The dirt of the shoe industry is on every sole – the majority of our shoes are mass-produced by Chinese factory workers at a huge cost to our health and environment. During the manufacturing process, workers are exposed to toxic chemicals (VOCs), and our water and air is horridly polluted. Great strides have been made by some companies to be more “green”, and others have always been responsible, so let’s reward their good efforts. It’s worth it for all of us. Below are the companies that make my favourite footwear, the shoes and boots that I slip on, zip and lace up everyday, and the heels I wear when I need to be a bit taller and fancier, I hope that you will try them on for size!
Po-Zu These fashionable yet functional booties, made from wool and natural latex with coconut husk soles, might be the comfiest things your feet will ever slide into. It’s time this amazing eco shoe line (designed for maximum comfort and minimum waste) walk themselves into your closet – they ship worldwide, with a smile.
Rothy’s Everyday ballet and pointed toe flats handmade from recycled materials. Bonus, they’re machine washable!
Olli Natural rubber is a sustainable, renewable, and biodegradable material which is harvested from a tree. As members of the Fair Rubber Association, Olli is committed to using Fair Trade rubber for their comfortable flip flops. Rubber workers receive a fair wage for their labour, and they only work with audited plantations. Each purchase directly contributes to better living and working conditions for the workers and their families.
Alice+Whittles Elevated outdoor footwear, sustainably made from natural + recycled materials, featuring rain boots made from natural, fair-trade tree rubber, stockings made from premium recycled yarns, and sneakers made from recycled, post-industrial leather.
Kigo Run, walk, or hike outside feeling like you’re going “au natural” (on your feet of course!). These lightweight, breathable, strong, and foldable shoes offer strong support for any serious sports enthusiast, and you don’t have to worry about retying your laces. Really nice, very conscious people are behind this brand too!
VivoBarefoot This running shoe lets your feet move the way they are supposed to. The entire Vivobarefoot line has all the protection of normal shoes, yet all the health benefits of going barefoot. Just by wearing, you’ll strengthen the muscles in your feet, realign your posture, stimulate sensory perception and get compliments. Good deal. Plus they are certified vegan – we’re not sure if it’ll make you run faster, but ethics are ethics!
Oat Shoes These runners with funky tree-designed soles are easy on the eyes, easy on the feet, and easy on Mother Nature. And, when your first pair of Virgins are ready for retirement and you need a new pair, you can actually bury these fully biodegradable shoes in your garden, water regularly, and grow your favourite flowers grow in your old kicks!
Feel Goodz Feel good about your flops. When you buy your new pair of 100% natural rubber flip flops from Feelgoodz (that come in a variety of great colour combos and are crazy comfortable), recycle your old ones (all brands welcome) to Feelgoodz Recycle Your unFlop campaign. They donate the shoes to Kenyan artisans who reuse them and make new ones.
El Naturalista Because the journey is just as important as the destination, let yourself get swept away in a pair of these summery mary-janes. With company values deeply rooted in environmental and social responsibility, their shoes were designed to make you feel really good about every step you take towards a better tomorrow, plus they use fabulous colour combinations and a unique style.
Swedish Hasbeens Lace up with these genuine handcrafted boots made with vegetable tanned leather and cotton canvas. All Swedish Hasbeens’ leather is completely free of chromium (bad for us and the planet, and is unfortunately found in 95% of leather shoes). It’s natural rubber sole is perfect taking you down a forest trail or rocking the night away at your favourite band’s live show.
Mink A great pair of heels that will stand the test of time is definitely worth the investment (softer on our feet, our pocketbooks, and our world). All Mink shoes are handcrafted from the finest quality vegan materials. These strappy gold sandals, like the rest of their line, is only offered in very limited production, so you can have a shoe as unique and conscious as you are.
NAE Vegan We’ll take stylish, well-designed, and ethical over trendy any day. This fashion forward pump is made in the Portugal with cork. No Animal Exploitation (NAE) proposes a fair and animal-friendly alternative, against human exploitation and respecting the environment. These heels pair perfectly with your little black dress or favourite organic denim.
No Harm There are some occasions where only a pair of classic handcrafted Italian oxford style shoes know how to get the job done. These vegan, footprint-conscious, black straight caps with a gloss finish bang it out of the park for style, comfort, and breathability. Bonus, they’re packaged in biodegradable boxes printed with safe inks, for style and class through and through.
VEJA Whether you’re about to go on a first date, or it’s casual dress at the office, it’s important to make a good impression. This shoe says you have style, you make smart decisions, you’re eco-conscious, and you care about your health (a totally irresistible combo!). Plus, wearing these shoes will keep you comfortable even in the toughest situations.