14 Brands Who Make Ethical + Eco-friendly Socks & Tights

Olivia Burton

A sock is for life and not just for Christmas, although unfortunately 103,000 tons of hosiery (socks and tights) waste is created every year globally.

Did you also know that two billion pairs of tights each year are made and then tossed in the bin?

This is a major issue, with traditional tights and socks made from toxic petroleum products or water-intensive cotton.

Thankfully single-use is out of trend, and environmentally friendly long-lasting pieces are back on top. For a step in the right eco direction, this guide to ethically made socks and tights will steer you through the best sustainable brands every occasion.

Image via Girlfriend Collective

Ethical Sustainable socks tights Girlfriend Collective
Ethical Sustainable socks tights

Vege Threads

This Aussie brand for basics is the real deal; Ethical Clothing Australia accredited, eco-friendly materials and 100% made in Australia using local knitting mills and dye houses.

They also contribute to 1% For The Planet, meaning they literally give 1% of annual sales to fighting environmental causes. As part of their small but succinct basics collections (from tees to swimwear), they also sell socks.

Vege Thread’s socks are lightweight, breathable, and made from a fine merino wool blend, meaning your feet will be kept warm in winter and cool in summer.

They’re available in a range of earthly colours, using dyes that won’t harm the planet!

Ethical Sustainable socks tights

Allbirds

If you are after a wide range of socks (running, short, tall, and no-show), then eco footwear brand Allbirds have got you covered.

Started by a New Zealander Tim Brown alongside engineer and renewables expert; the B-Corp (businesses that do good) brand focuses on the ‘magical qualities’ of merino wool.

Allbirds’ socks are made with an innovative trademarked material called Trino; eucalyptus tree and merino wool for the perfect combination of softness, lightweight, and practicality.

Also, the material is carbon neutral, meaning your socks are friendly to the planet. Polite little socks.

Ethical Sustainable socks tights

ManRags 

“Through this initiative we were able to have a hugely positive impact on landfill prevention in Australia, saving over 550,000 socks from becoming part of the problem.”

This Australian brand is really shaking up the sock market, with its pioneering idea of essentials subscription service with quality socks and underwear.

Taking it one step further, they are now moving into the textile recycling movement to ensure that ManRags socks are recycled!

How does it work you ask? Well, you choose your package of essentials and the subscription length, they will then be sent you automatically every month (also available in a range of sizes for smaller feet).

Ethical Sustainable socks tights Boody Bamboo

Boody

If you don’t know Boody, you should. The bamboo brand makes basic essentials that are high quality and made with sustainable yarn from bamboo.

Bamboo is a phenomenal fabric that has gained traction in the sustainable fashion world for its ability to be fast growing, durable, use low water and require no pesticides or fertilizers.

They are also part of the 1% For The Planet (they give 1% of annual sales to fighting environmental causes). They sell a range of basics for men, women and baby, from soft leggings to socks.

The best part? They are affordable. The sock range has everything from active sports socks to invisible liner socks.

Ethical Sustainable socks tights Organic basics

Organic Basics

“The fashion industry is a dirty bastard. So we put sustainable thinking at the center of everything…”

This beautiful little basics’ brand screams Danish design; simplistic and clean-cut with quality handpicked fabrics and sustainable practices.

They also have fully certified factory partners to ensure they are eco-friendly and fairly staffed (all of their factories’ info are published in-depth online).

There’s a wide range of socks in different styles, made from Organic Cotton and SilverTech™, that are also sent with carbon-neutral delivery.

Oh, they are also another wonderful brand that is part of 1% For The Planet and B-Corp certified (a conscious business in other words).

Ethical Sustainable socks tights Swedish Stockings

Swedish Stockings

The Only Sustainable Hosiery Brand Worldwide”, Swedish Stockings, are a major influence in the environmental hosiery industry.

The (obviously) Swedish brand began when the founders discovered the damage single-use petroleum-based tights were having on the planet.

The beautiful socks and stockings are made using environmentally friendly dyes, solar power energy and recycled yarn.

Oh, besides their environmental and ethical practices, they have the nicest products. There is a huge range of colours, styles, and shapes for tights, socks, leggings, and shorts (with really cool designer collaborations that make some funky looks!)

