Looking for stylish eco-friendly, sustainable and ethical shoes from UK retailers?  I got you!  Read on for my top recommendations – from the best vegan trainers to recycled flip flops!

The footwear industry doesn’t have a great reputation when it comes to being ethical or sustainable.  And for good reason:

What Can You Do?

The cheapest and most ethical thing to do when it comes to shoes is to continue to wear the shoes you have.  The most ethical shoes are the shoes you already own, after all.  Getting your shoes repaired when they wear out, and keeping them in active service for as long as possible is the most environmentally friendly thing you can do.   

However, no matter how much you look after your shoes, and repair them, eventually, shoes do wear out.  

Secondhand is one approach when it comes to buying ethical shoes.  Do check out my guide to sustainable secondhand shopping online for some inspiration on where to shop.  However, secondhand shoes may not be for everyone, or certainly practical for every situation. This is where this guide comes in.

Guide to Ethical Shoes

Ethical shoes get a bad rap.  A lot of people think of someone who is fond of the environment, and immediately conjure up an image of someone wearing socks and sandals.  Unflattering sandals at that.  But who says ethical shoes have to be frumpy?

I’ve found some seriously stylish ethical shoes from UK-based sustainable shoe brands (or brands that can be shipped from UK-based retailers).  I hope this guide proves that your feet can be as sustainably stylish as the rest of your ethical wardrobe!

A word before we jump in. Sustainability is a complex and nuanced subject, meaning many different things to many different people. I’m therefore mindful that everyone has different ethics when it comes to clothing and footwear. As such, this guide has been designed to be a starting-off point for you to research the most sustainable option for you, rather than a definitive “this is ethical” list.

Allbirds

Allbirds shoes UK

Price range: ££ – £££

Allbirds* say that a standard pair of trainers emits 12.5 kg of carbon dioxide.  They also say that their average pair of shoes emit 7.6 kg of carbon dioxide, and they want to lower that further.

As such, Allbirds shoes are made from natural materials, such as ZQ Merino accredited merino wool grown under strict sustainable farming practices. These include social responsibility, animal welfare, and traceability through the supply chain.

Other materials include recycled plastic bottles, which are used to make their shoe laces, and caster bean oil which is used to make the insoles.

Beyond Skin

beyond skin bumble bee vegan shoes

Price range: £££

Beyond Skin is a luxury ethical shoe brand specialising in stylish vegan shoes which are handmade in Spain.  Their focus is on creating luxurious trans-seasonal faux leather vegan women’s shoes, boots and trainers.  If you’re looking for something stylish and fancy, this is the place to go.

Bhava

bhava repairable boots

Price range: £££

Bhava boots* are ethically handcrafted in Spain with longevity in mind.  As well as being designed timelessly, they’re designed with a repairable sole in mind so that you can repair your boots.

What’s more, every pair of boots is made with premium Italian vegan leather.  This is a polyurethane (PU) leather, that is free from aromatic amines, PCP, formaldehyde, PVC, phthalates, azo-dyes, or chrome.

Boheme

boheme ethical shoes

Price range: ££ – £££

Boheme’s stylish eco-friendly shoes are ethically made, using the best innovative, eco-friendly and vegan materials, by hand-picked artisans in Portugal.

Boheme believe that a good vegan shoe should be about more than just excluding animal materials. Therefore, they are passionate about championing slow fashion and challenging the stereotype of leather-free footwear. 

Cariuma

cariuma eco friendly trainers

Price range: ££ – £££

Brazillian ethical shoe brand Cariuma make timeless trainers transparently made from natural materials.  Their materials include cork, recycled PET, mamona oil, and leather and suede which is certified by Leather Working Group.  What’s more, to ensure worker safety, no hazardous chemicals are used in their manufacturing process.  Instead they use Bluesign-certified chemicals (an independently verified scheme) to dye their materials.

Find them for sale in the UK at Selfridges & Co.

Ecoalf

eco-friendly flip flops uk

Price range: £

If it’s eco-friendly flip flops that you are after, then look no further than Ecoalf*. 

Ecoalf wants to lighten the current load on our planet by using less natural resources, and instead recycling what would otherwise end up in landfill.

Ecoalf integrates breakthrough technology to design and produce sustainable, comfortable, sophisticated and lightweight footwear so you can make the least footprint possible on the planet. As such, the range of Ecoalf sustainable flip flops are handmade in Spain from materials that come from recycled tires.   

El Naturalista

el naturalista ethical shoes

Price range: ££ – £££

Spanish brand El Naturalista* (only available in the UK through Amazon) make their shoes made as ethically and environmentally friendly as is possible when working with leather.  You can find out more about El Naturalista’s commitment to sustainability here.  What’s more, El Naturalista has even recently expanded its range to include vegan shoes.

Ethletic

ethletic vegan trainers

Price range: ££ – £££

Ethletic footwear is proud to offer an ethical alternative to leather trainers. Their vegan trainers are made with organic and Fairtrade certified cotton, the rubber soles are FSC certified and sourced responsibly, and the rubber is fairly traded. Seeking to tick every ethical box for footwear, Ethletic is a fair-trade company, with the environment and sustainability at the core of what they do.

