Shoes are essential garments that we need for work, school, exercise, travel, and other aspects of our lives.
Unfortunately, shoes leave a serious environmental footprint.
The shoe industry is responsible for massive carbon emissions from material processing, product manufacturing, and shipping.
Furthermore, most shoes and their parts are not recyclable and non-biodegradable; once they’re past usability, they become waste bound for landfills and incinerators.
So how can we keep our feet protected and comfy without harming so much of the planet we live in? Eco-friendly shoes.
What are Eco-Friendly Shoes?
As the name suggests, eco-friendly shoes are footwear specially designed to leave a gentler footprint on the planet.
- They’re crafted with less taxing materials on our planet, including recycled plastic, organic fibers, and others.
- They are produced via ethical and environmentally-friendly manufacturing processes.
- Eco-friendly shoes are shipped and packed without single-use plastic.
- Eco-friendly shoes are footwears are made to last, reducing waste and carbon emissions.
And contrary to what some people believe, these eco-friendly footwear are not in any way ersatz version to traditional shoes.
Below are 17 of the best eco-friendly shoe brands that make stylish, long-lasting, comfortable, and sustainable footwear for kids, men, and women.
Let’s check them out.
Our Top 1 Pick
For Best Eco-Friendly Shoes
Twisted X Sustainable Footwear
Our Top 2 Pick
For Best Eco-Friendly Shoes
Greats Zero Waste Shoes
17 Best Eco-Friendly Shoes for Kids & Adults
1. Twisted X Sustainable Footwear
Twisted X puts sustainability and comfort at the top of their business operation.
This eco-friendly shoe brand makes all kinds of comfortable and stylish shoes using natural materials that include merino wool, cork, bamboo, algae, and rice husk.
They also developed an eco-friendly shoe material called ecoTWX, derived from recycled plastic bottles salvaged from landfills and oceans.
And there’s more!
Twisted X also has a Zero-X shoe collection that features footwear made using a revolutionary and eco-forward stitching technique that eliminates glue usage.
The company’s offices are single-use plastic-free, utilize motion sensor lights for preserving energy consumption, and plant a tree in the USA for every product they sell.
2. Greats Zero Waste Shoes
Greats is truly one of the best eco-friendly shoes brands today.
Their mission is to create shoes that you can wear for the rest of your life without compromising the environment’s wellness.
Their line of sustainable footwear are made by top-rated factories, ensuring that their products are high quality and in strict compliance with environmental protocols.
Greats use natural and biodegradable leather to create their shoes designed in precision and an old-fashioned way.
Their collection includes shoes made with upcycled plastic bottles that contribute to cleaner seas and fewer landfills.
If you’re going to aim, aim to be one of the greats.
3. Veja Eco-Friendly Shoes
- Made from recycled plastic bottles, recycled cotton, recycled polyester
- Direct-to-producer trade
- No advertising cost means more affordable shoes
The creators started in 2003 at a very young age when they recognized the imbalance between workers, company owners, and advertisers.
Being aware of the situation, they decided to be the solution and started their sneakers, practicing their improved way of fair trade.
Their materials for their shoe products are natural rubber, agro-ecological cotton, leather tanned with a vegetal process, and recycled plastic bottles.
Shoes cost more because of other expenses.
By eliminating ads, marketing costs, and billboards, the company is focused entirely on creating quality products and making them a reality, ensuring value for money.
Veja has some of the best eco-friendly shoes for kids.
4. Allbirds Eco-Friendly Shoes
- Shoes made with natural wool, recycled plastics, and plant fibers
- 100% of materials comes from regenerative sources
- Comfortable yet straightforward shoe designs
Allbirds mainly use wool from Merino sheep for all their footwear products – from eco-friendly running shoes to slip-on, they have it.
The wool they use is derived from 100% ethical and sustainable sources.
Moreover, Allbirds claims that their innovative shoe production uses 60 percent less energy than most synthetic shoe productions.
Recently, the company also have a new line of sustainable footwear made from eucalyptus and other plant fibers.
Allbirds is an FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified shoe brand.
The FSC is an international non-profit organization that promotes responsible management of forests.
Besides using sustainable shoe materials, Allbirds also use recycled plastic bottles for the laces, castor bean oil for the insoles, and recycled cardboard for the packaging.
Allbirds also offers eco-friendly clothes in their inventory.
5. Etnies Vegan Sneakers & Skate Shoes
- Vegan shoes made of recycled materials
- Colored with 100% natural dyes
- Produced through eco-friendly processes
Any skaters in the house?
Etnies worked with Michelin tires to develop eco-friendly skate shoes and other footwear from recycled plastic, recycled rubber, and canvas.
People love Etnies’ slim, lightweight, and comfortable sustainable footwear.
They are also designed to last, meaning less waste in landfills and fewer expenses on your part.
