There is no shortage of beautiful, eco-friendly, and high-quality swimwear made from recycled materials. There are lots of brands using ECONYL, for example, which is made using regenerated nylon fibers that come from old fish nets and other materials that would otherwise just fill up landfills. (And we’ve included some of those brands in this article.)
But what if you want a plastic-free swimsuit that’s actually free from synthetic materials and made with natural and/or organic fabrics instead?
Well, those are a lot harder to find, and in some cases, nearly impossible. But we’ve searched high and low and in this guide, we are bringing you the best organic cotton, hemp, and plant-based swimwear for the whole family. And in the cases where plastic-free, organic bathing suits aren’t available, we’re giving you the best alternative options to choose from.
P.S. Here are some related guides you might be interested in to refresh your warm weather wardrobe:
- the best organic & non-toxic beach towels
- where to find sandals and flip flops made from natural materials
- our top picks for organic shorts for the whole family
- the most high-quality organic tees and tank tops
Table of Contents
- These Bathing Suits Are Made from Organic Cotton, Natural Hemp, & Other Plant-Based Fabrics (Well, Mostly…)
- Natasha Tonic (Our Top Choice for Women)
- Kaylyn Gardner (100% Organic Cotton)
- Afends (For Teens & Adults)
- Love That Cotton (Best for Kids)
- Hanna Andersson (Also Good for Babies & Kids)
- Esembly (Best for Swim Diapers)
- Other options for eco-friendly and non-toxic swimwear for kids
- Rawganique (Swim Trunks for Men)
- Other options for eco-friendly swimwear for men
- Vitamin A (Best for Active Water Sports)
- Patagonia (Best for Neoprene-Free Wetsuits)
- Hemp Huggers (Most Customizable)
- Other Options for Sustainable Swimwear
- Pros & Cons of Natural vs. Synthetic Fabrics for Swimwear
- Catch Those Microplastics!
Some of the links below are affiliate links, which means we might earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase. We only make recommendations that are genuine.
Featured image credit: Natasha Tonic
These Bathing Suits Are Made from Organic Cotton, Natural Hemp, & Other Plant-Based Fabrics (Well, Mostly…)
Natasha Tonic (Our Top Choice for Women)
Materials: Organic cotton, hemp, and 4-7% nylon or lycra
Carries: Two-piece sets (sold separately so you can mix and match), one-pieces, and activewear
Made in: USA
Price range: $50-$168
Natasha Tonic’s gorgeous organic cotton + hemp swimwear comes in bright solid colors, standard blacks and whites, tye-dyes, and more. Natasha carries a wide range of designs, whether you’re looking for a high-waisted bottom with a one-shouldered top, a stringy bikini, or even a bodysuit. Most of her pieces can actually serve multiple purposes—swimwear, lingerie, or activewear.
Everything from Natasha Tonic is designed, dyed (with non-toxic dyes of course), and sewn ethically in sunny Los Angeles. They are committed to ethical and sustainable transparency throughout their entire supply chain.
Kaylyn Gardner (100% Organic Cotton)
Materials: Organic cotton
Carries: Women’s (one- and two-pieces), Girls (two-pieces), Loungewear (cardigans, arm wraps, etc.)
Made in: USA
Price range: $100-$300
This is one the very few brands (maybe even the only brand) you’ll find that’s made out of 100% organic cotton. Each one of these knit swimwear pieces is handmade and dyed using avocados!
They offer several different styles of one and two pieces, and they even have a super cute matching Mommy & Me collection that comes with a girls’ swimsuit. Keep in mind that since they are completely free from any synthetic stretchy fabric, they aren’t going to fit the same way other conventional swimsuits will. They may not be the best fit for active water sports or intense swimming, but they’re great for lounging around the pool or beach and dipping in the water!
They also offer other kinds of knitwear like pullovers and shorts that you can lounge around in after a day at the pool or beach.
Shop Kaylyn Gardner and use the code SWIM10 for 10% off
Afends (For Teens & Adults)
Materials: Hemp, Organic Cotton, Recycled Polyester, Elastane
Carries: Boardshorts, One Pieces, Bikinis
Made in: Designed in Australia, Made in China
Price range: $40-$90 (men’s); $30-$125 (women’s)
Afends carries both men’s and women’s swimwear that’s uses hemp, organic cotton, recycled polyester, and elastane.
They’ve got several different colors and patterns available for boardshorts, from standard black to bold graphic prints. They’ve got a relaxed fit and feature a fixed waistband with a drawcord and a zipped side pocket to keep your keys safe. They’re rash-free and super lightweight, too.
For women, they’ve got various styles to choose from, including solid colors, bright checkered patterns, soft florals, and more. They’ve got your standard one-piece, string bikinis, shorts, and more.
Some of their swimwear is made out of mostly recycled polyester, so just make sure to check the details before buying to make sure you’re getting the ones you want.
