Neutral Shipping program, Botton’s Blue Jeans Go Green™ program, and Trees for the Future.

Range includes: high-rise jeans, mid-rise jeans, vintage denim, skinny jeans, wide leg jeans, flare jeans, boyfriend jeans

Our top pick: the Perfect Vintage Jean is a straight leg, mid-rise pair you can wear anywhere and will last for years

Click below to see prices at Madewell:


11. M.i.h Jeans – Fashionable Jeans Made With Transparency

Budget: $$$
Features: Certified Organic Cotton, Low Impact Dye, Low-Wash Jeans, Recycled Materials, GOTS Certified, Better Cotton Initiative™

M.i.h Jeans are a staple in many stylish closets and for good reason. They produce high-quality, vintage inspired jeans with a sustainability manifesto that aims to reduce the environmental impact of their jeans throughout the entire production process.

Model wearing M.i.h. daily jeans with brown ankle boots and a striped blouse
The Daily Jean, also available in black (image by

They started on their sustainability journey with the Paradise Capsule, a collection of denim that used 100% certified cotton, low impact dyes and finishes, low water washes, and recycled packaging and displays.

Since then, they have been transitioning all of their clothing to the same standards as their Paradise Capsule with a heavy focus on transparency. Beyond the production environmental concerns, they have also moved to be more transparent about the working conditions in their production facilities and the environmental impact across their supply chain from transport to packaging.

Range includes: straight leg jeans, flare jeans, slim fit jeans, skinny jeans, boyfriend jeans

Our top pick: the Daily Jean is just that, an everyday pair of black jeans ready to take you wherever you need to go.

Click below to see prices at M.i.h:

Browse M.I.H.

12. Outland Denim – Sustainable Denim That’s Good For The Earth And Its Humans

Budget: $$$
Features: Organic Cotton, Local and Global Community Investment, Fair Labor Practices, Reduced Carbon Footprint of Production Facilities, B Corporation

Outland Denim doesn’t just talk the talk of sustainability–they walk the walk. They were created out of frustration for the garment industry’s excessive impact on the environment and history of using exploitative labor.

Woman wearing Outland Athina JKeans with white sneakers and a grey tee

Their sustainable denim is produced with their state-of-the-art technology, including E-Flow, which uses 95% less water, 40% less energy, and 90% less chemicals than the traditional denim technology. They use zero harmful chemicals in their jeans and recycle 100% of their textile waste for use by recycling researchers, non-profit groups, and NGOs.

Outland Denim doesn’t just work on their environmental impact, they have strict regulations in place to minimize human impact as well. In their garment making facilities, they hire people who have come out of human trafficking situations, pay a living wage, and provide cross-training and community education to workers and their families.

Range includes: men’s jeans, women’s jeans, straight leg jeans, slim fit jeans, wide leg jeans, boyfriend jeans

Our top picks: for men, the Dusty-Black jean is a comfortable slim fit jeans with just the right amount of stretch. For women, the Athina jean is a relaxed, modern boyfriend jean perfect for a walk in the woods or a lunch with the girls.

Click below to see prices at Outland Denim:


13. Levi’s – The Most Iconic Denim Brand Just Got a Lot More Sustainable

Budget: $$
Features: Sustainable Materials, Reduced Water Use, Repair Shop, Cotton’s Blue Jeans Go Green™ Recycling Program, No Harmful Chemicals, Resale Program 

Levi’s Sustainability collection brings the iconic denim brand into the 21st century with a new focus on reducing their environmental impact.

Woman wearing Levis low-pitch straight-fit jeans paired with a red top
Levi’s Low Pitch Straight Fit Jeans (image by

Their main method of making their classic jeans more eco-friendly is using sustainable materials. They have begun using cottonized hemp, an innovative hemp yarn woven to act and feel like cotton, but which uses way less water and chemicals to grow. They also started using their Levi’s® Water<Less® finishing process that uses less water and recycles the water they do use, saving about 4.2 billion liters of water and recycling 9 billion more.

While Levi’s have always been durable, they’re now taking product longevity to a new level with a repair shop, resale shop, and recycling program.

Range includes: women’s jeans, men’s jeans, kids’ jeans, skinny jeans, vintage jeans, work jeans

Our top picks: for men, the 505™ Regular Fit jeans are a classic–they’re perfect for jobs around the house, running errands, or heading out on a date. For women, jump head first back into the low-rise denim trend with the Low Pitch Straight Fit jeans, a light wash, distressed pair.

Click below to see prices at Levi’s:

Browse LEVI’S

14. People Tree – Pioneering Sustainable Fashion Brand Combined With Traditional Artisan Skills

Budget: $$
Features: PETA Certified Vegan Materials, Fair Labor Practices, GOTS Certified, World Fair Trade Organization Certified, No Harmful Chemicals, Organic Cotton

People Tree has been making sustainability a main pillar of their business since they started in 1991. They combine sustainable materials, traditional artisan skills, and fair labor practices to make high-quality, stylish denim pieces.

People Tree Cecile Straight Leg Jeans
Cecile Straight Leg Jeans (image by

They use 100% organic cotton, TENCEL™ Lyocell, and other natural materials in their denim, making it soft and stretchy without the need for polyesters. It’s also dyed using low impact dyes and no harmful chemicals, lessening local water pollution.

They are GOTS certified by the Soil Association and were awarded the World Fair Trade Organization product label, the first fashion company to receive one.

Range includes: slim leg jeans, straight leg jeans, overalls, skinny jeans

Our top pick: the Cecile Straight Leg Jeans are a modern and cropped play on the 90s’s straight leg jean silhouette.

