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Sustainable Stomping: The 25+ Footwear Brands To Know Now

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Put your best foot forward with these eco-friendly labels

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An ecological genre of style which is oft forgotten, sustainable footwear is just as important (if not more so) than the clothes we consider. After all, shoes are a necessity – unless you’re on a beach (lucky you). 

The C&TH Sustainable Fashion Hub

According to The Shoe Industry, more than 20 billion pairs of shoes are manufactured each year, hence it’s more important than ever to think carefully about the products we are purchasing and wearing. Are they created with harmful chemicals? Will they biodegrade? Have they been produced ethically and ecologically? It’s important to ask these questions, and invest in the brands that provide right-minded answers. From Novesta to Penelope Chilvers, we bring you eight of the most sustainable footwear brands to shop now.

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Sustainable Footwear Brands To Know Now

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Slide on orange and pink background

Balena

While not technically a shoe brand, material science company Balena has been tinkering away since its inception in 2020 to create a compostable and biodegradable thermoplastic material ideal to be used for footwear. The result? A snazzy pair of sustainable slides. The BioCir™ Slides are designed with a fully circular process in mind, with the goal to reduce the amount of toxicm fossil-fueled based materials used in the fashion industry. balena.science

Close up of someone wearing white trainers

Reformation

Pioneering sustainable fashion brand Reformation has spent the past couple of years working hard on its shoe offering. While there are plenty of eco-friendly trainer brands on the market, dress shoes are trickier to produce sustainably – but Reformation has done a stellar job. All styles are made with recyclable materials, and a partnership with Looptworks – currently only available in the US – means customers can use a first-of-its-kind takeback programme to make the process easier.

The brand has also just launched a new line of trainers to its portfolio, which have been designed to close the loop. The trainer designs are completetly recyclable, made to be remade and support Reformation’s RefRecycling programme. The new trainer, ‘the Hazel’, is a canvas sneaker made from recycled cotton. thereformation.com

Model in blue and pink jumping around

YY Nation

Launched earlier this year, YY Nation is making waves for its eco-friendly footwear designs, earning itself a zero carbon certification from Ekos™ in the process. Debuting with the Legacy Footwear Collection, the brand has created the world’s lowest carbon footprint trainer: the Nimbo. Materials are sourced locally in New Zealand (using ethically grown, certified and traceable Merino wool), bamboo is OEKE-TEK® certified (meaning it is sourced responsibly from sustainable and ethical growers), and the soles of each shoe are made with algae or sugarcane, which do not emit harmful oil-based chemicals. Learn more about YY Nation hereyynation.com

Boots and slides set up around curvy foot stool and sculpture

UGG

Internationally-renowned footwear brand UGG (yes, of the early 2010’s) is back on our radar with its second carbon-neutral Icon-Impact Collection for SS22. The collection features a selection of slides created from low-impact materials, with offsets purchased for emissions created – making the materials carbon neutral. Other features include a looped blend of Responsible Wool Standard-certified wool and TENCEL™ Lyocell sourced from responsibly-harvested trees and SugarSole™ outsoles made with renewable sugarcane. The brand has also teased a new classic style featuring sheepskin sourced from farms that practice regenerative agriculture for AW22. Wish lists at the ready. ugg.com

A pair of brown boots leaning against a black jewelled skull

BLONDISH

Miami-based luxury footwear brand BLONDISH prioritises comfort and style when it comes to its designs. The brand is looking to kickstart AW22 with its new vegan line of shoes – think sandals, boots, stilettos, platforms, sneakers and wedges in neutral colours. Each pair of shoes is made using solvent-free, bio polyurethane materials. BLONDISH launches its vegan line in September, with pre-orders starting in June. blondish.com

V.GAN sustainable black boots

V.GAN

Peta-approved: V.GAN is centred around creating stylish footwear without harming animals or the planet. Its shoes are free of all animal products, they’re made in vegan approved factories, they use zero plastic and glue, recycled packaging and fabrics made entirely from ocean waste. V.GAN proves that you don’t have to sacrifice style to stride sustainably. vgan-life.com

