20 Ethical & Sustainable Swimwear Brands for Any Adventure (2021)
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Whether you’re heading out for an annual beach vacation or you go swimming every day, you’ll need a durable, comfy swimsuit that’s suitable for water sports and adventures. We always recommend purchasing sustainable gear when possible, and swimwear is no exception. Sustainable swimwear is good for the planet – often made with organic, recyclable, and eco-friendly materials – and is built to last for all of your water sports and adventures. Swimsuits also make great gifts for surfers or anyone who loves the outdoors. We’ve created this guide to help you learn more about best sustainable swimwear brands to consider when buying your next eco-friendly swimsuit.

What Makes a Swimwear Brand “Sustainable”?

“Sustainability” is a word that’s thrown out a lot in the outdoor gear and fashion world…but what does it actually mean? To us, sustainability consists of three main components:

  • Recycled and/or eco-friendly materials – Are the products made of recycled or eco-friendly materials? Do the companies take efforts to reduce greenhouse gases in production?
  • Ethical manufacturing practices – Does the company pay fair wages and practice ethical employment? Are factory conditions safe and comfortable for workers? Are factories audited regularly for compliance?
  • Low-waste shipping and distribution – Do companies reduce single-use packaging? Do they utilize compostable materials where possible? Do they do anything to offset climate impacts of shipping?

Some of the most popular recycled/eco-friendly swim fabrics you’ll see include:

  • ECONYL®
  • TENCEL
  • REPREVE

And these are some of the certifications you should look for the ensure these brands are accountable for their sustainability promises:

  • Climate Neutral Certified
  • OEKO-Tex 100
  • Fair Trade Certified
  • AS8000

A Note on Greenwashing: Many companies out there claim to have “sustainable” practices but actually don’t. We tried our best to weed out the companies who don’t have transparent practices or proof behind their statements. However, the degree to which these companies follow through on sustainability measures is difficult to measure and compare. Use your own research and judgment to make purchasing decisions!

Our Picks: Best Sustainable Swimwear Brands for Water Adventures

PrAna

PrAna is one of our favorite brands for all things outdoors, and their swimwear is no exception. Made with ethical and sustainable fabrics in Fair Trade Certified™ factories, PrAna’s swimwear is as sustainable as it is stylish. PrAna only uses sustainable materials, including organic cotton, hemp, and recycled polyester/nylon in its products, which they ship without single-use plastics. It’s no wonder why PrAna is known as one of the most sustainable outdoor gear brands out there, and is one of our top picks for the best sustainable swimwear for everyone.

Their women’s and men’s swimwear – suitable for all kinds of outdoor activities like surfing, swimming, paddling, and more – boasts bold color options and exceptional comfort. We’ve been surfing in their swimwear for several months now and can attest that their sustainable swimwear is also durable, comfortable, and can perform during intense water sports.

Some of our favorite PrAna products include:


Summersalt

Summersalt has become an increasingly popular women’s swim brand in the last few years, and for good reason – they make some of the best sustainable swimwear for women out there at a reasonable price. This female-founded company boasts, “designer swimwear without the designer price tag,” and their variety of high-end products lives up to that claim.

Summersalt chooses sustainability by using recycled or sustainable materials where possible (in products AND packaging). Additionally, they’re committed to diversity and inclusion in their marketing and messaging, which is unique in the swimwear industry. We especially love their one-piece swimsuits for outdoor adventures like surfing, although their bikinis & swim separates are also super cute and durable.


Reformation

Made from recycled plastic waste, Reformation has a large collection of (absolutely beautiful) swimsuits for women. As one of the most well-known sustainable swimwear companies, Reformation is committed to sustainability across their entire supply chain, and has owned a 100% Climate Neutral seal of approval for its meticulous efforts to keep its company and products eco-friendly.

Not only does Reformation offer conscious choices for swimwear, but their swimsuits are also some of the prettiest and most durable on the market. We absolutely love their adorable Mytrille Ruffle Bikini Top and Kona High Rise Bikini Bottom for both lounging at the beach and going for an ocean surf session.


