The best sustainable shoe brands for an eco-friendly footprint
Sustainability

THE 14 BEST SUSTAINABLE SHOE BRANDS FOR AN ECO-FRIENDLY FOOTPRINT

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This blog post is about the best sustainable shoe brands to support if you want to have an eco-friendly footprint!

If you’re striving to have a more ethical and sustainable wardrobe, you’re probably already trying to reduce your consumption.

You may be buying your clothes second-hand (for instance online or at thrift stores) or from sustainable fashion brands

However, finding good quality shoes that are comfortable and eco-friendly, that are your style, and that don’t hurt your feet can be more complicated than buying a t-shirt. 

We all spent a considerable amount of time on our feet each day, and some of us might have different foot and back problems. 

So picking the right pair of shoes is crucial for our foot health, but also for the planet. 

We all wear our shoes out more or less quickly.

It means that they eventually end up in a landfill, where they will sit for hundreds of years.

We also need to repurchase new shoes, which are often made with unsustainable materials. 

But thankfully, we can make more ethical and eco-friendly choices when buying shoes.

There are many sustainable shoe brands we can choose from!

Thanks to them, we can easily pick a pair that is kinder to the Earth.

In this article, I’ve selected the 14 best sustainable shoe brands so that you can have an eco-friendly footprint on the planet! 

This blog post contains affiliate links which means that if you buy something through such links, I will get a small commission without any extra cost for you. Please read my Disclosure for more details.

What are sustainable shoe brands? 

An eco-friendly footwear brand makes its shoes using sustainable manufacturing processes that do not harm the environment.

For instance, it takes steps to minimize its material waste, energy usage, and water consumption, and it avoids overproduction. 

It also ensures all the workers in its supply chain are treated humanely and paid fair living wages. 

A sustainable shoe brand discloses how and where it makes its footwear, and it is very transparent about its suppliers and supply chain. 

Another key element is that it produces high-quality shoes that are made to last.

So its footwear doesn’t wear out after only a season or two! 

The brand also makes them with eco-friendly materials that are sourced responsibly.

We’ll see what sustainable materials to look for in the next section! 

If possible, the brand will make shoes that can be resoled or repaired down the line. 

Finally, one of the best ways to know whether a shoe brand is truly sustainable is to look for third-party certifications.

Brands that received the B Corp, Fairtrade, or Climate-Neutral certifications are companies that we can trust.

We can support them knowing they’re caring for the Earth. 

What eco-friendly materials do sustainable shoe brands use? 

Sustainable shoe brands produce their footwear using different eco-friendly materials, like recycled polyester, hemp, organic cotton, Tencel Lyocell, FSC-certified bamboo, recycled nylon, and many others! 

Usually, they will use sustainably-sourced natural rubber to make their outsoles.

I’ve also seen brands producing their midsoles and insoles with cork, algae foam, or sugarcane. 

While leather is not a sustainable material, some eco-friendly brands use it to make their shoes.

But they make sure to source it from tanneries that are Gold-rated by the Leather Working Group.

Most of them also use vegetable-tanned leather as it is more eco-friendly. 

You can even find brands making vegan leather using plant-based materials, such as apples, corn, or cacti! 

Sustainable shoe brands use eco-friendly materials to make their footwear, like recycled plastic.

The 14 best sustainable shoe brands for an eco-friendly footprint 

1. Cariuma

For: Women & Men

Categories: Sneakers

Cariuma is one of my favorite sustainable shoe brands!

It sells timeless sneakers that are all consciously made, incredibly comfortable, and good-looking. 

The brand uses eco-friendly materials like sustainably sourced natural rubber, organic cotton, cork, FSC and OEKO-TEX-certified bamboo, recycled polyester, recycled nylon, and many more. 

Cariuma’s sneakers feature a protective toe cap and the rubber outsoles are fully stitched, so the shoes are built to last!

I also love that for every pair purchased, the company plants two trees in the Brazilian rainforest! 

Cariuma is a B Corp and it received the Butterfly Mark certification.

