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15 Best Ethical & Sustainable Shoe Brands

A line of sustainable shoes sitting on a shelf in a shoe shop

Are you shopping for shoes that are fashionable, affordable, and gentle on the environment?

Sustainable shoe brands are an alternative to traditional shoe brands that participate in fast fashion — a production strategy that uses low-quality materials and unethical practices. Instead, sustainable brands use renewable materials that enhance the quality of footwear. Other shoe brands remove toxic materials from the environment by using recycled plastic bottles and textiles.

In this article, we will discuss the 15 best sustainable shoe brands that combine fashion, comfort, and Earth-focused values. To be featured in this list, companies must design high-quality footwear, source eco friendly materials, and use ethical practices that benefit customer satisfaction and environmental conservation.

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Best for the office: Rothy’s – uses renewable materials and recycled ocean plastic

Best for casual shoes: SAOLA – bio-based shoes that support wildlife conservation programs

Best for luxury fashion: VEERAH – vegan designer shoes with interchangeable accessories

Best for sports & exercise: Allbirds – high-performance, sustainable sports shoes

Best for orthopedic therapy: SOLE – carbon-negative shoes recommended by physical therapy patients

Budget: $165 – $275

Features: Zero-Waste Certified Factories, Fair Wages, Recycled Water Bottles, Renewable Materials, Machine Washable, Versatile

Sizes: Full & Half sizes, Men’s, Women’s, Kids’

Rothy’s is a Zero-Waste Certified company fueled by a passion for combating our world’s plastic pollution crisis. Plastic is a non-biodegradable material and a danger to our ocean. Rothy’s reduces marine plastic by recycling plastic bottles into their signature thread. Wearing their shoes keeps plastic out of the ocean. Read Rothy’s blog to learn more about their sustainable achievements and dedication.

What is Rothy’s secret for designing soft and comfortable shoes yet so durable? Rothy’s Signature Thread is blended with recycled water bottles, ethically sourced RWS-Certified Merino wool, and hemp fiber, which strikes the perfect balance for long-lasting comfort. Their shoes are also made with bio-based materials, including algae, corn, natural minerals, and castor beans.

Rothy’s receives thousands of highly satisfied reviews from customers who love the all-day comfort, versatile options, and sophisticated style. To find your perfect fitcheck out Rothy’s style guide. When you purchase Rothy’s shoes, you are not only being promised comfort, quality, and style; you are joining conservation efforts to restore our ocean’s health.

Range includes: Flats, loafers, slip ons, sneakers, boots, Mary-Janes, business, casual, formal, kids’ shoes

Our top picksThe Point (Women’s)The RS01 Sneaker (Men’s)The Driver

Budget: $40 – $120

Features: Breathable Design, Casual, Sustainable Manufacturing, Biodegradable Materials, Proceeds Benefit Wildlife Conservation

Sizes: Full & half sizes, men’s & women’s

SAOLA was born with a passion for protecting endangered animal species and raising awareness about environmental issues through their famous line of eco friendly shoes. Their company is named after one of the most critically endangered species. With only a few hundred saolas (a relative of cows that resemble antelope, nicknamed the “Asian unicorn”) left, this sustainable shoe brand is fighting for its recovery.

For every pair of shoes purchased, SAOLA donates 1% of the proceeds to 1 of 6 restoration programs, which protect environmental regulations, coral reefs, and endangered species, including sun bears, sea turtles, bonobo monkeys, and animals native to Kenya. Visit SAOLA’s Wildlife Conservation page to learn more about the conservation programs associated with SAOLA.

SAOLA is highly rated for the lightweight comfort of their everyday sneakers and summer shoes. Their styles are made from recycled plastic bottles, which simulate the comfort and support of animal-based leather. Their shoes are constructed with Bloom algae outsoles, organic cotton laces, and natural cork insoles, which hug the bottom of your foot for custom comfort.

Range includes: Running sneakers, slip ons, casual footwear, sandals

Our top picksCannon Knit Sneakers (Women’s)Tsavo Sneakers (Men’s)Virunga Slip-on Shoes (Women’s)

Budget: $220 to $400

Features: Designer, Bridal, Customizable Add-ons, Comfortable Stilettos, 100% Vegan, Organic Cotton Lining, Recycled Plastic Bottles

Sizes: Women’ s full & half sizes

VEERAH is our designer pick! Their vegan heels are gorgeous, cruelty-free, and truly one-of-a-kind. Whether you’re shopping for your wedding day or searching for a unique accessory to complement your signature look, their shoes are perfect for any special occasion. Their shoes feel as luxurious as they look — and each pair is artistically designed to make any outfit unique.

