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Brown construction pants with multiple pockets by Dickies.
16 Mar
Brown construction pants with multiple pockets by Dickies.

More Responsible Construction and Workwear Brands Helping Protect You and the Planet

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Finding construction and outdoor workwear that protects the people who make it and leaves a lower impact on the planet is tricky. A lot of the mass-produced stuff is mostly made of virgin polyester (read: plastic). Our editors have dug up some better brands worth exploring.

The challenges of finding more responsible workwear

The demand for more more responsible workwear that protects workers while being gentle on the planet has been on the rise in recent years. However, finding workwear designed with the planet in mind can be challenging—especially since the textile industry is one of the largest polluters globally.

One of the major challenges in more sustainable workwear for construction and other outdoor workers is avoiding harmful fabrics such as virgin polyester. Polyester is a popular fabric used in workwear because of its durability and affordability. But it’s made from petroleum, which is a non-renewable resource, and emits significant amounts of greenhouse gases during production.

Instead, more sustainable workwear can be made from fabrics such as organic cotton, hemp, linen, or recycled PET. These materials are often better for the planet, biodegradable, and do not require extensive chemical processing, unlike polyester.

Protecting workers is also essential in the construction industry, and more sustainable workwear must still be protective against extreme weather conditions and the use of tools and machinery. Thankfully, it is possible to design practical apparel with durability and functionality in mind while being gentle on the environment. For example, jackets can be made with organic cotton, which is strong and durable, and treated with non-toxic waterproofing to keep workers dry when needed.

But if you want to supplement your workwear wardrobe with some more sustainable options, these brands are making a good start, and we can only expect the offerings to expand in the coming years because of growing consumer demand.

The reality right now is that it is challenging to find more ethical and sustainable products and brands in this space, and we’re here to help you find better⁠—if not perfect⁠—options. While we usually recommend “Good” and “Great” rated brands, for some underserved categories like this one, we include some “It’s a Start” recommendations in case they better suit your needs.

The popular brands in construction workwear need to be doing more to address their environmental and worker impact, but until such time, the brands below are at least making some positive efforts in their production.

Brands creating lower-impact workwear for construction and other industries


Rated: Good
A brown warm water repellent hemp jacket by Patagonia.

Men’s Iron Forge Hemp® Canvas Ranch Jacket – Ships internationally from the US

Hemp is a hardy and protective fabric, and Patagonia’s Ranch Jacket is built for tough tasks in cold conditions.

Patagonia is a brand that truly lives and breathes the great outdoors. It makes clothing for trail running, climbing, mountain biking, surfing, skiing, and snowboarding. Patagonia has strong labour rights and uses recycled, rather than virgin, polyester. It has also committed to reducing its energy use and emissions.

The jacket is available in sizes XS-3XL at the time of writing.

See the rating.

Shop Patagonia @ LVR Sustainable.

Shop Patagonia Pre-Owned @ Vestiaire Collective.

Shop Patagonia Kids Pre-Owned @ Retykle.

Shop Patagonia.

Lucy & Yak

Rated: Good
A mid wash denim dungaree by Lucy & Yak.

Original Dungaree Organic Denim – Ships internationally from the UK

Dungarees are designed to keep you and your clothes clean and protected on the worksite, and these classic denim ones by Lucy & Yak will do just that.

Independent, handmade, and responsible, we love Lucy & Yak’s playful take on classic garments. With unisex designs for everyone, this UK brand will brighten up your day.

Find the dungarees in UK sizes 4-32, with regular or long leg length options.

See the rating.

Shop Lucy & Yak.

Will’s Vegan Store

Rated: Good
Grey insulated warm unisex vegan boots by Will's Vegan Store.

Insulated Dock Boots – Ships internationally from the UK

Robust and protective footwear is a must on many worksites, but they are usually made from leather, which doesn’t suit everyone’s values. These insulated dock boots by Will’s Vegan Store leave animals out of the equation while still doing the job they’re designed for.

Will’s Vegan Store produces animal and human friendly women’s and men’s footwear, clothing, and accessories at affordable prices.

The boots can be found in EU sizes 40-48 at the time of writing.

See the rating.

Shop Will’s Vegan Store.

Shop Will’s Vegan Store @ Immaculate Vegan.


Rated: Good
Black insulated vegan work boots by NAE.