It also offers carbon-neutral shipping and it sends its shoes in recycled and recyclable packaging. 

SHOP CARIUMA

2. Hylo Athletics

For: Women & Men

Categories: Running Shoes, Trainers 

If you love running and being active, this brand is for you! 

Hylo Athletics ensures its running shoes are ultra-cushioned to minimize your ground impact when running.

They are extremely comfortable, light and breathable, and can be used for high-intensity workouts! 

The brand produces its shoes using renewable materials like algae, sugarcane, and corn to reduce its use of fossil fuels.

It also has a sustainable manufacturing process that minimizes water usage and material waste. 

Hylo Athletics is also very transparent about the carbon footprint of its shoes, which is awesome!

All its footwear is completely vegan and cruelty-free. 

The company is even a certified B Corporation and takes back used trainers from any brands to recycle them. 

SHOP HYLO ATHLETICS

3. Eileen Fisher

For: Women

Categories: Flats, Mules, Boots, Sandals, Sneakers

This sustainable clothing brand has a great collection of high-quality shoes.

From sandals to booties to mules, its footwear features timeless silhouettes that will flatter your feet. 

Most shoes are sold in a few neutral colors, which makes them very easy to combine with any outfit!

Eileen Fisher makes its shoes using a sustainable fabric made from recycled plastic bottles or leather sourced from tanneries that are Gold-rated by the Leather Working Group.

Some of the insoles are made with algae foam, a material that helps sequester carbon and filter polluted water! 

The company received the B Corp certification. It also takes back used Eileen Fisher clothes to give them a new life (it either sells them, donates them, or turns them into new designs). 

It even reuses its scrap materials and transforms them into wall art and other objects!

How cool is that?! 

SHOP EILEEN FISHER

4. Koio

For: Women & Men

Categories: Boots, Slip-Ons, Sneakers 

Koio specializes in the production of Italian leather shoes.

You can choose between various models of boots and slip-ons, as well as low-top and high-top sneakers. 

Each pair of shoes is handmade in a family-owned factory in Italy by 42 exceptionally talented craftsmen!

Koio handcrafts its footwear using locally sourced, regenerative leathers, suedes, and recycled materials. 

I also like that the company’s shoes are easy to dress up and dress down.

Whichever model you pick, you can combine them with a pair of jeans for a more laid-back look.

But they also look refined if you dress up and choose a more elegant outfit! 

SHOP KOIO

There are many sustainable shoe brands that sell eco-friendly boots for colder weather.

5. Merry People

For: Women, Men, Kids

Categories: Rain Boots, Ankle Boots, Clogs 

This Australian footwear brand creates comfy and versatile rain boots for adults and children. 

100% waterproof and featuring a flexible neoprene lining, Merry People’s shoes are designed to keep your feet dry and warm! 

You get to choose between many colors and styles of ankle boots and mid-calf rain boots.

These are all perfect for going on little adventures when it’s wet and rainy!

You can also wear them when gardening, camping, or going on a walk. 

Merry People also launched a comfortable slip-on alternative, which is ideal for wearing around the house or the garden. 

The shoes are all long-lasting, 100% vegan, and made of high-quality natural rubber.

The soles are even built with arch support, so they’re extra supportive and comfortable! 

SHOP MERRY PEOPLE

6. Beckett Simonon

For: Men 

Categories: Derbies, Loafers, Oxfords, Monkstraps, Boots, Sneakers 

Beckett Simonon should be your go-to brand if you’re looking for elegant men’s shoes.

From casual to formal shoes, you will always look put together with them at your feet! 

The brand offers many styles of classic leather shoes, boots, and sneakers.

They are handmade using unbelievable craftsmanship and traditional shoe-making techniques. 

Beckett Simonon also crafts its shoes with longevity in mind!

For instance, the outsoles are stitched to the insoles and uppers instead of glued on.

This provides a sturdy construction, so you will be able to resole them in the future. 

The shoes are made-to-order, which prevents overproduction and reduces the risk of having unsold inventory. 