Ethical Sustainable socks tights

PACT

Colorado-based brand Pact is an affordable and stylish brand, focused on organic cotton (certified by GOTS) and ethically made (Fair Trade USA Factory Certified) clothing and homewares.

The range is for men, women, kids and baby, with all the comforts from tees to underwear.

They have a wide range of sock styles, in a nice range of earthy colours and all made with Organic Cotton #wearpact.

Ethical Sustainable socks tights

NICO

Australian brand NICO started in 2012 and is all about high-quality basics and underwear in luxury materials that are functional.

They have a small collection of recycled cotton socks in a few styles and basic colours (white, black and grey).

These clever socks are made from textile waste (recycled cotton) in Bangladesh which saves heaps of water and CO2 emissions, compared to making normal cotton socks. Winner.

Ethical Sustainable socks tights

Icebreaker

Trusted sustainable outdoor adventure brand Icebreaker are well known for their merino wool and long-lasting apparel.

Their socks last a lifetime and are made with practicality at the forefront, whether it’s for hiking in the sun or skiing in the snow.

Their socks are ethically made with a blend of merino wool and other materials, depending on the purpose. Take your pick depending on your adventure!

Girlfriend Collective Sustainable Socks Underwear

Girlfriend Collective

Everyone’s favourite eco inclusive activewear brand – Girlfriend Collective (famous for their amazing leggings made from 25 recycled water bottles), now sells underwear and socks. YAY.

They focus on ethical manufacturing and recycled materials (100% post-consumer water bottles). Also ensuring that everything is transparent for customers and inclusive.

They are also completely transparent and if you are after a breakdown of individual product’s materials, there is a list here. GC’s collection of crew socks is uber cool in a wide range of funky colours, made from 90% recycled plastic bottles.

Also, they are apparently designed to increase circulation and reduce friction and swelling. They also have a recycling program for all old GC products called ReGirlfriend. Dream.

Ethical Sustainable socks tights

Conscious Step 

Who doesn’t love a funky sock? Well, even more so when the socks help make the world a better place.

Conscious Step gives a donation to a non-profit for every pair of socks purchased, which goes towards a huge range of causes.

They also have a transparent and ethical (Fair Trade certified) supply chain, using certified Organic Cotton and Vegan certified supply chain.

Each pair of socks tell you where the money is going i.e. Socks That Fight Hunger (to the charity Action Against Hunger). If you are after a funky sock that makes you and other feels good, this brand is for you!

Ethical Sustainable socks tights Wolford

Wolford

European luxury legwear brand Wolford has been around since 1950, with all products exclusively made in Europe to high environmental standards.

They recently produced a range of tights made from recycled fishing nets with ECONYL®. They also recently introduced a range of biodegradable and recyclable basics, so they can have a credit for trying.

In terms of style Wolford really is the Queen of Legwear, from luxury fishnets to stay-ups to socks.

Sadly, the materials are petroleum-based so remember to get them to last (something to be aware of).

Ethical Sustainable socks tights

Seasalt

Started by three English brothers in Cornwall, Seasalt is based on quality, ethically made apparel that is responsible to the planet and people.

They have a super cute range of socks (with colourful arty designs), made from materials such as certified organic cotton and bamboo. Each pair of socks sold also contribute 20p towards a charity.

There is also a range of recycled tights (made from soft recycled nylon) in cute winter colours. Adorable.

Ethical Sustainable socks tights

Humphrey Law

The family-run sock specialists from 1947 are still kicking goals, made from finest natural yarns such as wool and cotton with a trademarked Health Sock design (no slip and no circulation restriction).

The result? Socks you can absolutely trust to deliver and last in a wide range of designs and sizes.

They are also manufactured in Melbourne, with 357 solar panels on the roof which makes the electricity for every second sock produced AND certified by Australian Made and Owned and Ethical Clothing Australia.

The full process of sock-making can also be viewed online here.

Olivia Burton

Olivia is an eco-writer, producer, science graduate & ocean enthusiast. After moving from London to Sydney, she found her love for the outdoors and recycled textiles, which led her to start writing about science and sustainable fashion. Olivia is really passionate about brands using fashion for good and innovation in the industry. She now splits her time between several not-for-profit organisations in communication roles. Olivia is also a Centre for Sustainability Leadership alumni and sits on the Fashion Revolution committee for Australia & New Zealand.