When it comes to sustainable shoes, there are many things we look for - Who makes them? What are they made from? Can we wear them for years to come? Seeing transparency within the supply chain is very important to us at Sustainably Chic. We want to make sure the person making the shoes is treated well and makes a fair wage.
What Types of Eco-Friendly Materials Should You Look For?
The notion of a perfect biodegradable shoe is just not a reality yet. Shoes are tricky because you want them to last - materials aren’t always ideal. Still, we prefer to find veggie-tanned leathers (sometimes this can be more difficult if you are working with artisans in smaller communities) and recycled rubbers/polyesters, so at least we aren’t creating new virgin threads for a pair of shoes. Many of these brands listed also use natural fibers like organic cotton, hemp, and wool, and some of these brands are even doing amazing things like using apple peels or algae!
What started as one pair of unisex sneakers has since expanded into a full line of shoes, socks, & now underwear. Allbirds uses eco-friendly materials like sustainably-sourced wool, TENCEL, sugarcane, natural castor bean oil, and recycled plastic bottles, cardboard, & nylon.
If you are looking for comfort and classic styles, look no further than Earth Shoes! This shoe brand has 3 collections with 2 of them focusing strongly on sustainability - Earth Elements & Kalso. They also plant trees with every purchase.
All shoes are made of leather that originates from Leather Working Group certified tanneries, which meet the highest standards of environmental responsibility in the industry. Some models even have vegetable-tanned leather outsoles. Nisolo is a certified B corporation. Entirely carbon neutral, it offsets its carbon footprint by investing in forest conservation projects in the Peruvian Amazon.
Saola Shoes has partnered with the team at Bloom Foam who removes harmful algae from the water and puts it through a process that dries, crushes and converts it into powder. This powder is then mixed with EVA to become Algae Foam, used for sole construction. Pretty cool, huh?!
Can you believe these guys are made from recycled water bottles with 3D knit technology?! This type of material makes for a super sturdy shoe, and you can even clean them in your wash machine. Plus, you have several colors and styles to choose from so your closet is covered!
Materials | Recycled Plastics, Plant-Based Materials, Waterless Dyeing Techniques, Leather sourced from Leather Working Group
I was very excited to partner with Dr.Scholl’s Shoes this past Spring. I love seeing bigger brands going above & beyond to become more sustainable. Read all about their sustainability initiatives here.
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Vivaia uses unique shoe-making technology that creates a 3D knit with zero-waste. This brand is similar to Rothy’s, but they have many different styles and patterns. From tall boots to sneakers, Vivaia has every event & outfit covered!
We’ve always thought this shoe brand was something special. Vivobarefoot is making what footwear is supposed to be like for our feet. Natural feet are wide, flexible and sensory. These boots help your feet do their natural thing! If you’re interesting learning more on how shoes are stealing your strength & mobility, check out their Shoespiracy documentary.
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WANT MORE SUSTAINABLE BRANDS? VISIT OUR BRAND DIRECTORY!
Our Brand Directory is home to hundreds of sustainable brands, from makeup to cleaning supplies, from underwear to shoes. We have broken everything down by category for easy shopping, along with discount codes unique to Sustainably Chic viewers.