Socks are part of everyday wear if you often wear shoes, sneakers, and the like. Socks can protect our feet from getting too much sweat, odor, and uncomfortable moments when we wear shoes, and they can even protect our feet from cold weather, such as during winter.
The problem is that most socks aren’t always eco-friendly because of the materials that are used with them. They can negatively impact the environment and most of them end up in landfills causing toxic chemicals to run rampant.
This is why you may be looking for the best eco-friendly socks. Those socks are the ones made with plant-based materials, such as organic cotton and organic bamboo. Organic wool is also okay, as long as the wool is ethically-harvested and it is mixed with cotton to make it more eco-friendly. After all, wool is used for the winter while cotton and bamboo are best for the summer seasons.
Best Environment Friendly Sock Reviews
Here are our top picks for the best eco-friendly socks:
1. MD Unisex Premium Bamboo Socks
Because there are socks specifically for men, women, and kids, we picked one that can be used for general people. This unisex pair of socks is made with bamboo that makes it eco-friendly yet moisture-wicking. Because it is a low-cut sock, it can be used for everyday shoes and footwear.
Each pack has 6 pairs and you can also choose between black, grey, and white colors. If you are a person who is allergic to wool, this can be an alternative and eco-friendly choice since it is plant-based material. It has a cushioned outsole so that you can feel at ease when wearing this sock.
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The toe area has been designed so that there are no seams that could irritate your feet or toes. The y-shaped design allows the socks to stay in place no matter what your activities can be. The bamboo used is organically and sustainably harvested by the manufacturer.
It also has a tough structure that can be resistant to holes and punctures even while washing or afterward, so it won’t shrink or lose its shape over time.
2. Touched by Nature Baby Boys’ Organic Cotton Socks
If you are looking for eco-friendly kids’ socks, we thought you might like this one. They come in a variety of colors and sizes, all of which are mostly stripes that can be fashionable for your little boy. Organic cotton is used at 78% of the total construction of the socks, making it eco-friendly and plant-based. Each pack has 6 pairs of socks for you to use, all in different colors for everyday use.
Each of them is soft, comfortable, and easy to stretch. They can all be tossed in the washing machine for easy cleaning. Although the name says that they are boys’ socks, they can also be used for baby girls or toddler girls.
For the socks, there are sizes from newborns up to 24 months old for you to choose from. They can also be paired with most of your child’s outfits due to the wide variety of colors. Generally, if you pick the right size, they have a snug fit so they may not fall off easily.
3. Danish Endurance Graduated Compression Socks
Pairs of compression socks are typically used by professions that require you to stand and walk all day, such as nurses, salesladies, and the like. These compression socks can help with leg aches so that oxygen flow can be improved during work and fitness.
It is a unisex pair so you can use it or give it as a gift. The organic cotton is what makes it eco-friendly yet you also have 5 different colors to choose from. It has a 14-20mmHg compression rate.
Because it can cover even your calves and ankles, it can be ideal for everyday use and work, as well as to recover from injuries fast. Made all the way from Copenhagen, Denmark, this one uses Swiss MST IV Technology but with eco-friendly materials.
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These can also be used for travel, especially if you are going to walk large distances to the airport and the like. In fact, Olympic runner Stina Troest endorses this compression sock pair.
4. Q.T. Bamboo Women’s Low Cut Bamboo Breathable Socks
For those who want eco-friendly running socks, these can be an option for you. Since it is made of bamboo, it is eco-friendly in general. It has breathability as well as odor-wicking properties and because of the low cut design, you can pair it with any running shoe. In fact, it even has 6 pairs in the set and a laundry bag for free.
You can choose between black and white for the color of the bamboo socks. It can fit those with 5 to 10 U.S. size shoes and you can pair them even with your Converse and boat shoes such as Crocs. Due to the heel grip, it can also be used for helping with traction and safety.
It can be worn beyond running – due to the design and the breathability, you can even use it for sports such as tennis (good for tennis shoes) and the like. Because of the bamboo material, they feel very lightweight, too.
5. PETANI Men’s Socks
For those who are looking for men’s eco-friendly socks, we’d like to suggest this one. The pair is made with organic cotton so it is both comfortable and eco-friendly. It has black color so it can be paired with most shoes. The sweat-wicking properties can be ideal for men who are often in sports or sweat a lot during their daily activities and escapades.
Because these are dress socks, they can even be worn on formal events. They are available in various sizes, such as from size 6 up to size 13 (shoe sizes). The socks also have lint-resistant material so they can be easy to clean.
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Also worth noting is the toe seam – it is not made with any irritating seams so your feet won’t feel clogged during any movement or activity. It even has a reinforced heel design so you can feel comfortable throughout the day. Like most socks, it is meant to be washed in low/no heat and in a normal/delicate setting.
6. Air Wool Socks
Made with Merino wool and organic cotton, this is a combination of sock warmth during the winter and eco-friendly materials at its best. Because of this combination, it can regulate your temperature when you wear shoes or even when you stay at home for the winter.