Click below to see prices at People Tree:


15. prAna – An Outdoor Brand With Sustainable Denim Ready For Any Adventure

Budget: $$
Features: 100% Organic Cotton and Hemp, Fair Trade Certified™, Recyclable Packaging, Recycled Materials, Reduced Supply Chain Carbon Footprint, Bluesign® Systems Partner

prAna is an outdoor, active lifestyle clothing brand that has roots in sustainable fashion. Between using sustainable materials like organic cotton and hemp to packaging and shipping their products as carbon neutral as possible, they strive to make denim and other apparel as environmentally friendly as they can.

Man wearing a prAna Bridger Jean
The Buxton is one of our favourites (image by

They only use GOTS and Organic Content Standard (OCS) certified organic cotton, organic hemp, and low-impact dyes for their denim. By 2030, 80% of their materials will be bluesign® approved, a designation given only to the cleanest and harmful chemical-free fabrics and materials.

They’ve also partnered with The Renewal Workshop as part of their circularity model to repair torn clothing, recycle manufacturing scraps, and upcycle textiles.

Range includes: men’s jeans, women’s jeans, workwear, bootcut jeans

Our top picks: for men, the Bridger Jean can be just as easily worn to the office or on a walk with the dog. For women, the Buxton jean is a boyfriend fit jean perfect for sitting around a campfire or heading out on a hike.

Click below to see prices at prAna:

Browse PRANA

16. Reformation – Anti-Fast-Fashion Brand Making Fashionable Pieces Sustainable

Budget: $$
Features: Recycled Materials, Green Building Certified, 100% Carbon Neutral, Manufactured in the USA, Low-Impact Dyes, Bluesign® and OEKO-TEX® Standard 100 Certified

Reformation is reforming the fashion industry one pair of jeans at a time. They have a long list of sustainable practices focused on eco-friendly materials, green manufacturing, and a positive social impact on their workers and local communities.

Woman wearing Cynthia High rise jeans by Reformation
Love the Chamomile flowers on these Cynthia jeans (image by

They are a 100% carbon neutral company, using electricity offsets from wind power, energy efficient appliances, and sustainable shipping and packaging processes. Their fabrics and fibers are all bluesign® and OEKO-TEX® Standard 100 certified using low-impact, non-toxic dyes, and are made with recycled or organic cotton.

Unique to Reformation is the RefScale, which tracks the co-footprint of every product and is displayed on each product’s page, so their customers are always aware of the environmental impact their new purchase has made.

Range includes: skinny jeans, straight leg jeans, relaxed fit jeans, wide leg jeans, bootcut jeans

Our top pick: the Cynthia Chamomile High Rise Straight Jean is an adorable pair, embroidered with tiny chamomile flowers that fit like your vintage 90s jeans should.

Click below to see prices at Reformation:


17. Theo + George – Women-Owned Brand Specializing in Sourcing Sustainable Fabrics From Small Farmers Around the World

Budget: $$$
Features: Sustainable Packing, Recycling Program, Sustainable Materials, Transparent Supply Chain, Organic Cotton

Theo + George is a small business with a global perspective, sourcing eco-friendly materials from around the world. While their speciality is luxe cashmere, their jeans are similarly high-quality and sustainable.

Woman wearing Indy Slim-Fit-Jeans by Theo + George
The Indy Slim fit Jean (image by

Theo + George’s main philosophy of sustainability is the Japanese term, monozukuri, the art and science of making things that last. They create durable, timeless pieces that won’t be thrown out with the change of seasons, but rather investment pieces you can wear forever.

They create these long lasting pieces with globally-sourced sustainable materials like organic cotton and small batch cashmere. They also have a recycling partnership with a company in Dublin that provides convenient locations for Irish customers to recycle their denim.

Range includes: slim fit jeans, skinny jeans, straight leg jeans

Our top pick: the Indy Slim Fit Jean is made with 100% organic cotton for a relaxed fit tailor made in Italy.

Click below to see prices at Theo + George:


18. Volcom – Surf and Skate Brand Making Waves In Sustainable Fashion

Budget: $
Features: Bluesign® Approved Fabrics, Reduced Water Use, Made with Recycled Cotton, Size Inclusive, Energy Efficient Facilities

Volcom, a surfing and skating brand, has begun transitioning to making more and more clothing sustainably with their Eco-True collections for men and women.

Woman wearing Volcom Liberator High-Rise Jeans
Liberator High Rise Jeans (image by

The company as a whole has a very eco-friendly model with an energy efficient HQ, renewable energy run manufacturing facilities around the world, and by running sustainable surfing and skating events. Their products are shipped with eco-friendly packaging.

For their Eco-True denim, they use recycled cotton blends and low-water washing processes. As of right now, there’s not many choices for denim in the collection, but they have plans to expand the sustainability standards to all of their clothing in the next few years.

Range includes: women’s jeans, men’s jeans, skinny jeans

Our top pick: for men, the Slim Fit jeans in black are a relaxed fit you can wear anywhere your wheels take you. For women, the Liberator High Rise Jeans are a classic black skinny jean ready to hit the skate park with you.

Click below to see prices at Volcom:


19. Warp + Weft – Reasonably Price, Size-Inclusive Sustainable Denim

Budget: $
Features: Family-Owned, Recycled Water, Fair Labor Practices, Eco-Friendly Fabrics, Low-Impact Washing, Size-Inclusive

Warp + Weft set out on a mission to create high-quality, eco-friendly denim pieces for everyone three decades ago and they’re still going strong.