Patagonia

If you’ve been around the block on Urban Outdoors, you’ll know that we LOVE Patagonia gear for basically any activity or season. Patagonia’s commitment to sustainability makes it one of the industry leaders in eco-friendly practices. We love their sustainable swimwear for our active outdoor adventures – it’s planet-friendly and adventure-ready, perfect for anyone who loves to hit the water in a kayak, canoe, SUP, or surfboard.

Patagonia’s men’s and women’s swimwear is perfect for any beach trip and is backed by Patagonia’s Ironclad Guarantee. In addition to bikinis, one-piece suits, and boardshorts, they’ve also got a variety of wetsuits and surf booties that are also sustainable and durable for water sports in any climate.


Wolven

Wolven is a newer brand to the swimwear market, but has made a name for itself in the sustainability market with its 100% OEKO-Tex Certified Recycled P.E.T. fabrics. This female-founded, climate-conscious company quickly made an impression on us after we began looking into it. Through its sustainability initiatives, Wolven promises eco-friendly materials, plastic-free packaging, and recyclable/compostable mailers. You can trust that your purchase has been fulfilled with the planet in mind.

With options for women and men, Wolven makes some of the best sustainable swimsuits on the market. Where Wolven really shines, though, is in their women’s swimsuits and activewear. They’ve got a variety of styles (one- and two-pieces for women) and offer several bright, colorful patterns so you’ll stand out at the pool and on the beach.


Outerknown

While some of the brands we’ve included so far have great options for men, we haven’t yet found a men’s specific sustainable swimwear company that’s as awesome as Outerknown. Known for its signature swim trunks, Outerknown puts sustainability first in all of its swimwear, which is made with ECONYL®, a fabric made with 100% recycled fishing nets collected from the ocean.

Outerwear makes a variety of sustainable swim trunks, which were designed in conjunction with Kelly Slater, a world-renowned professional surfer. This means that these shorts are built to last. Whether you’re shredding the gnar or simply walking on the beach, we’d recommend the Outerknown swim trunks to any guys looking for a fantastic ethical swimwear option.


Girlfriend

Girlfriend is a sustainable, inclusive activewear brand that has some of the best sustainable swimwear for women of all sizes. Using OEKO certified recycled fabrics made from plastic, these swimsuits are high-quality and high-impact. They also maintain very stringent standards for their manufacturing operations and meet the requirements for SA8000 credentials.

For ladies who like solid colored suits, this is a fantastic brand to check out! They’ve got loads of designs at reasonable prices. With sizing of XXS to 6XL, as well as one- and two-piece designs, Girlfriend offers sustainable swimsuit options for virtually any body type. We especially love the look of their Clemente One Piece collection.


Other Sustainable Swimwear Companies to Consider

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is a well-known sustainable swimwear brand that offers TONS of styles in its proprietary, recycled EcoLux™ fabric. Made in the USA with climate and social initiatives and certifications, Vitamin A swimwear is sustainable AND stylish. On top of that, all of the packaging and mailers they use are biodegradable and compostable. Vitamin A’s suits are a little pricier than some of the others on our list, but you know you’ll be getting a high-quality, eco-friendly, made in the USA swimsuit that will steal looks everywhere.


Samudra Swimwear

Samudra Swimwear is probably one of the coolest sustainable swimwear brands on our list. Created with 100% ECONYL fabric, these women’s swimsuits are made from post-consumer plastic waste. Made in Barcelona in a small, ethically run shop, Samudra’s products boast stunning, colorful fabrics in beautiful and unique designs. And, instead of discarding leftover fabrics, they get donated or reused for another purpose.

All of Samudra’s mailers are compostable and their boxes are 100% recycled and recyclable. It’s clear that this company is conscious of its impact at every step, and we recommend check them out if you enjoy sporting swimwear in bold, bright colors that pop.


Stay Wild

Stay Wild is a London-based swimwear manufacturer that makes beautiful women’s suits. They’re extremely transparent about their sustainability practices, use recycled materials for their products, and produce at a small scale in a London-based manufacturing plant. They have one- and two-piece styles available that come in a variety of solid colors and sizes ranging from 6 to 24 (in EUR sizing).


