Sustainable shoe brands are becoming more and more popular as consumers become more aware of the impact their purchases have on the environment. There are a number of sustainable shoe brands that are making a positive impact, using materials that are environmentally friendly and ensuring that their workers are paid fair wages.
Sustainable shoe brands often use recycled materials, organic cotton, and natural rubber to create their products. They also focus on creating long-lasting products that can be repaired or recycled instead of being thrown away.
Sustainable shoe brands are making products in different ways, using fair trade practices, organic materials, donating profits, and going out of their way to get B-certified and Fair Trade certified.
They have found a place to exist in the ethical brand market, especially with young conscious consumers. Going forward it’s going to be fun to watch brands innovate in the sustainable shoe sector with new ethically made sneakers, sandals, and other forms of footwear.
What is a Sustainable Shoe Brand?
A sustainable shoe brand is one that implements sustainability initiatives in both its processes and products. This includes using eco-friendly materials such as organic cotton, hemp, or bamboo.
It also means manufacturing shoes with minimal waste and reducing the carbon footprint associated with production and transportation. Additionally, sustainable shoe brands usually support ethical labor practices throughout their supply chain.
Below, we have highlighted a few of these sustainable shoe brands that are producing great products in innovative ways.
Check them out.
As a B Corp certified company, Baabuk meets the global non-profit organization’s exacting guidelines for social and environmental performance as well as for how our company’s operations and business model impact our workers, community, environment and customers.
As with everything at Baabuk, their sustainability efforts begin with wool — a fabric that is long lasting, recyclable and renewable.
They source the wool for the sneakers from Portugal, where the sheep are certified mulesing-free and live in Serra de Estela Natural Park, the largest protected area in the country.
Because of the the country’s long-standing history with wool production, Baabuk chose Nepal as the manufacturing hub for our slippers and boot-bodies for the chance to make a positive impact in a local community.
They do so by providing good working conditions, 25% higher salary than the national average and, in a country where men have more job opportunities, by employing more women than men (14 women and three men) in the workshop.
UNLESS is more than a fashion label – it’s an innovative movement for positive change. Their 100% plant-based streetwear has zero plastic waste, meaning that everything you buy will be created and returned to the very elements nature intended: no harm done.
They invite anyone who cares about their style matching up with what’s best for our planet to join the collective of innovators, engineers, artists and activists taking on both social injustice and environmental issues through conscious design.
Enjoy a stylish, resilient statement sneaker with The DEGENERATE – created using an innovative blend of plants and minerals. Forged in a deep cup-sole for strength and attitude, this modern silhouette is designed to carry you through whatever life throws your way during its lifetime – when it’s worn out we will even responsibly return it to the earth.
The Root Collective
The Root Collective partners with small, independent workshops because they believe that’s where the most impact in communities happen. The goal is to support existing workshops that are run by local business owners.
All of their producers receive beyond fair trade wages.
This model is intentional. Small business has the power to create incredible change in communities through jobs, and they want to support and empower those local leaders to continue to see change through employment.
Nisolo is a sustainable shoe brand that specializes in selling ethically-sourced footwear and accessories. The company was founded in 2011 by Patrick Woodyard and Zandy Mangold, two former students of the Peace Corps.
Nisolo is committed to providing fair wages and working conditions for its workers, as well as supporting environmental sustainability.
In addition to selling its own line of products, Nisolo also partners with other companies that share its values. As a result, Nisolo has become a leading voice in the fashion industry for promoting ethical and sustainable business practices.
Atoms was made with the simple desire to build the best shoe. The result of the journey is not only Atoms Model 000, but an amazing community of people they’ve met along the way.
The brand is consistently motivated to keep making shoes better, and hold themselves accountable to treat customers right. That includes using materials and fabrics that other companies consider far too expensive.
For Atoms, making a shoe that you are excited to wear every day is all that matters.
The TPU material used at Atoms is a durable, safe, non-toxic material that is recyclable but more importantly biodegradable.
It biodegrades within 3-5 years without changing the natural pH levels of the soil. Coupled with the state of the art manufacturing techniques like waterless dying and injection molding, they eliminate most of the waste other shoe brands create.
It gets produced in an ethical manner in South Korea and shipped carbon neutral directly to your door eliminating the double shipment from a US warehouse
KOKOLU’s mission is to lead by example and set a new standard for what sustainability means in the fashion and textile industry. Together, we hope to create a more harmonious existence between human and nature not only for the present, but for the future.
Inspired by nature’s true vibrant palette, KOKOLU is a sustainable lifestyle brand that believes in the power of standing out and speaking up with colorful sustainable shoes and bags that feel just as good as they look.
With all products made from plant-based and natural materials, KOKOLU makes it easy for people to embrace their most bad-ass, stylish selves while consciously living a more sustainable life by extending the life cycle of our products.
