Sustainable shoe brands

15 Sustainable and Ethical Shoe Brands

As consumers, we have the power to make a significant positive difference through our choices. Forward-thinking shoe brands are taking it upon themselves to provide ethical and sustainable options. These brands offer us access to important information to inform our sustainable shoe choices through supply chain transparency. By including details such as who makes the shoes, how they source materials and the impact on people and the planet, we can shop with the environment and ethics in mind. If you’re someone who prioritizes ethically made, responsibly sourced, and high-quality fashion products, we’ve compiled this list of the best sustainable and ethical shoe brands out there just for you. Let’s walk you through some of the footwear brands making a difference. 

15 of Our Favourite Ethical and Sustainable Shoe Brands

Below, we’ve highlighted some of our top picks for shoe brands that uphold ethical and sustainable practices. From methods to reduce their carbon footprint to fair trade practices, these brands are helping to change the world. Some of the below picks are also vegan shoe brands offering pieces made from vegan leather and other cruelty-free alternatives. To make it easier for you to learn about each brand, we conducted research, analyzed, and extracted this information:

  • Their product range
  • Ethics and sustainable measures concerning how products are made and how they treat workers
  • Size range
  • Location (where they are based) and shipping
  • Materials used

Quick links to our best-of picks for sustainable and ethical shoes:

Rothy’s

Rothy's Sustainable Shoe Brand
Photo Credit: Rothy's

Targeted at: Women and kids
Product Range: Flats, sneakers, boots, sandals
Ethics and Sustainable Measures: Eco-friendly, responsible manufacturing, zero-waste target, vegan leather shoes
Size Range: UK size 2.5-10.5 for women, UK 1-13 for kids
Location and Shipping: Based in San Francisco, with the factory located in China. Offers international shipping
Materials: Recycled materials such as plastic water bottles and marine plastic, merino wool, eco-friendly rubber, and luxe vegan leather

Rothy’s is a footwear brand that crafts different styles of sustainable and washing machine-friendly footwear. Since its conception, the brand has been dedicated to doing better for people and the planet, incorporating ethical and environmentally-friendly methods into its processes. The vegan leather option also speaks to the brand’s values. Additionally, Rothy’s offers a range of bag styles. The brand prides itself in offering a variety of footwear and bags for all occasions.

Shop Rothy’s

Allbirds

Allbirds
Photo Credit: Allbirds

Targeted at: Men and women
Product Range: Different shoe styles including sneakers, running shoes, high tops, flats, boat shoes 
Ethics and Sustainable Measures: Eco-friendly, natural materials, certified B Corp.
Size Range: UK 2-8.5 for women, UK 7-13 for men
Location and Shipping: Based in San Francisco, CA. Offers international shipping
Materials: Merino wool, recycled bottles, castor bean oil (helps to increase the natural content in the insoles), recycled cardboard

Allbirds is a certified B Corporation offering many styles of women’s and men’s shoes and apparel. It’s one of only a handful of shoe brands certified as B Corps, a kitemark and standard for ethical businesses balancing purpose and profit. The brand crafts shoes inspired by natural materials, believing and practising making things in a better way. Each shoe is designed with simplicity and comfort in mind. Tossing synthetic materials aside, Allbirds uses natural elements from nature instead. The shoes come in packages that are made from recycled cardboard. Its carbon footprint information is stated on the website for transparency. 

Shop Allbirds

Veja

Veja
Photo Credit: Veja

Targeted at: Men, women, and kids 
Product Range: Running shoes, sneakers 
Ethics and Sustainable Measures: Vegan shoes, fair trade, fair treatment of workers, transparency, eco-friendly pieces
Size Range: UK 3-8 for women, UK 6-11 for men 
Location and Shipping: Based in France. Offers international shipping
Materials: Organic cotton, recycled polyester, amazon rubber, sugarcane, chrome-free leather

For your sneakers and running shoe needs, Veja has you covered. From a variety of styles to vegan shoe options as well, you’re sure to find sustainable shoes you like. The brand acquires eco-friendly materials, like organic cotton, directly from producers in Brazil and Peru. Fairtrade is one of Veja’s pillars, which translates to the brand’s commitment to paying workers fair wages and ensuring a safe environment. 

