In the insufficiency of globally recognized ethical standards, footwear brands are unquestionably experiencing an overwhelming task. 

Indeed, obtaining sustainability across all dimensions of the supply chain is not a lesser achievement. This will certainly call for collaboration, unparalleled innovation, and flexibility to surpass the unavoidable obstacles along the way.

There are plenty of different components and materials necessary to manufacture ethical footwear. This is why shoes are a bit challenging when it comes to sustainability. 

There are indeed lots of ethical brands taking part in a little-known domain. These ethical firms are working outstandingly as they challenge the flashy status that has been debilitating our planet for many years now. 

Yes, there is no such thing as “flawless” ethical footwear. However, the good news is that more and more sustainable brands are working harder to significantly improve the industry.

Essentially, a sustainable footwear firm won’t emerge in a snap. But, if one of the most besmirching industries in the globe can make sustainable fashion, then this would have greater hope for the future.

From recycled boots, sandals, shoes, flats, to sustainable sneakers, what precisely is environmentally-friendly footwear? To add, what makes ethical shoe brands sustainable?

This guide tackles the fundamentals that you need to uncover to come up with a well-informed and heedful decision. You will also find out more about the different sustainable footwear brands that are working to make a huge difference.

three different pairs of shoes sandals, flipflops and men's sandals


Simple Sustainable Shopping Tips

Before we proceed with the most recommended sustainable footwear brands, let us check out the following shopping tips when buying sustainable shoes. 

Conduct a quick research

Not many of us are well aware of sustainable footwear brands. Hence, it will pay off in the end if you research for the most reliable and trusted ethical shoe manufacturers before making the final buying decision. 

Buy secondhand footwear

You can save more money if you will consider purchasing second-hand footwear when possible. 

Again, you can research some online shopping sites that sell pre-owned ethical shoes. For sure, you’ll find more options to choose from that will perfectly match your preference and style.

Check out the labels

When buying sustainable sneakers, sandals, flats, boots, and other types of shoes, check the label first.

To ensure that what you’re buying is made by following ethical standards, check if it is labeled as fair trade, cruelty-free, or sustainable. 

The durability of the construction materials and longevity

As always, we prefer products that are made using sustainable or eco-friendly build materials.

In line with this, if durability is considered in manufacturing the footwear, this means that it can last for an extended time of usage.  


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Read about the product information

When searching for leather items, be sure to search for information that indicates how the leather material is sourced.

Likewise, it is also essential to read the information about how the animals are treated. 

Lastly, it is also critical to look into the transparency in the supply chain.

The Most Trusted Sustainable Footwear Brands 

family wearing different types of footwear standing on a beach in a circle

#1. Nisolo

This brand’s fashion philosophy is refreshing. This ethical footwear firm was established by Patrick Woodyard.

The main objective of this sustainable shoe company is to manufacture products in a more responsible approach. 

The objective is for consumers to be well aware of who manufactures the products and where these products are made. 

Fair-trade employees and artisan from Mexico and Peru are the ones manufacturing these handmade leather items. 

It’s worth noting that their shoes are produced with premium quality and are more affordable than other options. 

#2. Etiko

This is a well-known Australian designer of environmentally friendly, fair trade, and organic shoes and clothing products. 

This brand is quite famous for its classic canvas sneaker that was manufactured ethically.

They come with a low-cut design and are made 100% vegan. The construction materials used include organic and fair trade materials. 

Their shoes come in a broad array of colors that can perfectly suit any style. Sizes range from 3 to 13 UK sizes for men and 3 to 13 UK sizes for women. 

#3. Everlane

Shoppers can be guaranteed that every item made by this ethical brand is sustainably manufactured. This sustainable firm believes that shoppers must be insightful of the makers of the products they buy, as well as the real cost of the product they’re purchasing. 

Additionally, this sustainable company wants consumers to learn more about how much the item cost to make and what precisely the products are made of. 

Recently, Everlane introduced a line of 100% carbon neutral leather trainers known as Tread. This item is proudly manufactured using 54% less virgin plastic. 

This ethical company’s products are specifically intended to be worn daily and are particularly designed to last longer.

Read: 23 of the Best Sustainable Handbags for All Your Bits and Bobs

#4. Fortress of Inca

This company is headquartered in Austin, TX. Their products are certified following ethical standards, artisan-made, fair-trade and safe to use.

If you’re looking for sustainable and top-quality block heels and leather booties, this firm is one of the leading brands for these requirements. 