Born in Switzerland, named one of the country’s top start-ups, On has come a long way in a short time. Available today in over 50 countries and cited as “the fastest growing sports company in the world”, its success comes down to two reasons: incredible sustainable products – and incredible people.
It has one simple mission: make running fun. A team of sports scientists, world-class athletes and passionate sports enthusiasts spearhead this mission, and has resulted in On shoes and Performance Running Gear winning design and technology distinctions the world over.
In On shoes, elite athletes have become World Champions, winning podiums and titles in every kind of running sport. They are the shoes that broke the Ironman world record and claimed Olympic medals.
The shoes themselves sport the patented CloudTec sole, giving runners a soft landing and powerful take-off in one.
Recently, On has launched into the world of apparel – already being recognized for their innovation and bringing together design and technology to allow for effortless running.
Coming soon. The Cloudneo shoe is a revolutionary running shoe. It’s fully recyclable. It’s high-performance meets sustainability. It’s the first product in the unique Cyclon subscription service. It’s the shoe you will never own.
Komrads is a socially conscious shoe company that produces stylish and eco-friendly footwear for conscious consumers. They are committed to minimizing the environmental impact of their shoes through their innovative manufacturing process.
Their shoes are made with sustainable materials such as recycled rubber and organic cotton. They also use earth-friendly dyes, solvents, glues, adhesives and other materials to reduce their carbon footprint.
The company’s mission is to create long-lasting shoes that actively contribute to communities around the world while being stylish and comfortable for everyone who wears them.
Johnny’s recently announced the world’s first fully biodegradable shoe that grows into a tree once planted underground. Designed to take on anything you throw at it; this revolutionary new product is cushiony, lightweight and water resistant.
The shoes do not biodegrade on your feet. A revolutionary new compound was developed that remains dormant until the shoes are planted underground.
Once activated, they attract naturally occurring microbes to break down the entire outsole within 3 years instead of the typical 1,000 years plastic needs to biodegrade. Halfway through the process, an apple seed coated with a natural fertilizer is released and begins to take root.
Comfort is an apparent focus in the shoe’s composition. The cork footbeds mould to your feet over time for a custom fit, while also combating foot odours.
The organic cotton canvas uppers are ethically sourced, as well as coated with a water-resistant beeswax coating.
Not only do the shoes give you the ability to plant a shoe, but Johnny will plant a tree on your behalf for every shoe sold.
ECOALF is born to prove that a truly sustainable fashion brand is possible without sacrificing aesthetics. Where others see trash, they see potential luxury goods.
ECOALF is a Spanish clothing company that specializes in sustainable fashion. The brand was founded in 2009 by Javier Goyeneche with the goal of creating environmentally-friendly clothing that would not sacrifice style or quality.
ECOALF sources its materials from recycled plastic bottles, fishing nets, and used tires. The company also employs sustainable manufacturing practices, such as using natural dyes and recycled packaging.
ECOALF’s commitment to sustainability has earned the brand numerous awards, and its products are sold in over 20 countries. ECOALF’s stylish and sustainable clothing is proving that it is possible to make fashion without harming the environment.
97% of sneakers currently end up in landfill – Thousand Fell is changing that. Their supply chain and products were designed over three years by industry leaders, incorporating tech from four countries.
The brand turns coconut husk, sugar cane & recycled bottles into sneakers to create a new type of product that can be recycled. Their supply chain allows them to take your old TFs back, recycle them here in the US, and put them into future TFs. This is the future of footwear.
For the dad who is concerned about climate change we love Allbirds. They offer a carbon neutral line of sneakers that implements its CO2 omitting processes across its entire supply chain.
These sneakers are made from eucalyptus tree fiber making them breathable, smooth and cool to wear in hot climates. Learn more about the brand’s initiatives here.
Indosole is a social enterprise that produces sustainable footwear made from recycled tires. The company was founded in 2007 with the mission of reducing waste in the environment and providing employment opportunities for marginalized communities.
Indosole’s shoes are made from upcycled tires that would otherwise end up in landfills. The company works with local artisans in Bali, Indonesia to handcraft each pair of shoes.
This not only provides employment opportunities for skilled workers, but also helps to preserve traditional craftsmanship techniques.
Use code: Causeartist for 10% off your purchase at Indosole.
Since 2005, VEJA’s goal is to create sneakers differently by mixing social projects, ecological materials and design. Using organic cotton and Amazonian rubber directly from producer associations based in Brazil and Peru. But also innovative materials such as recycled plastic bottles to create a mesh.
VEJA relies on social inclusion to take care of all its logistics for its e-shop and Parisian stores. Since the beginning, we allocate our financial resources to the production chain and not advertising. We do not have any stock and never overproduce.
VEJA is 15 years of adventures, failures and success, working along with incredible people, travelling to crazy places and creating crazy projects. As its Co-founders Sébastien Kopp and François Morillion said: “We just tried to create the company in which we would have dreamed of being employed.
