Stylish Sustainable and Ethical Shoes for 2023

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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 and more, all updated for 2023.

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

In short, the shoes we wear tread incredibly heavily on the environment.

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. You can recycle your old shoes, but the next question is how to buy new shoes ethically.

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!

The price range key for this guide is:

 £ = Under £50 | ££ = £50 – 100 | £££ = £100+

A quick 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 point for you to research the most sustainable option for you, rather than a definitive “this is ethical” list.

Allbirds Ethical Shoes

Allbirds shoes UK

Price range: ££ – £££

Caters for: Men (UK sizes 7 – 13) and Women (UK sizes 2 – 8)

Available at Allbirds

Allbirds say that a standard pair of trainers emits 12.5 kg of carbon dioxide. Meanwhile, the average pair of Allbirds shoes emits 7.6 kg of carbon dioxide. Not content with that figure, Allbirds 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 practices include social responsibility, animal welfare, and traceability through the supply chain.

Other materials include recycled plastic bottles, which are used to make shoelaces, and castor bean oil which is used to make the insoles.

Allbirds don’t just make trainers. Find running shoes, sandals, hiking boots, flats and more.

Wills Vegan Shoes

Wills vegan shoes

Price range: ££ – £££

Caters for: Men (UK sizes 6.5 – 13) and Women (UK sizes 3 – 8)

Available from Wills Vegan Shoes

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

Find a huge variety of styles for men and women – from brogues to boots, and trainers to heels.

The shoes themselves are made from vegan leather created with bio oil sourced from organic cereal crops grown in Northern Europe. The rest of its 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 the outer soles are made from natural rubber, whilst the insoles are made in Spain from recycled rubber.

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


Black Vivobarefoot sustainable trainers

Price Range: £££

Caters for men, women and children

Available directly from Vivobarefoot

Founded in 2012 by two seventh-generation cobblers, Vivobarefoot makes minimal-soled shoes that get you as close to going barefoot as possible.

With shoes for everything from hiking, running and training, and stylish barefoot shoes for work and leisure, Vivobarefoot has you covered.

As a certified B-Corp, Vivobarefoot gives equal weight to people, the planet and profit. In practice, this means that Vivobarefoot uses only recycled, natural and bio-synthetic materials – such as foam that’s cleverly made from algae – in its range of shoes. Whilst some shoes are made from wild hide leather and wool, Vivobarefoot does have a comprehensive vegan range too.

Vivobarefoot also runs ReVivo – an online marketplace for refurbished and repaired barefoot shoes, to help keep its shoes on people’s feet for longer. Plus, its Livebarefoot Fund helps to fund social and environmental initiatives.

I’ve been wearing Vivobarefoot shoes for a couple of months now. I’ve put them through long hikes and I am seriously impressed with just how comfortable they are.

Cariuma Ethical Shoes

cariuma eco friendly trainers

Price range: ££ – £££

Caters for: Men (UK 4 – 12) and Women (UK 2.5 – 10.5)

Available directly from Cariuma

Brazillian ethical shoe brand Cariuma makes timeless trainers transparently made from natural materials. 

Its 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 its manufacturing process. Instead, Cariuma uses Bluesign-certified chemicals (an independently verified scheme) to dye its materials.

Enjoy free shipping and a generous 60-day free returns policy.

OFKT Footwear

OFKT sustainable leather shoes

Price Range: £££

Caters for: Women (UK sizes 4 – 8)

Available from Young British Designers

OFKT Footwear designs and makes contemporary classic footwear with sustainability at the heart of the brand ethos.

Each of its shoes is made traditionally by hand in a small Yorkshire factory from offcuts of leather. This means that each pair of shoes is part of a limited edition run.

And conscious of its impact on the environment, even the dustbags, information labels, and shoeboxes are all made from recycled waste materials, for a zero-waste approach to footwear.

Use the discount code YBD10 for 10% off at Young British Designers. This code cannot be used in conjunction with any other offers.

Flamingos Life

Flamingos life vegan trainers in blue

Price range: ££ – £££

Caters for: Men and Women (UK sizes 3 – 11.5)

Available from Trouva

Flamingos Life makes stylish light and comfortable unisex ethical trainers.

Ethically made in Spain, everything about its vegan-friendly trainers is carefully considered. The uppers are made from organic cotton. The sole is made from natural rubber that has been sustainably extracted. Meanwhile, the eyelets are made from chrome-free metal.

What’s more, every time you make a purchase, Flamingos Life will plant five trees in deforested areas, in collaboration with Eden Reforestation Projects.


bhava repairable boots

Price range: £££

Caters for women (UK shoe sizes 2 – 7)

Available from Content Beauty

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

Good News Ethical Shoes

vegan trainers

Price range: ££ – £££

Caters for: Women (UK sizes 3 – 8)

Available from Young British Designers

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

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

Also look out for hi-tops, boots, and slip-on mules.

