Eco-Friendly Flip-Flops and Sandals for Everyone in the Family
It’s estimated there’s around 51 trillion pieces of plastic in our oceans. Although a lot of this garbage consists of things we already know aren’t eco-friendly — such as plastic bags, straws, and cups — some of it includes items we don’t normally think of, like flip-flops.
While some of these discarded rubber flip-flops accidentally end up in the water because they’re lost during a day at the beach, many times they’re simply tossed away because their cheap, poor construction means they barely last through the summer season.
Fortunately, there’s a better option. Instead of purchasing plastic flip-flops that will start to fall apart after wearing them just a few times, you can choose one of these best eco-friendly flip-flops or sandals.
Plus, if you’re interested in ensuring all of the shoes you wear are more sustainable, don’t forget to check out this article on the top eco-friendly shoe brands. You’ll discover everything from sneakers and slippers to boots and heels. You’ll also find styles that will work for everyone in the family!
Are Flip-Flops Hurting the Environment?
The vast majority of traditional flip-flops are made from plastic, polyurethane foam, and synthetic rubber. Most of these plastics are derived from the fossil fuel petroleum, which we get by drilling into the Earth and pumping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
Many flip-flops are available in a variety of bright colors, which often come from dyes that contain toxic chemicals. Plus, since rubber is highly flammable, manufacturers will usually add toxic flame retardants to flip-flops.
Not only are these toxic chemicals terrible for any workers exposed to them, but they’re also awful for the environment. Dyes and chemicals frequently get dumped into rivers and streams and poison the water. Also, when discarded flip-flops sit in landfills or float in waterways, they’re leaching toxins into the environment.
But it’s not just leaching chemicals we have to worry about with discarded flip-flops. Trashed flip-flops will eventually start breaking down into microplastics that can absorb toxins and be ingested by sea and land animals.
Marine animals have also been known to mistake flip-flops for food and try to swallow them whole. Additionally, flip-flops and other plastic trash can litter coastlines and beaches and block sea turtles from reaching the sand where they need to lay their eggs.
Choosing the Best Sustainable Flip-Flops and Sandals
The next time you need a new pair of flip-flops, don’t automatically reach for those cheap, plastic shoes. The options on this list are made with either recycled or eco-friendly materials.
They’re also produced by socially responsible brands that provide fair wages, have a transparent supply chain, and seek to produce a quality shoe that will last for years to come. Select one of your favorite pairs of sustainable sandals and enjoy plenty of summer fun!
Not only is ABLE is a great place to shop for affordable sustainable clothing, but you can also find some of the best eco-friendly sandals there as well. You’ll find all types of women’s flip-flops and sandals that are perfect for dressing up or going casual.
All of their shoes come in a range of sizes, so you can easily find what you need. Plus, like all of the other products from ABLE, their shoes come with a lifetime guarantee.
Related: Where to Shop for the Most Sustainable Clothing for Everyone in the Family
Everything is designed with quality and durability that will last for years to come to help keep these items out of the landfill. If you find your shoes don’t live up to this standard, you can have them repaired or replaced for life.
ABLE is a woman-run fashion brand that seeks to empower women — especially those overcoming adversities — while also decreasing the fashion industry’s impact on the environment. In addition to providing a living wage, ABLE also offers a flexible work schedule, full maternity coverage, the option for 100% paid healthcare, adoption and infertility assistance, and more.
SAOLA has a great selection of shoes for men and women, including several styles of soft and comfortable flip-flops made with recycled and bio-based materials. These vegan flip-flops contain nothing from animals.
Instead, the uppers are made from recycled plastic bottles, the soles are made from sustainably harvested natural cork and natural algae that mold to the shape of your foot, and the outsoles are made with recycled EVA and rubber reinforcements for maximum durability.
All of this combines to make an amazingly lightweight yet sturdy flip-flop. In fact, one shoe weighs less than 0.2 pounds!
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Not only can you find plenty of different styles, but SAOLA flip-flops also come in a variety of colors. This means you’ll have no problems picking up shades that go with all of your outfits.