Seea Swimwear

Seea Swimwear is a popular women’s surfing brand that makes both bikinis and one-piece surf suits that are ethically and sustainably made. Using recycled fabrics such as REPREVE and ECONYL, as well as natural fabrics like YULEX, Seea’s product lineup offers a huge variety of ethical styles made for lady surfers everywhere. We love that they’re dedicated to getting more women and POC out on the waves, especially because surfing has traditionally been a male-dominated activity, and have heard first-hand some great reviews of their gear.


Sezane

Created with chic French flair, Sezane’s ethical swimwear is a favorite of the extra fashionable crowd. With the vast majority (75%) of their clothes currently made from eco-friendly, recycled materials, Sezane hopes to increase that by 10% in the next 2 years. Their swimsuits are stylish and are made it regularly audited factories, ensuring fair labor conditions.


Alohas

Alohas is a brand that makes high-quality ECONYL swimsuits in a variety of styles and colors. Their manufacturing operations are located in Alicante, Spain, where they’ve taken measures to develop deep relationships with those who create their styles. Their styles are minimalistic and chic, and run a little bit pricier than many of the other brands on our list.


Isla In Bloom

Isla In Bloom is an Australian swimwear brand that makes their swimsuits from 100% ECONYL recycled fabric that’s printed in Australia. They have a commitment to responsible packaging and mailing as well, with 100% recyclable or compostable packaging components. Their swimsuits come in fun floral prints and a variety of colors that people with a boho style preference will love.


Vivida Lifestyle

As a surf-focused brand, Vivida Lifestyle makes some of the best sustainable swimsuits for women who like to hit the waves. Vivida is transparent about their sourcing, manufacturing, and supply chain, which we as consumers find very helpful. You can read all of the details about their sustainability practices here.

In addition to bikinis and one-pieces, Vivida makes wetsuits, rashguards, and beach ponchos, all essential surf items for the eco-friendly waveriders.


Boden

Boden is an ethical swimwear brand that aims to be transparent with its design and manufacturing processes. Most of their swimwear uses recycled ECONYL polyester materials, which is made from post-consumer plastics. They even have a specific statement outlining their stance on modern slavery in the fashion industry. We love the bold, fun designs on their swimwear, which is available for both women and men.


BOLD Swim

BOLD Swim is an innovative company that makes some ofthe best ethical swimwear on the market today. They have a proprietary yarn used in their fabric, which is biodegradable. With its packaging, they go one step further than the average sustainable company by providing instructions on how. to properly compost it yourself. We especially love the designs in their Chic collection.


Hackwith Design House

  • What Makes it Sustainable? Made of recycled materials
  • Made For: Women

A popular brand for sustainable goods is Hackwith Design House. They’ve got beautiful, elegant swimsuit designs made of recycled polyester for women, and feature inclusive sizing from XS up to 4.5XL. Hackwith Design House is one of the less transparent brands on our list, especially when it comes to manufacturing processes, but the availability of recycled polyester swimwear on their site earned them our spot nonetheless.


Londre

Londre is a female-founded swimwear brand that’s hinged on sustainable practices. According to their website, their swimsuits are made from at least 6 plastic bottles each. They’ve got lots of different styles to choose from online, and they deliver everything in fully compostable packages to minimize waste.


Galamaar

Made from recycled ECONYL fabric, Galamaar has an exceptional offering of women’s swimwear with fun prints and styles. Moreover, they manufacture ethically in the USA and use ECONYL fabrics in their products. We especially love their variety of one-piece swimsuits, which are all produced in small batches and come in beautiful, form fitting designs.


Additional Resources


We may have received samples of some of the products in this article for free so we could test and photograph them. However, we NEVER let that impact the opinions and reviews shared in our articles. You can trust that our guides are backed by rigorous research and testing to provide our best recommendations for your adventures.

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Kay Rodriguez is the founder of Urban Outdoors. She's also the writer and photographer behind Jetfarer. When she's not writing furiously on her laptop or editing photos, you can find Kay running, hiking, surfing, or playing in the snow.

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