12 UK Ethical Sock Brands Stepping into Sustainability

Ethical socks UK in pink and yellow

12 UK Ethical Sock Brands Stepping into Sustainability

When thinking of sustainable fashion, socks probably aren’t the first thing that comes to mind. But, not just something that always seems to go missing in the laundry or the classic gift for that person that is impossible to buy for, ethical socks are a growing market in the UK. 

In Germany, the average person buys 13 pairs of socks every year, while in Britain we are losing on average 15 pairs of socks a year that have to then be replaced. So, when these socks are from unethical and unsustainable sources, the impact starts to add up.

There are some key components of ethical sock companies, including their treatment of animals, people and the environment.

For the People

How workers are treated along the supply chain is a key part of an ethical sock company. When looking for ethical brands, search for those with high levels of supply chain transparency and certifications to ensure the people who made your socks were treated fairly and with respect. 

For brands that pay their workers a living wage see here, and those that avoid child labour in their supply chains see here.

For the Animals

For the animal lovers among us, it’s vital not to forget how our socks may have impacted our furry friends.

PeTA Approved Vegan socks are the obvious choice for avoiding animal harm. However, if you are purchasing socks containing animal products (such as wool and silk) check the company’s supply chain information to make sure it uses either recycled or certified sustainably and ethically managed sources.

For more on how to avoid animal cruelty in the fashion industry have a look at our article here, or for the best vegan clothing brands you can click here.

Ethical socks hanging on a line in the UK
Photo by Nick Page on Unsplash

Materials and the Environment

Indicators of an ethical company include robust policies to mitigate their environmental impact, third party certifications such as B-Corp, and partnerships with charitable initiatives. Our article on B-Corp certification and brands with it has more information.

Nylon is a common component in conventional socks. Derived from oil and a culprit for microplastic shedding, virgin nylons and polyesters are to be avoided by the conscious consumer. More eco-friendly fabrics that meet the requirements for comfortable and sustainable socks include:

  • Certified organic cotton
  • Sustainably sourced bamboo
  • Ethically sourced wool

Ethical Socks in the UK

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So, if you are looking for the best ethical socks in the UK, look no further. Our handy guide has some of the ultimate sustainable, ethical and comfortable brands around.

1. Seasalt

Based: UK               Ships to: Internationally
Made in: Turkey, Bulgaria, China
Price: £2.50 – 17.50
Sustainability creds: Organic cotton, recycled materials, sustainable packaging, clothing take-back scheme

Inspired by the colours of Cornwall, Seasalt socks capture the unique seaside spirit of this southern English county.

For every pair of single socks sold the brand donates to charity. Championing a sustainable outlook, Seasalt aims to be Net Zero by 2040 and uses sustainable and recycled materials to create its charming socks.

2. Thought

Based: UK          Ships to: Internationally
Price: £4.95- £14.95
Sustainability creds: Member of Ethical Training Initiative, uses recycled materials, GOTS certified, sustainable packaging

Boasting classic styles and socks with funky patterns, Thought’s range of bamboo, recycled polyester, and wool blend socks are sure to delight.

Champions of considered design, Thought products are made to be comfortable and breathable, ensuring these socks keep feet happy whatever the season.

3. Boody

Based: Australia          Ships to: Internationally – UK stockists
Price: £5.95 – £14.95
Sustainability creds: Ecocert, Fashion Forever Green Pact, PeTA Approved Vegan, OEKO-Tex certified, ISO14001, ISO9001, OCIA certified

Another master of bamboo, Boody is a brand from down-under that has the soft, breathable socks we all deserve.

With a no-fuss approach and available in neutral or monochromatic tones, these socks are moisture-wicking, practical and support sustainable business practices.

the-happy-toe-girl in jeans and ankle socks
Photo by The Happy Toe on Unsplash

 4. Komodo

Based: UK               Ships to: Internationally
Made in: Kathmandu, Bali, India, China
Price: £6 – £7
Sustainability creds: Soil Association accredited, GOTS certified, vegan

Featuring fun, nature-inspired designs and made from sustainable materials, socks from Komodo are sure to be an instant favourite.

With a variety of styles on offer, all socks are vegan and organic, helping to ensure that every pair of socks purchased treads lightly on the Earth.

 5. Rapanui

Based: UK                Ships to: Worldwide
Made in: Isle of Wight, India, Europe
Price: £6 – £38 (for a 7 pack)
Sustainability creds: Recycling Initiatives, Teemill Platform

From organic cotton trainer socks in funky designs to spotty and stripy bamboo socks, women’s and men’s sustainable socks from Rapanui will get your feet noticed.

Circular fashion brand Rapanui has its own factory powered by renewable energy on the Isle of Wight. Here, orders are printed on demand in the seconds after they are ordered. What makes the brand even more eco friendly is that every item is made to be sent back, so your socks can be made into new ones at the end of their life!

Check out our interview with their founder for more info on this ground breaking brand.