Model wearing Warp and Weft ASE High-Rise Straight Cleo Jeans
The Ase is a classy and refined straight leg jean (image by

Their denim uses less than 45 liters of water per pair of jeans, which is staggering compared to the 3,000 liters an average pair takes. They also avoid toxic water pollution by using Dry Ozone technology to dye and wash their jeans. In their HQ and manufacturing facilities, they put people first with fair wages, reasonable hours, and healthy and safe working conditions.

Warp + Weft is one of the most accessible sustainable denim brands because of their size-inclusive offerings and reasonable pricing.

Range includes: women’s jeans, men’s jeans, kids’ jeans, plus size jeans, flare jeans, skinny jeans, straight leg jeans

Our top pick: for men, the AMS Sleepwalker is a sharp slim fit jean comfortable enough to fall asleep in. For women, the Ase High Rise Straight is a true straight leg jean, flowing from the thigh down to a dropped hem in beautiful blue denim colors.

Click below to see prices at Warp + Weft:

Browse WARP + WEFT

20. Boyish – Modern Fitted, Vintage-Inspired Denim Made With Plant-Based Dyes

Budget: $$$
Features: OEKO-TEX Standard 100 Approved, Plant Based Dyes, Recycled Water, PETA Certified Vegan Materials, TENCEL™ Lyocell Fabrics

Boyish makes timeless denim pieces that are in style today, tomorrow, and next decade. It’s a good thing too because their jeans are made from premium organic or recycled cotton and TENCEL™ Lyocell fabric, so they’re made to last decades.

Woman wearing the Ricky in Blue Steel by Boyish jeans
Ricky Jeans (image by

Their jeans are dyed with natural plant based dyes and reduced indigo that has about 80% less sulphates than regular indigo dye. Their denim production is low waste and uses mainly recycled water and renewable energy.

Their production facilities are environmentally and ethically sound with fair wages and many different accreditations from and partnerships with organizations like The Jeans Redesign project, Cradle to Cradle™, Organic Content Standard, PETA, and OEKO-TEX.

Range includes: vintage jeans, wide leg jeans, straight leg jeans, flare jeans

Our top pick: the Ricky Jeans are a throwback to the 70s with a flared bottom and button fly, upgraded with TENCEL™ Lyocell for a 2022-era level of comfort.

Click below to see prices at Boyish:



With 450 million pairs of jeans sold in the United States every year alone, making the denim industry more sustainable is a worthwhile goal for environmentally minded people. By shopping at these brands, you’re signaling to the industry as a whole that making their jeans more eco-friendly is good for their business and the planet. Of course, being sustainable is also about not purchasing too many: we believe most men and women need no more than 3-4 pairs of jeans

Megan Lemon

Megan Lemon

Megan is a sustainability writer based in Fiji, where she lives with her partner in the house they built themselves. In her free time, she free dives, spear fishes, and takes long walks on the dirt roads.

Sustainable Fashion

How Many Pairs of Jeans Should I Own?

Find out how many pairs of jeans is considered acceptable while maintaining a reasonably low-impact lifestyle.

How Many Pairs Of Jeans Should You Own Featured

I’m someone who tries to live a sustainable, minimalist life, but still wants to be stylish on any occasion. This can be hard to balance, especially with jeans. I used to have way too many jeans, but I found the sweet spot with four pairs of jeans.

Most people need three to four pairs of jeans. This strikes the perfect balance between a sustainable and minimalist lifestyle and having jeans for every occasion. Rather than having multiple pairs in the same style, diversifying your jean collection means fewer pairs and more options. 

Read below for the best pairs of jeans for men and women to have in their closets. Every pair suggested below is from a sustainable denim brand, so you can be sure that your closet is filled with eco-friendly clothing.

How Many Jeans Should a Woman Own?

There’s no one right answer to this question. The average woman owns about seven pairs of jeans. But even when I owned so many pairs of jeans, I could usually never find that single pair that worked wherever I was going.

That’s why I transitioned to a more minimalist wardrobe. I only buy and keep clothing that is comfortable, fit perfectly, and can be worn for a variety of occasions.

Below you’ll find the four styles of jeans I recommend having for women:

1. Regular Blue Jeans

This is going to be your most basic pair of jeans. Picking blue denim with a good amount of stretch means you can wear them at any point of the month without having to worry about bloating or weight fluctuation.

Outland Denim Lucy in New Blue
The Outland Lucy is a great everyday pair of jeans (image by

Your go-to pair of blue jeans should be a medium wash because it’s the most timeless and can be worn casually or more dressed up. Light blue wash can be too casual or dated right away. A skinny or straight leg fit is the most versatile.

Something like the Outland Denim Lucy in New Blue is ideal. It’s made of organic cotton with ethical production and can be worn just as easily to a nice dinner or with a casual look.

2. Regular Black Jeans

Black jeans are the most versatile pair in your wardrobe. They can be worn as work pants, date night pants, and casual hanging out pants.

Everlane Way-High Skinny Jean in Ash
Black jeans, like these by Everlane, are highly versatile (image by

Picking black jeans in a pure black, not faded wash, with a slim fit means you can rock them to work, dinner, or wherever else you need to go.

The Everlane Way-High Skinny Jean in Ash is a great pair for all occasions. Thanks to the soft organic cotton  and EVERCO™ fabric, it’s comfortable enough to be at your desk all day.

3. Messy Jeans

This pair of jeans is perfect for days spent running around. Instead of spoiling your nice jeans, this pair are comfy throw-on jeans that can take a beating because you only wear them when you’re going to get messy.

