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Spring is warming up here in Portland, so we’re venturing outdoors more, and with Earth Day just two days away, the timing couldn’t be any better! This is also the perfect time to take a look at some of our Eco Friendly socks. I won’t be going too far into what exactly makes a sock “Eco Friendly” because Dreamer Brenna already did a great job of that last year! Instead we’re going to take a look at the socks themselves, because our collection is constantly changing! As for the other “green” holiday that happens this week, well…. We’ll get to that a little later….
We’ve been seeing more and more organic cotton options in recent years, and we love knowing that pesticides weren’t used in the production of our foot coverings! We’ve written about how much we love Zkano before, and with all organic cotton socks made in the USA, as well as their own fiber recycling program, they’re really doing it right! We also love Toesox and Sweet Marcel for their dedication to organic fibers.
Now using new cotton that’s been organically grown is wonderfully responsible, but what happens to the remnants from the clothing industry? “Do they all just end up in a landfill?” we hear you ask, as a tear wells in your eye. No need to cry, dear dreamers – some of those scraps get rejuvenated and spun into recycled yarn, to live another day, like a beautiful sock phoenix rising from the ashes of industry. In fact, most of the socks from our own house brands, DreaM Stockings and Dreamer Socks, are made using regenerated yarn, which is a mix of cotton, acrylic and polyester – we find it feels and washes like cotton! Of course, it’s not just us – RockNSocks and QT Feet styles all feature regenerated yarns, and even B. Ella has been getting in on the fun with some of their cotton styles.
Something we’re particularly excited about is the steadily increasing availability of fibers that are more renewable than cotton. Bamboo is a fast-growing grass, which gives it the potential to be incredibly sustainable, but because rayon from bamboo requires a not-so-eco chemical process to become rayon, the FTC actually requires that rayon from bamboo be labeled as such, while true bamboo yarn won’t include the word “rayon”. Because this is a bit tricky, we’ve gone ahead and rounded up all of our true bamboo options for you, so you don’t have to weed out the rayons.
But the renewable fiber we’re most excited about is still pretty scarce for us – we’re talking about hemp, of course! Hemp plants are fast-growing, low-maintenance, and don’t deplete the soil of nutrients that would allow other crops to come after it, unlike cotton. Hemp is a largely misunderstood plant, as it is related to psychoactive varieties of the cannabis plant, but we’re hoping to see more and more industrial uses of this incredibly versatile fiber.
Of course, the confusion surrounding various types and uses of hemp and other cannabis plants does make for a very tidy segue to that other holiday that happens to fall on today… 420!
The origins of the number and date that we associate with the indulgence in that other kind of cannabis (now legal for recreational uses in Oregon, Washington, Alaska and Colorado) has been hotly debated, with no real consensus as to where it came from. That’s kind of beside the point, though, because the holiday is all about having fun and relaxing with friends. Even if you live in the vast majority of places in which recreational marijuana is still illegal, these socks are a perfectly law-abiding way of expressing your support for the legalization (or at least decriminalization) of what is, after all, an incredibly useful plant.
It’s been a couple of years since we last looked at what all makes up our Eco Friendly section. Overall, a lot of the themes remain the same, but we now have more brands that are a go-to for eco-conscious fiber options and our robust Advanced Search helps you narrow down your eco-friendly field, so let’s refresh!
Several more brands are offering styles in organic cotton. Did you know Turkey is one of the largest producers of organic cotton? They’ve got a long and storied history with textiles and some of the nicest cotton blends we’ve encountered are made there. That’s where ToeSox gets their organic cotton and although Sweet Marcel’s organic blends are made in the USA, the rest of their cotton is from Turkey.
As great as organic is, recycling and reusing fiber that would have otherwise become waste can be even friendlier to the ecosystem! All those scraps and bits leftover from making clothes get processed and spun into fresh new yarn! Most of our Dream Stockings are made with a recycled cotton yarn and our Dreamer Socks use an 85% regenerated mix of cotton, acrylic and polyester. Both are beautiful blends that make good use (or re-use?!) of an eco-friendly resource.
More brands and styles are joining the recycled and regenerated fiber train too! It’s been fun seeing styles like B.Ella get in on the recycled cotton action. And, of course, brands that use our socks as a base, like Love Lite Precision Tie Dye have the privilege of being of recycled and regenerated fiber too!
Three brands profiled in the last eco-friendly post that are beautifully focused on offering great styles with smart fiber choices are Una, QT Feet and EG Smith’s ECO line. Their fiber and value choices ring as true and clear as ever!