6. Swole Panda

Based: UK         Ships to: Worldwide
Price: £7.95 – £9.95
Sustainability creds: Carbon neutral, biodegradable packaging, sustainable materials

From striped pink to kangaroo to penguin, Swole Panda socks, from standard length to no show, come in every design and colour imaginable. They’ll have your feet looking great in no time. Not only that, their sustainably sourced bamboo fabric is super soft and their seams are hand linked making them even more comfy.

Sustainable sock brand Swole Panda takes sustainability seriously, uses sustainable and ethical fabrics such as organic bamboo, Repreve from plastic bottles and Refibra from upcycled cotton scraps. They trace their bamboo right back to where it is grown in China and even their headquarters is in a super sustainable self sufficient building on the East Sussex/Kent border.

Pink ethical socks on the beach
Photo by Šuhajkove on Unsplash

7. Bare Kind

Based: UK                Ships to: Worldwide 
Made in: Turkey
Price: £7.95 –  £119.40

Sustainability creds: Supports conservation initiatives, sustainable materials B Corp certified, plastic free packaging

Sporting quirky designs, Bare Kind socks not only support great causes but are a whole lot of fun too. From sleepy sloths to buzzing bees, every style features a cute caricature of one of our animal friends. What makes these socks even better for animal lovers is that 10% of profits from each sock sale is donated to animal charities.

Bare Kind has supported a wide range of wildlife and conservation organisations, including Bumblebee Conservation Trust UK and Pandas International. The brand uses sustainable materials, championing the use of bamboo fibres. It backs up its claims with a commendable B Corp certification.

8. Leiho

Based: UK               Ships to: Internationally
Made in: Turkey
Price: £10 – £12
Sustainability creds: Uses sustainable materials, works with charitable initiatives

With silky soft bamboo socks on offer, Leiho is a company with purpose. Every purchase of quirky socks, many featuring stylized faces, helps to support charities that are delivering essentials to help those in need.

Initiatives that Leiho has worked with include Streetkind, People Project and Birchtree Housing.

9. Stand4Socks

Based: UK                Ships to: Worldwide 
Price: £11.99 –  £95.99 (for a bundle)
Sustainability creds: Supports charitable initiatives, sustainable materials, B Corp certified

With striking colours and bold designs on offer from zodiac signs to Pride designs to city sky lines, styles from Stand4Socks are made for those that aren’t afraid to stand out from the crowd. As well as being effortlessly cool in their designs, Stand4Socks products also support a great cause – for every pair of socks bought another pair is donated to someone struggling with homelessness.

As well as lending a helping hand to those living on the streets, Stand4Socks also uses sustainable and natural materials to create its products. Impressively, the organisation also holds the proud title of the highest ranked B-Corp sock company in the world.

Guy wearing ethical socks and Birkenstocks UK
Photo by No Revisions on Unsplash

10. Colorful Standard 

Based: Denmark          Ships to: Internationally
Made in: Portugal
Price: £11
Sustainability creds: GOTS certified cotton, FSC certified packaging, PeTA Approved Vegan, Ecologi Climate Positive, OEKO-Tex dyes, tree planting programs

Available in a variety of rainbow hues, Colorful Standard socks are the pop of colour every outfit needs. The brand takes a sustainable approach to production, creating these brightly coloured socks with OEKO-Tex certified dyes.

While shipping costs £7 within the UK, there is free shipping for orders over £50.

11. Bam

Based: UK               Ships to: Internationally
Made in: Turkey, China, Portugal and UK
Price: £12 – £20 (for multi-packs or technical socks)
Sustainability creds: Sustainable packaging, use of sustainable materials, partnered with Sharewear

As the name may suggest, Bamboo Clothing is the bamboo clothing expert. Using this sustainable fabric, the brand has created a range of super soft socks. Whether you are climbing mountains and need a technical walking sock, running, taking a casual stroll or looking for a sock gift set, BAM has an option for you.

Committed to sustainability, BAM is on a mission to become Impact Positive. You can find out more about this change-making brand in our interview with them. And for an exclusive 15% off, use our code: GOODMAKERTALES15

Yellow socks
Photo by NIKHIL on Unsplash

12. Socko @ Veo 

Based: UK                Ships to: Worldwide 
Made in: UK
Price: £18
Sustainability creds: Use of recycled and sustainable materials, cruelty free, toxin free 

Quality socks from Socko are made to become instant favourites and to last longer than the average socks do. Incorporating classic colour palettes, Socko styles are sustainable, durable and comfortable enough to wear all day long. 

Socko creates its products using a high percentage (up to 90%) of pre-consumer recycled fibres with the rest of the material including the fabrics such as Econyl. Rejecting a fast fashion mindset, the company even has mending kits on offer so socks can last for years to come.

Stepping into Sustainability

We may not always put a lot of thought into our sock choices, but if we are embracing a truly sustainable future for the fashion industry it’s time we chose socks that tread lightly on the Earth.

From bright, colourful styles to understated performance champions, there are ethical socks in the UK to suit every taste and lifestyle. Fashionable, eco-friendly socks are helping us all walk into a sustainable future.

If you’ve got your socks sorted out and need some sustainable underwear, we have you covered in our articles about sustainable underwear brands and ethical underwear for men. And to recycle those old odd socks you don’t know what to do with: how to recycle underwear in the UK. Enjoy!

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