Social good and ethical practices by brand definition can mean different things. Tom’s is built on a one for one model, but some brands are taking their definition of social good and ethics a bit further. 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. Below, we have highlighted of few of these sustainable shoe brands that are producing great products in innovative ways. Check them out.
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. Thanks to the most advanced technologies in recycling, ECOALF transforms wasted materials like fishing nets, plastic bottles, tires and even coffee leftovers into high quality fabrics and then into designer clothes and sustainable shoes.
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 takes old tires that would otherwise contribute to Indonesia’s massive landfill problem, and transforms them into beautiful sandals and shoes through a production process that is organic, toxic free, and environmentally sustainable. Not only that – the process provides dignified work to many in Indonesia.
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.
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.
Listen to our podcast with sustainable shoe brands here.
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