Shop Veja

Fortress of Inca

Fortress of Inca Sustainable Shoe Brand
Photo Credit: Fortress of Inca

Targeted at: Women 
Product Range: Women’s boots, heels, flats, sandals, mules 
Ethics and Sustainable Measures: Responsible production, made ethically, fair trade, handmade designs
Size Range: 35-42
Location and Shipping: Based in Austin, TX. Offers international shipping
Materials: Leather 

Fortress of Inca is a shoe brand that provides ethically made leather shoes for women. Versatile designs and responsible manufacturing are at the heart of this company’s processes. The brand partners with shoemakers all around the world to create its leather shoes. Consequently, the brand’s goal is to craft shoes using natural materials while ensuring an ethical production and supply chain process. Fortress of Inca works with family-owned factories to maintain craftsmanship and quality in each piece.

Shop Fortress of Inca

Nisolo

Nisolo
Photo Credit: Nisolo

Targeted at: Women and men
Product Range: Boots, sneakers, flats, oxfords, sandals, mules, loafers
Ethics and Sustainable Measures: Fair wages, working with independent artisans, responsible sourcing, made ethically, fair pricing 
Size Range: US 8-13 for men, US 5-11 for women (range depends on the shoe style)
Location and Shipping: Based in Nashville, US. Ships within the US and ships to Canada through its partnership with Garmentory
Materials: Leather, rubber soles

Nisolo states that it envisions a fashion industry that places value on the people and planet. This ethical shoe brand, which also sells accessories, creates pieces using intentional designs. There are various casual and everyday designs through sandals, boots and sneakers, so you’re sure to find your style. The brand runs a factory in Peru and is also in partnership with factories in Mexico. Nisolo has a strict code of conduct that all its partner factories have to sign and comply with. It also works with small, independent artisans to help grow and support their businesses. This shoe brand sources its raw materials in-country (Peru) to reduce its environmental impact. 

Shop Nisolo

Veerah

Veerah
Photo Credit: Veerah

Targeted at: Women
Product Range: Eco-luxury heels and dress shoes
Ethics and Sustainable Measures: Vegan shoes, cruelty-free, sustainable brand, ethical, fair trade
Size Range: US 5-11
Location and Shipping: Based in New York City, US. Ships worldwide
Materials: Leather, renewed plastic, natural materials, apple, algae

Veerah is a designer of vegan and sustainable women’s shoes. It has positioned itself as a luxury brand for the modern woman. Setting itself apart from other shoe and fashion brands, this brand uses unconventional materials to craft its vegan shoes. Shoes are made from renewed plastic, apple and algae. Unlike many brands, the founder of Veerah began the post-inception journey by pitching to manufacturers rather than investors. Emphasis was, and is still, placed on high-quality as opposed to mass production. Veerah’s values include sustainability, individuality, feminine strength and versatility. This is your go-to brand for luxury eco-friendly and vegan shoes. 

Shop Veerah

Avre

Avre Sustainable Shoe Brand
Photo Credit: Avre

Targeted at: Women
Product Range: Sneakers
Ethics and Sustainable Measures: Minimising waste, recycled materials
Size Range: US 5-10
Location and Shipping: Based in Los Angeles, CA. Offers international shipping
Materials: Recycled plastic bottles

Avre was born with the intention to transform the fashion industry with its sustainable footwear. This sneaker brand provides shoes made from recycled pieces (such as recycled water bottles). Avre was created to be authentic, versatile, responsible and empowered. The brand uses an innovative 3D knit-to-shape technology to help minimise waste. Every pair of these eco-friendly shoes is also machine-washable. They also come in a variety of colours, sizes and styles. This female-founded brand is committed to making a difference now and for future generations. 