In addition, the pioneering Fairtrade rubber project pays a Fairtrade social premium for every kilo of rubber used on the production of these trainers. The rubber tappers then decide how to use their income to improve their living and working conditions.

Find them on sale in the UK at Ethical Superstore*, from £54.

Good Guys Don’t Wear Leather

vegan trainers uk

Price range: ££ – £££

Good Guys Don’t Wear Leather* is cruelty-free and sweatshop-free ethical shoe brand.  The brand uses vegan ‘leather’ or vegan ‘suede’, and manufacture their shoes in Portugal in a fairtrade environment.

Good News

vegan trainers

Price range: ££ – £££

Good News* are a small footwear brand on a mission to improve the environmental and social sustainability of their products.  They aim to do this by decreasing their carbon, chemical and water footprint whilst also caring about the people involved in the making of their shoes.

Their signature low-top vegan trainers are sustainably made from organic and recycled materials.  The uppers are made from bio-degradable natural oatmeal organic cotton sourced. Meanwhile, the organic cotton laces are threaded through recycled metal eyelets. And what’s more, the soles are made from recycled material – a mix of car tyres and old rubber shoes!

Find them at Young British Designers* for £80.

Green Shoes

eco friendly sustainable shoes

Price range: £££

Green Shoes make their entire range of eco-friendly and ethical shoes by hand in Devon.  Their made to measure shoes allow you to choose the colour of the leather or vegan material to create a unique pair of shoes just for you.  What’s more, all of their shoes are fully repairable, for a prolonged lifespan.

Their range of leather shoes are made from high quality industry waste leathers. By virtue of being a small ethical shoe producer, they are able to use up the leather that large shoe manufacturers no longer want, for a more circular approach to shoe design.

Gudrun Sjoden

eco friendly leather shoes

Price Range: £££

Gudrun Sjoden is passionate about making comfortable shoes that look stylish and distinctive too.  All of their shoes are ethically made in Portugal, to the strict ethical standards associated with this sustainable brand.  You can see my Gudrun Sjoden boots in this post here – they’re my favourite pair of shoes.  

Po-Zu

ethical shoes po zu

Price Range: ££ – £££

Po Zu* specialise in stylish ethical shoes made from sustainable vegan materials, including cork, pineapple and apple skin.

I have to say that I have had my eye on these vegan-friendly Piper V Brown Linen Boots for quite some time now.  However, just about every pair of their eco-friendly shoes could easily make my wish list!

Novesta

novesta shoes uk

Price range: ££

Novesta’s ethical vegan trainers are made with a cotton upper and a natural rubber sole. What’s more, they are made in Slovakia, given them a lower carbon footprint. Find them on sale in the UK at Toast for £55.

TOMS

TOMS ethical shoes

Price range: £ – ££

As a certified BCorp, TOMS Shoes* invest one third of their profits in grassroots efforts, like organizations creating change at the local level.  Their funding priorites are promoting mental health, ending gun violence, and increasing access to opportunity.

Check out their Earthwise* and Vegan ranges* for their most sustainable shoes.  And the good news is that TOMS are working towards more sustainable materials for its shoes, such as organic cotton, hemp and recycled polyester.  They’re also exploring an end of life recycling programme for their shoes.  

Wills Vegan Shoes

Wills vegan shoes

Price range: ££ – £££

Wills Vegan Shoes make ethically made eco-friendly vegan shoes, which made in Italy & Portugal under European Union employment, discrimination and health & safety laws.  These ensure, amongst others, that workers receive equal pay, maternity and parental leave for example.  

The shoes themselves are made from vegan leather created with bio oil sourced from organic cereal crops grown in Northern Europe.  The rest of their products are manufactured from Ecolabel certified vegan leathers and suedes made in Italy and Spain that meet Oeko Tex 100 and REACH regulations.  Meanwhile, most of their outer soles are made from natural rubber, and their insoles are made in Spain from recycled rubber.

What’s more, their online store operates a plastic free Carbon Neutral supply chain using sustainable materials.  It’s no surprise that Ethical Consumer have ranked Wills Vegan Shoes as one the most ethical shoe retailers out there.  

Veja

veja uk

Price range: ££ – £££

VEJA is not a completely vegan footwear brand, however, they do have many vegan shoe options in their collections, making it well worth a look in your hunt for ethical and vegan shoes.

This organic, fairtrade, and ethical brand uses eco-conscious fabrics such as recycled and organic cotton, recycled plastic bottles, and sustainably harvested wild rubber to make their ethical shoes. What’s more, workers are paid a fair price. Find them for sale in the UK at Working Class Heroes.

What About Ethical Slippers and Welly Boots?

I’ve got two separate guides for these! Do check out my guide to ethical slippers, and my guide to ethical wellies.

If you come across any more ethical shoes, then be sure to let me know. I aim to continually update this list, so it’s always up to date.

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