16 Best Recycled and Upcycled Clothes (2024): Leggings, Sneakers, T-shirts

I love clothes, but the fashion industry is having a crisis all on its own, on top of the trash crisis and general climate crisis we’ve been dealing with for decades. Textile waste and other plastic trash is polluting our oceans, lining both city and rural streets, and harming animals that are trying to go about their day. We can reduce our own plastic usage, especially swapping single-use plastics out for reusable items, but some fashion brands have figured out how to turn some of that trash—mostly plastic bottles and old clothes—into new shirts and accessories.

Sustainable fashion is a growing category, and it isn’t perfect, but it’s a start. These are our favorite clothes made from recycled materials that we’ve tested. Be sure to check out our other product guides, like the Best Recycled Bags, Best Everyday Products Made of Recycled Materials, and the Best Reusable Products.

Updated April 2024: We added a Carve Designs sweater, Swedish Stockings tights, and new slide slippers from Verloop. We’ve also updated prices and links throughout.

How Plastic Becomes Thread

Most companies use “post-consumer” plastic, which means it comes from plastic that has been used and recycled. “Pre-consumer” means it comes from waste in the manufacturing process before anyone ever buys it. Plastic bottles are collected, dried, shredded, and turned into tiny pellets. Then the plastic goes through an extruder machine, which spins and pulls it like taffy to turn it into yarn. This still uses a lot of energy and resources, but it produces far less waste. Everyone needs clothes, so they might as well be more sustainable.

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