The 7 Best Sustainable Shoe Brands of 2022 That Are Actually Kind to the Planet

Put your best foot forward with these eco-friendly brands.

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Best Sustainable Shoe Brands in 2022

Sustainability is a hot topic for so many brands right now, and for good reason. The fashion industry is one of the most polluting industries on the planet, and we exacerbate the problem when we treat our clothes and shoes as disposable, Kristy Drutman, the host and founder of Browngirl Green says. 

Think about it: how many shoes do you own, and how many of them do you wear regularly? And once your heels break or soles tear, do you go to a cobbler to get your shoes repaired, or do you throw them away? “Whatever you can do to keep clothes out of a landfill is a win,” Drutman says. 

While some shoe companies are doing their part, others are just putting the word “sustainable” on their products without any backup, making it hard to know who to support. “They know sustainability is sexy and marketable,” Drutman says. “If there are no reports or tangible information to backup their claims, it's safe to say it's just a marketing gimmick.” 

For this list, we looked for brands that are committed to sustainable goals, treat their workers fairly, and prioritize recycling and upcycling because there’s much more to sustainability than marketing.

Shop with the planet in mind with the sustainable shoe brands below.

All Birds

ALL BIRDS WOMEN'S WOOL RUNNER FLUFFS

All Birds

All Birds has made a name for itself since its launch in 2016. A celeb favorite, the incredibly comfortable shoes look and feel like a cloud. Whether you grab coffee in them or go out for an actual run, they’re perfect for nearly everything. But aside from all that, we put them on this list because of their sustainability practices. The brand is carbon neutral with a fairly transparent supply chain, but they’re not stopping there. Not only do they plan to cut their footprint in half by 2025, but they also plan to reduce it to near zero by 2030

They prioritize workers and have third-party firms assess their factories to ensure they treat and pay everyone fairly. If you’re looking for a sale, AllBirds also sells imperfect or lightly-used shoes for a pretty hefty discount in their ReRun marketplace

Pedro Garcia

SUNTA LUG SOLE KNEE-HIGH BOO BLACK CASTORO

Sunta

Founded in 1925, Pedro Garcia — a family-run brand now owned by its third-generation, brother and sister Mila and Pedro García — is known for their buttery leather sandals with a high-end edge, like gunmetal studs or woven heels. The brand designs and manufactures its shoes in Elda, a town in the Spanish region of Alicante, which they take pretty seriously: “Made in Spain” is a huge part of the brand’s identity. They’re one of Drutman’s favorite shoe brands because they work to ensure that their business supports Alicante’s economy, from responsibly sourcing local materials for their sandals to employing local artisans.

Alohas

 SOUTH RED AND PINK LEATHER BOOTS

Alohas

We’ll say it: because many sustainable brands emphasize basics over trends to support capsule wardrobes that never go out of style, they can sometimes be a little dull. But I say you don’t have to sacrifice style for sustainability. From Western pull-ons to bicolor slides, strappy, colorful vegan sandals, and sculptural leather boots, Alohas’ designs are so fun that you’ll want to wear them season after season. 

The brand uses non-harmful dyes and Leather Working Group-certified leather, but they stand out from other brands on this list thanks to their stance on production. They make their shoes on demand, which means they wait for orders to come in before beginning production. They even offer 30 percent off pre-sale styles, saving excess energy and material, and saving you money.

Thousand Fell

THOUSAND FELL WOMANS COURT

Thousand Fell

Thousand Fell calls themselves the “world’s first recyclable sneaker.” While we can’t prove that, we can say that these practical white sneakers go above and beyond regarding sustainability — which is why Drutman says these are a must-buy. The brand sources corn, coconut husks, sugar cane, and recycled bottles for their vegan sneakers, but you’ll be hard-pressed to believe they’re not genuine leather. They even go one step further and pay you $20 to recycle your sneakers through their SuperCircle initiative, which keeps their shoes out of landfills and saves them the costs of producing new material. 

You’ve seen Vejas around: they sell great everyday mesh and canvas sneakers and hiking boots stamped with their signature “V” that can be dressed up or down to match everything in your closet. 

Veja believes in supporting its homeland. Instead of outsourcing its production to countries where workers may be underpaid and treated unfairly, Veja designs and makes its shoes in Brazil and Peru, where the brand is based.  There, the brand makes its sneakers with eco-friendly materials like rice waste, recycled rubber, and recycled plastic bottles. They also partner with farmers' associations in Brazil and Peru to source materials and even go so far as to pay four times the market price for their certified Fair for Life Amazonian rubber which helps support social projects and protect the rainforest.  

Sezane

SEZANE LOW JADE MULES

Sezane

From Birkenstock-like sandals with Western-inspired buckles to heeled leather boots you’ll live in all fall, French brand Sézane has it all. The B Corp brand creates its shoes in Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish ateliers from at least 75 percent sustainable materials and colors fabrics using natural vegetable dyes. Once it comes time to ship, the brand takes sustainability a step further by mailing your shoes in recycled packaging.

But we love that investing in a Sézane shoe doesn’t just mean that you’re doing good for the environment: You’re doing good for people, too. The brand started its own charity, Demain, and donates ten percent of its sales to programs that fund education for children.  

Avre’s slip-on, uber-comfortable sneakers (we love their cream and off-white neutrals) are like slippers in disguise. To ensure they’re as sustainable as possible, the brand takes advantage of tech like a 3D “knit-to-shape” cutter that cuts fabric precisely to reduce scraps and waste. 

The brand also invented a new “Bloom” foam insole made from harmful algae: Ridding the ocean of it can actually help reduce water pollution and restore healthy ecosystems. The brand says that with one Bloom insole, 45 liters of water and 28 cubic meters of air are cleaned.

Avre has also taken steps to extend the life of its sneakers. They’re built to be machine washable so once they start to look scuffed and worn in, you can pop them in the washer, no scrubbing needed. 

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Lee Musho is an accomplished writer with work in New York Magazine, The Cut, Thrillist, Eater, and much more. She specializes in digital media, e-commerce, branded content, social media, and photography. She also has a deep interest in sustainability as it relates to fashion. For this story, she tirelessly researched the best shoe brands that actually can be called sustainable, and she consulted sustainability expert Kristy Drutman, the host and founder of Browngirl Green.

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