In order to make this planet a better place, 8000Kicks took a 360º approach to define their responsibility as a business. This means empowering customers to opt-in for a more sustainable lifestyle by providing a superior eco-friendly footwear solution.
It means looking to their own footprint but also their partners’, to minimize our carbon emissions. It means caring to protect the most needed members of the community, by providing them comfortable and durable hemp products.
To reduce the brands impact they work with factory partners to increase the dependency on renewable energy sources. So far, their Portuguese factory uses 45% to 55% of clean energy sources but plan on improving these numbers.
They also invest in capturing CO2 with hemp farms and the plantation of trees. Every newly planted remove an average of 50 kilograms of CO2 from the atmosphere each year during its growth period of 20–50 years.
Sadly, each year, millions of shoes end up being burned or added to landfills, adding to environmental pollution. Most shoes can’t be recycled because they can’t be separated into individual parts for proper recycling.
That’s where Zebra Oasis comes in. The team has spent over three years perfecting this solution, and they’re proud to offer it to you.
- 100% Truly Recyclable: Just pull out the patented R-ring(‘R’ stands for ‘Reboot’) inside the shoe to separate the parts for 100% recycling. See how to separate the Zebra Oasis shoes here.
- Recycled-CO₂-injected sole: The 100% recyclable TPU foam utilizes innovative gas-assisted technology, eliminating the need for harmful chemicals in the foaming process and reducing existing CO₂.
- World’s 1st Hemp Flynit Upper: Perfectly fit for every foot. Blister-free. Breathable & Durable, inherently environmentally sustainable.
- No Dye & Machine-washable: No extra pollution and emission during the process.
- Foldable & Lightweight. Versatile Design for All-day Wear including traveling, hiking, office work, etc.
Po-Zu sustainable shoes are made made from carefully selected natural and sustainable materials that are healthy for your feet, kind to the environment and safe for all our workers throughout the supply chain.
The brand only works with carefully chosen factories that respect our Ethical Conduct Charter, ensuring Fair Wages & Conditions for the workers, amongst other things.
Modern footwear manufacturing is very damaging to the environment. Traditional shoe-crafting has been replaced with mass-production, lower quality and more harmful materials.
Fast Fashion has accelerated the pace at which people consume footwear, sending an average of three pairs of shoes per person to landfill every year.
The quest for cheaper and faster production has also encouraged the exploitation of vulnerable workers through longer hours, lower pay and dangerous working conditions. Here at Po-Zu it is their mission to challenge this trend.
Po-Zu believes shoes should be things you fall in love with and hold unto because they are built to last. They believe you can create stylish comfortable shoes with love for people and the planet.
Their name is central to the way they go about business. ‘Po-Zu’ stems from the Japanese word ポーズ, meaning to pause.
It is their mission to provide your feet with unique respite from the frantic pace of busy lives, and to halt the damage that modern footwear manufacturing causes to people and the planet.
A little over five years ago, Hugues Didier and his co-founder Vulfran de Richoufftz, decided to quit their jobs and promising careers to start something that that was both creative and impactful to society.
They chose to start PANAFRICA, a company dedicated to making sneakers differently, by respecting those who make them and by taking into account the social, economic and environmental impacts of their actions.
Not only do they continue to invest in innovations around its textiles and materials, as seen in their returnable and recyclable sneaker – The ARUSHA, they also invest time and energy into its workers and their futures.
In order to support the development of the workshop and to guarantee long-term employment, PANAFRICA is committed to producing one collection over six months.
This enables the company to avoid the pitfalls of mass production over short periods and ensures every worker: on-the-job training specific to the PANAFRICA chain of production, improved working conditions (transparency and lasting contracts), a workload spaced out over a longer period of time.
The purchase of PANAFRICA sneakers support projects for access to education and job training in Africa through the WALK FOR SCHOOL program. For each pair of sneakers you buy, PANAFRICA donates 10% of its profit to various associations.
Oliberté is a sustainable brand supporting workers’ rights in sub-Saharan Africa.
Oliberte believe in empowerment, transparency, and doing the right thing within its business model.
This means making premium quality products with a lifetime warranty, and it means treating every employee, everywhere in the world, with respect. In 2009, they started off as a small footwear company partnering with factories and suppliers in Africa.
Since then, they have gained enough momentum to launch their own factory in 2012. Now, they make every single pair of Oliberté shoes at the factory in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
In September 2013, Oliberte became the world’s first Fair Trade Certified™ footwear manufacturing factory.
soleRebels is an ethical footwear company founded in 2004 by Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu in her community of Zenabwork, Ethiopia. The brand recognized that Africa needs fewer charities and more brands whose global reach can leverage good for the country.
Good jobs means sustainability and not charity.
soleRebels can already tip its cap to a massive accomplishment. They are the 1st WFTO/IFAT Fair Trade certified footwear company in the world.
The company went through a rigorous audit to achieve this goal to prove that this sustainable model can exist and succeed in the country and the entire continent of Africa.
Listen to our podcast with sustainable shoe brands here.