G-Star Raw Kate Boyfriend Jean
I love these G-Star Raw Kate Boyfriend Jeans (image by

The best option for these jeans is old jeans that still fit comfortably. However, if you’re looking to purchase a good pair, a boyfriend jean is a great choice because they’re loose-fitting and super comfy.

The G-Star Raw Kate Boyfriend Jean has a relaxed fit and lower waist. Plus, bonus points for having usable pockets!

4. Fashion Pair

If you still need another pair of jeans, this pair can be your fashion pair. Whether it be ripped jeans you can’t wear in front of your grandmother or a cut boot cut flare jeans, this pair is a more trendy piece.

Warp + Weft Ase High Rise Straight Jeans
Look for something both trendy and versatile (image by

For sustainability reasons, buying clothing that you won’t wear forever isn’t the best plan, so limit this to a pair you can wear in many different ways. One rule of thumb is to not buy an item of clothing unless you’ve been thinking about it for over two months. This usually weeds out trendier pieces that you can’t wear past their season.

I’ve been a big fan of the Ase High Rise Straight Jeans for a while because they’re not one of the classic styles, but still can be styled in a lot of different ways.

How Many Jeans Should a Man Own?

Men can get away with three pairs of jeans. If you’re looking to boost your wardrobe with more stylish, sustainable pieces, read below to find the three staple jeans every man should have in their wardrobe.

1. Slim Fit Everyday Jeans

Slim fit jeans are the perfect everyday jeans for men. It’s not as tight as a skinny and not as baggy as your dad’s favorite pair of Wranglers.

Warp + Weft AMS Slim Sleepwalker Jean
These slim jeans are perfect for everyday where (image by

It’s the perfect tailored fit for date night, errands, and grabbing drinks with friends. It can even fit the dress code at a lot of workplaces, especially for casual Friday.

Warp + Weft’s AMS Slim Sleepwalker Jean are great everyday jeans that can be dressed up or worn casually.

2. Dark Wash Jeans

Dark blue jeans can be worn as dressy jeans or casual jeans depending on what you style them with. Everyone should have at least one pair of them.

Outerknown Ambassador Slim Fit Selvedge
Everyone needs one pair of dark wash jeans (image by

Black or dark blue wash jeans are a great option for people who like to wear jeans every day because you can wear them with different shirts to create a whole new outfit. Something like the Ambassador Slim Fit Selvedge is perfect for dark wash jeans for casual and dressier places.

3. Messy Jeans

To save your nice jeans, you should have one pair of messy jeans. If you’re going to be doing anything like hiking, gardening, or painting, these are the pairs you wear and you don’t care what happens to them. It’s great to use an old pair of jeans for this.

Levi’s 505™ Regular Fit
Levi’s 505 Regular Fit Jeans (image by

If you’ve recently changed sizes or don’t have any jeans you’re willing to sacrifice, buying a new pair with looser fitting, thicker denim is ideal. Levi’s 505™ Regular Fit jeans are a classic for a reason–they’re comfy, durable, and available in a wide range of washes and sizes. Plus, they’re sustainable jeans that are priced accessibly.

Megan Lemon

Megan Lemon

Megan is a sustainability writer based in Fiji, where she lives with her partner in the house they built themselves. In her free time, she free dives, spear fishes, and takes long walks on the dirt roads.

Sustainable Fashion

Vegan & Cruelty Free Fabrics (140+ Fabrics Checked!)

We've checked 140+ fabrics for whether they are vegan or not, so you don't have to. The ultimate resource for vegan fabrics.

Vegan Fabric Guide Featured

Purchasing clothes and furniture that use vegan fabrics is a great way to support your vegan lifestyle and encourage brands to stock more vegan products. But although more brands than ever are stocking vegan and cruelty-free products, they don’t always label them as such.

Vegan and cruelty-free fabrics are come in two categories: Plant-based vegan fabrics, such as cotton, hemp, and other fabrics made from these materials (such as chino, corduroy, denim, and khaki), or synthetic vegan fabrics, including nylon, polyester, elastane, microfiber, or rayon. Most non-vegan fabrics are either use wool from an animal or silk in their construction.

Of course, it isn’t always so simple. Some fabrics have both vegan and non-vegan methods of production. Others will be made from silk or wool but are then given another name, making it hard to tell if they contain animal-derived materials.

Below, we’ve listed 150 fabrics, given a brief description, and stated whether they are vegan or not, and below the table, we’ve also gone into more detail into some of the more popular fabrics that people ask about. Remember: not all vegan fabrics are sustainable. Many synthetic vegan fabrics are bad for the environment and may still cause indirect harm to animals and the planet.

p.s. We’ve worked hard to make this the most useful source for information on vegan fabrics on the internet, but we still recommend you check the label and, if necessary, ask the manufacturer for more information. Additionally, just because the main material used is vegan doesn’t mean there might not be non-vegan elements, such as leather details – so watch out for those!

Which Fabrics are Vegan and Cruelty-Free? Check the Table!