Shop Avre

Saola Shoes

Saola Shoes
Photo Credit: Saola Shoes

Targeted at: Women and men
Product Range: Sneakers, vegan shoes 
Ethics and Sustainable Measures: Eco-friendly components, ethical shoes, fair working conditions and fair wages, vegan shoes 
Size Range: US 7.5-13 for men, US 6-10 for women
Location and Shipping: Based in France and San Diego, US. Ships to the US and Canada
Materials: Organic, recycled plastic bottles, algae foam, organic cotton

Saola Shoes makes sustainable shoes for both men and women. This sustainable shoe brand was created to provide comfortable, cool and innovative products to change the shoe industry. The brand works with a factory in Vietnam that also produces items for some major brands that have strict environmental and social rules. To support its sustainability values, its ethical shoes are made from earth-friendly and recycled pieces. According to Saola, this allows the company to guarantee favourable working conditions.

Shop Saola Shoes

Zou Xou

Zou Xou
Photo Credit: Zou Xou

Targeted at: Women
Product Range: Sandals, mules, sandals, slip-ons 
Ethics and Sustainable Measures: Small batch productions, made ethically, handcrafted, fair labour practices, slow fashion 
Size Range: EU 35-42
Location and Shipping: Based in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Offers international shipping (if you don’t see your country on the brand’s list of shipping countries, you can simply send a mail to their customer care)
Materials: Premium leather 

Zou Xou is a slow fashion shoe brand that creates its sustainable shoes ethically. Argentinian shoemakers handcraft their premium leather shoes. They make these using premium leathers and age-old techniques. This brand incorporates slow and mindful production techniques to produce elegant, modern and simple designs, creating its shoes in small batches. This means the shoes are made to last while reducing waste. If you’re looking for classic, versatile and comfortable shoes, Zou Xou was created just for this. 

Shop Zou Xou 

Handmade Barcelona

Targeted at: Women and men
Product Range: Avarca sandals, espadrilles, sandals, oxfords, dress shoes 
Ethics and Sustainable Measures: Artisan-made, living wage for workers, supporting communities, ethical workshops, fair trade 
Size Range: US 4-12 for women, US 6-14 for men
Location and Shipping: Workshop based in Barcelona, Spain. Offers free worldwide express shipping for all orders 
Materials: Eco-certified leather 

Handmade Barcelona creates shoes for men and women according to sustainable and ethical standards. The local traditions of the Spanish culture inspired the brand’s designs. The concept involves luxurious quality, affordable prices and social value. Handmade Barcelona works with family-owned workshops where artisans craft each pair of shoes based on quality standards. The company has worked with over 150 artisans across two continents so far. Additionally, each sustainable shoe is made using locally sourced materials. What’s great is that you can also have your shoes custom-made. 

Shop Handmade Barcelona

Green Shoes

Targeted at: Men, women and children
Product Range: Childrens’ shoes and boots, adults’ sandals, shoes and boots (including vegan shoes)
Ethics and Sustainable Measures: Vegan options, handmade, locally-sourced materials, shoes can be resoled and repaired 
Size Range: UK 2-14
Location and Shipping: Based in England. Ships worldwide 
Materials: Leather, vegan material made from microfibres 

Green Shoes describes itself as a “radical shoe-making business”. All the shoes from this brand are handmade, ethical and sustainable. This brand makes a variety of shoes on a small scale. Each shoe is also made to have a low environmental impact. Green Shoes offers shoes and boots made from leather or vegan material. You also can choose the colour of the material you want, thereby creating a unique pair for you. There are also a variety of vegan options if you’re in search of that. 

Shop Green Shoes

Po-Zu

Targeted at: Women and men
Product Range: Sneakers
Ethics and Sustainable Measures: Ethical footwear, sustainable practices, vegan shoe range, donations to charities  
Size Range: UK 3-9 for women, UK 7-12 for men
Location and Shipping: Based in London, England. Offers worldwide shipping 
Materials: Pinatex, linen, FRUMAT apple skin, organic cotton, eco microfibre, cork, coir

Po-Zu is an ethical shoe brand that combines ethics, sustainability and comfort to craft shoes that you’ll love if you’re looking for vegan shoes. Po-Zu crafts sustainable vegan shoes for men and women. This ethical and sustainable shoe brand makes its pieces from sustainable and natural materials. These include organic cotton, linen, cork and coir. These are not only kind to the environment but also healthy for your feet. Po-Zu ensures that its working environment is safe for all workers in the supply chain.

