15 Awesome Sustainable and Eco-Friendly Shoes
Much like fast fashion is having a detrimental environmental impact, cheaply and poorly made shoes are also ruining our planet. Fortunately, there’s something we can do to help: purchase eco-friendly shoes.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re shopping for sneakers, sandals, boots, or slippers, this collection of the top eco-friendly shoes has sustainable brands that offer everything you need. Discover why it’s so important to choose eco-friendly and ethical shoes, then pick out your favorite pair today!
Why Buy Sustainable Shoes?
The shoe industry has fallen into the same endless loop as the fashion industry. They pump out cheap, badly made shoes that start to fall apart after wearing them only a few times.
This forces you to turn around and buy another pair of cheap, poorly made shoes that immediately start falling apart. And the cycle just goes on and on.
It’s estimated that around 23 billion pairs of shoes are made every year. Since these shoes have inherently short lifespans, around 300 million pairs are thrown away and less than 5% of sneakers get recycled each year.
This obviously creates a ton of unnecessary waste. What’s even worse, many of these shoes are made with plastic.
We already know that plastic doesn’t properly break down. Instead, it breaks up into minuscule pieces of microplastics that have been discovered nearly everywhere on the planet — including in our blood!
Then there are the ethical considerations to keep in mind. Sadly, some shoe companies rely on poor working conditions, low wages, and even forced or child labor to produce shoes as quickly and cheaply as possible.
Plus, the chemicals used to process and make these shoes are some of the worst in the world, and workers exposed to these chemicals can develop respiratory problems and cancer.
Now that you know why it’s so important to choose eco-friendly shoes, here are several brands that are headed in the right direction. They use sustainable materials, fair wages, and are working to reduce their carbon footprint so we can all live in a healthier world.
ABLE’s selection includes boots, heels, sneakers, and sandals. All of their sustainable footwear comes in a range of sizes so you can find what you need.
Additionally, ABLE has a 100% shoe satisfaction exchange policy. If you need a different size, style, or color, the company offers unlimited free shipping until you get exactly what you want.
Plus, like all of the other products from ABLE, their shoes come with a lifetime guarantee. 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.
All of their leather shoes are made with upcycled leather from discarded animal hides. They also work with leather partners to utilize the most materials possible to minimize waste.
ABLE is a woman-run company that seeks to empower other women by offering jobs to those who often lack opportunity. In addition to providing a safe workplace, ABLE also offers a living wage, the opportunity for promotion from within, ownership in the company, the option for paid healthcare, and more.
SAOLA understands that although we need shoes to protect our feet, and we like shoes because they can look really cool, the footwear industry is one of the biggest polluters in the world. So they set out to change all of that.
SAOLA makes shoes that look awesome, feel great, and are made with as many eco-friendly materials as possible. The company offers sustainable sneakers made from recycled and bio-based materials for both men and women.
The uppers are made with recycled plastic water bottles. Depending on the style, each pair of shoes contains between 3 and 7 recycled bottles. This helps keep trash out of our landfills and gives these bottles a second life.
The company also uses algae foam for the insoles and outsoles, organic cotton for the laces, and natural cork for some insoles.
Plus, SAOLA’s mission goes beyond making an incredible pair of sustainable sneakers. They’re also a member of 1% for the Planet and they donate 1% of sales to wildlife conservation projects to help protect the amazing animals we share this planet with.
3. Flamingos Life
Every year, millions of animals are killed to make the shoes we wear. If that wasn’t bad enough, the livestock industry is one of the most polluting industries in existence and responsible for widespread deforestation.
Flamingos Life understands that veganism can help save lives, save water, and reduce CO2 emissions. But it will only work if it’s open and accessible to everyone.
That’s why the company offers vegan shoes produced with natural materials, such as hemp, bamboo, corn, organic cotton, and sustainably extracted natural rubber. The fun and stylish shoes are lightweight and amazingly comfortable.
Plus, every time you purchase a pair of biodegradable sneakers, you help Flamingos Life fund one of their social projects, such as reforestation projects in Madagascar and Mozambique, building water wells in Uganda, and collaborating with Waste Free Oceans.
The founders of Rackle were on a quest: create the most planet-friendly shoe possible. This meant using one of the most sustainable materials available (hemp) and designing a sole that enhanced foot health while still breaking down easier than traditional soles at the end of the shoe’s useful life.
What was built from this mission was a light, comfortable shoe in a classic silhouette that can easily take you from walking down the street to hiking through the woods.