VEERAH combats ocean plastic pollution by recycling plastic water bottles into high-end fashion. They also use renewable materials like algae, apple skins, and organic cotton. Check out VEERAH’s Shoe Accessories, which include clip brooches, straps, ribbons, and tassels, to achieve multiple looks with one pair of shoes.

Range includes: Boots, flats, sandals, mules, heels, pumps, bridal

Our top picksVenus Strappy Heel w/Ribbon add-onHedy Ankle BootMulan Vegan Suede Pump

Budget: $40 – $160

Sizes: Men’s, Women’s, Standard & Half sizes

Features: ZQ-Certified Wool, Wind Farm Partnerships, Fair Trade Practices, Water-Repellent Sneakers, Allbirds ReRun (Consignment Shop)

Allbirds manufactures sustainable sneakers using 100% renewable energy and sponsors organizations that do the same. Allbirds Flight Plan outlines the company’s detailed plan to track, analyze, and ultimately eliminate their carbon footprint. They advocate for reducing pollution caused by fast fashion. Visit Allbirds ReRun, where you can also purchase or trade-in gently used Allbirds shoes.

Allbirds uses innovative, natural materials like sugarcane, recycled plastic bottles, ZQ-Certified wool, and Trino® (a combination of Merino wool and tree fibers). They also uses FSC-certified eucalyptus tree fibers grown in South Africa, where the trees can rely on natural rainfall. By eliminating traditional irrigation practices, Allbirds reduces their water usage by 95%.

Allbirds athletic shoes are made with eucalyptus fibers, which make shoes breathable, supportive, and perfect for running and high-intensity exercise. Looking for your next go-to pair of shoes? Check out their Water-Repellent Sneakers, made with cruelty-free wool and designed to wick away moisture to keep your feet dry and warm in cool, drizzly weather.

Range includes: Athletic shoes, vegan sneakers, casual footwear, hiking shoes, slippers, sandals

Our top picksMen’s Tree RunnersWomen’s Wool Dasher MizzlesWomen’s Tree Breezers

Budget: $65 – $150

Sizes: Men’s, Women’s, Standard & Half sizes

Features: Carbon-Negative Materials, Partners With ReCork, Quality Arch Support & Orthopedic Treatment

SOLE insoles and footwear are stylish, sustainably certified, and clinically proven to prevent and rehabilitate foot pain and injury. They design their products by setting strict standards of ethical practices and consulting medical expertise regarding orthopedic health. Their footbeds and footwear are clinically proven to help rehabilitate injuries and reduce strain in conditions like plantar fasciitis by 34%.

SOLE uses carbon-negative materials (natural materials that benefit the environment) like Bloom (algae harvested from harmful algal blooms) and cork, harvested from the tree bark without harming or cutting down the tree itself. SOLE also partners with ReCork, a recycling program that sets up stations for the public to drop off their unwanted wine corks to be recycled into high quality products.

Cork is porous and lightweight — ideal for insoles and footbeds. It effectively wicks away moisture and provides outstanding shock absorption so that long days are not tough on your feet. SOLE carries a wide selection of sustainable boots, booties, and attractive, flip-flops which physical therapist patients widely recommend for their outstanding arch support and overall comfort.

Range includes: Flip-flops, supportive running shoes, casual footwear, boots, flats

Our top picksMendocino Sports Slides (Men’s & Women’s),  District by Recork Grade (Men’s)District by Recork Lark (Women’s)

Budget: $75 to $550

Features: Vegan Luxury, Ethical Practices, Fair Trade Practices, High-End Details, Recycled Materials

Sizes: Women’s full sizes (EU 36 – 41)

Beyond Skin believes that respecting animal rights is a part of operating an eco friendly company. Their website features vegan luxury constructed with recycled rubber and resin and finished with a vegetable-based protective coating. Their company achieves high-end designs, which are often spotted at Hollywood award shows and events worn by famous eco-activists and animal lovers.

Beyond Skin is transparent about the pros and cons of vegan leather vs. animal-based leather. Leather production involves the overconsumption of two vital natural resources — water and land. With climate issues like overpopulation and deforestation posing severe threats to our environment, resource and land conservation is mandatory so that our planet can meet everyone’s needs.

Beyond Skin features a wide selection of vegan leather shoes that range from knee-high boots, luxury stilettos, colorful flats, and more. Whether you’re searching for cruelty-free heels for your wedding day — or you’re shopping for a pair of glamorous pumps that will make a statement at your big event, Beyond Skin designs shoes that are meant to love forever.