FabricIs It Vegan?
Aba – a course felted fabric woven from goat and/or camel hair.No
Acrylic – a synthetic fabric made from a polymer called acrylonitrile.Yes
Aertex – a trademark for a brand of loose-weave cotton fabric.Yes
Alpaca – derived from alpaca hair. It is warmer than wool, water-resistant, and hypoallergenic.No
Angora – woven from hair of the angora rabbit. Silky and soft.No
Baize – a felt-like material used for covering snooker and pool tables. Typically a wool/cotton blend.Depends
Bamboo – Bamboo cellulose is used to make all types of rayon, including viscose, modal, and lyocell.Yes
Batiste – also known as Cambric or Chambray, it is a lightweight cotton (or linen) fabric used for linings, lingerie, and handkerchiefs.Yes
Broadcloth – a dense cloth historically made of wool, but in a modern context more likely to be cotton or cotton blend.Depends
Brocade – a rich, thick fabric with an elaborate raised design. Normally silk, but synthetic alternatives are available.Depends
Buckram – a stiff cotton or linen cloth. Used for bookbinding, hats, and in clothing.Yes
Bunting (or Bunt) – traditionally made from a lightweight wool, but alternative materials include plastic, synthetic fabrics, and paper.Depends
Calico – a cheap, plain-woven textile made from unbleached cotton. Often, the cotton has not been fully-processed.Yes
Cambric – also known as Chambray or Batiste, is a lightweight cotton (or linen) fabric used for linings, lingerie, and handkerchiefs.Yes
Camelhair – fiber or cloth made from the hair of a camel. Often blended with other fibers, including wool.No
Camlet (or Camelot, Camblet) – a woven fabric traditionally made of camel or goat’s hair. Later made from blends of goat’s hair and silk, or of wool and cotton.No
Canvas – a course and durable plain-woven fabric traditionally made from hemp, but now typically made from cotton, linen or PVC.Yes
Cashmere – a soft and silky fiber harvested from cashmere, pashmina, and other types of goats.No
Challis – a lightweight woven fabric. It can be made from cotton, silk, or wool (or often a blend), but is now sometimes produced from man-made fabrics, such as rayon.Depends
Chambray – also known as Cambric or Batiste, it is a lightweight cotton (or linen) fabric used for linings, lingerie, and handkerchiefs.Yes
Chenille – a heavy woven fabric typically manufactured from cotton or synthetic yarns, sometimes mixed with wool or silk.Depends
Chiffon – a lightweight and sheer fabric. Can be made from cotton, silk, or synthetic fibers.Depends
Chino – a twill fabric. It is typically made from either 100% cotton or cotton-synthetic blend.Yes
Chintz – a brightly printed and glazed cotton fabric.Yes
Corduoroy (or Cord) – a textile made from twisted fibers that have been woven into a distinctive cord pattern. Normally made from cotton.Yes
Cork – made the soft bark of some kinds of oak tree.Yes
Cotton – made from fibers that surround the seeds of the cotton plant. It is used as both a textile fiber and as a thread for sewing.Yes
Cotton flannel (or Canton flannel) – a stout cotton fabric with nap on one side onlyDepends
Crepe (or Crape, or Crepe de Chine) – a soft woven fabric. Originally made from carded wool or worsted yarn, modern crepe is normally either wool, cotton, or synthetic.Depends
Cretonne – a heavy cotton fabric used for upholstery. Typically printed with a floral pattern.Yes
Damask – a woven fabric with an ornate and intricate pattern. It can be made from silk, wool, linen, cotton, or synthetic fibers.Depends
Denim (or Jean) – a durable cotton textile with distinctive diagonal ribbing. Denim itself is vegan, but jeans sometimes aren’t due to leather patches.Yes
Dimity – a sheer cotton fabric woven with raised stripes or checks. Hard-wearing.Yes
Doeskin – leather made from the skin of a female deer.No
Down – fine feathers taken from birds, normally domestic geese.No
Duck (Duck Cloth, Duck Canvas) – a heavy woven cotton cotton fabric which can be used for both clothing and tents.Yes
Duffel (or Duffle) – a coarse heavy woolen fabric used for both bags and clothing, particularly coats.No
Elastane – a synthetic fiber that is stronger and more durable than rubber, while still retaining exceptional elasticity.Yes
Elastic – a flexible stretchable fabric, typically cotton, nylon or polyester, made with interwoven strands of rubber or elastane.Yes
Etamine (or Etamin) – a soft, loosely woven fabric with a slight sheen. Can be made from cotton or wool.Depends
Faille – a shiny, closely-woven fabric characterized by slight ribs in the weft. Can be made from silk, rayon, or cotton.Depends
Faux-Leather – sometimes called Leatherette, Vinyl, or Polyurethane, it is a synthetic fabric that replicates the look of real leather.Yes
Felt – hair, wool or synthetic fiver that has been matted and pressed together to create a thick, strong material. Traditionally not vegan but can be made with synthetics.Depends
Flannel – a soft woven fabric that can be made from wool, cotton, or synthetic fibers.Depends
Flannelette – a light cotton fabric that has been designed to imitate flannel.Yes
Fleece (and microfleece) – made from PET, a plastic. Not to be confused with the fleece of a sheep or goat.Yes
Foulard – a lightweight fabric made of silk or a silk/cotton blend. Can be either twill or plain-woven, usually made with a printed design.No
Frieze – a heavy woolen fabric with a long napNo
Fustian – a cotton and linen fabric. Strong, with a short nap, it is usally dyed in dark colors.Yes
Gabardine – a tough fabric with a tight weave. Traditionally worsted wool, but can be cotton, polyester, or a blend. Used for suits, overcoats, uniforms.Depends
Georgette – a sheer, lightweight silk material used predominantly in dressmaking.No
Gingham – a lightweight plain-woven cotton cloth. Typically produced in a check design mixing white with a bolder color.Yes
Grogram – made from a mix of silk and wool.No
Grosgrain – a corded fabric or ribbon characterized by a weft that is heavier than its wrap. Traditionally wool, silk, or a blend, but can also be made from nylon.Depends
Haircloth – a stiff fabric made from horse hair or camel hair.No
Hemp – a tough fiber harvested from the cannabis plant.Yes
Horsehair – a stiff fabric made from horse hair or camel hair.No
Jersey – a kntted fabric originally made using wool, but now sometimes made with cotton or synthetic fibers instead.Depends
Khaki – a strong twilled cloth usually made from cotton and linen.Yes
Lace – a beautiful delicate fabric with an open weblike pattern. Traditionally made out of silk, but modern lace is often synthetic.Depends
Lame – a fabric made using a mix of one material (often synthetic) with thin metallic fibers to create a shiny, metallic-looking fabric.Yes
Leather – made by tanning animal (often cow) skin. Strong and flexible.No
Leatherette – an imitation leather made from paper, cloth, synthetics, or other materials.Yes
Linen – made from the fibers of the flax plant. Cool and fresh in hot weather.Yes
Linsey-woolsey – a strong and coarse fabric made with a linen (sometimes cotton) warp and a woolen weft.No
Lint – a linen or cotton fabric with a raised nap on one side. Commonly used to make bandages.Yes
Lisle – a fine fabric made from lisle yarn, (a strong, high-twisted yarn made of cotton).Yes
Lyocell – a type of Rayon made using the Lyocell process. It is a semi-synthetic fabric made using wood or bamboo cellulose.Yes
Mackinaw – a felted woolen cloth with a heavy nap, often produced with a plaid design.No
Mackintosh (or Macintosh) – a lightweight waterproof fabric, usually rubberized.Yes
Madras – a lightweight fabric made from cotton. It typically has a patterned texture and a plaid design. Ideal for summer clothing.Yes
