Whether your concern is the environmental impact, animal welfare, human rights, or all of the above, there’s a sustainable sandal for you to wear with pride this summer season! Check out some of our favorites…
Do you know the carbon footprint of the shoes on your feet? Shoes are made of several different types of materials, many of which are manufactured with the heavy use of chemicals.
Another large factor are the animals killed to produce shoe materials. To top it off, add the working conditions of all the people involved in making the materials and constructing the shoes, plus the carbon emissions of shipping the shoes to the end user.
As Timberland’s chief executive, Jeffrey B. Swartz, told the New York Times, “our supply chain goes farther than we imagined. You have to go back to the cow… The vast majority of our carbon footprint comes before we even make the shoe.”
Most shoe brands are historically shady about their production and supply chain impact, but that’s changing. There’s a new trend in reducing waste and improving sustainability in fashion and some forward-thinking footwear designers are ahead of the curve.
- Website: https://www.livefashionable.com
- What They Make: Flat and heeled women’s sandals
- Price Range: $78 to $128
- Sustainability Practices: Fair trade work for women around the world
ABLE’s mission is to end generational poverty amongst women around the world. Their shoes are hand-made by women who earn a fair wage in Ethiopia, Mexico, Peru, and the U.S. They produce timeless styles like espadrilles and stay on trend with 60s retro-style block heeled sandals.
Matt & Nat
- Website: http://mattandnat.com
- What They Make: Flat and heeled women’s sandals
- Price Range: $55 to $125
- Sustainability Practices: Constructed with vegan and recycled materials
The name “Matt & Nat” stands for “MAT(T)ERIAL and NATURE,” and the company has been dedicated to animal-friendly sustainable practices since day one. Minimalist and fashion-forward, these shoes are stylish and comfortable by design.
- Website: https://www.beyond-skin.com
- What They Make: Flat and heeled women’s sandals (men’s shoes coming soon)
- Price Range: $110 to $225
- Sustainability Practices: Vegan materials and
Beyond Skin is a favourite vegan shoe brand of actress Natalie Portman. In addition to being cruelty-free, they opt for environmentally sustainable and recycled materials. These beautifully constructed and stylish shoes could easily be swapped for anything in a high-end department store.
- Website: https://www.everlane.com/
- What They Make: Flat women’s sandals
- Price Range: $88 to $118
- Sustainability Practices: Fair wages and environmentally sustainable factories
Everlane is a luxury brand making it possible to find high-end clothing and shoes that are sustainably sourced. In addition to their commitment to workers rights and sustainability – they strive to construct clothing that’s made to last, in hopes of breaking the cycle of fast fashion.
Fortress Of Inca
- Website: https://www.fortressofinca.com/
- What They Make: Women’s flat sandals
- Price Range: $210 to $225
- Sustainability Practices: Locally sourced materials, fair wages and good working conditions, sustainable production
Fortress Of Inca is all about keeping it local with commitments such as locally sourced materials, providing factory workers with full benefits, and distribution through independent boutiques. Their sandals are beautiful and unique designs that blend a 1950s aesthetic with modern sensibility.
- Website: https://www.maraisusa.com/
- What They Make: Women’s flat and heeled sandals
- Price Range: $225 to $310
- Sustainability Practices: Vegan, local production
Marais shoes are fashionable, bright, colourful, and fun, just like their Los Angeles roots! They have several vegan styles and are made in the USA.
- Website: https://www.mohop.com/
- What They Make: Flat and heeled women’s sandals and men’s sandals
- Price Range: $68 to $198
- Sustainability Practices: Vegan, sustainably-sourced, recycled, and fair-trade materials
Mohop is a unique company that combines artisan design sensibility with…robots. Yes, robots make their shoes in Chicago, IL. The designs are similar to a fashion-forward Birkenstock, and so is the comfort level. Their Fair Trade workers design textiles from sustainably sourced materials.
- Website: https://po-zu.com/
- What They Make: Flat and heeled women’s sandals and men’s shoes
- Price Range: $125 to $205
- Sustainability Practices: Non-toxic materials and production from renewable sources
The shoes from Po-Zu are cute, versatile, and have tons of personality. Their dedication to sustainable practices from supply chain to manufacturing sets them apart from most companies. Additionally, they are dedicated to keeping toxic materials out of the workplace for the health of their employees.
- Website: https://www.solerebels.com/
- What They Make: Flat women’s sandals and men’s sandals
- Price Range: $55 to $65
- Sustainability Practices: Fair trade working conditions, recycled and locally-sourced materials
Sole Rebels takes pride in being “the worlds 1st Fair Trade footwear company.” They provide workers with a fair wage, healthcare, and transportation. They heavily emphasize recycling in their manufacturing process. The style of Sole Rebels is your go-to beach sandal and flip flops.
- Website: http://www.toms.com/
- What They Make: answer
- Price Range: $40 to $130
- Sustainability Practices: Social responsibility investments, “One for One” model to give a pair of shoes to a child in need for every pair sold, vegan materials
TOMS is probably the best-known company on this list, and for good reason. They’ve followed a “One for One” policy from their inception to give a pair of shoes to a child in need for every pair sold.
Their social responsibility efforts have now grown to include medical treatment, clean water initiatives, and safe birth services. The sandal styles range from basic flip-flops to suede heels. Not all of the sandals are vegan, but you can find plenty of vegan options.