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Creating a sustainable lifestyle should be a journey. Wherever you want to start, approach it with a mindset of improvement. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes as it is your gateway to learning more about how to live consciously. Since summer’s here, maybe you can start with revamping your bathing suits.

Be sure to check out our article on 20 Best Places To Buy Sustainable Clothing for more!

6 factors to consider when evaluating sustainable bathing suit brands

Avoid virgin plastic

Virgin plastic pellets

First off, what is virgin plastic? Virgin Plastic is a combination of natural gases, petroleum, and crude oils. Some examples are nylon and neoprene. Always take the time to look at the tags and ensure quality concerning its materiality. Virgin or recycled nylon is an excellent alternative to virgin plastics.

Look for natural fibers

Industrial hemp is a renewable resource

Now, virgin nylon is a good step. But it still releases harmful chemicals like microplastic when washed. Consider looking for a bathing suit made out of natural fibers like hemp or natural rubbers like Yulex.

Using low-impact dyes

sustainable blue dye

It might seem like such a little thing, but dyes also impact your sustainability journey. Consider bathing suits that use colored dyes that are either certified by Standard 100 or BlueSign; or sourced naturally like turmeric, acacia, red sandalwood, henna, or lac.

Timeless designs that aren’t overly trendy

Now, this is a more personal approach, but the goal is to buy less. Part of being sustainable is to make sure that your clothing can be worn multiple times across many seasons. Buying new suits depending on the season and year is the worst thing that we can do. Consider pieces that are durable and have a classic cut and print.

It should be hand-washed

Hand-washing your pieces is much more sustainable because machine washing is the leading cause for microplastics to be released into our oceans.

It should have a recycling scheme

Always keep in mind that even if your swimsuit is durable, it will reach the end of the line. Consider buying pieces from brands that have a recycling scheme so that you don’t have to think about the materials wasted on landfills. It may all seem like a lot of rules and lots to look for, but I’ve tried to do the heavy lifting for you.

Top 5 best sustainable bathing suit brands


It is a veteran-owned bathing suit brand based in St. Louis, MO. It specializes in bikinis and one-pieces made from recycled textiles. According to Balance Small Business, recycled textiles is the process of recovering old clothing and textiles for reuse. Summersalt partners this up with their TrueMeasure process, its patented sizing guide based on data from over 10,000 women with different body measurements. It is a heavily-researched brand that aims to welcome all body types. So, you never have to feel intimidated or insecure ever again.

Does it use recycled materials?

According to their website, Summersalt uses premium 78% recycled polyamide — material made from recycled nylon, post-consumer materials, and nylon waste (e.g., old fishing nets) to make their swimwear softer, more technical and more durable than traditional swimwear fabric. More than that, they developed these fabrics to become beach-proof, which essentially means that it can stand up to sand, sweat, and chlorine for an average of one hundred hours. That means that you can wear it alone. But Summersalt still encourages you to wear sunscreen while out at the beach. Also, exercise caution when it comes to using sunscreens as some can stain the garment. Summersalt recommends using one that is without Avobenzone, which is known to cause stains.

Does it stand the test of time?

Summersalt boasts its swimwear is made to last, having four times the compression than average swimwear to allow it to retain its shape after several washes. Not only that, but it is also five times stronger for maximum durability.

Does it have a recycling scheme?

Summersalt does not have a formal recycling scheme but its swimwear is made from recycled plastic and other materials.


It is a London-based brand that creates adult and children’s swimwear using ECONYL. It ensures that it uses less water, energy, and fossil fuel while reducing waste. Beyond the sustainable materials, Boden also employs sustainable practices such as a transparent supply chain and fair wages for their workers. Boden follows Harvard Business Review’s suggestion of giving its consumers transparency.

Does it use recycled materials?

According to its website, Boden uses ECONYL, which is a type of recycled nylon. According to Sustain Your Style, recycled nylon uses old fishing nets, nylon carpets, tights, and any other material made from virgin plastic. Boden’s sustainable swimwear collection using this material consists of four pieces, but the company is currently working towards expanding this collection over the next few seasons.

Does it stand the test of time?

Boden boasts its swimwear to stand the test of time as their in-house, “textile fanatics test it.” These people make sure to test drive the garments into any situations their customers might encounter when using their products. Beyond that, the company has also partnered with textile students at Nottingham Trent University to set up wearer trials and assessments to make sure they stay up-to-date with the latest technology to create sustainable yet durable fabrics.

Does it have a recycling scheme?