Shop Po-Zu

Alice + Whittles

Alice + Whittles
Photo Credit: Alice + Whittles

Targeted at: Women
Product Range: Rain boots, hiking boots, winter boots, sneakers
Ethics and Sustainable Measures: Eco-friendly, responsibly-sourced, vegan shoes
Size Range: US 6-12
Location and Shipping: Based in Toronto, Canada. Offers shipping to some countries. See the brand’s shipping information page to see if your country is on the list.
Materials: Eco-friendly materials like natural fair-trade rubber, vegan water-based glue, reclaimed ocean plastics and recycled PET

This brand seeks producers from all around the world for its outdoor footwear. Before establishing partnerships, it analyses those that share the same values of sustainability and ethics. Alice + Whittles sources components that are planet and people-friendly. Materials like natural fair-trade rubber, vegan water-based glue, reclaimed ocean plastics and recycled PET. Every pair of Alice + Whittles shoes is free of virgin plastic, while the rubber used in the shoes is sourced from sustainably managed forests. For your outdoor shoe needs, Alice + Whittles has you covered. 

Shop Alice + Whittles

Thousand Fell

Thousand Fell
Photo Credit: Thousand Fell

Targeted at: Men and women
Product Range: Sneakers (lace-ups and slip-ons)
Ethics and Sustainable Measures: Responsible sourcing, eco-friendly, recycling
Size Range: US 5-10 for women, US 8-13 for men
Location and Shipping: Based in New York, US. Ships within the US doesn’t offer international shipping.
Materials: Aloe vera, natural and recycled rubber, castor bean, recycled bottles, coconut husk, sugar cane, palm leaf fibres, quartz

Thousand Fell is an ethical and sustainable shoe brand daring to be different. Distinct from other sustainable shoe brands, this brand builds its sneakers to be recyclable. Each pair combines thoughtful design with sustainably sourced materials. This ensures that the products are comfortable, durable and recyclable. The sneakers are made in a family-owned factory in Brazil and designed in New York. To avoid creating waste, Thousand Fell will collect the sneakers you no longer need and refurbish them. Plus, you get $20 to send these sneakers back.

Shop Thousand Fell

NAE Vegan Shoes

Targeted at: Men and women
Product Range: Men’s, women’s and unisex shoes, including boots, sneakers, flats, heels, sandals
Ethics and Sustainable Measures: Vegan, eco-friendly, animal-friendly, certified factories 
Size Range: EU 36-46 
Location and Shipping: Based in Portugal. Offers free standard worldwide delivery on orders that are at least 50€
Materials: Piñatex, cork, organic cotton, vegan leather, vegan velvet, recycled PET

NAE stands for No Animal Exploitation. The name reflects the brand’s mission of curbing animal cruelty through animal-friendly production methods. The company creates vegan shoes in different styles and designs. You’ll find vegan heels, sneakers, flats, boots and sandals of different styles, using ecological and natural materials to create its pieces. It also pays attention to the quality, style and design of each product. 

Shop NAE

Conclusion

From sneakers and boots to flats and oxford shoe styles, ethical and sustainable shoe brands offer a range of styles. There’s always an eco-friendly alternative to synthetic and toxic materials.

The companies we’ve highlighted have a style for everyone. They create products while maintaining fair trade and ethical practices, sourcing responsibly, and using locally sourced components. Some companies decide to contract foreign partners for processes such as cutting, sewing, and dying. 

Jennifer is a content writer with an educational background in Public Relations and Advertising. From her desk in Lagos, Nigeria, she helps businesses around the world reach and connect with their audiences.
Photo by sunnie on Unsplash
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