Marseille – a strong cotton fabric. It has a raised pattern and is used for bedspreads.Yes
Mesh – material that resembles a net due to a large number of closely-spaced holes. Typically made of nylon or polyester.Yes
Microfiber – a very fine synthetic yarn.Yes
Modal – a type of Rayon. It is a semi-synthetic fiber made out of tree or bamboo cellulose. Used alone or sometimes blended (often with cotton).Yes
Mohair – a silky fabric made from the hair of the Angora goat.No
Moire (Watered Silk) – a fabric with a wavy (or watered) appearance. Traditionally made from silk, it is sometimes made from wool, cotton, or rayon.Depends
Moleskin – a durable cotton fabric with a velvety nap. It is not made from moles.Yes
Monk’s Cloth – a heavy cloth made from cotton with a basket weave.Yes
Moquette – a synthetic fabric. It is thick and velvety and is normally used for carpets and soft upholstery.Yes
Moreen – a heavy fabric with a ribbed face. Traditionally made from wool, but now may be made from a cotton/wool blend or just cottonDepends
Mousseline de soie – a thin, gauze-like fabric. Traditionally silk, but could now be made from rayon or other materials.Depends
Muslin – a loose plain weave cotton fabric.Yes
Nankeen – a pale yellow cotton cloth.Yes
Neoprene – a synthetic alternative to rubber.Yes
Ninon – a sheer fabric with a plain weave used in dresses, scarves, and eveningwear. Traditionally made from silk, it can now also be made with synthetic fibers.Depends
Nylon – a synthetic polymer made from materials derived from petroleum.Yes
Oilcloth – a cloth treated on one side with a drying oil or synthetic resin.Yes
Organdie or Organdy – a sheer stiff muslin.Yes
Organza – a sheer fabric with a thin plain weave. Traditionally made from silk, but can also be made out of polyester or nylon.Depends
Orlon – a brand name for first acrylic fibers created by DuPont.Yes
Paisley – a pattern of colorful swirled curved shapes. Traditional paisley is likely to be on wool and silk, but can be used on other fabrics.Depends
Percale – a closely-woven cotton fabric used to make bed covers.Yes
PET, PETE – PET, also known as polyethylene terephthalate, is a plastic. When used in fashion it is normally called polyester.Yes
Pilot Cloth – a heavy woolen material with a thicknap. Used for seamen’s uniforms.No
Pique – a weaving style characterized by fine ribbing. Normally used with cotton yarn.Yes
Plush – a term used to describe fabric with a pile higher than ⅛ inch (0.3 cm).Depends
Polar Fleece – a highly-insulating fabric with a soft nap. Made from synthetics such as polyester.Yes
Polyester – a category of synthetic fibers. The most common is PET.Yes
Pongee – a soft thin cloth woven from raw silk.No
Poplin (or Tabinet) – has a tight weave and a distinctive ribbed texture. Typically made of cotton, but can be wool or silk.Depends
Prima Loft – a brand of synthetic insulating materials developed for the US Army in the 1980s.Yes
Ramie – a natural fiber made from the stalks of the Chinese Nettle plant. It is similar to linen, and has been used for fabric for more than 5,000 years.Yes
Rayon – a semi-synthetic fiber made by chemically treating tree and bamboo cellulose.Yes
Rep – from the Latin for ‘rib’, Rep (or Repp) is a fabric with horizontal ribs. Can be made from silk, wool, or cotton.Depends
Russet – a coarse gray, brown, or reddish-brown cloth. It is made of wool and dyed with wood and madder (a red dye).No
Sailcloth – any fabric used for boat sails. Could be cotton, nylon, or Dacron.Yes
Samite – a luxurious heavy silk fabric which often has silver or gold threads woven into it.No
Sarcenet – a fine soft silk fabric from Italy.No
Sateen – a cotton (or sometimes rayon) fabric with a satiny finish.Yes
Satin – a smooth fabric with a glossy surface. Uses fibers such as silk, nylon, or polyester.Depends
Scrim – a lightweight woven fabric used in curtains, bookbinding, and upholstery. May also refer to a heavier reinforcement material used art, building, and canvas making. Made from cotton or flax.Yes
Seersucker – a light fabric normally made of cotton with alternating rough and smooth stripes.Yes
Serge – a twilled woollen fabric made with a two-up, two-down weave.No
Shag – a fabric with a deep pile. Typically used in reference to rugs or carpets.Depends
Shagreen – a type of leather made from rough, untanned skin. Often shark or ray.No
Shantung – a silk plane weight fabric often used for bridal gowns.No
Sharkskin – a worsted fabric with a two-toned appearance. Traditionally made from wool, mohair, or silk, but can also be made using rayon. Could also refer to an actual sharkskin (not vegan!).Depends
Sheepskin – a sheep’s hide which has been tanned with the fleece still attached.No
Silesia – a twilled cotton fabric used for pockets and linings.Yes
Silk – a soft and shiny fiber harvested from silkworm cocoons.No
Spandex – an extremely stretch synthetic fiber used in the manufacture of elastic clothing.Yes
Sponge cloth – a porous fabric usually made in a loose honeycomb weave.Depends
Stammel – a course woolen fabric historically used for the undershirts of penitents.No
Suede leather – a type of leather with a napped finished. Uses the underside of the skin of the animal, normally lamb, but can be deer, goat, pig, or calf.No
Swan’s-Down – could refer to either the soft down feathers of a swan OR a thick soft fabric, often wool (could be cotton, rayon), used in baby clothes.Depends
Taffeta – a smooth plain woven fabric made from either silk or synthetic fibers. Primarily used for evening wear.Depends
Tammy – a plain-woven fabric of wool or a wool/cotton blend used for linings. Often glazed.No
Tapa (or Tappa) – a paper-like cloth made in the South Pacific by pounding tapa bark.Yes
Tapestry (or Tapis) – a woven decorative fabric, made with wool and/or silk.No
Tencel – a brand of lyocel and modal rayon fibers produced by Lenzing. It is a semi-synthetic fabric made from the natural cellulose found in wood pulp.Yes
Thinsulate – a brand of synthetic thermally-insulating fiber used in clothing.Yes
Toweling – refers to any fabric used to make towels. Usually linen or cotton.Depends
Tweed – a rough wool patterned fabric assocatied with Scotland and Ireland.No
Ultrasuede – a synthetic microfiber used as a substitute for suede leather.Yes
Velcro – a fastener for clothes consisting of two connecting sides, one with stiff hooks, the other softer loops. Both sides are made from nylon.Yes
Velour – a plush fabric made from cotton or polyester that resembles velvet. It can be produced cheaper than velvet and is vegan.Yes
Velvet – a silky fabric with a dense pile. Traditionally, made from silk, but it can be made from a wide range of materials, including nylon, rayon, linen, and wool.Depends
Velveteen – a cotton fabric with a dense pile made to resemble velvet.Yes
Vicuna – the wool from the vicuña’s (a South American relative member of the camel family) undercoat.No
Vinyl (or PVC) – a plastic.Yes
Viscose – a type of rayon made using the viscose process. It is made from tree and bamboo cellulose and commonly used in fashion.Yes
Viyella – a fabric made from a cotton and wool blend in a twill weave.No
Voile – a sheer fabric, usually made of either 100% cotton or cotton blended with linen or polyester. Used in curtain making.Yes
Vulcanized Fiber – a tough laminated plastic made from cellulose.Yes
Whipcord – an extremely strong worsted fabric with a twill weave. Can be made from heavy cotton, worsted wool, or syntheticsDepends
Wincey Fabric – fabric made with a wool weft and a cotton warp (sometimes linen is substituted for cotton). Can be plain or twilled.No
Wool – a natural fiber obtained from sheep, goats, rabbits, and other animals.No
Worsted Wool – a high-quality type of wool. Stronger and smoother than wool, worsted is often used in suit-making.No