They also manufacture women’s heels, sandals, boots, mules, and flats. This ethical firm believes that the artisans who manufacture their footwear are just as valuable as the people who purchase them. 

As for the materials used, they utilize natural materials that are sourced locally.  Such materials also consist of the byproduct leather that would, in another way, merely go to waste. 

#5. Coclico

This firm obtains the materials they use for their products near their small and family-operated factory.

Their factory is situated in Mallorca, Spain. The company works hard to attain the highest standards of environmental and ethical responsibility. 

In addition, their products are designed in New York City headquarters. One of the most popular footwear manufactured by this brand is the gorgeous-looking Padu flats. 

#6. AllBirds 

This firm is ideal for shoppers who prefer ethical footwear that can be worn for different occasions. 

They are headquartered in San Francisco, CA. They utilize recycled and natural materials; they’re labeled as carbon-neutral business, and certified as WRAP- & SMETA production and B Corp. 

Interestingly, AllBirds is one of the chart-topping options when it comes to manufacturing machine-washable sneakers.  

Even so, they also produce second to none apparel, flats, slip-on, loafers, and weather-repellent sneakers. 

This ethical company began with a simple mission and that is to manufacture footwear in an excellent means, using safe and natural materials. 

They ensure to employ animal-friendly and environmental practices in manufacturing their products. 

Not to mention, their shoes are produced using sustainable materials such as Merion wool and FSC-certified Tencel lyocell. 

Their footwear is assuredly made lightweight, comfortable, and priced reasonably.

Read: 12 of the best Eco-Friendly Sunglasses

#7. Rothy’s

This company is renowned for buyers who opt for sustainable shoe brands that produce footwear used for any occasion. 

They are headquartered in China and San Francisco, CA. The firm is recognized for its fair labor practices, ethical manufacturing practices, and packaging.

Aside from these, they use recycled materials in producing their products. If you are a lover of comfortable loafers and flats, this brand is one of the most A1 options for those requirements.  

They also manufacture women and children’s loafers, sandals, slip-on, lace-up sneakers, and flats. 

Often considered as one of the most comfortable shoe brands on the market, their footwear items are specifically designed to last for many years. 

It’s worth mentioning that their shoes are also machine-washable. Adults and children worldwide who wish to invest in eco-friendly footwear products consider this brand as one of the top choices. 

#8. Bhava

This sustainable footwear brand was established by a designer named Francisca Pineda. 

The company utilizes eco-friendly materials like recycled materials and organic cotton. 

They also refrain from utilizing azo-dyes, formaldehyde, aromatic amines, chrome, PVC, PCP, and phthalates when manufacturing their vegan leather products. 

One of their most popular products is the Viki slide that is designed with a wooden heel. This footwear looks stunning regardless of your outfit. 

As for the size, their shoes come in 5 to 11 US sizes.

#9. Veja

This brand is prominent when it comes to ethical and environmental shoe brand production. 

The company uses raw materials that were sourced from upcycled plastic bottles and organic farming. 

If you prefer ethical and stylish sneakers, this brand can offer you some of the best choices. Their ultra-wearable low-top sneakers are in demand worldwide. 

This ethical company purchases eco-friendly and organic materials from their fair-trade family farms located in the Amazon and Brazil. 

It is interesting to know that this brand also partners with a social charity that aims to aid underprivileged people to recover into society through work. 

The good news is that this firm offers global shipping in packaging produced from recyclable and recycled cardboard.

Read: 10 Sustainable Bucket Hat Brands You Need To Be in the Know About This Summer…

The Bottom Line

By and large, vegan and sustainable footwear or shoes are increasingly becoming more extensively available. 

As you learned from this exhaustive buying ethical shoe guide, buying sustainable shoes is not only good for you but also for our planet. 

If you are one of the countless shoppers out there who are itching to invest in sustainable footwear, there’s no need to have second thoughts. 

Comfort, safety, sustainability, planet preservation, fair trade, and cost-effectiveness are what you will reap when you opt for ethical footwear products. 

Hopefully, you have seen a pair of shoes that can perfectly suit your discerning taste and style from the recommendations we have listed above.

Also Read:

13 Best Cotton And Bamboo Socks Brands That Make Both!

About The Author

May can usually be found reading an eco magazine absorbed in the latest gripping articles on all things eco! May is passionate about the environment. May believes in looking and feeling good whilst living an eco friendly lifestyle. In her spare time she loves cooking, playing her guitar and going for country walks. May lives in the UK and enjoys spending time with friends, family and her two adorable cats.

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