Etnies also partnered with Trees For The Future and has planted over 2 million trees.
For every purchase of Etnies footwear, you’ll get a superior pair of eco-friendly skating shoes while helping prevent deforestation.
6. 8000Kicks Vegan Hemp Shoes
- Eco-friendly shoes made of hemp
- Waterproof vegan shoes
- Stylish and durable
8000Kicks have a variety of waterproof hemp shoes for men and women.
These durable, sustainable, and vegan footwear are specially designed to last for years to come.
8000Kicks shoes are super lightweight, and their outsoles are made of algae collected from harmful algal blooms
And like many eco-friendly shoe brands on this list, 8000Kicks has been planting trees worldwide to offset the carbon footprints of their shoe production.
They are also doing community outreach programs and donated shoes and face masks to front liners during the COVID pandemic.
And if you love hemp clothes, 8000Kicks also have a 100% hemp fibers clothing line.
7. Everlane Sustainable Shoes
- Made with recycled fibers, recycled plastic bottles, fishing nets, and FSC-certified paper
- Durably designed to last
- Transparent with prices and production costs
Unlike most companies, Everlane is more focused on creating a product that will stand the test of time rather than trends.
They invest time in looking for the right partners to guarantee the quality and timelessness of all their products.
The company is committed to eliminating all virgin plastics from its supply chain.
The movement started in 2018, and as of this year, they are using recycled fibers, recycled plastic bottles, fishing nets, and FSC-certified paper.
Their shoe products are defined as the Forever Sneakers.
It is made of a natural rubber sole, recycled laces, and a recycled cotton upper, all recycle-ready if you manage to outlive their products.
Kidding aside, you can drop off your old forever sneaker at one of their stores rather than disposing of it.
8. Rothy’s Sustainable Sneakers
- Shoes made of recycled plastic and algae
- Knitted shoes and sneakers
- Durable and fully machine-washable
“Sustainable shoes knit from water bottles.”
Rothy’s is a company that primarily uses recycled plastic bottles and marine plastics to create its footwear line.
Along with hemp fiber and algae-based foam for the footbeds, Rothy’s has some of the best eco-friendly shoes for men, women, and kids.
They also have bags and other accessories made from recycled materials.
Moreover, Rothy’s uses the best 3D knitting and handcrafted assembly technology to reduce waste in their production.
The results are eco-friendly footwear that is durable, machine-washable, comfortable, and durable.
9. TOMS Earthwise Eco-Shoes
- Made with organic cotton, recycled plastics, regenerated nylon, and eco fibers
- Packaging made from sustainably managed forests and recycled materials
- Member of Fair Labor Association
For a company putting Earth’s welfare first, one should not consider the term “earth-friendly” lightly.
For TOMS, they’d rather say “Earthwise.”
Earthwise is TOMS’ new collection made of organic cotton, recycled plastics, regenerated nylon, and eco-fibers.
They are always ready to improve in terms of sustainable practices and material sourcing.
One-third of their profit is donated to grassroots goods or small local organizations with visions of helping the community and having the same level of great concern for the environment.
10. Timberland Recycled Plastic Footwear
- Made with recycled plastics, organic, and renewable materials
- 10 million trees planted, targetting 50 million by 2025
- Employer of National Service
Timberland’s history goes back to almost 70 years ago, and they were made to create footwear that can withstand the challenges of having unpredictable weather.
Their mission, innovation, and love for nature have never changed through all these years.
Nature is always considered whenever Timberland takes a step forward. Earthkeepers boot was launched in 2007, made with recycled, organic, and renewable materials.
By 2018, 345 million recycled plastics will be collected and recycled into footwear.
The company also have engaged with tree planting activities since 2001.
This effort led to 10.2 million trees being planted worldwide and is still ongoing. The target is to have 50 million trees planted by 2025.
11. Alohas Vegan Leather Footwear
- Made with plant-based recyclable leathers
- The company practices on-demand production for more sustainable fashion
- Leather Working Group certified suppliers
Alohas sells eco-friendly leather shoes for women.
What’s unique about this shoe company is that its products are made using plant-based vegan leather derived from cactus and corn!
The company’s products are designed and handcrafted in Spain.
They have a decent collection of sandals, heels, boots, and other women’s footwear to choose from.
Alohas operates in a pre-order system to accurately meet the demands of their products and avoid overproduction and wasted resources.
12. Aks Fair Trade Handcrafted Sneakers
- Made of organic cotton and natural rubber
- 92% water saving through the use of organic cotton
- 10% Fair Trade premium given to workers to support their needs
Aks is an Urdu word that means “reflection”.
The company believes that we reflect what we wear. hence, Aks products reflect who they are and their values as a brand creator.
They use two simple materials for organic cotton and natural rubber for their shoe products.
Keeping it simple will make it easier to recycle the shoes afterward. Their farmers are paid fairly for their work.