Zkano is not only made in the USA with certified organic cotton, they have a fiber recycling program! We can vouch for how difficult it can be to find good fiber recycling options. Their strong beliefs and sweet styles make them a favourite of ours.
Sockwell and Goodhew are sister brands, so it’s difficult to speak of one without mentioning the other. Both brands are (like we say in their Additional Info) committed to products and yarns made in the USA and they focus on natural and renewable options to minimize their environmental footprint. You can see more at their “Why Goodhew” page under the “Good Practice” header (Sockwell’s version of the page adorably says “Well-Considered Practices”). One thing we really loved when we were first introduced to these brands—beyond their fabulous fit and good looks—was that they grow their sheep at home, so all the fibers in their socks are made in the USA!
Sock Dreams strives to make our impact on the environment as gentle as we can. From our polymailers made of 100% recycled material to the minimal packaging of our house brands, we’re always working to soften the blow. We even make sure that things like our plastic gift cards are made from recycled (and recyclable) ABS plastic (though the truly green option is an e-card).
So let’s celebrate earth day and find all those little ways we can be more conscious of how we affect the environment! ♥
At Sock Dreams we try to be conscientious about the materials our house brand socks are made with. The cotton styles of our Dream Stockings are made with recycled cotton. What is recycled cotton made of? Well, it’s not made out of used clothes, it’s produced from threads and associated scraps left over from clothing manufacturing. All these little bits are sorted by colour, turned back into fiber and spun into fresh new thread! So instead of being waste, they’re given a new life and become new socks (which has got to be better than being a t-shirt, that’s for sure!)
These are just a couple of the recycled cotton content styles you can find in our Dream Stockings.
Our Dreamer Socks have another interesting kind of recycled fiber, the cotton blends are made from an 85% mix of regenerated cotton/acrylic/polyester. What’s “regenerated?” It’s just another way of saying that the fiber used in these socks is also saved from scraps that would have been just thrown away! So “regenerated” or “recycled”, our Sock Dreams brand socks are doing their best to reduce, reuse and recycle! These are just three of the regenerated fiber blend styles offered in our Dreamer Socks.
Coolmax® is a synthetic fiber, constructed to provide more breathability than cotton while also encouraging moisture to wick away, keeping you cool and fresh. And yes, Coolmax® is a registered trademark, so you’ll see that little “R” after we use it. There’s another confession Coolmax® has to make to you—it’s a kind of polyester. But don’t panic! Polyester and other synthetic fibers have come a long way from those sweaty, shiny fabrics some of you may know from thrift stores and some of us may remember from when they were the next big thing in fabric.
You’ll find our Coolmax® selections gathered together in our Sport Socks collection. Though fantastic for everyday use, Coolmax®’s unique properties make it especially good for sports. Not only does it wick moisture away from the skin, it spreads it throughout the sock, which helps speed up evaporation. And while it does this, the fabric stays breathable, allowing air to move and keep you cool and dry. A beautiful (okay, nerdy to call it that, but it is!) example of this are the Injinji Performance Liner Crew Toe Sock and Performance Liner Anklet Toe Sock.
As a friend of mine found out recently, those five-toe running shoes don’t always breathe that well and sweat plus friction equals painful chafing and blisters. But that kind of shoe fits snugly so there can’t be too much sock. The Injinji Performance Liners are super thin and 75% Coolmax® fiber, just enough to fit between foot and shoe so they can wick away that trouble-causing sweat.
If you are trying to be eco-conscious in your fiber choice, then there’s a Coolmax® for you and another fiber and sport sock style you might be interested in. Don’t sweat it, we’ll tell you after the jump! Read more »
Every year, as folks plan out what they’ll take with them to the playa, we see links back to us here at Sock Dreams. The desert means hot days and cold nights, so layering is essential. Though none of us have had the chance to go to Burning Man (yet!), we do know socks.
To keep yourself safe from playa foot, your feet need to be kept from the alkali desert floor by socks and close-toed shoes. Several styles of our recycled cotton DreaM Stockings are terry-lined, making them cushy and absorbent bootsocks:
From left to right:
If terry isn’t your thing, here are three more great styles, ranging from super thick wool to nice and thin recycled cotton.
From left to right:
But what about the fun and stripes and legwarmers? Well, we have our favourite recommendations for those too, but you’ll have to jump below the cut . . .
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