The brand also uses vegetable-tanned leather, as well as natural waxes, and water-based solvents and dyes. 

Plus, it donates 1% of every purchase to a non-profit of your choice! 

SHOP BECKETT SIMONON

7. Nisolo

For: Women & Men

Categories: Flats, Slip-Ons, Mules, Heels, Sneakers, Boots, Sandals, Oxfords, Loafers 

I love all of Nisolo’s shoes!

The brand has everything you may need from heels and ankle boots to sandals and sneakers. 

They feature a timeless design that will make you look chic and stylish wherever you go, and they are incredibly versatile and functional! 

Nisolo crafts the majority of its shoes from high-quality leather sourced from Leather Working Group-certified tanneries.

It also makes sure to source leather that’s a byproduct of the meat industry. 

The brand doesn’t use any oil-based materials like polyester unless they are 100% recycled and recyclable. 

Nisolo is a top-rated certified B Corporation and is Climate-Neutral certified! 

SHOP NISOLO

8. Allbirds  

For: Women, Men, Kids

Categories: Sneakers, Running Shoes, Flats, Slip-Ons, Hiking Shoes 

Allbirds crafts beautiful, sustainable shoes for the whole family using natural materials.

It has lovely models for everyday wear, as well as running shoes and water-repellent sneakers. 

As a minimalist and someone who loves simplicity, I love how the brand’s footwear features such a minimalist design! 

It doesn’t have any useless details or flashy logos, and it’s very practical and comfortable.

The shoes are even designed to feel like you’re walking on a cloud! 

Allbirds makes its shoes using sustainably sourced materials such as Tencel lyocell (made from FSC-certified wood) and ZQ-certified merino wool.

The soles are produced from sugarcane and the laces are made from recycled plastic bottles. 

The company also offsets its carbon emissions, is a B Corp, and its minimal packaging is made of 90% recycled cardboard.

You can even buy pre-loved Allbirds shoes on the brand’s second-hand marketplace! 

SHOP ALLBIRDS

If you're looking for sustainable sneakers, there are many options available made from eco-friendly materials.

9. Sézane

For: Women & Men 

Categories: Loafers, Boots, Sneakers, Clogs, Heels, Flats 

Sézane is a Parisian sustainable luxury brand creating beautiful pieces for women.

It offers a variety of sneakers, flats, boots, and many other styles of shoes.

And you can also get a few pairs for men. 

The company makes its shoes using leather, which is sourced as a byproduct of the food industry.

The majority of it is either vegetable-tanned, metal-free, or chrome-free. 

Sézane produces its shoes in Italy, Portugal, or Spain. 

What makes the company so sustainable is the incredible quality of its products: they are designed to last year after year.

It is also B Corp certified, so it meets the most stringent criteria for environmental and social performance! 

Sézane even launched a program that promotes education, culture, and equal opportunities for children! 

SHOP SEZANE

10. Alohas

For: Women

Categories: Sandals, Heels, Loafers, Flats, Espadrilles, Sneakers, Boots, Mules 

What started as a small brand creating espadrilles has grown over the years into a sustainability-focused company crafting beautiful everyday shoes. 

Alohas now offers both trendy and more timeless, classic styles of shoes. 

The company has an on-demand model, which helps fight overproduction as well as reduce waste and carbon emissions. 

Alohas handcrafts its shoes in Spain and Portugal using eco-friendly and plant-based leathers certified by the Leather Working Group. 

The brand stands out from other brands thanks to its large vegan shoe collection.

Some of the models are made of innovative materials produced using apples, cacti, and corn!

This is so rare and cool! 

SHOP ALOHAS

11. Adelante Shoe Co

For: Women & Men

Categories: Boots, Sandals, Loafers, Mules, Dress Shoes 

Adelante was created around a social mission to fund economic development in Latin America.

It handcrafts beautiful leather shoes in its workshop in Guatemala using a made-to-order model. 

Adelante sells all kinds of shoes, flats, boots, and sandals for women and men.

I love how rich the color palette is, and the styles available are gorgeous and flattering! 