Aside from that, they can also be used for trekking and camping. The heel and toe are also both reinforced so that they can have better support for the wearer. It has 3 designs: black, striped black, and grey, with sizes from medium to XL size. It also adjusts to your seasons – it can keep you warm in the winter yet cool in the summer.
If you like to travel, these would be a great pair to take with you due to its temperature-adjusting properties and all-season comfort. As eco-friendly winter socks, they can be used for everyday activities and be worn with a variety of footwear – even winter boots!
7. LUCKAYA Bamboo Yoga Pilates Barre Socks
You might like this one if you’re eyeing for eco-friendly yoga socks. These are made with non-slip bottoms so they can be used while you’re doing pilates or yoga and they even look colorful! Bamboo material is used, which makes it sustainable and eco-friendly, while it also keeps the wearer warm and sweat-free.
It can even be used by moms who are in the hospital to avoid slipping, especially those who want to look for eco-friendly maternity socks. The vibrant colors can also allow you to put up a fashion statement.
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The lightweight construction also allows you to move without feeling uncomfortable. Because of the antibacterial properties, there’s less worry about sweating and bad odor with it. Aside from being workout or yoga socks, you can even just lounge at home with it on a lazy day.
Things to Consider Before You Buy Eco-Friendly Socks
When choosing the best eco-friendly socks, you might want to read on the following FAQs first:
How do I choose the best eco-friendly socks?
Here are some pointers to know on how to choose eco-friendly socks:
- Made with plant-based materials. Plant-based materials are mostly biodegradable and they can cause less impact on the environment over artificially manufactured ones. Here are the most common eco-friendly materials that you can find on socks:
- Organic cotton – these can be harvested from cotton fields and are usually best for breathability in the summer. Some can also be used in cold weather but they work best for keeping your feet cool when you sweat a lot.
- Organic bamboo – a common eco-friendly sock material because of bamboo’s somewhat miraculous properties. Not only is bamboo durable but it is also soft, lightweight, sustainably-harvested and easy to find due to being a grass. Most bamboo shoots don’t rely on chemicals for easy harvesting and growth.
- The materials should be sustainably or ethically-harvested. Whether it’s cotton, bamboo, or even wool, it should be sustainably harvested so that we still have some materials left and resources from our environment and that we aren’t abusing it. For animal sources such as sheep wool, they should be ethically-harvested and obtained in such a way that is humane and cruelty-free.
- Less percentage of non-natural materials. We all know it’s hard to find socks that do not have spandex or some form of stretching the material, but if we want eco-friendly socks, then the materials like that should be in very minimal amounts. After all, socks work better when they have stretch material.
What are the benefits of eco-friendly socks?
So you might be thinking, why buy eco-friendly socks when they’re just socks? Here’s why:
- When you throw them into the dumpsite, they won’t leak out as many harsh chemicals as commercial ones. If your socks have less spandex and other unwanted chemicals and more of the natural materials, such as bamboo, organic cotton, and the like, they will be most likely more biodegradable than your typical socks.
This can have a good impact on the environment since it won’t add up to the pile of trash that gets thrown out in dumpsites each year.
- They tend to be better for your skin due to natural materials. Anything that is natural will be gentle for the skin, such as organic cotton, bamboo, and even sustainably-harvested wool.
- They’re easily harvested due to being plant-based or ethically-sourced. This can cause them to be cheaper and more in-demand so it’s easier to find them. An example is bamboo, which can be harvested easily since it is a grass shoot and not exactly something that grows from a tree, unlike others.
How do I use eco-friendly socks?
To use eco-friendly socks, you just slip them over your feet. Just be careful when using extra thin socks, such as compression socks, so that they don’t break apart when you wear them, much like how you would wear pantyhose or stocking.
Washing these eco-friendly socks are mostly in the same method as regular ones – you put them with your other delicates such as underwear and lingerie. Still, pay attention to the manufacturer’s care instructions to avoid ruining the material of the socks.
To wrap it up, our top pick for the best eco-friendly socks is the MD Unisex Premium Bamboo Socks because it is made with eco-friendly bamboo material, which is not only plant-based but is also sustainably harvested. Bamboo is also naturally moisture-wicking, flexible, and durable, so it can withstand many uses. It can be ideal for smelly feet due to its odor-reducing capabilities.
Since it is a unisex sock, it can be used by both boys and girls just fine. The low cut design allows you to pair it with almost any outfit or footwear that you have. We chose it above all of our eco-friendly socks picks here because of its unisex design.
Name: Rebecca Tarvin
Discipline: Integrative biology
Degrees: B.A., Biology, Boston University, 2010; Ph.D., Biological Sciences, University of Texas at Austin,2017
Rebecca Tarvin is broadly interested in integrating studies of natural history with molecular genomics and phylogenetics. Specifically, she aims to elucidate causal genetic mechanisms underlying novel traits, characterize phenotypic diversification at macro and micro-evolutionary scales, and identify factors that promote and constrain biodiversity.
She also likes to write about eco-friendly lifestyle and other material alternatives that are eco-friendly, aside from other ways to save Mother Earth