Plus, SAOLA does more than just make an incredible pair of sustainable flip-flops. They’re also a member of 1% for the Planet, and they donate 1% of sales to wildlife conservation projects that help protect the amazing animals who also call this planet home.
Additionally, SAOLA produces its shoes in a factory with social and environmental rules in place to guarantee all workers have favorable working conditions.
Indosole makes it easy for everyone in the family to show off their sustainable style with eco-friendly flip-flops for women, men, and children. These vegan sandals and flip-flops are made with an innovative process that recycles old car tires.
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The company uses old rubber tires that would have otherwise ended up in the landfill. They grind the tires down into a powder, and then use that powder to create their signature outsole that provides a sure grip when you’re walking.
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The footbed of their flip-flop has a natural rubber midsole that’s molded high to provide cushioning, comfort, and arch support. Even the strap is made with natural fibers that require less water and dye.
All of this comes together to make a sturdy, waterproof flip-flop you’ll love to wear.
Plus, Indosole is a Certified B Corporation. They’re shoes are made responsibly and cruelty-free using a zero-waste (SETT) production process.
If you’re searching for eco-friendly sandals that are comfortable and sturdy enough to keep up with everything from running errands to hiking on a trail, you’ll discover what you need when you choose Viakix sport sandals. This company was founded by two avid outdoor enthusiasts who understood the need to have reliable, durable footwear.
However, they also realized that many outdoor sandals on the market were cheaply made with unsustainable materials that often fell apart quickly. That’s when they decided to change things.
Viakix designs all of their products in the United States using only the highest quality materials. The sandals and flip-flops are designed with a cushioned ergonomic sole, outstanding arch support, and a deep heel cup that absorbs your body’s impact when you’re walking.
All of their shoes also feature an adjustable strap so you can always get the perfect fit.
Related: Eco-Friendly Summer Activities for Kids Guaranteed to Bust Boredom
However, Viakix doesn’t just create great footwear. They’re also a company that stands for something positive and gives back to the planet.
The company has reduced the size of its shoe boxes by 20-60% to help cut down on waste. They’re also committed to increasing the amount of recycled materials they use by 20%.
They’ve partnered with One Tree Planted to plant one tree for every purchase made. Additionally, they’ve teamed up with Soles4Souls to keep used pairs of shoes out of landfills by donating them to those less fortunate.
Allbirds specializes in making shoes from sustainable materials. In addition to offering super comfortable sneakers, the company also has several types of cushiony soft sandals and flip-flops.
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The Sugar Zeffers are made from SweetFoam, which is a sugarcane-based material and the world’s first carbon negative green EVA. Additionally, the straps are made with 100% recycled polyester.
Along with the flip-flop, the Zeffer is also available as a slider.
Since these shoes offer the perfect balance between softness and support, they’re ideal for casual days, afternoons at the beach, and even just wearing around the house.
Allbirds is a carbon neutral business certified by Climate Neutral. In addition to offering low carbon footprint products, the companies also strives to balance its carbon emissions by funding high-impact carbon offset projects.
6. Original Cork
Cork flip-flops from the Original Cork shop are a great option if you’re interested in getting shoes made with natural materials instead of synthetic materials. The company offers flip-flops for women, men, and kids.
The cork comes from the outer bark of the cork oak tree and regenerates after each harvest. Since people don’t have to cut down the tree to get the cork, it can stay alive and help continue to pull carbon dioxide out of the air.
Even better, each cork oak tree that has been sustainably harvested for cork actually captures 5x more carbon dioxide during the natural regeneration process than a cork oak tree which hasn’t been harvested.
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Cork offers a lot of benefits when it’s used to make shoes. First, cork is naturally resistant to moisture. It’s soft and flexible, which means the more you wear the shoes, the more they adapt and mold to the shape of your feet.
Additionally, cork is hypoallergenic, so it doesn’t absorb dust, dirt, mold, or mildew, and it helps protect you from allergies.
If you want to give these cork flip-flops a try, you can use the code EARTHFRIENDLY to enjoy 10% off your HowCork purchase!
Gumbies makes fun and stylish eco-friendly flip-flops and slippers for men and women. The shoes come in a variety of styles and colors to suit every taste.
