If you’re into fabulous footwear, finding the right sustainable options might seem like an uphill battle. Ultimately, sustainable footwear should have a minimum negative environmental impact and use recycled materials, among other factors.
Before you start shopping online or head to the nearest shoe store, it’s important to make sure that you know what to look for.
Here are five awesome and affordable footwear brands that are helping to make sustainable fashion accessible to more people.
Keen is one of the most popular and sustainable outdoor footwear brands known for a variety of conservation initiatives. This brand creates stylish, durable outdoor footwear including boots, work shoes, and more.
Keen hosts the Detox the Planet Initiative which was originally established in 2012. The initiative’s goal is to raise awareness about toxic chemicals, and pollution, and to encourage people to clean up their local ecosystems.
Some of the shoes from Keen are actually made from plant-based agricultural waste. The result is a pair of lightweight, comfortable shoes all crafted of sustainable and eco-friendly materials.
Not only does Keen make sustainable footwear, but they also design shoes that are built to last. This means that your shoes will continue to be worn longer, reducing “throwaway” shoes from ending up in a landfill. Not only are Keens stylish, but they also offer a free 30-day trial in case you change your mind.
2. Sustainable Footwear Brands: Rothy’s
If you’re looking for more casual footwear brands that follow sustainable practices, give Rothy’s a try. This innovative shoe brand makes footwear from recycled bottles. The company’s signature rPET yarn is paired with a durable knit made of algae-based foam.
Rothy’s uses innovative materials including recycled TPU and a variety of other repurposed materials. The goal? To design comfortable shoes that are less harmful to the ecosystem than traditional materials.
The company takes tiny flakes from single-use plastic bottles and presses them into little beads. The beads are then turned into threads, which are used to make the shoes. Some designs also combine other materials like handcrafted and hand-harvested merino wool.
The outer soles of Rothy’s shoes are made of carbon-free rubber or vegan leather. The inner soles are typically made of recycled foam or a variety of other comfy recycled materials.
If you need new shoes that are athletic, stylish, and sustainable, there are lots of brands out there to choose from. Veja makes comfortable sneakers that are all made from hand-grown cotton, hand-tapped rubber, and hand-stitched fabrics.
Vega remains focused on only using organic, raw materials. The brand also ensures that it uses fair trade to make its shoes without taking shortcuts. While this brand is a bit more pricey than some options, the company says that’s because it takes five times more to make the shoes.
And while there are lots of steps involved in the process, you’ll get gorgeous athletic footwear with a low carbon footprint. Many athletic footwear brands use unique materials, and Veja is no exception. This brand uses B-mesh made from plastic bottles, fish leather, and other unique alternatives.
Another of the most popular sustainable casual and athletic footwear brands today is Allbirds. This unique brand creates lightweight, ultra-comfy shoes in a wide variety of colorways and styles.
The shoes from Allbirds are created using wool fabric, and that’s what makes them both sustainable and exceptionally lightweight. Not only that, but the brand also uses post-consumer recycled cardboard for its shoeboxes, shopping bags, and mailers.
Allbird’s initial goal was to cut its carbon footprint in half by the end of 2025 and down to zero by 2030. According to the company, they’re already more than halfway there.
When the brand first started, it offered sustainable footwear for women and men. Today, Allbirds has an expanded collection of shoes including styles for kids as well as socks and more. This brand provides shoes that are easy to match with anything from workwear to a night on the town.
5. Nothing New
As with other footwear brands on this list, Nothing New is aimed at designing comfortable and affordable sustainable shoes. The company creates shoes that feature clean lines, vibrant colors, and high-end quality all derived from eco-friendly materials.
Nothing New makes super-cool men’s and women’s sneakers in an assortment of cuts and colorways. The brand’s labels are all made from post-consumer recycled plastic. The soles of the shoes are constructed from recycled rubber, recycled cork, and natural rubber for exceptional traction.
The hallmark of Nothing New shoes is its signature “Better Canvas” made from 100 percent post-consumer recycled plastic. Each pair is given the Global Recycle Standard (GRS) certification. Every pair is made of the equivalent of 5.6 plastic water bottles and saves over 160 gallons of water for every pair manufactured.
If you prefer something a bit more luxurious, try products from their “Better Leather” line. The luxurious, supple recycled uppers are made from upcycled leather that reduces water usage and carbon footprint by over 80 percent. It also helps to keep excess leather waste out of landfills.
Find Your Sustainable Pair Today
Each of these five sustainable footwear brands offers something for everyone with the same goal in mind, which is to provide environmentally friendly products. You don’t need to break the bank to find an awesome pair of shoes created with a low carbon footprint.
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