Instead of being made from non-biodegradable plastics, foam, leather, and petroleum-based materials, Rackle shoes are made from water-resistant, UV-resistant, and durable hemp fabric. They also have an eco-foam sole for plush, lightweight cushioning.
When these shoes reach the end of their useful life, they’re designed to break down 30 to 50 times faster than shoes with regular soles. But don’t worry — Rackle shoes are still strong enough to last for years to come and comfortable enough to make it feel like you’re not even wearing shoes!
Rackle offers hemp shoes for men and women in a variety of different styles and colors.
You can find Rackle shoes at EarthHero, a top zero waste online store where you can get all of the essentials you need for an eco-friendly life. If you decide to shop at EarthHero, you can use the code EARTHFRIENDLY to take 10% off your order!
Alohas has a unique sustainable business model that helps them avoid mass production, reduce waste, and still offer the stylish trends you love. Their on-demand production model reduces carbon emissions, fights overproduction, and creates zero waste.
In addition to offering vegan leather shoes, Alohas also has options crafted with Leather Working Group certified sustainable leather. This leather is responsibly sourced using a transparent supply chain, low-impact dyes, and less pollution.
When you shop Alohas shoes, you can find boots, sandals, heels, and more. Everything you need to make every type of outfit complete! No matter which style you choose, it will come packaged in a recycled shoe box.
Plus, Alohas places a priority on the well-being and fair treatment of all of its factory workers. This includes a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to discrimination and a mandatory code of conduct to ensure good social conditions.
SAYE makes vegan sneakers using bio-based components and recycled materials. Their classic styles not only look amazing, but they’re also incredibly comfortable.
The unisex sneakers are timeless, seasonless, and designed to be worn for years to come. Along with using recycled plastic, SAYE also incorporates other innovative materials into their shoes, such as using discarded fruits from the food industry to makes dyes and plant-based leather.
In addition to offering eco-friendly shoes, SAYE also ensures their products play a positive role in the lives of everyone involved. They only work with suppliers that respect their workers, provide a good working environment, and improve their living conditions.
To help you reduce plastic waste as much as possible, SAYE sneakers come in a recycled box with a plastic-free, biodegradable bag. Plus, every time you buy a pair of sneakers, SAYE is able to fund the growth of two trees in collaboration with WeForest.
7. Carmen Sol
Thanks to Carmen Sol, you can make a statement without leaving an impact on the environment with their 100% recyclable jelly sandals and boots.
If you’re shopping for sandals, you’ll find the ideal combination of style and comfort. Carmen Sol offers everything from flats to wedges that are perfect for everyday wear, going to the beach, and everything in between.
The studded boots are water resistant on the outside and feature a fine cotton lining to keep your feet comfortable on the inside.
The jelly material used to make these shoes is completely recyclable. This means each style can be reused to create a new one.
Additionally, the jelly is vegan and cruelty-free, so no animals are harmed in the making of the shoes. Plus, all of the designs are certified non-toxic and California Proposition 65 compliant.
After wearing out yet another pair of sneakers at the skatepark, D’BRIS founders Joe and Magnus realized that most shoes couldn’t stand up to their active lifestyles. However, as avid surfers who all too often saw trash bobbing around their boards, they also knew they were adding to the problem every time they threw away worn out sneakers.
That’s when they realized the problem could actually become part of the solution: turn trash into shoes! D’BRIS is a vegan shoe that’s perfect for walking, adventuring, skating, and everything in between.
All parts of these eco-friendly shoes are thoughtfully designed with recycled content. The durable outer soles are made from recycled car tires, and the canvases are created from 100% recycled ocean plastic.
The inners and laces are made from a blend of recycled and organic cotton, and the insoles come from cork and recycled factory scraps.
Plus, the shoes are handmade in Spain in a solar-powered factory using sustainable and ethical manufacturing practices!
9. Yoko Wool
Do you want to slide your feet into a cozy pair of sustainable slippers? Then check out Yoko Wool slippers!
These oh so soft and comfortable slippers are made from humanely and sustainably sheared Irish sheep wool. Natural wool is soft, breathable, and lightweight. It protects your feet from the cold and generates warmth while remaining breathable and dry.
This means you can say goodbye to cold feet as they stay pleasantly warm and don’t sweat.
Plus, since wool has therapeutic properties, these slippers are highly recommended for people suffering from arthritis, rheumatism, diabetes, poor feet circulation, and neuralgia.
ARZE is a shoe company that not only makes sustainable sneakers, but is also on a mission to generate some good vibes. They offer vegan sneakers that never go out of style.