Raíz Atelier Haya Tan Wedge

Raíz Atelier

The world of sustainable footwear is opening up this year, with Raíz Atelier entering the scene as the new conscious, circular, luxury footwear brand focused on creating the perfect summer wedge. The brand is committed to full transparency, detailing the materials used, where they are sourced from and the people making the products on its sustainability guide. The Haya Tan Wedge, for example, is made using vegetable-tanned leather (crafted in small artisanal family-run tanneries in Tuscany), natural wood from PEFC certified suppliers, eco-tpu rubber and nickel-free light gold hardware. Customers are also encouraged to return their ‘pre-loved’ shoes back to Raíz Atelier to ensure continued circularity. raizatelier.com

sustainable trainers aspect brand footwear eco-friendly net-positive

Aspect

Described as ‘the gold standard in sustainable shoe design’ by conservation consultancy Biodiversify, Aspect’s trainers are plant-based, sustainable and net-positive – not just net-zero. For every pair sold, the brand offsets one tonne in carbon. Stroll in style in the most sustainable trainers on the market. aspectclimateprojects.com

a pair of black waes canvas trainers on a newspaper

Waes

As with many climate-conscious brands: the ones that are the most sustainable, don’t often use the term ‘sustainability’ (Patagonia is a big advocate of this). Waes is in this ballpark: instead of a sustainability tab, its credentials are enlisted under materials which is where you can see just how much this brand has stepped up for conscious design. It’s zero plastic, GOTS cotton (that’s Global Organic Textile Standard – the leading certification for organic materials), carbon positive soles, it really does go on. Have a look at the website for more impressive details. waes.com

sustainable boots

VOYLOK

These shoes are perfect for those seeking comfort with a green conscience. Inspired by traditional Russian valenki, these super sustainable boots are made with just wool and hot water. And since they come with a recyclable rubber overshoe that’s easily slipped on and off – your feet will stay snug whether you’re mooching about the house or popping to the shops. voylok.com

Woden

Woden

You may have heard of vegan leather – but have you come across fish leather? Since the Scandinavian brand launched in 2013, Woden sources the leather as a waste product from the Icelandic fishing and food industry, where typically only 1% of fish skin is actually used. The skin’s unique cross-fiber structure makes it 10 times resilient than calf leather. The collection’s focus is sneakers for women and kids. woden.com

Stella McCartney

Stella McCartney

Fashion-forward and eco-conscious brand Stella McCartney continues to wow with its take on green fashion. The latest addition to its legacy of vegan, sustainable innovations is the Reclypse trainer collection. The trainers bring Stella McCartney one step closer to to sustainability and circularity by blending athleticism with new sustainable materials. Made from a mix of recycled polyester, plant-based and renewable materials, and ECONYL®, the Reclypse collection is one you’ll want to get your hands on if your passion for the planet matches your love for the gym. stellamccartney.com

Inuikii

INUIKII

Swiss brand INUIKII creates handmade shoes, meaning each pair is unique. All materials used are carefully considered, natural and organic, with minimal waste ensured throughout. The company was founded by Cinzia Maag and her sons, who initially set out to create stylish but practical footwear for the colder months, but the range now includes sandals for warmer weather, too. Available to buy in the UK from Office and Selfridges. inuikii.com

SAYE

SAYE

Renowned for its vegan and recycled sneakers, SAYE are the perfect fit for those wanting something casual and stylish. Where to start? We suggest the M89 Cactus Collection, a collaboration between SAYE and Desserto Mexico. The sneakers are made using Nopal Cactus, with bamboo lining and organic cotton laces. Another bonus: SAYE has promised to plant two trees for each pair of shoes sold, with over 165,000 planted so far. sayebrand.com

sustainable shoes

Allkind

Since launching in 2020 Allkind have been committed to providing luxury women’s shoes that are still 100% vegan. Designed in Britain and crafted in Spain, their shoes not only use vegan but recycled materials. All soles and shoe boxes are entirely recycled, and even their business cards are made from old t-shirts. With 5% of all profits going to PETA and The Rainforest Trust, and a business model that has been carbon negative since day one, these are the perfect shoes for a smaller footprint. allkind.co.uk

