With hundreds of brands to choose from, we identified five sustainable shoe brands that are pushing the footwear industry in a green direction. Whether shopping for yourself or a loved one, don’t sleep on these sustainable shoe brands.

Allbirds

“The Worlds Most Comfortable Shoes” made with natural materials and packaged in 90% recycled cardboard. A Certified B Corporation, Allbirds’ product line includes stylish, athletic and comfort footwear for men, women and children. They are not the flashiest shoes on the market – but definitely one of the most natural and sustainable. Expect to pay between $95 and $135.

The Allbirds store in Seattle’s University Village was the company’s eighth brick-and-mortar location. Its sustainable materials include:


SAOLA

sustainable shoe
Image from SAOLA.

This 1% for the Planet makes comfortable, stylish sustainable shoes for men and women. The name SAOLA (sow-la) is a tribute to an endangered species of bovine also known as “The Asian Unicorn” that lives in Vietnam and Laos. One percent of SAOLA’s proceeds support the Mwuala Wildlife Trust and other conservation efforts.

SAOLA shoes are made with recycled plastic bottles, Algae Foam, organic cotton and cork. Check out this blog post to see how SAOLA turns plastic bottles into shoes.


Nothing New

Stylish high top and low top sneakers made with certified post-consumer recycled plastic and sustainable materials. In addition, each pair of shoes upcycles 5.6 plastic bottles and conserves 160 gallons of water (compared to “normal cotton canvas” shoes). Both styles come in several colors and cost $95 – $110.

Nothing New purchases carbon offsets from verified third party projects to keep its operation carbon neutral. Through its Virtuous Circle program, customers can ship their old Nothing New sneakers in to receive a $20 credit toward a new pair. Depending on its condition, the old pair will be donated or disassembled and reused as possible. Sustainable materials include:

  • Uppers, laces and labels made from Global Recycle Standard certified post-consumer plastic.
  • Heel counters made from 100% post-industrial recycled fishing nets.
  • Outsoles made from recycled rubber and cork.
  • Stitch constructed, eliminating the use of glue or sulfur-producing vulcanization.

Rothy’s

Specializing in washable women’s flats and kids sneakers, Rothy’s is sustainable from top to bottom. Striving for zero waste, Rothy’s uses thread made from recycled water bottles – 41+ million and counting – to 3D knit its shoes, cutting down on plastic pollution and material waste.

Expect to spend between $125 and $195 for women’s shoes (sorry guys, no men’s shoes here) and around $55 for kids sneakers. Verified teachers can enjoy a 20% discount for select shoes. Additional green credits include:

  • Thread made from recycled plastic bottles.
  • Sustainable harvested Merino wool from Australia.
  • Carbon-free rubber or luxe vegan leather soles.
  • Rothy’s offsets is shipping emissions with carbon credits through The Envira Amazonia Project. All shipping materials are recyclable or biodegradable.

TOMS

With its famous One for One campaign, TOMS has donated more than 95 million pairs of shoes since 2006. While it doesn’t seem incredibly focused on using sustainable or recycled materials, this certified B Corp gives shoes, glasses, water and grants to under-served communities around the world. Check out TOMS’ vegan shoes priced in the $60 ballpark.

sustainable shoe
TOMS One for One campaign has donated 95 million pairs of shoes since 2006. Photo by Jeremy Perkins on Unsplash

Sustainable shoe brands honorable mentions

  • Beflamboyant is a start-up sustainable sneaker company that will plant a tree for each pair of sneakers sold.
  • Tread by Everlane is on a mission to make “the world’s lowest-impact sneakers” out of recycled natural rubber, ISA TanTec leather and 9.5 recycled plastic bottles per pair. Its also purchasing carbon credits to offset its emissions.
  • Adidas x Parley is using recycled marine plastic in its running shoes, setting a trend for big shoe brands.

Did we leave your favorite sustainable shoe brand off the list? Let us know in the comments section, on social media, or on our contact page!

Feature image from SAOLA.