FAQ – Vegan Fabrics or Not?

Is Suede Vegan?

Suede is not vegan or cruelty free. It is a type of leather with a napped finish typically made out of lambskin, but may also be made from goat, pig, calf, or deerskin. The exception is ‘vegan suede,’ which isn’t actually suede, just a synthetic alternative that does not use animal products.

Are Fleece and Microfleece Vegan?

Both fleece and microfleece are vegan as they are made of polyester, which is the same type of plastic that is used to make many plastic bottles. Unlike a sheep’s fleece, this fabric is suitable for a vegan lifestyle. However, watch out for fleece blends: commonly these are cotton or rayon, but fleece is sometimes blended with wool – the resulting blend is not vegan.

Is Moleskin Vegan?

Moleskin fabric is vegan. It is a heavily-napped fabric typically made from cotton (or sometimes polyester) that is famed for its softness and durability. Despite the name, moleskin fabric has nothing to do with furry, subterranean mammals. It is cruelty-free and suitable for a vegan lifestyle – no moles were harmed in the manufacture of this fabric!

Moleskin fabric should not be confused with the notebook brand, Moleskine (but just in case this is what you were looking for, we’ve checked, and Moleskine products are typically vegan!).

Is Felt Vegan?

Felt is traditionally not vegan, but vegan versions are increasingly popular. Traditionally, felt is made from wool and animal fur, and linked to cruel, unethical, or inhumane treatments of animals. However, felt can also be made from synthetic materials. When this is the case, the felt is cruelty-free and suitable for a vegan lifestyle.