Use the discount code YBD10 for 10% off at Young British Designers. Please note this code cannot be used in conjunction with any other offers.


eco-friendly flip flops uk

Price range: £

Caters for: Women (UK sizes 4 – 7)

Available from Trouva

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 smallest footprint possible on the planet. As such, the range of Ecoalf sustainable flip-flops is handmade in Spain from materials that come from recycled tyres. 

I’ve also got a guide to ethical sandals and flip-flops if it’s summer-specific footwear that you are interested in. You can also check out my guide to recycled shoes for even more inspiration.


ethletic vegan trainers

Price range: ££

Caters for: Men and Women (UK sizes 4 – 11)

Available from Ethical Superstore

Ethletic Footwear is proud to offer an ethical alternative to leather trainers.

Its unisex vegan trainers are made with organic and Fairtrade-certified cotton. Meanwhile, 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 it does.

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


Veja organic trainers

Price range: ££ – £££

Caters for: Men and Women (UK sizes 2 – 11)

Available from Selfridges

VEJA is an organic, fair trade and ethical shoe brand offering style-conscious footwear.

It uses eco-conscious fabrics such as recycled and organic cotton, recycled plastic bottles, and sustainably harvested wild rubber to make its ethical shoes. What’s more, workers are paid a fair price for their labour.

If you are looking for vegan shoes, it’s worth noting that VEJA is not a completely vegan footwear brand. However, it does have many vegan shoe options in its collections, making it well worth a look for ethical and vegan shoes.

Nisolo Ethical Shoes

Nisolo shoes

Price Range: £££

Caters for: Women (UK sizes 4 – 9)

Available from Amazon

Nisolo is a US-based ethical shoe brand that makes stylish footwear for women.

As a certified B Corp – meaning they have been independently verified as meeting high standards of social and environmental performance, transparency and accountability – they produce high-quality shoes using socially responsible practices.

Nisolo uses sustainable practices such as eco-friendly waste disposal systems, and carbon offsetting to craft stylish shoes, boots and sandals that are made to last. It also provides steady employment opportunities for artisans in Mexico and Peru.

As a US brand, do note that I can only find them for sale in the UK via Amazon. I am keeping my eye out for alternative stockists and will update here when I find one.

El Naturalista Ethical Shoes

el naturalista ethical shoes

Price range: ££ – £££

Caters for: Women (UK sizes 2 – 8)

Available from Amazon

Spanish brand El Naturalista (only available in the UK through Amazon) makes its shoes as ethically and environmentally friendly as 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, if leather isn’t in line with your own ethics.

Novesta Ethical Shoes

novesta shoes uk

Price range: ££

Caters for: Men and Women (UK sizes 4 – 11)

Available from Trouva

Slovakian brand Novesta specialises in quality handmade shoes that are manufactured according to the highest environmental and ethical standards.

Every one of its ethical vegan trainers – made with a cotton upper and a natural rubber sole – is hand-finished by Novesta’s craftsmen, and every shoe is as comfortable as its cutting-edge

What’s more, they are made in Slovakia, giving them a lower carbon footprint than shoes made further afield.

Good Guys Don’t Wear Leather

vegan trainers from Good News uk

Price range: ££ – £££

Caters for: Women (UK sizes 3 – 7)

Available from Content Beauty

Good Guys Don’t Wear Leather is a vegan-friendly, cruelty-free and sweatshop-free ethical shoe brand well worth putting on your radar. 

It manufactures its stylish shoes in Portugal in a fair trade environment. Plus Good Guys Don’t Wear Leather uses vegan ‘leather’ or vegan ‘suede’ to make its uppers, and uses canvas, natural rubber or wood for the soles. You won’t find any animal products here.

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.

Want to pin this post for later? Here you go:

A person in jeans wearing trainers, with a blue text box that says guide to stylish and sustainable ethical shoes

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  1. I love Ethletics trainers! They look like converse but are fair trade and ethically produced. Love it! Bought mine from ethicalsuperstore.

  2. Lovely shoes! Especially the Veja trainers.

    I love Vegetarian Shoes, they are ethically made in the EU. Some of the designs are a bit ‘off’ but their Airseal range are like DMs and are made in England, I have the Chelsea boots and they have lasted years. I also love their desert boots ‘Bush Boot’ and sandals, like Birkenstocks, really comfy.

    For trainers I like Victoria Shoes. They aren’t marketed as ethical but they are made from Organic cotton and are made in Spain so the workers are protected by EU rules. They are not expensive either, you can get them from Sarenza. I’ve got the all-black basic ones because I like the retro school plimsoll look!

    1. Ooh, I will look into Victoria Shoes – thanks for the heads up! And I have to say, I love my Birkenstocks – my pair are 11 years old and still going strong can you believe?!

  3. Great post, as always; thank you! I looked at the Inkkas website and they’ve gorgeous stuff there! Too bad it’s an American company. Also, I don’t like ordering shoes online because it’s so unlikely that they will fit, and then you get to go through all the hassle of returning them. Waiting for the real shops that sell ethical shoes and clothing!

    1. They do have an Irish site and are expanding. Definitely one to watch out for! I agree, I’m not a fan of ordering shoes online but one day I hope too that ethical shoes will be much more mainstream!