10 Dec

Our 15 Favourite Sustainable and Ethical Thermals for Winter

On the hunt for some performance-based or everyday ethical and sustainable thermals? Discover our roundup of eco base layers below.

You know when you literally can’t feel your hands and the air feels like it’s biting your lungs? Ah, yes. The thrills of winter. While we all love the spice and cheer of the holiday season, staying warm can be quite a challenge, especially if you’re a vegan shopper that prefers to avoid wool or cashmere. No matter where you fall, we’re here to make sure your bottom layers or “thermals” are as ethically-minded and sustainably created as they can be.

In line with this ethos, below you can find a lovely list of 16 of our favourite sustainable thermals for this winter, with brands divided between performance and casual wear. First up, we’ve got Patagonia (US) bringing the heat in thermal performance wear. Don’t miss the organic cotton everyday thermals by Beaumont Organic (UK) further down, either. Finally, before wrapping up, check out Organic Basic’s (Denmark) innovative TENCEL™-based long johns, which are sure to keep your legs insulated all day long. With that, happy browsing—and stay toasty.

Performance Based Thermals

Patagonia

Rated: Good
Woman in sustainable thermal by Patagonia

Women’s Capilene® Thermal Weight Crew – Ships internationally from the US

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. While the brand also makes casual sustainable thermals, we thought it best to highlight its innovative performance line. The line features high-tech Capilene® technology that wicks moisture, dries fast, and is made to handle the start/stop temperature variations in cool to frigid conditions. Aside from making killer thermals, Patagonia is also committed to reducing its energy use and emissions and stocks sizes XS-3XL.

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Shop Patagonia @ LVR Sustainable.

Shop Patagonia @ Labell-D.

Shop Patagonia.

Shop Patagonia Pre-Owned @ Vestiaire Collective.

Shop Patagonia Kids Pre-Owned @ Retykle.

VAUDE

Rated: Good
Man in sustainable VAUDE thermal outerwear

Livigno Half Zip II Fleece Jumper – Ships internationally from Germany

Vaude is a European family-run outdoor wear brand. It sustainably produces clothes for the outdoors, using eco-friendly materials like recycled fabrics. The brand features a wide array of sustainable thermals, including this men’s fleece jumper, a perfect mid-layer for sporty activities. This thin mid-layer is made of a stretchy, very soft fleece material and ensures optimum temperature regulation with a high level of wearing comfort at the same time. VAUDE is a member of the Fair Wear Foundation and has a Code of Conduct that covers all of the ILO Four Fundamental Freedom principles. Find sizes S-3XL.

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Shop Vaude.

Houdini

Rated: Good
Woman in sustainable thermal pants by Houdini

Women’s Drop Knee Power Tights – Ships within Europe from Sweden

Do you need something warmer than a regular base layer? These fleece tights in Power Stretch Pro from Polartec will keep you toasty even on the coldest days. Even better, the ¾ length works perfectly with ski or hiking boots. Houdini is a functional sustainable outdoor clothing label for men, women, and kids that uses a medium proportion of eco-friendly materials in its range, including recycled materials. Find the range in sizes 2XS-XL.

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Shop Houdini.

Girlfriend Collective

Rated: Good
Woman in thermal top by Girlfriend Collective

Black ReSet Cropped Long Sleeve – Ships internationally from the US

As always, Girlfriend Collective is bringing their A-game. Who knew a bunch of old water bottles could be so very, very soft? This lovely crop features long-sleeves and sweat-wicking, super-stretch technology for all your favourite winter workouts. Girlfriend Collective uses eco-friendly materials like recycled polyester, low-impact, non-toxic dyes and is entirely Oeko-Tex Standard 100 certified. Inclusively sized Girlfriend Collective offers products from 2XS-6XL.

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Shop Girlfriend Collective @ LVR Sustainable.

Shop Girlfriend Collective @ thegreenlabels.

Shop Girlfriend Collective.

