17 Best Recycled and Upcycled Clothes (2023): Leggings, Sneakers, T-Shirts


You may have. We realize that we are in the midst of a climate crisis, but we are also facing a waste crisis. Garbage is polluting our oceans, lining city and rural streets, and harming animals trying to go about their daily lives. We can reduce our own use of plastic, especially single-use plastics, but some companies have explored how to turn some of our waste — especially plastic bottles and old clothes — into new products.

This is a growing category, but these are our favorite clothes made from recycled materials that we’ve tried so far. Be sure to check out other product guides like the best recycled bags, the best everyday products made with recycled materials, and the best recyclables.

Updated April 2023: We’ve added Parade Underwear, Rotis Men’s Shoes, Thousand Fallen Sneakers, and a tip for Taylor Stitch.

How to make plastic thread

Most companies use “post-consumer” plastic, meaning plastic that has been used and recycled. “Pre-consumer” means that it comes from waste in the manufacturing process before anyone buys it. Plastic bottles are collected, dried, cut and turned into small pellets. The plastic then passes through an extruder machine, which spins and pulls it like a tuff, turning it into yarn. This still uses a lot of energy and resources, but results in much less waste. Everyone needs clothes, so they might as well be more sustainable.


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