Made by talented artisans who are paid a fair, living wage, they are all designed to last! 

Since they are produced when you order them, there is no mass production and no unsold inventory, resulting in less waste

You even get to select the exact size and width you want to have, so you know the shoes will fit you perfectly! 

SHOP ADELANTE SHOE CO

12. Vivaia

For: Women & Men

Categories: Flats, Heels, Loafers, Boots, Sandals, Mules, Sneakers 

Vivaia has a very large selection of stylish and sustainable footwear for women.

And it offers a couple of sneakers for men as well. 

All the shoes are designed to be incredibly comfortable to wear, and they are available in a wide variety of patterns and colors. 

Vivaia makes them using recycled plastic bottles diverted from landfill and oceans.

So far, it has upcycled around 3.5 million bottles into new shoes, which is a lot!

It also uses other sustainable materials such as hemp fabric, natural rubber, recycled faux fur, and rice husks. 

You will love how practical the shoes are!

They are lightweight, foldable, and machine washable so they’re easy to clean. 

Vivaia’s shoes also feature heel padding to prevent blisters, soft insoles with built-in arch support, a breathable upper, and shock-absorbing non-slip outsoles.

Made with plants, the midsoles are also designed to prevent foot odor. 

Plus, Vivaia ships everything in recycled cardboard boxes! 

SHOP VIVAIA

Vivaia is one of the best sustainable shoe brands you can find!

13. Made Trade

For: Women, Men, Kids, Babies

Categories: Slip-Ons, Loafers, Boots, Mules, Flats, Heels, Sneakers, Oxfords, Sandals, Slides

Made Trade is a one-stop shop for sustainably made products.

It offers all kinds of high-quality shoes for each member of the family, including babies. 

What I love about Made Trade is that it carries many brands and has options for every budget.

This is super practical to have it all in one place! 

Most of the shoes sold are made from ethically sourced leather and wool, but you can also find models produced with hemp and recycled materials.

There are shoes for every season, occasion, and style! 

Made Trade makes sure everything is produced sweatshop-free, and the company is certified Climate-Neutral. 

SHOP MADE TRADE 

14. Able

For: Women

Categories: Heels, Sandals, Boots, Sneakers, Flats, Clogs

Initially founded to help Ethiopian women come out of the commercial sex industry, Able has become a leader in the sustainable fashion sphere. 

The brand crafts lovely, thoughtfully-designed shoes, all of which are incredibly versatile and high quality!

You get to choose between many styles of boots, sandals, sneakers, heels, and flats. 

Combining style, fit, and function, Able’s shoes are made from materials that stand the test of time, including leather upcycled from discarded animal hides. 

The brand also works with partners who utilize deadstock and scrap materials to minimize waste and who use a 100% recycled, closed-loop water system.

SHOP ABLE

Final thoughts on these sustainable shoe brands 

I hope you’ve found this list of 14 sustainable shoe brands helpful and that you could find the exact pair of shoes you were looking for. 

 By choosing more sustainable options, you are making sure that the environmental impact of your footwear is a lot lower than if you bought it from fast fashion brands

However, even the most sustainable shoes do have an impact on the planet.

So try to take care of your shoes so that they can last for as long as possible. 

Treat them well, and clean them when they get dirty.

Donate or sell any unused shoes that you don’t see yourself wearing anymore to give them a new life. 

Also, see if you can extend their lives by repairing them when they get worn out. 

If you cannot fix them, please find a way to recycle them.

Where I live, we have textile recycling bins where we can put worn-out shoes, so that’s convenient.

You might have some of those near you.

If you don’t, consider sending your shoes to Soles4Souls or dropping them off at a store offering to recycle old footwear. 

If you’re looking for other sustainable products for when you’re on the go, check out the following articles:

Now, I’d love to know: what are the best sustainable shoe brands you’ve tried out so far? 

Let’s spread the word about sustainable shoe brands in the comment section!

Don’t forget to share this article with your friends to help them find more eco-friendly footwear too! 

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