Iron Roots

Rated: Good
Man in sustainable thermals by Iron Roots

Men’s Eucalyptus Performance Long-Sleeve T-Shirt – Ships internationally from the Netherlands

Designed in the Netherlands, this long-sleeve t-shirt is the perfect base layer, featuring a lightweight, breathable, and soft shell. Besides being antistatic and antibacterial, the shirt’s eucalyptus fabric keeps your body cooler, making it very comfortable during workouts. Layer it with your favourite sports jacket to keep you nice and toasty when it’s freezing out. Sizes available are S-XL.

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Shop Iron Roots @ Staiy.

Shop Iron Roots.

Finisterre

Rated: Good
Woman in Ethical Finisterre Thermal Legging

Zonda Legging – Ships internationally from the UK

Born from the needs of hardy British surfers, Finisterre is a pioneering, sustainable outdoor brand built to inspire a love of the sea and anchored in exceptional products. The Zonda legging is no exception. Built specifically for outdoor adventures, these bad boys are designed for comfort and practicality whilst you’re on the move, no matter the temperature. Made in Portugal with 75% recycled polyester, you can find the collection in UK sizes 8-16.

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Shop Finisterre.

Cotopaxi

Rated: Good
Man in sustainable thermal pants by Cotopaxi

Men’s Liso Baselayer Pant – Ships within the US

Good base layers are essential, and Cotopaxi knows just what you’ll need. For those who won’t let teeth-chattering temperatures get in the way of their time outside, the brand’s Liso Base Layer Bottom is perfect for cold-weather layering. The Liso’s stretchy, recycled polyester fabric manages moisture during energetic pursuits and dries in a flash to keep you comfortable. Find pieces in sizes S-2XL.

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Shop Cotopaxi

Everyday Thermals

MATE the Label

Rated: Great
Soft thermal shorts by Mate The Label

Organic Thermal Short – Ships internationally from the US

From around the house to out and about, these ethical lounge shorts are a must-have for colder days. Made with super soft 100% organic cotton thermal, they feature a relaxed fit and ribbed drawstring waistband so you can wear them comfortably whenever and wherever. MATE the Label is proudly female-founded and is predominately operated by women. Find the range in inclusive sizes XS-3XL.

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Shop MATE the Label.

A.BCH

Rated: Great
Woman in light thermal by A.BCH

Thermal Long-Sleeve T-Shirt – Ships internationally from Australia

A.BCH is a Melbourne-based, Australian-made fashion label for individuals who care about garment provenance. A light-weight rib t-shirt made from superfine merino, this lovely thermal can be worn inside or outside the house. It utilises renewable, organic, and recycled materials. Find the range in sizes 2XS-2XL, or customise to fit you.

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Shop A.BCH.

SEEKER

Rated: Great
Man in sustainable thermal henley by SEEKER

Waffle Henley Shirt– Ships internationally from the US

Stay cosy all year round with this sustainable thermal shirt by SEEKER. Made and designed in the US, this classic thermal is made from soft organic waffle cotton and features a slightly oversized boxy fit with contrast hemp details. Find the range in sizes XS-XL.

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Shop SEEKER.

Beaumont Organic

Rated: Good
Woman in ethical thermal longsleeve by Beaumont Organic

Shoba-Jane Organic Cotton Top – Ships internationally from the UK

Beaumont Organic is a UK-based slow fashion brand that blends simple style with ethical production practices. Aligned with its “simple” ethos, the Shoba-Jane Top is a perfect basic thermal to keep close for the winter months. Made ethically in Portugal, Jane is crafted from the brand’s signature organic cotton jersey. Find the range in sizes XS-L.

See the rating.

Shop Beaumont Organic.

Nisa

Rated: Great
Woman in Nisa Long-Sleeve Thermal

Joanna Long Sleeve Rib Top – Ships internationally from New Zealand

Always ready to keep out the chill, Nisa’s Joanna Rib Top is a top-notch sustainable thermal to keep at the ready this season. The Joanna has a high neck and long sleeves made ethically from 98% organic cotton. What’s more, Nisa employs women from refugee backgrounds in its Wellington studio. For the brand, success is not just providing a first job in New Zealand but in providing the first step in a long career. Find sizes S-XL.