Love That Cotton (Best for Kids)
Materials: 100% Cotton
Carries: Boys swim trunks, girls one- or two-piece, kids’ cover-ups
Made in: USA
Price range: $20-$30
Love That Cotton is a family-owned and operated business located in Texas. They offer super cute (and affordable!) swimwear for kids that’s made out of 100% cotton. They have trunks for boys as well as several different styles for girls (one pieces, two pieces with lace, two pieces without lace). Sizes range from 6 months to 10 years. You can choose from several different colors of stripes, and you can even add a personalized embroidered monogram if you want!
Hanna Andersson (Also Good for Babies & Kids)
Materials: Recycled nylon, recycled poly, spandex
Carries: Baby swimwear, rash guards, one- and two-pieces, trunks for babies and kids
Made in: Various countries
Price range: $35-$48
Hanna Andersson is another pretty good option for kids’ swimwear. Even though they do use synthetics, their suits are OEKO-TEX certified, which means they’ve been tested to be free from a long list of toxic substances.
They also have a really large collection, from little baby rash guard suits for boys and girls, to all kinds of one-pieces, two-pieces, and trunks for boys and girls up to size 12. Their patterns and colors are suuuper cute, too.
Their fabrics are also fast-drying and protect your kids’ skin from UVA/UVB rays.
Esembly (Best for Swim Diapers)
Materials: GRS certified recycled polyester with a waterproof TPU laminate
Carries: Reusable swim diapers
Made in: China
Price range: $18.50
For the littlest swimmers, the non-toxic diaper brand Esemby makes an outer diaper that also doubles as a water diaper. It’s made out of recycled polyester with a waterproof TPU layer and it’s OEKO-TEX certified.
They’re available in two sizes (7-17 lbs or 18-35 lbs) and a lot of very cute designs.
Other options for eco-friendly and non-toxic swimwear for kids
Here are some more brands that carry eco-friendly swimwear for kids that is NOT natural, organic, or plastic-free, but is made from partially recycled and/or organic materials and is OEKO-TEX certified to be non-toxic:
- Organic Zoo is a UK-based brand that offers OEKO-TEX certified reusable swim nappies made out of a polyester outer layer and a bamboo inner layer.
- Greensprouts also makes OEKO-TEX certified swim diapers, and easy-change trunks and one-pieces that are free from toxins like azo dyes and formaldehyde.
- Primary is similar to Hanna Andersson in that it’s made from recycled synthetic materials, but it is OEKO-TEX certified. They also have a lot of options to choose from for both babies and kids.
- Seaesta Surf has a collection of super cute board shorts made from 52% organic cotton fabric and 48% recycled polyester. Additionally, their rash guards and one-pieces are made from partially recycled materials.
- Pacific Rainbow’s collection of kids’ swimwear is made from synthetic material, but it’s OEKO-TEX certified.
- Elle Evans has a great collection of recycled swimwear for tweens and teens (as well as kids and women).
- Boden has a large collection of recycled swimwear for the whole family.
Rawganique (Swim Trunks for Men)
Materials: Organic hemp and linen
Made in: USA
Price range: $74-$89
Rawganique has a collection of organic and hemp swim shorts that are completely non-toxic. (They can even remove the elastic waistband for a pair of 100% natural trunks.)
These shorts also double as great loungewear for hanging around the pool or taking a walk on the beach. Everything from Rawganique is sweatshop-free, non-GMO, and free from formaldehyde, PFAS, heavy metals, pesticides, or any other harsh chemicals. If you or someone you love is extremely chemically-sensitive, Rawganique is a great brand to check out.
Other options for eco-friendly swimwear for men
Here are some other pretty good options for swim trunks:
- Billabong has a couple of pairs of trunks made from 53% hemp, 44% recycled polyester, and 3% elastane.
- Vuori has some pretty good all-day board shorts made from partially recycled materials. They also use some polyester that they say is sourced from coconut, which is interesting.
Vitamin A (Best for Active Water Sports)
Carries: One pieces, two pieces, activewear, rash guards,
Made in: California, USA
Price range: $170-$295
Although a lot of their bathing suits are made from recycled materials, they also have a “plant-based” collection, which is plastic-free.
This collection is made out of BioSculpt fabric, which is a polymer that’s made from castor beans. It has a lot of the properties of synthetic fabric—it’s durable, it dries pretty quickly, and it’s super smooth.
As a brand, Vitamin A is committed to ethical and sustainable practices throughout their supply chain, too. They do regular beach cleanups, they give back 1% of profits to environmental non-profits, and they use recycled and biodegradable packaging.
Oh, and this collection is gorgeous, too. I actually purchased one of their BioSculpt suits last year and I really like it. It’s not as stretchy as you might be used to with swimwear, but the fabric is thicker and feels more durable. So not only does it feel like it will last longer than an alternative, but I also feel thoroughly “held in” to the suit when I’m swimming or running around in it. These aren’t the most affordable suits, but it does seem like they will last longer than other brands and materials.
Patagonia (Best for Neoprene-Free Wetsuits)
Carries: Wetsuits for men & women
Price range: $199-$549
Patagonia has a collection of wetsuits that are made from a branded fabric called Yulex. Yulex is made from FSC certified natural rubber instead of traditional neoprene, which is sourced from oil and/or limestone.
