Socks are certainly not the first thing that comes to mind when making a transition to a more eco friendly life, but it might be one of the easiest swaps you can make. Some of the most traditional materials used for socks are also the most sustainable, and while there have been innovations in materials of both the industrial and and sustainable variety, the functionality of those materials remain widely the same. There are many companies that have gone the extra mile, as you will see, and are supporting environmental and social causes.

Most common sock materials

Socks can be made from a variety of materials, including natural and synthetic fibers. Some of the most common materials used to make socks include:

  1. Cotton: Cotton is a natural fiber that is commonly used to make socks. It is breathable and comfortable to wear, making it a popular choice for everyday socks.
  2. Wool: Wool is a natural fiber that is known for its warmth and moisture-wicking properties. It is commonly used to make socks for cold weather and outdoor activities.
  3. Nylon: Nylon is a synthetic fiber that is commonly blended with other materials to improve the durability and stretchiness of socks.
  4. Polyester: Polyester is a synthetic fiber that is commonly used to make athletic socks. It is lightweight and breathable, making it a popular choice for high-intensity activities.
  5. Bamboo: Bamboo is a sustainable and eco-friendly material that is becoming increasingly popular for sock production. It is naturally anti-bacterial, moisture-wicking, and hypoallergenic.
  6. Recycled materials: Some sustainable sock companies are using recycled materials such as recycled cotton or polyester to create their products.

When it comes to choosing sustainable socks, it’s important to consider not only the materials used but also the production process and working conditions for the workers who make them. Opting for eco-friendly and fair trade brands is a great way to ensure that your socks are both sustainable and ethical.

What to look for in sustainable socks

When looking for sustainable socks, here are some things to consider:

  1. Materials: Look for socks made from sustainable materials like organic cotton, bamboo, hemp, or recycled materials. These materials have a lower environmental impact than traditional materials like conventional cotton, which requires a lot of water and pesticides to grow.
  2. Manufacturing process: Consider how the socks were made. Look for companies that prioritize ethical and sustainable manufacturing practices, such as fair trade certification or a commitment to reducing their carbon footprint.
  3. Dyeing process: Look for socks that are made with natural or low-impact dyes, as conventional dyeing processes can be harmful to the environment and to workers.
  4. Packaging: Look for socks that are packaged using eco-friendly materials or come without unnecessary packaging to reduce waste.
  5. Durability: Choose socks that are built to last, as this reduces the need to constantly replace them.
  6. Support for social causes: Some sustainable sock brands donate a portion of their profits to environmental or social causes, so consider supporting brands that align with your values.

Ultimately, the best way to find sustainable socks is to do your research and read labels and company websites to ensure they meet your sustainability criteria.

Our favorite eco friendly socks

Conscious Step sustainable socks

The sustainable fair trade socks are made in India in a OEKO-TEX®, GOTS and Fairtrade International-audited factory. Tags and boxes for Conscious Step socks are made from recycled materials. Conscious Step is a member of 1% for the Planet, and $1 from each pair sold goes to one of many good causes, the set below sends a dollar each to Oceana, Best Friends and Conservation International.

Organic Basics

Ou favorite thing about this brand is that they are SUPER transparent in their goals for environmentalism, dedicating a whole page to their problems. They have a carbon count associated with each item on their site–if only every retailer were this straight forward!

Woron eco friendly socks

The socks are vegan, allergy friendly and made from plant-based fibers including organic cotton and beech wood. The factories are OEKOTEX certified and workers are paid higher than minimum wage.


Known for their sneakers, the brand has expanded to socks and limited clothing using the same breakthrough technology. Tencel and other natural fibers are used for these carbon neutral socks, and their packaging is 90% recycled materials.

Pact socks

This brand hits all the bases, it’s fair trade, carbon neutral and organic. They have spent more than $1 million in fair trade, they only utilize paper in packaging, and they have a clothing donation program you can sign up for right on their site.


A sustainable name that everyone knows, Patagonia combines environmentalism and performance. Made from merino, hemp and recycled polyester. As an early member of 1% for the Planet, you can’t go wrong with Patagonia.

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