Elliott Footwear

Elliott

Founded in Copenhagen in 2018, Elliott is the world’s first climate-positive shoe brand – which means the business is actually having a positive effect on the environment. The company is a member of the UNFCC climate change initiative, which means a pair of its shoes reverse the carbon footprint with a climate positive offset of 1 tonne of CO2. Customers are also actively encouraged to recycle their shoes at the end of their life in return for 15 per cent off their next purchase. There are four main styles to choose from, all unisex, with low classic and high top variations and a minimalist colour palette, made from vegan leather, suede and recycled rubber and canvas. elliottfootwear.com

best sustainable fashion brands: Penelope Chilvers

Penelope Chilvers

Why have regular shoes when you can have Penelope Chilvers shoes – in which the soles are made of old tyres. This is the kind of creative recycling we love to see. In addition, the brand’s ‘waste not want not’ motto means zero plastics are used throughout the collections. penelopechilvers.com

Sustainable Footwear

Novesta

Dating back to the late 1930s, Novesta knows a thing or two about making high-quality footwear. What’s more, the Slovakian brand is serious about sustainability. Every collection is manufactured ‘according to the highest environmental standards’, crafted with natural rubber and 100 per cent cotton and linen. Plus, the brand’s long-established and timeless designs ensure your feet will never be lacking in style – or comfort. gonovesta.com

Best sustainable fashion brands: Good News

Good News

Good News produce effortlessly cool sneakers. The brand is sustainable from the start of the shoe-making process to after the shoe is no longer wanted. Created with the aim of using a platform to promote a healthy planet, Good News goes to great lengths to ensure its carbon, water and chemical footprint is as low as possible. Each pair of shoes is made with a recycled rubber sole, organic cotton and weave uppers, and a recycled eco-lite footbed. The brand also has a small supply chain to be able to care for each person involved. Finally, Good News will donate deadstock and faulty shoes to refugees in need, as well as the homeless. Shop them at Dover Street Market and goodnews.london

Sustainable Footwear

Yatay

Not only are Yatay’s shoes 100 per cent sustainable, but its packaging is too. Get your hands (or feet) on a pair of these sustainable sneakers. The brand uses entirely eco-friendly materials – expect them to arrive in a box made of five plastic bottles making its environmental impact approximately 90 per cent lower than a traditional shoebox. yatayatay.com

Sustainable Footwear

Aspiga

Aspiga was launched after founder Lucy Macnamara fell in love with the impressive craftspersonship in Kenya – in particular, the handmade beach sandals. The label practices ethical trading, supports local communities, as well as ensuring the supply chain is small, trustworthy and transparent, using natural fibres to create each piece. aspiga.com

Sustainable Footwear

Veja

Veja’s sneakers are everywhere – look around London and it feels like everyone has a pair. This is a national obsession we can get on board with, because the brand is big on transparency. Customers can look into Veja’s supply and production chain and find out all the information they need to know. Plus, the vegan shoes are totally inexpensive for stylish design and well-thought-out materials. vega-store.com

Allbirds

Allbirds

Eco-friendly shoe brand Allbirds works to be as transparent as possible when it comes to sustainability. Just head to the company website and it’s all laid out for you, from how the brand operates to the materials used and its effective manufacturing process. Advocates for sourcing natural and sustainable materials, the brand champions Regenerative Agriculture and is working towards reducing 100 per cent of on-farm emissions from its wool by December 2025, with the entirety of its wool coming from regenerative sources. allbirds.co.uk

sustainable footwear

LØCI

Experts in creating 100 per cent luxury vegan sneakers, LØCI is on a mission to save our oceans and its inhabitants with its ‘Buy One, Save One’ initiative, in which for every pair of LØCI’s sold, the brand donates 10 per cent of profits towards safeguarding our sea life. The luxury footwear label has recently partnered with actress Nikki Reed to create a new capsule collection crafted entirely from sustainable materials. lociwear.com

sustainable footwear

Mercer Amsterdam

The Dutch sneaker brand has been a pioneer in sustainability for nearly eight years, keen to prove that sustainable alternatives aren’t a compromise for fashion. Mercer’s aim is to be at the forefront of sustainable innovation, showing that standard materials can be interchanged for plant-based, recycled materials, and still be cool. merceramsterdam.com

Rosamund Muir

This made-to-order women’s footwear brand pledges itself to sustainability through a zero waste approach to production. Rosamund Muir prides itself on its attention to detail and craftsmanship, using these qualities to empower the women wearing their shoes. Their newest collection highlights luxury and hard wearing, but still incorporates the brand’s emphasis on style and fun. rosamundmuir.com

Featured image: BLONDISH

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