Always check the label to find out which type of felt a product uses, and keep in mind that some products will use a mix of both animal-derived materials and synthetic materials

Is Vinyl Vegan?

Vinyl, aka polyvinyl chloride, or PVC, is vegan. It is a versatile plastic used in a wide range of products, including clothing, toys, construction, and – of course – vinyl records. Because it does not use animal-derived products it is suitable for a vegan lifestyle, however, vinyl does have significant sustainability issues that may give vegans cause to think twice.

Is Lace Vegan?

It depends. Traditional lace is made out of silk and is not vegan. However, most modern lace is made out of cotton or linen, but could also be made out of synthetic materials like polyester. In these cases, lace is cruelty-free and suitable for a vegan lifestyle.

Vintage and second-hand lace are less likely to be vegan, and vegans should also be wary of more-expensive lace products, which are more likely to be made of silk (since cotton and linen are cheaper). 

Is Mesh Vegan?

Yes, mesh is normally vegan. It is typically made from nylon or polyester, both of which are vegan, cruelty-free, and suitable for a vegan lifestyle. It is possible to make mesh from non-vegan materials, but this is not generally done; to be safe, always check the label.

Is Chiffon Vegan?

Yes and no. Traditional chiffon a lightweight, sheer fabric is made out of silk, which is non-vegan. However, many chiffon clothes are now faux-chiffon, made out of rayon, nylon, or polyester. These are made using a similar process, but are vegan and cruelty-free. Vegan chiffon is cheaper to produce, but the resulting fabric is not quite as luxurious or smooth as silk chiffon. Check the label!

Is Velvet Vegan?

Yes and no. The term velvet actually refers to the structure of the fabric and how it is made, so it can be made from many different materials. Traditionally-made velvet is made from silk, so it is not vegan. New methods mean velvet can now be made from other materials, including vegan ones such as cotton, linen, and synthetics, and non-vegan ones, such as mohair and wool. We recommend you check the label or ask the manufacturer to be certain.

Is Spandex (aka Lycra or Elastane) Vegan?

Yes, spandex (aka lycra or elastane) is a vegan material. It is a synthetic fabric that is formed from a long-chain polymer (an organic material), and it can be combined with other fabrics like polyester or cotton (also vegan). Spandex fabric is not made from animal-derived products, and no animals are hurt during the manufacturing process. It is considered cruelty-free and suitable for a vegan lifestyle.

Is Cotton Vegan?

Yes, cotton is vegan – it is a natural fiber that is harvested from cotton plants. It is not animal-derived and is considered suitable for anyone living a vegan lifestyle. Like other vegan fabrics, it can be produced without causing cruel, unethical, or inhumane treatment of animals, however the methods used to grow non-organic cotton may cause ethical concerns for some vegans as it is not a sustainable process. We recommened organic cotton.

Is Chenille Vegan?

Normally, but not always. Chenille is vegan when it is made from cotton or synthetic yarns (which is most of the time). However, if the yarn is mixed with wool or silk, then it cannot be described as being vegan.

Interestingly, the name is derived from the French for ‘caterpillar.’ This may cause some initial concern amongst vegans; however, the name comes from the fact that the yarn is fuzzy and resembles a caterpillar, rather than any involvement of caterpillars in the manufacturing process! 

Is Denim Vegan?

Yes, denim is a vegan fabric, and most denim clothes are vegan. It is made from cotton which is woven into a distinctive twill pattern, which makes them more durable, water-resistant, and less likely to wrinkle. However, some jeans use leather patches that make them unsuitable for a vegan lifestyle – always check the label.

Is Modal Vegan?

Yes, modal fabric is vegan. Modal is a type of rayon, a fabric made from plant cellulose. It is cruelty-free, does not use animal-derived materials, and can be used as part of a vegan lifestyle. Like many synthetic fabrics, the production process relies heavily on chemicals, so it is not a sustainable vegan fabric. For this reason, some vegans choose not to use modal in preference of more sustainable fabrics.

Is Tencel Vegan?

Yes, Tencel is a vegan fabric. It is a brand-name for a type of rayon created by an Austrian company called Lenzing AG. Tencel material is a type of rayon fabric (made from plant cellulose) created using the lyocell or modal process. Additionally, and unlike other forms of rayon, Tencel is produced using a sustainable process, making it better for the planet too.

Is Neoprene Vegan?

Yes, neoprene is vegan, it is a synthetic alternative to natural rubber. It is made using a multi-step chemical reaction, and then the finished material is laminated to another fabric, often nylon, ready to use. The production process does not involve animal derivatives, although as a synthetic the production process is not considered sustainable.

Is Velour Vegan?

Yes, velour is vegan. It is a dense fabric that is meant to look and feel like traditional velvet and is often referred to as vegan velvet. The most common form is cotton velour, but you may also see polyester velour or rayon velour.

Is Flannel Vegan?

Flannel is sometimes vegan. It is a soft fabric with a loose weave and a napped finish. It is usually made from cotton, wool, or synthetic fiber, and depending on the fabric used it may be vegan or not vegan. Vegans should avoid traditional wool flannel and aim for alternatives made out of cotton or synthetic materials.

Is Memory Foam Vegan?

Yes, memory foam is vegan. It is made from polyurethane, a type of plastic also used in car seats, in glues, and as insulation in buildings and fridges.

However, it should be noted that both shoes and memory foam mattresses often have other materials in them that may not be vegan. For example, a memory foam mattress may have a mattress protector made from satin, silk, down, or flannel. These animal products are not vegan fabrics and not compatible with a vegan lifestyle.

Editorial Team

Editorial Team