If it’s vegan, it must be eco-friendly… right? Not necessarily.
Probably one of the biggest misconceptions of vegan fashion is that it’s all sustainable. While leather has its fair share of problems, “fake leather” all too often just means that the item is made of synthetic materials such as polyvinyl chloride (PVC), which emits toxic pollutants.
And it’s shocking to see the number of brands marketing their products as “cruelty-free” who actually have no standards in place for the people manufacturing the products. Cruelty-free must mean ethical standards for the human beings involved in your supply chain, too!
So where can you find a brand with ethical, eco-friendly vegan shoes that are actually fashionable?
While it took a bit of research, there are in fact sustainable vegan footwear that meet all of these criteria — it looks like we really can have it all!
These eco-friendly vegan shoe brands range in price points, so there is a price key by each brand description.
Price Key: $ = under $100 | $$ = $100 – $200 | $$$ = $200+
This post includes partners and affiliates. As always, brands featured meet rigorous standards for sustainability and are brands we truly love — and that we think you’ll love too!
Where To Find Sustainable Vegan Shoes:
My personal favorite eco vegan footwear brand! Thesus creates simple, versatile, and functional outdoor shoes that can take you anywhere. Their eco-friendly vegan boots are made from 95% natural and recycled materials.
The woman of color-owned brand builds long-term relationships with their suppliers to ensure fair treatment of everyone in their supply chain. [Check out more boots brands in this guide.]
Styles: Hiking Boots, Clogs
Rothy’s has helped divert over 39 million plastic bottles from the landfill by using fabric created from recycled plastic bottles. They also use vegan, recyclable, carbon-free rubber and TPU for the outsoles, safe & vegan adhesives, as well as recycled foam outsoles. Oh, and of course the vegan shoes are super cute and comfy. [Check out more flats in this guide.]
Styles: Flats, Loafers, Sandals, Sneakers
Thousand Fell’s vegan and sustainable sneakers are made from materials like natural and recycled rubber, coconut husks, sugar cane, palm fibers, and recycled plastic. Beyond creating eco-friendly shoes, Thousand Fell has designed the first recyclable, circular sneaker. When you’ve worn out the sneakers, you can send them back to the brand to be recycled into new Thousand Fell shoes!
4. Nae Vegan
Standing for No Animal Exploitation, Nae is a Portugese brand committed to completely vegan footwear. The animal-friendly company is also conscious of the human side of production, working only with ethical, certified factories in Portugal.
To minimize environmental impact, Nae uses a variety of ecological materials. They use cork sourced from protected cork oak trees, Piñatex textiles, as well as recycled fabrics from plastic bottles and airbags.
Styles: Heels, Flats, Sandals, Boots, Sneakers
Jo-Anne Vernay creates luxury sustainable vegan shoes made from Piñatex, a fabric created out of discarded pineapple leaves! This new Black-owned brand now has their Mel Heels available for pre-order in a reddish-orange “Paprika” color and a medium-brown neutral hue called “cognac”. I absolutely adore the back detailing on these eco-friendly vegan heels!
While these sneakers may look strikingly similar to another popular shoe brand, Etiko is very different. Etiko is a B-Corp Certified company with shoes made in Fair Trade certified factories from GOTS- and Fair Trade certified organic cotton.
The Australian brand also has a take-back program where you can send back your worn Etiko sneakers! [Check out this guide for more eco-friendly sneakers.]
Styles: Sneakers, Flats
Sustainable vegan shoe brand Veerah is a certified B-Corporation, meaning they have met certain criteria that demonstrate their positive impacts on society and the environment.
Some of the innovative, conscious materials used in their collections include organic cotton lining, cork, apple peel skin, and PET from recycled plastic bottles. The most eco-friendly option on their site is these ultra-chic heels made from apple peels.
Styles: Heels, Flats
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Saola has fashionable, eco-friendly vegan shoes made from recycled, organic, and bio-based materials. It can be really difficult to find eco-conscious and functional sneakers, but Saola meets all of these standards. The sneaker uppers are made from recycled PET from plastic bottles and the insoles are made from natural cork and recycled PU.
Styles: Sneakers, Slip-Ons
Looking at these chic shoes, you may not be able to believe what they’re made from! Verdura takes recycled fish nets (washes them a few times to soften the fabric for comfort) and dyes them naturally to produce their designer shoes.
Not to forget any detail, the inner construction of Verdura’s sustainable vegan shoes are made from earth-minded materials. The insoles are made from cork and the soles are either made from recycled rubber or recycled, vegetable-tanned leather. [Check out more sandal brands in this guide.]
Styles: Sandals, Boots
Eco-friendly fashion brand Ecoalf creates sustainable vegan shoes made from recycled and low-impact animal-free materials. Their cruelty-free shoes don’t have any leather — the brand completely stopped using leather in its collections three years ago. Ecoalf produces their shoes with materials like recycled tires, recycled rubber, and recycled polyester made from plastic bottles. Many of their shoes are made with a percentage of virgin synthetic fabrics.
Styles: Sneakers, Sandals, Flip Flops
Creating fair trade and eco-friendly vegan shoes, Ethletic is a leading ethical footwear brand that has been certified by numerous third-party auditors. The ethical shoe label sources natural, FSC-certified rubber and Fair Trade certified, organic cotton for their sneakers.
And, Ethletic pays a 15% social premium for their employees to use towards community development projects.
Indosole is a certified B Corporation with wearable, affordable sustainable shoes. In order to receive this seal, the company had to pass rigorous standards for transparency, ethics and environmental impact.
The brand uses upcycled rubber from tires headed to the landfill for the soles of their shoes. (It’s estimated that one billion tires get tossed every single year.) For the uppers of their sandals and slip-on shoes, Indosole uses organic canvas, banana leaves and grass.
Styles: Sandals, Slides, Flip-Flops
Carmona Collection is a woman-founded brand creating a covetable range of artisanal vegan shoes and sandals based out of León Guanajuato in Mexico, where shoemaking is considered a revered craft.
All of their styles are created using OEKO-TEX-certified cactus leather, which grows locally in Mexico from the native nopal cactus. This variety of leather is highly resistant to abrasion and can feel very breathable on the feet.
Whether you fancy a derby shoe or a pair of colorful sandals, their shoes are bound to help you put your best foot forward — sartorially, of course!
Styles: Derby shoes and Sandals
Bohema is a Polish brand born out of the love for shoe-making and craftsmanship that has been passed down through generations in the founders’ family.
With boots that belong on a Parisian runway and loafers that’ll be envied by onlookers, you’ll have a hard time believing these styles were crafted using biomaterials like Desserto cactus leather, Piñatex pineapple leather, apple leather, or Vegea grape leather that comes from Italian winery leftovers.
All of Bohema’s shoes are created at a solar-powered Polish facility, where prototypes are created in one size only, while orders are handcrafted on a pre-order model to minimize waste and avoid overproduction.
Styles: Loafers, Sandals, Stilettos, Boots, Flats, Mules, Derby shoes, and Sneakers
Your sustainable sole-searching journey ends here. Nisolo creates high-quality sustainable eco-knit sneakers that’ll make sure every stride you take is comfortable and stylish.
Easy to slip on while offering a sock-like fit, these machine-washable sneakers are made using recycled (rPET) knitting made from plastic water bottles and sugarcane-derived green™ EVA on the insoles and outsoles.
All of Nisolo’s workers are paid a living wage while every product comes with a sustainability fact label (similar to a nutrition label) that further helps clarify its social and environmental impact.
Styles: Slip-on sneakers