Sustainable footwear brands to know

The climate crisis (gulp) is completely changing the way we consume fashion. We are all looking to see which brands are as eco friendly as possible. To be honest, they usually find us first because they are the brands that everyone talks about. That said, we have all become very good at researching, recycling and donating but we mustn’t let that slip when it comes to our footwear.

Many of us think that shoes only impact the environment when they end up in landfills… wrong. Shoe production accounts for one-fifth of the fashion industries environmental impact and 1.4 percent of global carbon emissions annually. On average there are more than 20 billion pairs of shoes manufactured each year and the production of one shoe produces 30 pounds of carbon dioxide. So without sounding scary, here are the brands that are doing their part to make it easy for you to help in our mission to help save the world.

#1 Veja

Veja Sustainable Trainer


Veja means ‘Look’ in Brazilian, encouraging you to look and think beyond buying trainers. All Veja trainers are made socially and responsibly from the materials they use to the process. To put it into perspective Veja pays 3 times more than what factories in China offered to make their trainers so they can maintain their ethical standards. They use all fairtrade and organic materials and all of their staff in their Brazilian factory are ASF employees. ASF stands for Atelier Sans Frontières and promotes professional integration of people by offering them a suitable paid job, personalized social support, and helping them develop a career plan. They really are the good guys!

#2 Keen

Keen Sustainable Closed Toe Shoe


Keen has completely set the bar when it comes to sustainably conscious footwear. The brand ethos is built on sustainability, using materials and processes that do not harmfully impact the environment. Using safe, effective PFC-free durable water repellent alternatives to repel water and dirt from the uppers of their sandals and closed-toe shoes. They have also used biocide-free insoles for healthier ecosystems for several seasons in their shoes. Go Keen!

#3 Polo Ralph Lauren

Ralph Lauren recently measured and published its carbon footprint for the first time. They have now adopted the Higg Environmental module which sounds fancy but it means they can reduce carbon emissions and monitor environmental performance. We took a look at their new targets: they aim to reduce its emissions by 30% by 2030, 100% renewable electricity by 2025 in its owned facilities and a 20% reduction of total water usage. Ralph Lauren also includes a target for 100% recyclable or sustainable packaging by 2025 and the complete elimination of harmful chemicals. Here’s the sustainable collection at the moment.

#4  Tommy Hilfiger

As one of the most established brands, it is great to see their sustainable approach with ‘Make It Possible’. ‘Make It Possible’ is their mission to ‘Waste Nothing and Welcome All’. It works on sensitivity to climate change, land use, freshwater and chemical pollution. The CEO, Martijn Hagman said, “Tommy Hilfiger has a decade’s long track record for driving a more sustainable future, including pioneering low impact denim processes, championing water stewardship, and creating more inclusive collections. Make it Possible is one way we will work together to make a lasting contribution towards a better fashion industry.”

#5 Timberland

Timberland has started to make promising changes to the brand using eco-friendly recycled materials and plastic rubber soles. 47% of the cotton they use is organic or made with eco-friendly processes. 34% of materials are renewable materials and 30% are recycled plastics. Timberland has also set out to plant 50 million trees by 2025 which we love to hear.

#6 Teva

Trecky Sustainable sandal


Not only do we love their trecky style sandals but we love that the brand uses 100% recycled materials. Their ‘strap to freedom’ campaign uses traceable, verifiable, plastic using REPREVE® yarn, representing over 9 million plastic bottles, or 172 tons of plastic, being kept out of landfills in 2020 alone. This means plastic is kept out of the waste system and waterways, it emits fewer greenhouse gasses and conserves water and energy.

#7  TOMS

TOMS is best known for its one-for-one charitable promise; every pair you buy they a pair to a child in need. Their new collection, Earthwise, is made from vegan and environmentally-friendly materials, including hemp, cotton and recycled polyester. The shoes are also dyed using all-natural plant dye. As they look at a more sustainable future the brand will expand its use of sustainable cotton by sourcing 100% sustainable cotton by 2025. It will also continue to source 100% of its packaging from sustainably managed forests and ensure it’s made with at least 80% recycled materials.

#8 Hunter 

Hunter Vegan Wellington Boots


Hunter wellies are not just the best boots on the market, they are completely vegan. Hunter’s are handcrafted from latex rubber this is a vegan material that’s flexible, waterproof and provides comfort and protection. Using certified sustainable forests and Yulex, a plant-based neoprene that generates 80% less climate-altering carbon dioxide. They use farms that are located near to the factories, to help reduce the overall carbon footprint.

#9 Melissa 

Melissa shoes are made from MELFLEX plastic, a patented, hypo-allergenic, recyclable, and extremely flexible PVC. The shoes are totally cruelty-free and devoid of animal products. The Brazilian-based company has got sustainability down to a T, recycling 99.9% of factory water and waste. They also recycle overstock styles into next season’s collection. Melissa Shoes also pays employees above-average wages and benefits. Bravo Melissa Shoes!


How To Keep Occasion Wear Comfortable


How To Keep Occasion Wear Comfortable

Worrying about your feet lasting all day? Wondering what shoe you will cope with best? Comfort is most definitely key; so here are our tips and tricks so you can stay on your feet all day.

2021-07-05 14:34:09By Holly Thompson

Written by Holly Thompson

Featured Image Credit – @dorianprs

Holly Thompson

Holly Thompson

Writer and expert