Boden does have a recycling scheme. They have partnered with Scope, a disability charity in the UK, as a recipient of Boden’s unsold clothes. Since 2013, Scope has raised £876,000 through the sale of Boden products. Other than that, the company also donates its products to urgent need families in Malawi and Zambia. They are also currently working towards expanding their stores and creating a place where customers can drop their unused clothes and send them to people who need them.

Tomboy X

It is a Seattle-based swimsuit brand that creates gender-neutral one-pieces and two pieces with sustainably harvested materials, eco-friendly and women-owned factories, and living wages. There is more to its name because Tomboy X is not only eco-friendly; it breaks the mold for sustainable swimwear because it doesn’t have a specific, feminine silhouette. So, if you’re not into styles that belong to that mold, or maybe you just want to experiment, you can consider Tomboy X.

Does it use recycled materials?

Tomboy X creates its products with Oeko-tex 100 certified cotton, one of the most well-known labels for non-toxic fabrics. Their swimwear uses the quick-dry, antimicrobial and moisture-wicking features of crab and shrimp shells to avoid employing synthetic chemicals.

Does it stand the test of time?

The company makes sure to produce their products in ethical factories in China. With a jointly developed relationship with its employees, Tomboy X not only ensures long-lasting apparel but long-lasting relationships through proper pay and management.

Does it have a recycling scheme?

Tomboy X does not have a recycling scheme. But their usage of recycled materials may be an insight into how the company treats the environment.


Patagonia is a well-known brand for outdoor clothing and gear. But they also have a sustainable swimwear line which has recently transitioned to fair trade, which is a general movement that aims to alleviate poverty and promote sustainable development by ensuring a just and transparent supply chain. More than that, their pieces are made from recycled polyester. Polyester is a massive contributor to landfills and takes an estimated 200 years to decompose. This brand could play a part in your consideration for sustainable swimwear as it addresses several of the fashion industry’s main challenges when it comes to eco-friendly clothes.

Does it use recycled materials?

Patagonia uses recycled materials for their swimwear, such as recycled nylon and recycled polyester. They also support the production of these materials and garments through fair trade processes.

Does it stand the test of time?

Patagonia understands that traditional nylon and polyester are one of the most robust plastic materials. Therefore, they make use of its strength not by mass production, but by mass recycling. Doing this ensures maximum durability in their products and teaches companies and consumers to be less dependent on petroleum-based products.

Does it have a recycling scheme?

Patagonia uses many successful recycling schemes; Worn Wear brand is their most innovative, eco-friendly option. Patagonia takes old clothes and repurposes them into new ones. It reduces clothes waste in landfills and gives new life to worn clothing.


Last but not least, Outerknown is a sustainable bathing suit brand focused on men’s swimming trunks and made from recycled materials. Being an eco-friendly company, it produces pieces from fair trade, ethically-made, and durable fabrics. 11-time professional surfing champion, Kelly Slater, is the founder of Outerknown. So you can believe that they craft their swimming trunks to optimize performance in the water as well!

Does it use recycled materials?

Outerknown currently sources 90% of its materials with organic, recycled, and regenerated fibers. More specifically, the company creates their swim trunks with ECONYL, just like Boden.

Does it stand the test of time?

Amongst the many variations of Outerknown’s swim trunks, it’s APEX line was developed and tested by the founder, world surfing champion Kelly Slater. Not only does it stand the test of time, but Outerknown’s products also deliver the best performance in the water.

Does it have a recycling scheme?

Outerknown is on a 2030 Roadmap to ensuring that its products don’t end up in the landfill. Instead, the company aims to keep its products in circulation through repair, resale, recycling, and e-commerce practices.

The Pros

These five are among many mentioned when it comes to sustainable swimwear brands, and with good reason! They make sure that what consumers are buying is not only stylish, durable, and functional; they are also sourced using the best ethical practices and made through transparent and informative processes. Additionally, these companies also uphold more than their environmental advocacy. Each brand has its own story to tell; a group of inspired veterans founds Summersalt; Tomboy X is gender-neutral; Outerknown makes clothing on the backbone of its athletic founder’s experiences.

The Cons

Eco-friendly brands are still on the rise, which means that it is still finding footing within an industry filled with brands that are much more well-known and more appealing to the market. In the same thread, sustainable brands are priced quite high due to the lengths manufacturers go through to ensure environmental care. But we’d like to encourage you to rethink this con as it’s price comes with a lot of long-term benefits not just for you, but for the entire world.


We have five of the best sustainable swimwear brands based on their standout ethical practices for the environment, their unique stories, and advocacies attached to their eco-friendly pieces. We hope it can help you narrow down the brand of your choice for the summer!

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