These wetsuits are not only more sustainable, but they’re just as high-performing for water sports and they’re Fair Trade certified, too.
I’d still like some more transparency about the chemicals involved in the manufacturing process of both BioSculpt and Yulex (is it a rayon type of situation?), but I’m sure they’re both still better options than their petroleum-based plastic alternatives, both for you and for the planet.
Hemp Huggers (Most Customizable)
Materials: Organic hemp, organic cotton, and latex-free lycra.
Carries: Bikinis, one-pieces, beach clothing
Made in: USA
Price range: $48-$182
Their website may look like it’s from 2002, but don’t let it fool you: this brand actually has some great options for organic swimwear that’s made from hemp and cotton. The lycra they use is latex-free, which means it’s hypoallergenic and a great option for even the most chemically-sensitive person.
They have a lot of different options (mostly for women) and the suits are suuuper customizable—you can choose the type of fabric, type of dye, cup size, and more.
Other Options for Sustainable Swimwear
Building on the above list of swimwear brands, here are some more swimwear brands that may not be organic, but they are still a more eco-friendly and non-toxic choice than “conventional” swimwear:
- TomboyX: This brand makes gender- and size-inclusive swimwear that’s available in lots of fun styles and prints. Although they do use synthetics, a lot of it is recycled and it’s all OEKO-TEX certified to be safe from harmful materials.
- Swimm (women): This Australia-based brand makes simple one- and two-pieces made from 96% Australian merino wool and 4% elastane.
- Akoia Swim (women): Also based in Australia, each of these crocheted bikinis and one pieces are handmade out of 100% cotton yarn. They have some really beautiful crocheted dresses, too.
- LUZ (women): This French brand has a collection of suits that are made with majority organic cotton, combined with a small percentage of elastane.
- She Made Me (women): This is another crocheted swimwear brand that makes really beautiful, artisan made suits out of natural cotton (combined with a nylon and elastane lining so you can actually wear it in the water).
- UND (women): This swimwear is made out of Italian-sourced recycled Lycra and is OEKO-TEX certified.
- Shapes in the Sand (women): This Australia-based brand also uses recycled Lycra from Italy that is OEKO-TEX certified.
- Reset Priority (women): Here’s another brand that carries OEKO-TEX certified recycled Italian Lycra.
- Londre’s gorgeous collection of sustainable swimwear for women is made from recycled post-consumer plastic bottles and is also OEKO-TEX certified. They have more inclusive sizing as well.
- Baiia’s swimwear for women not only uses fabrics made from recycled synthetics, but their water-based dyes come with Global Organic Textiles Standard (GOTS), OEKO-TEX, and CLEAR TO WEAR certifications. Their styles may be more appealing to older women as well.
- Samudra’s reversible women’s swimsuits are also made out of recycled materials and come with OEKO-TEX and GRS certifications.
- NOW_THEN also has a great collection of recycled ethical swimwear for women that is OEKO-TEX certified, including rash guards and active swimwear.
Pros & Cons of Natural vs. Synthetic Fabrics for Swimwear
As you can see, 100% natural, plastic-free, and organic swimwear is hard to come by. Even the majority of those that are made from mostly natural materials still have a small percentage of synthetic material like spandex or nylon.
This is usually for performance, fit, and durability reasons. Most people want a bathing suit that fits tightly (even when wet) and that sticks close to their skin so they don’t have to worry about any *wardrobe malfunctions.*
Of course, what you really need in a bathing suit is going to vary depending on whether you’re just laying around the pool, surfing, walking around a resort all day, running to catch up with the kids on the beach, or whatever.
Depending on your needs, swimwear may be one of those categories where you might just have to go with an option that contains at least some plastic for now. That’s okay—just choose the best option you can based on all of the varying factors involved.
Of course, swimwear made from synthetic fabrics has its shortcomings, too (even if it’s recycled). The most obvious problem is that synthetic swimwear (and other types of fabrics) shed microplastics as you wear and wash them. Microplastics are not healthy for our ecosystems, nor the animals and humans involved.
Catch Those Microplastics!
If you do decide to go with a suit that’s made from recycled synthetic materials, there are some things you can do to minimize the amount of microplastics that enter our waterways when you put your suit through the wash. (These are also good for any other types of synthetic clothing as well!)
- You can place your suit into a Guppyfriend bag before putting it in the laundry.
- For larger loads, you can just throw a Cora Ball in your washing machine and it will catch a certain amount of microplastics for you.
- Or you can grab one of these washing machine attachments.
So, there you have it. 100% plastic-free, natural, and organic swimwear is quite difficult to come by, but hopefully this guide has given you some BETTER options to choose from.
And don’t forget: stress can be toxic, too. So instead of worrying TOO much about how much about trying to make the perfect decision when it comes to sustainable and organic swimwear, just make the best decision you can with the options you have.
And then… HIT THE BEACH AND HAVE FUN!
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Image credits: all product photos belong to respective brands.