Sustainable footwear; have you ever given it a thought? From sandals to sneakers, we’ve curated the best ethical shoe brands for different budgets and aesthetics.
When it comes to sustainability in the fashion industry, what we wear matters; right down to our shoes! If you’re looking for footwear companies to support that use more eco-friendly materials and fair trade practices, then read on!
From comfy trainers to run errands in your activewear to sleek silhouettes for work or an evening out, these brands create high quality staples you’ll want to rock again and again.
1. Muni Muni
Muni Muni is a sustainable footwear brand from the Philippines that specialises in handcrafted shoes and accessories. Their affordable shoes are made from Abaca rope, also known as Manila hemp. They source the sustainable fibre from local farmers in rural areas of the Philippines. Then, local artisan communities hand-weave the shoes to make, celebrating both Filipino talent and craftsmanship.
- Sampaguita, $1650 pesos
- Pasyal, $2650 pesos
- Gaia, $1450 pesos
Hong Kong brand Kibo, formerly Lacess, makes guilt-free sneakers from recycled materials. Their shoes are made from recycled leather, post-consumer plastics and natural materials. Best of all, their white sneakers are versatile and also comfortable. Additionally, they provide arch support and a layer of cork to wick away any moisture.
- Avril Guilt-free Kicks in White-Pink, $1060 HKD
- Avril Guilt-free Kicks in White-Blue, $1060 HKD
- Shoe Talkers by Mohee, $300 HKD
3. Step of Grace
Step of Grace hand-makes all their shoes in small to medium production houses in Indonesia. They source all their materials locally. Their shoes are made of leather, thus making them comfortable and lasting. The brand also plants a tree for every product sold, helping to reforest parts of Borneo and the Amazon rainforest.
- Anja Woven Mules, $116
- Satara Woven Heels, $157
- Praia Slides, $70
A certified B Corp, Indosole repurposes rubber tyres into shoes. They source their tyres from landfills, mechanic garages, and gutters from Indonesia. So far, they have saved 80,000 tyres from landfills! Since they’re made of tyres, their flip flops and slides similarly feature grip and durability.
- Flip Flops in Pollen, $49
- Slides in Coral, $59
Sustainable footwear label Veja is well-known for its sleek, minimalist sneakers with the iconic ‘V’ on the sides. The shoes are made with high-quality recycled materials, organic cotton, and sustainably-sourced leather. The brand also employs innovative techniques to upcycle materials such as corn and plastic bottles into fabric for their shoes.
- Esplar Leather in White Marsala, $136.98 USD
- Campo Chromefree in Black White, $173.51 USD
- Condor Mesh in Nautico Petale, $194.82 USD
Nisolo makes sustainable footwear with a 0% net carbon commitment. The brand believes in a circular fashion approach, thus they use recycled and upcycled materials in their designs. They have also launched a Shoe Reclamation Program to divert their shoes from landfills. One of the main reasons the brand started was to provide living wages for workers. They do so by personally questioning their shoemakers their expenses for both themselves and their family.
- Heeled Chelsea Boot in Black, $230 USD
- Serena Sandal in Desert Rose, $120 USD
- James Oxford in Brandy, $170 USD
7. Beyond Skin
Don’t be fooled by the name, Beyond Skin actually makes designer vegan shoes. The brand uses post-consumer cardboard and vegan leather made from PU, which not only negates the need for livestock, but is also less energy-intensive than using real leather. Their shoes are trans-seasonal, timeless, elegant, and offer a vintage-inspired aesthetic.
- Aubrey Bow Vegan Sandals in Gold, $195 GBP
- Nina Satin Strappy Vegan Heels, $225 GBP
Cairuma empowers their customers to choose quality over quantity by embracing personal style. Their sneakers are made from raw materials like bamboo, natural rubber, and sugar cane. Half of their products are also 100% vegan, and they are working on growing that percentage. Additionally, they plant two trees for every pair sold!
- Oca Low in Burgundy Stripe Canvas, $79 USD
- Ibi Slip On in Grey Knit, $98 USD
- Ibi in Earth Day Off White, $98 USD
9. Marais USA
Marais USA makes shoes that are effortlessly elegant, simple, and still affordable. Just like the name suggests, their shoes are a mix of the effortless Parisian style and the New York practicality. They produce in a factory in LA, less than a mile away from their warehouse. Thus, this helps to decrease their carbon footprint by limiting the distance the shoes travel.
- Slide in White, $225 USD
- Jardin Heel in Blue, $310 USD
- Classic Mule in Yellow, $275 USD
Etiko, derived from the Greek word for ethical, is an Australian fair-trade certified brand. Thus, the brand commits to ensuring labour rights in their supply chain. They work closely with partners all over Asia who they source from and manufacture, in order to help them grow their businesses and support their communities.
- Ballet Flats in Black and White, $90 AUD
- Natural Rubber Thongs in Save the Children, $27.50 AUD
- Lowcut Sneakers in Red, $120 AUD
Coclico, meaning “Poppy Flower” in French, aims to make shoes that are conscious, artful, and elegant. Their shoes are crafted sustainably in Spain, pairing style with comfort. The brand also offers a “Pre-Loved” program, where customers get to trade in shoes and find designs from previous collections to breathe a second life into.
- Fontaine Sandal in Tan Suede, $335 USD
- Varick Clog Sandal in Cuoio Leather, $435 USD
- Midwood Wedge in Smoke Suede, $375 USD
Po-zu believes in creating footwear that is healthy for your feet, kind to the environment, and safe for all workers. The brand uses innovative materials to make their shoes, such as pineapple, apple, cork, and linen. Their shoes also feature a revolutionary Foot Mattress, made from coconut fibres, that is breathable, moulds to the shape of your feet, eliminates pressure points, and offers support.
- Vim in Black, $89 GBP
- Butterfly in White, $59 GBP
- Moth in Grey, $55 GBP
Rafa is a luxury sustainable footwear brand that features smart and timeless designs. They work with 20 artisans in Los Angeles who handcraft their shoes with eco-friendly materials, such as recycled materials. This also helps to limit the amount of chemicals, waste water, and water used in production.
- The Simple Sandal in Chlor, $250 USD
- Holiday Heel in Sapphire, $250 USD
- The Secretary Pump, $250
14. Thousand Fell
Thousand Fell aims to design full-circle simple everyday footwear. The brand sources materials with lower water and carbon footprints, such as aloe vera, castor beans, and natural rubber. They source them as close to their factory in Brazil as possible. Their designs are also easily biodegradable and recyclable. Thus, they run a recycling program where they take in old shoes and recycle them into materials for new shoes.
- Lace Up in Flame Red, $120 USD
- Lace Up in Black with Black, $120 USD
- Slip On in Blue, $120 USD