8 sustainable swimwear brands to shop this summer
Dive into one of these eco-friendly bathing suits.
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Across much of the country, temperatures are rising as we enter the season of swimming, sunbathing, and basically anything that involves the water, whether it's the ocean, lake, river, or pool. And what better way to kick those pandemic blues into yesteryear than with a new swimsuit?
Swimwear is typically made with materials like polyester or nylon, which are synthetic fibers that do not biodegrade. Companies have become sensitive to the environmental implications of this, opting to use recycled materials to help decrease the amount of plastic on this planet. Some brands even donate a percentage of their sales to help clean up water pollution. The following eight popular swimwear brands make men's and women's bathing suits with sustainable fabrics.
1. Girlfriend Collective
One of TikTok’s favorite retailers, Girlfriend Collective recently introduced its first swimwear collection in the brand's signature monochromatic color scheme. The collection includes one-pieces, bikini tops, and bottoms available in women's sizes XXS to 6XL. Each piece is made from recycled fishing nets and post-industrial waste recovered from the ocean, and Girlfriend Collective says it will donate 1% of swimwear sales to Heathy Seas, a charity that cleans up pollution in the ocean.
“I am in love with this,” one reviewer raves about Girlfriend Collective’s Spritz Oasis One-Piece. “Everything about it. The fabric, the fit, the style. I am super picky with swimwear—especially one-pieces—and this fits all my requirements. It's very flattering and form-fitting. I'm going to buy another color ASAP.”
Billabong has been a leader in surf gear and swimwear since the ‘70s. In 2020, the company made a commitment to sustainability and started using recycled neoprene—a synthetic rubber made of plastic—in an effort to keep more plastic out of landfills. Billabong's newest swimwear is made from a variety of recycled materials, including nylon, polyester, and polyamide. The pieces come in men's sizes XS to XXL and in women's sizes S to XXL.
The All Day Layback Swim Trunks—which are similar in style to Patagonia’s Baggies—are one of the company’s bestsellers. Made from water-repellent recycled polyester, the shorts are praised for their versatility: They're as appropriate for water sports and outdoor activities as they are for casual everyday wear.
Women’s swimwear brand Summersalt became a social media sensation with the release of its most popular one-piece, The Sidestroke, which once had a 10,000-person waitlist. The company's great reputation continues to grow, with it regularly introducing new styles, colors, and prints, along with limited-time celebrity collaborations. Every Summersalt bathing suit is made from recycled nylon fishing nets and commercial carpets, and blended with elastic for a snug yet stretchy fit. The pieces come in women's sizes 2 to 22.
Reviewed's Samantha Matt is a fan of the aforementioned Sidestroke one-piece. “When I put this suit on, it was immediately clear why it has a cult following,” she says. “It really was the perfect fit—and this is coming from someone who usually doesn’t like the one-shoulder look on herself... it really does look good on everyone.”
Everlane is best known for its simple basics in a rainbow of colors—and the brand's new line of swimwear is no different. You can mix and match various styles of tops, bottoms, and one-pieces, all available in eight colors and in women's sizes XXS to XXL. (According to the brand, there are 152 different bathing suit combinations you can make!) The swimwear is made with recycled nylon as part of Everlane's No New Plastic Initiative, which is its commitment to removing plastic from its production processes by the end of 2021.
Reviewed's style editor Amanda Tarlton tried out one of Everlane's swimsuits, a mustard yellow set consisting of a square-neck top and mid-rise bottom. Raving about the comfortable fit and thick material, she says, "If you want a high quality bathing suit that will last for multiple seasons or regular, daily wear, the Everlane bikini is a great pick.”
Patagonia leads by example with its dedication to sustainability. The outdoor company firmly believes that “everything we make has an impact on the planet,” and is transparent about its sourcing and production so you know where and how your clothing is made. Patagonia opts for recycled or organic fabrics for all of its clothing, including its swimwear. The one-pieces, two-piece sets, and swim trunks are made from recycled nylon or polyester. They come in women's and men's sizes XS to XXL.
For my job as Reviewed's style writer, I wore the Patagonia Baggies on a boat trip and loved the way they fit. They’re a versatile swim short, great for casual settings that can be dressed up or down, depending on the occasion. They’re available in both men’s and women’s sizes, in different inseam lengths.
6. Miga Swimwear
Since 2018, gender-neutral Miga Swimwear has challenged established beauty norms to fight for inclusivity of those with disabilities, chronic illnesses, or visible differences. The Collette Adjustable Swim Skirt, for example, is a swim piece that recognizes those who have suffered Sacrococcygeal Teratoma, a rare tumor that grows from the tailbone, occurring one in every 40,000 births. The Mio Long Sleeve One-Piece shows the story of a burn survivor through its unique asymmetrical design.
Each piece tells a tale of disability, while the clothing itself is made with fishnets and post-consumer polyamide yarns, giving plastics a second life. The brand claims that the fabric is "twice as resistant to chlorine and suntan oils" so it will last longer and you won't have to replace your bathing suit as often. All swimwear at Miga is also made with UPF 50, to honor burn victims who initially inspired the company.
7. Fair Harbor
It’s no surprise that Fair Harbor, a company born with the intent of keeping oceans free of plastic waste, sells sustainable swim shorts. Its signature Bayberry Trunk has racked up over 3,800 5-star customer reviews and each pair is made from 11 plastic bottles, according to the company. Instead of using a polyester mesh liner, Fair Harbor uses a patented BreezeKnit liner, which is made out of upcycled plastic and offers a more breathable and chafe-free experience. All swim pieces are available in men’s sizes S to XXL.
The swim shorts' patterns have a tropical influence, like the Sextant Swim Trunk, which features a white leaves pattern, and the Anchor, which has an allover geometric print. “These swim trunks are great quality,” one user says about the Bayberry style. “The liner is great and comfortable.”
Los Angeles-based retailer Reformation, which gained its following through celebrity endorsements, has always promised to pioneer sustainable practices. The brand manufactures clothing locally, balances and tracks water and waste used to make its garments, and claims to be a carbon-neutral company. Its ultimate goal is to be "Climate Positive" by 2025, which according to the brand means reduced emissions and a greater commitment to climate change activism.
In its swimwear, Reformation uses Econyl material, branded recycled nylon taken from landfills, fishing nets, carpets, and fabric scraps. Blending Econyl with elastane gives the plastic in each swimsuit a longer life, which means less waste. All of the bathing suits—including one-pieces and bikini tops and bottoms—come in women's sizes XS to XL.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.