The Gumtread recycled rubber outer sole is durable, flexible, and provides outstanding grip no matter what type of surface you’re walking on. To ensure these shoes are soft and comfortable the instant you put them on, the toe posts and strap linings are made with cozy cotton canvas. The shoes are also designed around the natural shape of the foot.
If you choose the Gumbies Corker flip-flop, you’ll enjoy a footbed made from sustainably-sourced natural cork that’s breathable, durable, water-resistant, and incredibly comfortable.
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Plus, to help protect our planet for future generations, Gumbies is able to plant mangrove trees or recover ocean plastic with every purchase. Not only do these projects give local people a crucial means of income to help support their families, but they’re also vital to protecting the planet.
A single mangrove tree can remove more than 300 kilograms of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere during its lifetime. Additionally, the more plastic waste we can remove from our oceans, the cleaner and safer our environment will be.
8. Third Oak
Third Oak is a Georgia-based brand that offers simple, minimalist flip-flops that are responsibly made in the United States following strict safety and environmental standards. These shoes feature a bio-based soy material that’s combined with recycled materials.
This makes Third Oak shoes comfortable enough to wear all day long, yet durable enough to last for years. It also means these flip-flops are 100% vegan.
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Additionally, Third Oak shoes are manufactured in a closed-loop process and are completely recyclable. The company can reuse any scrap material created during the manufacturing process to make new shoes.
You can also recycle your well-loved shoes by shipping them back to Third Oak when they reach the end of their useful life. As a result, the entire shoe life cycle is totally landfill-free.
9. Carmen Sol
The vegan and recyclable jelly sandals from Carmen Sol are the perfect combination of comfort, style, and sustainability. They come in a wide range of vibrant colors you’ll absolutely love.
Even better, these cruelty-free and vegan sandals are made from high-quality, sustainable Italian jelly that’s 100% recyclable and California Proposition 65 compliant. Since this material is recyclable, the company can reuse scraps and old styles to make new ones.
Related: The Best Ethical Jewelry for Sustainable Sparkle and Shine
In addition to being waterproof and weather-resistant, these shoes are also completely sanitizable. This means you know they can stand up to anything from sunny days at the beach to dodging rain puddles around town.
Plus, you can find sandals that range from flats to wedges, which makes it easy to pick out the style you want.
10. Vesica Piscis
Vesica Piscis is another outstanding option if you’re interested in cork sandals. The brand has a variety of sleek and comfortable styles made with recycled cotton and recycled cork.
These 100% vegan sandals have a recycled EVA rubber sole that’s sewn to the insole without using glue, which makes it lightweight, comfortable, and recyclable.
The insole is made of natural latex and recycled cork. It has the size and logo marked with a solvent-free eco-ink. Finally, the straps are made from naturally dyed, comfortable recycled cotton.
Related: Cotton vs. Microfiber- Which One Is More Eco-Friendly? (The Answer Might Surprise You!)
Thanks to their manufacturing process and materials, you can be sure no toxic substances are used to make your shoes. It also means your shoes are recyclable once they reach the end of their useful life.
All Vesica Piscis shoes are handmade in their workshop in Elche, Spain. Additionally, Vesica Piscis is working to minimize its water and carbon dioxide footprint as much as possible, and it’s close to generating no waste by designing fully recyclable vegan footwear.
You can find Vesica Piscis sandals at HowCork. If you decide to try a pair, be sure to use the code EARTHFRIENDLY to save 10%!
The Best Eco-Friendly Sandals and Flip-Flops
Warm summer days mean long strolls outside and fun by the water. They also mean keeping your feet cool and comfortable in a stylish pair of flip-flops or sandals.
When you need new flip-flops, don’t buy cheap, plastic shoes that will fall apart before the summer is over and contribute to our growing pollution problem. Instead, choose one of these best eco-friendly flip-flops or sandals.
When you do, you know you’ll get a lovely pair of shoes that are ethically made, have a lower carbon footprint, and will last you for years and years to come.
More Helpful Tips on Eco-Friendly Living
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