They make their sneakers using bio-based materials and recycled PU. In addition to looking like leather, these materials last a long time, so you can get plenty of years out of your shoes.
Plus, these sneakers have a reduced carbon footprint of 54% when compared to the average non eco-friendly sneaker.
ARZE offers several styles in a variety of colors, so you’ll have no problems choosing your favorite one to go with all of your casual outfits.
If you’re looking for an outstanding pair of eco-friendly sandals, take a look at the excellent selection from Teva. In addition to being incredibly comfortable, these sandals are also sustainable.
Teva is dedicated to turning waste that pollutes our planet into materials that can help you have fun and explore it.
They’ve transitioned all of the iconic straps on their sandals to traceable, verifiable recycled plastic using REPREVE yarn. So far, this has helped divert over 41 million plastic bottles from landfills.
By using responsibly sourced and recycled materials whenever possible, Teva sandals are designed with end of life in mind. The shoe company has partnered with TerraCycle to create a sandal recycling program that gives new life to old shoes.
Plus, Teva continues to strive toward using less water. By working with their supply chain partners, they’ve been able to save around 8.1 billion liters of water since 2019.
Cariuma is a certified B Corp sneaker brand that believes comfort, style, and sustainability can all go hand in hand. For every pair of sneakers sold, they’re able to plant two trees in the Brazilian rainforest through their in-house Ecological Restoration Program.
Their eco-friendly sneakers are so soft and comfortable, you don’t have to spend anytime breaking them in. They also come in a variety of styles, including skate, low-rise, high-top, and slip-on.
The company uses different natural materials to make their shoes, including organic cotton, sugar cane, bamboo, sustainably tapped rubber, mamona oil, and cork. They also use water-resistant recycled nylon and recycled PET from plastic bottles.
In addition to taking care of the planet, Cariuma also works hard to take care of its employees. The company works exclusively with vendors that provide fair working hours and wages.
Whether you’re enjoying a relaxing stroll through the park or tackling a challenging hiking trail, Viakix has the sport sandals you need to enjoy your adventure. The company was founded by two avid hikers and outdoor enthusiasts who understand the need to have reliable, durable footwear.
However, they also realized that many outdoor sandals on the market weren’t made from the best materials and 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. But they don’t just create great footwear. They’re also a company that stands for something positive and gives back to the planet.
In addition to donating thousands of shoes to those who can’t afford new clothing, the company has also partnered with One Tree Planted to plant one tree for every purchase made.
Allbirds has a fantastic selection of sustainable shoes and clothing for men, women, and kids. Even better, with options that range from sneakers and slip-ons to hiking shoes and slippers, you’re sure to find something to suit all of your needs.
Allbirds seeks to replace petroleum-based synthetic materials with natural alternatives whenever they can. This includes alternatives the company has invented on their own, such as SweetFoam — the world’s first carbon negative EVA — and Plant Leather, their 100% natural, plant-based leather.
This Certified B Corp is Carbon Neutral by offsetting all of their business operations. They also have a ton of sustainability goals to help reverse climate change. This includes reducing their carbon footprint to near zero, switching to regenerative farming practices, and more.
In addition to offering sustainable shoes, Allbirds is also committed to ensuring that their manufacturing processes are environmentally responsible, working conditions are safe, and that workers are treated with respect and dignity throughout their entire supply chain.
ECOALF lives by the motto, “There is no planet B.” The company uses the least amount of natural resources possible while still creating stylish and durable shoes and clothing.
This includes using recycled polyester, recycled nylon, recycled wool, and recycled cotton. It also includes innovative creations like a zero-release synthetic yarn that helps prevent microplastic pollution and a coffee ground finish that offers UV-protection and odor control.
Whether you’re running errands, going for a jog, or simply hanging out with friends, their sneakers are the perfect choice. Plus, if you’re looking for something a little more casual, you’ll love their comfy sandals.
The Best Sustainable Shoe Brands for Eco-Friendly Kicks
Buying cheap shoes that fall apart after wearing them only a few times only adds to the overflowing waste crisis we’re currently dealing with. Fortunately, there is a better option.
When you purchase some of these best eco-friendly shoes, you’re making an investment in something that will last you for years to come. Even better, these shoes are ethically made, look great, and feel amazing on your feet!
More Helpful Eco-Friendly Living Tips
Did you enjoy learning more about the top eco-friendly shoes? Are you interested in checking out even more tips that can help you live a sustainable life? Then please be sure to take a look at some of our other popular posts:
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