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Shop Nisa.

Underprotection

Rated: Good
Ethical thermal pants by Underprotection

Celine Leggings in Creme – Ships internationally from Denmark

Underprotection is a Danish brand combining ethics and aesthetics. The brand’s thermal collection is truly unmatched, bringing a plethora of leggings, long-sleeve tops, and more. Pop on the Celine Leggings under your bottoms for an extra layer of protection for icy days. Made from soft and stretchy TENCEL™ Lyocell, the fabric is vegan approved by PETA and is Oeko-Tex certified. You can find the full range in XS-XL.

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Shop Underprotection.

Shop Underprotection @ Curate.

Shop Underprotection @ LVR Sustainable.

Organic Basics

Rated: Great
Sustainable pants by Organic Basics

TENCEL™ Lite Long Johns – Ships internationally from Denmark

A better way to do long johns. Made with an eco-friendly wood pulp fibre called TENCEL™, Organic Basics offers high-quality, ethical thermals for men and women that are softer than silk and smoother than cotton. The Denmark-based brand puts sustainable thinking at the centre of everything—it only chooses fabrics that care for our environment and only partners with factories that care about their impact. Organic Basics clothes are available in sizes XS-XL.

See the rating.

Shop Organic Basics @ Rêve en Vert.

Shop Organic Basics @ thegreenlabels.

Know The Origin

Rated: Great
Sustainable thermal bodysuit by KTO

Tencel Long Sleeve Bodysuit Black – Ships internationally from the UK

Ah, finally—a bodysuit. While we all love a good thermal long-sleeve, sometimes we need a bodysuit to keep everything in place, especially with so many layers at play. Made ethically with 95% TENCEL™, this bodysuit features a roll neck body with long sleeves and eco-friendly fastening poppers on the bottom that can be easily recycled. What’s more, KTO is committed to a 100% transparent production process. Find the range in sizes XS-L.

See the rating.

Shop Know The Origin.

Threads 4 Thought

Rated: Good
Sustainable thermal top by Threads 4 Thought

Amabella Ruched Top – Ships internationally from the US

The Amabella is your new favourite thermal two-in-one. This silky soft top is perfect for wearing over your workout fit or even with jeans for a more polished look. Made ethically with 92% TENCEL™, the Amabella features gathered sides and thumbholes with an elevated long sleeve. The brand’s manufacturers are a combination of Fair Trade USA certified and Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production certified. Find the range in sizes XS-XL, with an extended sizing range up to 3XL.

See the rating.

Shop Threads 4 Thought.

Shop Threads 4 Thought @ Veneka.

Vege Threads

Rated: Great
Woman in sustainable thermal top by Vege Threads

Hemp Crop Long Sleeve Tee – Ships internationally from Australia

If you’re looking for a more casual, relaxed thermal look no further. This hemp crop from Vege Threads is the brand’s best-selling crop tee of the season. Made ethically in Melbourne, this boxy tee is made from a soft 230gsm textured hemp jersey knit. Find the range in sizes XS-XL.

See the rating.

Shop Vege Threads.

And that’s a wrap. We hope this guide provided some insight on how to stay a bit warmer this winter without compromising your morals or ethics in the process.

Author bio:

Diana Bunge is a staff writer at Good On You, where she covers Ultimate Guides and other Gen Z related issues. As a Bowman Scholar and senior at Boston College, Bunge has earned numerous awards throughout her academic tenure, including the opportunity to attend COP26 in November 2021. Born and raised in Miami, FL, she is passionate about environmental policymaking at the local and national levels and the ways in which fashion and politics can meet at this important nexus. When she’s not writing for the journal, she’s singing alto/mezzo for her university’s co-ed acapella group. Follow her on LinkedIn.

Editor's note

Feature image via Mate The Label, 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. We love to recommend some of the best sustainable brands, rated "Good" or "Great". We also encourage shopping pre-owned as another great way to reduce the impact of our fashion choices. Use our Directory to search more than 3,000 brands. We may earn a commission on sales made using our offer codes or affiliate links.

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