Range includes: Heeled boots, luxury heels & flats, Mary-Janes, loafers, fashion sneakers

Our top picksAlora Bow Vegan Stiletto Heels, Anna Black High Heel Vegan Slouch BootsYasmina Black Peep Toe Vegan High Heel Stilettos

Budget: $50 to $430

Features: Climate Neutral Certified, Innovative & Sustainable Materials, Green Business Certified, Elegant Fashion, thredUP Partnership

Sizes: Women’s full & half sizes

Reformation is a Climate Neutral Certified clothing and footwear company leading the fashion industry in earth-friendly manufacturing practices. They also partner with thredUP, an online consignment shop that encourages shoppers to purchase gently used clothing and apparel to reduce the amount of textile waste contributing to landfills worldwide.

Reformation’s Better Materials page rates sustainable materials based on their environmental impact. Their eco friendly materials include recycled cotton, Deadstock (leftover fabric from the fashion industry), NATIVA (ethically sourced wool), and TENCEL™ from fibers (FSC-Certified wood fibers). Visit their website to read about their transparent goals and ambitious mission to be Climate Positive by 2025.

Shop for summer-themed strappy sandals, vibrant colored pumps, classy black heels, or elegant wedding shoes. Reformation shoes are made with Gold and Silver-standard vegetable tanned leather, which they plan to swap out for sustainable vegan options in the future. Check out their vegan styles like the Alessa Lace-Up Wedge, which is made with flax and significantly reduces water usage.

Range includes: Boots, flats, heels, sandals, wedges, sneakers, mules, loafers, platforms

Our top picksAlessa Lace Up Wedge EspadrillePia Knotted Heeled SandalMillie Lattice Flat Sandal

Budget: $50 – $200

Features: Carbon Neutral Certified, 100% Vegan, High Quality Shoes, Organic Cotton Lining, Green Packaging, Dress Shoes, Waterproof Boots

Sizes: Full & half sizes, Men’s, Women’s

Searching for vegan leather shoes that look as sophisticated and classy as traditional cow leather? Will’s Vegan Store features high quality, beautifully-made Italian vegan leather dress shoes, heels, and work boots designed to treat nature right. Customers report wearing their Will’s Vegan shoes for years without any breakdown in durability.

Vegan leather qualifies as sustainable when it’s constructed with bio-based and recycled materials, manufactured using eco-conscious practices, and when the quality is so exceptional that it reduces the number of shoes ending up in landfills. Will’s Vegan Store uses sustainable materials like organic cotton, plants from cereal crops, and viscose (a natural oil derived from eucalyptus trees).

Will’s Vegan Store does not participate in fast fashion trends like Black Friday and summer sales, resulting in shoppers tossing out unwanted impulse purchases. Instead, Will’s shoes are made to love and last for years. Whether you’re shopping for fashion, function, or both, Will’s eco friendly shoes are worn in the office, rain, workshop, mountains, snow, and everyday setting.

Range includes: Boots, dress shoes, vegan sneakers, running trainers, heels, pumps, flats, sandals, work boots, hiking shoes, dock boots, waterproof & insulated options, high traction

Our top picksWork Boots (Men’s & Women’s)High Heeled Cut Outs (Women’s)Slim Dress Shoes (Men’s)WVSport Waterproof Hiking Boots (Men’s & Women’s)

Budget: $95 – $180

Features: Casual, Iconic Design, Recycled Water Bottles, Recycled Rubber, Ethical Production

Sizes: Full & Half sizes, Women’s, Men’s

Nothing New is a sustainable shoe brand that manufactures shoes made from upcycled industrial fishing nets, recycled polyester, and natural rubber. Their iconic low-top and high-top designs are meant to be classic and minimalistic so that one pair will become your go-to pair. Every pair of their sneakers repurposes 5.6 plastic water bottles, which reduces plastic waste.

Nothing New is Global Recycle Standard certified, which guarantees that their fabric is safe for the environment. Above all, Nothing New prioritizes sustainability. They started the Virtuous Cycle Program, which encourages customers to send back their worn-out Northing New shoes for a $20 credit towards a new pair.

Mix & match Nothing New high & low-tops by choosing from various colors, which can quickly change your look from casual fun to edgy chic. Check out their collection of Better Canvas, featuring shoes made with 100% recyclable materials, and the Leather² collection, featuring shoes made from upcycled Italian leather, which reduces water usage and carbon emissions by 80%.

