We all do our best to recycle — but can we protect the environment through the shoes we wear? The answer is yes. A variety of footwear brands are using fashion for good, utilizing sustainable manufacturing processes and contributing to various environmental causes. Below, see 10 of our favorite eco-friendly labels.
Rothy’s core DNA is all about sustainability. Founders Stephen Hawthornthwaite and Roth Martin created Rothy’s unique concept following several years of extensive research. The goal has been to reduce waste in every step of the shoe-making process. “With sustainable manufacturing practices as a baseline, we can build a collection of beautiful products that don’t necessitate waste. In addition to manufacturing, we think about sustainability in our materials, the extended lifespan of the washable shoe, and close control of the supply chain so we’re not over-producing,” president and COO Kerry Copper said.
Watch on FN
Aurora James creates her shoes in Kenya and South Africa. Many of the designer’s classic styles are made using Kudu leather, “an animal byproduct resulting from a government-mandated culling due to overpopulation.” She also uses vegetable dying instead of chemical dyes, and uses recycled materials such as repurposed tires for soles.
In 2010, Timberland made a commitment to plant 5 million trees in five years in Haiti, a project aimed at reversing its declining tree population (it achieved its goal in 2015). Last year, the brand also partnered with Pur Project, promising to plant a tree in Transylvania for every pair of kids’ shoes sold.
The comfort brand has a series of chrome-free shoes, which reduces the consumption of electricity, water, gas and chemicals as well as CO2 emissions into the atmosphere. The label also offers vegan footwear.
Cool, minimal kicks? Check. Sustainable? Check. The sneaker brand uses innovative, eco-friendly materials in its sneaker styles, such as fair-trade cotton and B-Mesh, a textile made from recycled plastic bottles.
Adidas plans to use only recycled plastic in its products by 2024. The company has partnered with Parley for the Oceans and have created many products with yarn spun from Parley Ocean Plastic technology, which is upcycled waste from beaches that is intercepted before it reaches the water.
On April 28, EarthShoes.com is committing 100 percent of all website proceeds to its partner, Trees for the Future. The initiative is in honor of Arbor Day, which encourages the planting and care of trees.
The designer creates her collections using sustainable and ethically sourced materials. McCartney also released an Environmental Profit and Loss Account in 2015, documenting the negative and positive impacts her company had on the environment. “Fashion is an industry that makes a significant impact on the planet. It’s not just cool clothes and trends,” she said in a release. “Every single day, myself and my entire team are challenging ourselves and the industry: What can we do better?”
Everlane, the direct-to-consumer retailer known for its commitment to radical transparency in pricing, ethical manufacturing and social responsibility announced in October 2018 that it would be eliminating all virgin plastic from its supply chain by 2021.
Canada-based brand Native produces its shoes through a low-emission process. The styles are made with vegan materials and are both REACH and CPSIA certified.
All products featured have been independently selected and curated by our editorial team. If you buy something through the links included on our site, FN may earn a commission.
7 Gifts for the Meghan Markle Superfan
7 Gift Card Ideas Every Shoe Lover Will Adore