Ethical Socks?

I needed some new black socks and so I Googled ‘ethical socks UK’.

Lots of sites came up.

I hate pairing socks so I only want to buy plain black ones from now on. For ethical reasons I don’t buy from Amazon. This narrowed my choice and I decided on The Sock Shop.

On the same day my Smol laundry detergent arrived by post – another attempt at being green and ethical in my purchases.

SOCKS – The good:

made with bamboo, not cotton

they came in paper packaging

they did not have those hideous plastic paddle tags to hold them together, but were sewn to the card label

The bad:

They came with plastic hooks

They were made in China (I should have checked this out before I bought them)

They looked black on the website, but they are grey – not terrible, but they feel like school socks!


I wrote to the company and got this reply

Hi Sandra, Thanks for your feedback. We try to make our socks as environmentally friendly as possible and we appreciate your feedback regarding this. I shall pass on this feedback to the relevant department.

Kind regards, Rebecca, SOCKSHOP


You might be tempted to suggest I knit or crochet my own, but making socks has never appealed. I do admire those I see, but I really don’t think I will ever make any.

For those of you who love handknitted socks you might be interested in this site KDD&Co

If you know of any ethical, environmentally friendly, plain black socks that are not made in China please let me know. 🙂

EDIT: A friend has told me about the compnay ‘Cambridge Baby’ and I contacted them. Their socks are made in Germany using organic cotton and wool, I ordered 2 pairs and I am very pleased with them.(no plastic used in the packaging)

24 responses to “Ethical Socks?

  1. Lots of interesting comments on “socks” and ethical clothing. I belong to some organisations here where knitting sox is almost an initiation into the club. But I can’t wear hand knitted sox, due to some problems with the soles of my feet…Up until a few years ago I wore knitted mittens but now I’ve some different ones…that are merino/possum – I think knitted here in NZ…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Really interesting to hear all these arguments and explanations (and that you are the same age as me!!) – lots to think about

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Ethical and environmental considerations for knitters and crochetters – Rainbow Junkie

  4. so hard, isn’t it. Everytime I think I’ve got something nailed, I find a flaw.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Have a read into Bam and see what you think. They have a sustainability page.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Going Batty in Wales

    I knit socks and enjoy it. I have just bought the latest book from KDD all about socks – ‘Bluestockings’ . Having said that it is still a minefield. I buy yarn with synthetic in it (a small amount) because all wool yarn is just not hard wearing enough – all those tales about women darning mountains of socks were for that reason in the pre-synthetic days. And there are times in spring and summer when I need socks but wool ones are too hot. I can’t imagine knitting thin cotton or bamboo ones but maybe I should investigate. As to being an ethical consumer of anything it is so hard to weigh up all the variables – materials, transport to the factory, manufacture, where manufactured, packaging, transport to the shop, the shop, …. We just have to do our best. I was struck by a quote from ‘Wheesht’ by Kate Davies ‘mending is an act of love’ so maybe we buy as carefully as we can and then make whatever it is last as long as possible by mending it repeatedly then recycling or repurposing it until the true cost of its manufacture and marketing becomes infinitesimal.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. It’s difficult isn’t it. My current favourite clothing shop is Seasalt – at least for shirts – which originated in Cornwall but do now use manufacturers in other countries although they are very upfront about it on their website and also have sustainability schemes, etc, Even if I were to make my own shirts – which I sometimes do – what about the origins of the fabric? etc. etc.
    Anyway as for the Smol laundry capsules – I love them and wouldn’t use anything else now,

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I was going to recommend you check out, but just looked and their black socks are “ethically made in China” Seems China has a monopoly.
    Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. What has to happen for socks to be ethical in your mind? Just wondered. I looked. Sock Shop do grey and black socks. Do you think they sent you the wrong ones?

    Liked by 1 person

    • ‘Ethical’ is a big one isn’t it and yes, it means different things to different people. For me, anything made in China is not ethical because of their human rights record and not ‘green’ because of air-miles. It is flipping hard to avoid things made in China though.
      I am learning all the time and it is hard to know.
      Nothing to do with socks – but I never knowingly consume or buy anything made by Nestle because they do terrible things to the environment in the countries where they manufacture products and have promoted milk powder over breastfeeding in poor countries. So many companies are owned by Nestle, you have to really look at every food label and read the microscopic writing to discover if they are Nestle free!
      You can search for ‘Why is Nestle unethical’, to find out more.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I was asking about socks because it helps to focus the issue. I mean John Lewis’ socks seem to be made in Europe. There is a firm called Boody that claim high ethical standards but it looks like their products are made in third world countries. Is this better or worse? They also have shops all over the world so lots of carbon footprint I suggest. Do you consider bamboo more ethical than cotton? And what about wool? I know some people won’t buy sock wool with nylon in because it is synthetic. When I have looked into some of these issues in the past it can get impossible to quantify in the end.

        Liked by 1 person

        • It is a challenge to know what’s best. As far as I am aware, on the whole, bamboo is more sustainable than cotton, but I am sure there are many factors I know nothing about, that could/should be taken into consideration. That’s why I was interested in opening up the discussion, so that we could pool our knowledge.
          I will have a look at John Lewis – thank you for that.

          Liked by 1 person

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