Range includes: Casual shoes, low tops, high tops

Our top picksClassic High Top (Men’s & Women’s)Classic Low Top (Men’s & Women’s)Wave (Men’s & Women’s)

Budget: $90 to $160

Features: B Corp Certified, Ethical Practices, Natural Materials, Customizable Designs, Water-Repellent, Machine Washable

Sizes: Full sizes, men’s & women’s

Baabuk is a B Corp Certified sustainable footwear company that sells high-quality eco friendly shoes. They use ethically-sourced wool, which follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the health and wellbeing of free-range sheep. Wool is a natural, biodegradable material favorable for its moisture-wicking properties, making Baabuk shoes water-repellent, breathable, and cozy.

Sheep need their coats trimmed regularly to avoid illness and mobility issues. Sustainable shoe brands like Baabuk care for their sheep by maintaining their coats and providing adequate food, water, shelter, and pastures. They also work with endangered sheep through their Miss Baabuka Program, which protects and rehabilitates six different breeds of sheep native to Switzerland.

Baabuk’s website features many minimalist style sneakers, high-tops, ballet flats, and slippers. Their lightweight footwear is built for all seasons and made with soft, itch-free Merino wool lining. The natural latex soles are durable and slip-resistant. Their sustainable shoes are available in various colors, including the option to customize your sneakers to create your perfect look!

Range includes: Everyday shoes, high-top sneakers, ballet flats, slippers

Our top picksUrban WoolerBlacknose Sky WoolerWool BallerinaMel Slip-in Slipper

Budget: $100 – $110

Features: Zero-Waste Company, Recycled Shoes Program, Vegan Bio Leather, Minimalist Design, Organic Cotton Tote Packaging

Sizes: Full & Half sizes, Men’s, Women’s

Thousand Fell uses responsibly sourced and recycled materials to design Zero-Waste slip-on and lace-up sneakers. Their closed-loop manufacturing system means that their sneakers can be recycled instead of added to a landfill. Thousand Fell’s RECYCLE NOW program credits their customers $20 to send in their worn-out sneakers, which will get recycled into a new pair!

Thousand Fell recognizes the unavoidable environmental hazards of using leather (see FAQ section). Instead, they use plant-based and recycled materials like aloe vera, recycled & natural rubber, castor beans, coconut husk, sugar cane, and of course, recycled bottles. Learn more about Thousand Fell’s environmentally focused strategy behind the materials they choose.

Thousand Fell sneakers have a minimalist aesthetic and durable design. Their signature bio leather mimics the appearance and quality of white leather sneakers. Their shoes feature a stain-proof, water-resistant coating made from natural quartz to enhance longevity. They also include insoles made from recycled yoga mats, which feel as comfortable as they sound!

Range includes: Lace-up sneakers, slip-on shoes, court shoes, white bio leather sneakers

Our top picks: Lace Up (Men’s & Women’s), Slip On (Men’s & Women’s), Court Shoes (Men’s & Women’s)

Budget: $70 – $125

Features: Versatile, Long-Lasting, Repurposed Materials, Recycled Packaging, Fair Trade Practices

Sizes: Women’s Half & Full sizes

ABLE is an eco-conscious fashion company that prioritizes product quality and longevity. Their sustainable shoes are versatile to fit any occasion and well-made, so you can expect to wear them for years to come. The fewer items we have in our closet, the closer we get to reducing textile waste’s impact on the environment.

ABLE works with the Leather Working Group to repurpose discarded animal hides and scraps into leather shoes built to withstand a lifetime of love. Instead of using toxic chemicals, ABLE opts for vegetable tanned leather, which is environmentally safe. They also partner with leather companies that use closed-loop watering symptoms, which reduces water consumption.

Range includes: Sandals, sneakers, boots, heels, wedges, flats

Our top picksEmmy SneakerJones HeelElisa Sandal

Budget: $100 – $350

Features: B-Corp Certified, Zero-Waste Practices, Company Transparency, Fair Wages, Renewable Materials, Vegetable Tanned Leather Shoes 

Sizes: Full & Half sizes, Unisex sizing, Men’s, Women’s, Kids’ shoes

VEJA is widely known for their exceptional sustainable shoes and transparent values of environmental & social responsibility. VEJA fairly made shoes cost significantly more to manufacture because they carefully select innovative materials, follow strict fair trade guidelines, and eliminate the use of ads, which allows them to oversee every stage of production firsthand. Learn more about VEJA’s ad-free production here.