Designs patterns are very traditional since it is done by hand embroidery. This is what makes Aks shoes unique.
It is a fusion of traditional and modern ways of creating footwear, honoring their workers, artisans, customers, and planet.
13. Strauss + Ramm Sustainable Coconut Shoes
- Made from coconut fiber
- Affordable and reliable footwear
- Sustainable shoe manufacturing process
The 25 years of experience of the creators of Strauss + Ram led them to use coconut as a material for their shoes.
After all, it is said that the coconut is the tree life. All of its parts can be used in so many ways. Why not turn it into shoes?
Their company was founded in Miami, where many coconut trees can be seen. Now, people from Miami and worldwide can use shoes made of coconut.
Their designs are a combination of simplicity and modern.
They have three different designs as they started their business in 2021. Indeed, more innovations are about to be released.
14. Atoms Vegan Eco-Friendly Footwear
- 100% vegan-friendly materials
- Comes in quarter sizes for exact fit
- Materials are 99% recyclable
A pair of shoes that fits perfectly. Could it be possible to buy a shoe that’s almost made personally for you?
At Atoms, fitting won’t be your problem anymore, and you’ll probably wear their shoes all the time as it promises a whole new level of comfort and fresh feel.
They offer quarter sizes of shoes that most shoe factories don’t do. They use antimicrobial copper yarn for the insole, blended TPU coated, and polyester yarn for the upper.
All materials used are 100% vegan, producing far fewer carbon emissions than other brands.
Atoms is a relatively young company, but their shoes are 99% recyclable and will be part of the materials for future shoes.
15. Suavs Recycled Plastic Shoes
- Made of post-consumer recycled plastics
- Ultra-versatile, comfortable, and stylish
- Vegan-friendly and low carbon impact shoe brand
One pair of shoes that fits all your adventures might be hard to live up to. At least that’s what Suavs is aiming for.
The company made sure that their products were quality made for a busy world.
Since the beginning, the company’s intentions were consistent, intending to create comfortable, easy-to-transport shoes that will never go out of style.
The threads they use are recycled plastics, tested before production to ensure that all materials are sustainable up to distribution.
It has its limitations since you cannot use it in heavy sports.
But overall, if it’s just long walking, hikes, or even going in the gym, and the likes, Suavs will showcase its durability and comfort concerning our environment.
16. Cariuma Sustainable Sneakers
- Made from bamboo, organic cotton, recycled plastics, recycled leather, natural rubber
- Eco-conscious sneaker making at all stages
- Constantly evolving in terms of profit, customer relation, and work environment
They stated that the true answer to sustainability is choosing quality over quantity. It is imperative to Cariuma’s employees and consumers to always have an eco-conscious perspective.
They use bamboo, organic cotton, recycled plastics, sugar cane, and recycled leather for most shoes.
Natural rubber from hevea brasiliensis, cork, and Mamona oil build the insole and the outsole. Packaging is made of recycled and recyclable paper.
Cariuma’s ideals about work ethics and saving the planet through upcycling is in constant progress.
They even started a reforestation program for every pair of sneakers purchased. Buying sneakers has never been this good, literally.
17. Sanuk Vegan-Friendly Footwear
- Made using natural materials and recycled plastic bottles
- Vegan-friendly shoes manufactured in anti-racism workspace
- Member of United Nations Global Compact
Sanuk’s mission is to guide you to your happy place by making sure that their products will bring comfort and positive vibrations.
If Earth is your happy place, it should be your duty always to put first what is best for your happy place.
By creating hemp, vegan, and recycled products to reduce waste and provide quality footwear, Sanuk contributes to a movement more remarkable than what they thought it would be.
Most consumers may haven’t heard of Sanuk, but the hippy community sure does.
Wearing Sanuk’s products will lead to a fun and comfy adventures.
It may sound cliche but to preserve our planet for the future generations, we must start taking simple actions that will contribute to our world’s better future.
There are many ways to do that, one of which is supporting brands that are pro-environment.
So if you’re in the market for a new pair of sneakers, purchasing one from any of the eco-friendly shoes brands above is a good place to start.
You might also be interested in:
Are shoes bad for the environment?
Shoes made without eco-friendly protocols are responsible for 1.4% of global GHGs emissions. Continued support for these products will raise its emissions to a point where we can’t manage it anymore.
How to choose the best eco-friendly shoe brand
It is a matter of personal perspective. Our team provided a long list for our readers to have many options based on their taste in design and attention to detail. But in general, the most eco-friendly shoes are durable to last a long time, made with materials that are recycled or renewable, and pf course, comfortable so you will actually use it.
What are eco-friendly shoes made of?
Different companies use different eco-friendly materials for their products. Some use recycled plastics, and some use materials from renewable sources. These materials are picked to lessen impacts and carbon footprints.