Gadea Black Vegan Mountain Warm Boot – Ships internationally from Portugal

These vegan mountain ankle boots are water-resistant, durable, and entirely animal-free for those after cruelty-free construction workwear.

NAE is a Portuguese footwear, bags, and accessories brand using innovative materials to create goods with “No Animal Exploitation”. Its lower-impact materials include recycled PET from bottles, OEKO-TEX® certified microfibres, recycled car tyres, natural cork, recycled thermoplastic, and even pineapple leaf fibre.

Available in US sizes 5-13 at the time of writing.

See the rating.

Shop NAE.

Shop NAE @ Staiy.

Shop NAE @ Urbankissed.

Wuxly Movement

Rated: Good
A bright red insulated parka with multiple pockets by Wuxly Movement.

Elk Parka – Ships internationally from Canada

For those working outdoors in cold climates, a warm and functional parka is key. This water-repellent and snow proof parka by Wuxly Movement has the added bonus of multiple pockets, and it even comes in a bright red colourway to help with visibility on the job.

Wuxly Movement is a Canadian brand that produces outerwear designed to be a unique combination of tech-based and recycled materials for elite performance. Drawing on Canada’s heritage in quality manufacturing, the founder saw an opportunity to innovate using more responsible materials all while peacefully leaving animals out of the equation.

Find the parka in XS-2XL at the time of writing.

See the rating.

Shop Wuxly Movement.

MUD Jeans

Rated: Great
workwear inspired light wash sustainable unisex jeans by MUD Jeans

Will Works Jeans – Ships internationally from the Netherlands

Denim is a tough-wearing fabric but its production is conventionally pretty rough on the planet. These unisex work jeans by MUD include a hammer loop and utility pocket, and are made from organic and recycled cotton.

Dutch denim brand MUD Jeans is all about sustainability. Not only does it offer a repair service, but it also provides a rental service where you can lease a pair of jeans for up to a year. MUD Jeans uses a combination of GOTS certified organic cotton and post-consumer recycled cotton.

Find the jeans in W27 L30-W38 L34 at the time of writing.

See the rating.

Shop MUD Jeans.


Rated: It's A Start
Brown dock boots by Timberlands.

Men’s Timberland® Premium 6-Inch Waterproof Boots – Ships internationally from the US

Timberland’s waterproof boots are a classic go-to for construction workers or anyone who needs comfortable, dry, and protected feet in their day.

Best known for its durable boots, Timberland is making a start for the environment and workers with its hardy products, and has good policies for animal welfare.

Find the boots in sizes 6-18 at the time of writing.

See the rating.

Shop Timberland.

Shop Timberland Pre-Owned @ Vestiaire Collective.

Sük Workwear

Rated: It's A Start
A rust coloured construction workwear utility shirt in a cropped style.

Isa Shirt – Ships internationally from Australia

Who said workwear can’t be stylish? This cropped utility shirt is flattering and functional, with a pen or tool holder and a d-ring attachment for extra accessories.

Sük Workwear is a Melbourne-based brand that curates more ethically made workwear, celebrating all workers as worthy. While it needs to increase its use of lower-impact materials and do better on the labour front for a higher overall score, it is doing “Good” for animals.

Find the shirt inclusively sized in AU sizes 4-30 at the time of writing.

See the rating.

Shop Sük Workwear.


Rated: It's A Start
Brown construction pants with multiple pockets by Dickies.

Techduck Pant – Ships internationally from the US

These relaxed, straight-leg trousers feature an extended belt loop on the front for hanging tools, as well as adjustable straps that stretch to stop them from coming loose. The ideal cargo work pants for the job.

Dickies has made a public commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions but is not taking adequate steps to ensure payment of a living wage for its workers. However, it is a better option than other major workwear brands for protective construction and other gear.

Find the pants in W26-46 and L30-34 at the time of writing.

See the rating.

Shop Dickies.

Shops Dickies Pre-Owned @ Vestiaire Collective.

Editor's note

Feature image via Dickies, all other images via brands mentioned. Good On You publishes the world's most comprehensive ratings of fashion brands’ impact on people, the planet, and animals. Use the directory to search thousands of rated brands. This article lists brands rated "Good" and "Great" by Good On You’s comprehensive sustainability ratings system—and because highly rated construction workwear brands are difficult to source, we may have also included "It’s a Start" brands in case they better meet your needs.

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