VEJA takes time to strategically design shoes they believe their customers will love today and 10 years from now. They design shoes made with bio-based and recycled materials, including recycled plastic, organic cotton, sugar cane, corn, and chrome free leather sourced from the Leather Working Group and has been repurposed as a by-product of the meat industry.

VEJA sells a combination of Gold-standard leather shoes and bio-based vegan styles, which they plan to expand in the future. Their shoes range from fun & colorful everyday sneakers to comfortable & supportive running shoes that feature shock absorption, lightweight cushioning, and natural rubber soles.

Range includes: Unisex sneakers, everyday footwear, velcro options, kids’ shoes

Our top picks: Impala Jacquard Black Cream Sneaker (Unisex)Condor 2 VEJA X Ciele Nautico Orange Fluo (Unisex)Esplar Se Canvas White Matcha (Unisex)

Budget: $110 – $270

Features: Cruelty-Free Practices, 100% Vegan Leather, Modern Fashion Designs, AppleSkin Leather

Sizes: Unisex sizes, full sizes

Looking for a sustainable shoe brand that cares as much for animal welfare as they do customer satisfaction? Check out Good Guys Don’t Wear Leather, a company that started their business with one main idea: selling cruelty-free vegan leather shoes and accessories that fit their customers’ comfort, modern fashion trends, and ethical principles.

Good Guys centers their choice of materials around ethical treatment of animals and the environment. Their shoes are 100% vegan, manufactured in local family-owned shops, and packaged using biodegradable materials. They keep their styles classic and durable to cut down on the number of pairs purchased. Customers report wearing the original Good Guys design 10 years later!

Good Guys carries eco friendly shoes for all occasions. The AppleSkin Collection features shoes made from recycled apple skins and cores from the fruit juice industry. They sources materials locally and ensures that they meet the Oekotex Standard 100 Class guidelines guaranteeing that companies use sustainable materials and practices to design their products.

Range includes: Sneakers, sandals, boots, clogs, everyday shoes

Our top picksDAISY High heel vegan cowboy boots (Women’s)AYITA 2.0 Vegan Desert Boots (Men’s)MIMI Vegan Cross Strap Sandal (Women’s)

Budget: $30 – $280

Features: Vegan Materials, Wide Style Selection & Budget Range, High-End Brands, Carbon-Neutral Shipping

Sizes: Full & half sizes, men’s & women’s

Avesu understands the difficulty in finding vegan shoe brands. Instead of spending hours searching for the perfect pair, their company has researched it for you! Avesu is an inventory of animal-free styles. Their website features popular eco friendly shoe brands, including TOMS, VEJA, AHIMSA, and Bourgeois Boheme.

Avesu conducts first-hand inspections with their suppliers to ensure they meet the requirements of cruelty-free practices, eco friendly manufacturing processes, and fair working conditions. They use carbon-neutral shipping through their partnership with DHL GoGreen Shipping services, which makes local deliveries using electric bikes and cars.

Avesu’s one-stop shop offers limitless options to fit any occasion and budget truly. Shop for sophisticated, high-grade faux leather business shoes for your next formal meeting. Or lace up a pair of waterproof hiking shoes made with GORE-TEX lining and built to last years of outdoor adventures.

Range includes: Heels, boots, business, fashion, elegant, hiking, flats, summer, running shoes, rain boots

Our top picksThe Lot Biker Boot by Perfect JaneDavid Cognac Dress Shoe by AHIMSAThe Alpargata Canvas by TOMS

Conclusion

Perhaps one of the most eco friendly steps we can take to encourage sustainable fashion is to take the time to research shoe brands before purchasing a pair. Avoid shoe brands that participate in fast fashion and perpetuate the pollution crisis. Shop sustainable shoe brands that take pride in the quality of their shoes and the Earth-friendly practices within their company.

FAQs

Is leather sustainable?

This list features a few sustainable footwear brands that repurpose animal hides from the meat industry. In some ways, repurposing cowhides from the meat industry is an ethical way to honor an animal’s life because otherwise, it would just be tossed into a landfill. However, severe environmental hazards are associated with the meat farming industry, including deforestation, excessive water consumption, and overusing land to grow feed crops instead of re-planting forests. 

To restore our planet’s health, we must refine our farming practices and cut down on meat consumption. Ultimately, using leather is not sustainable because it requires the same environmentally damaging techniques used to raise cows for meat. 

Is vegan leather sustainable?

Vegan leather is not considered sustainable when it’s manufactured using toxic synthetic fibers that make it difficult to recycle. However, there are several plant-based sustainable materials like AppleSkin, flax, and cork quickly becoming famous for their impressive quality.

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