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ethical shopping guide

Ethical Fashion, Life & Style

Stylish Sustainable and Ethical Shoes for 2022

inkkas ethical shoes

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:

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.  

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+

In order to help support the running costs of Moral Fibres, this post contains affiliate links, denoted by *. Moral Fibres may earn a small commission, at no extra cost to readers, on items that have been purchased through those links. This income helps keep this site running.

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 shoelaces, and castor 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 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.

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 believes 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 makes 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 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.

El Naturalista

el naturalista ethical shoes

Price range: ££ – £££

Spanish brand El Naturalista* (only available in the UK through Amazon) makes their shoes 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, if leather isn’t in line with your own ethics.

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 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.

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 a cruelty-free and sweatshop-free ethical shoe brand.  The brand uses vegan ‘leather’ or vegan ‘suede’ and manufactures its stylish 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. Use the exclusive discount code MORAL10 for 10% off at Young British Designers. Please note this code cannot be used in conjunction with any other offers.

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 shoe service allows 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 is 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.  

Nisolo

Nisolo shoes

Price Range: £££

Nisolo* is a US-based ethical shoe brand. 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. They also provide 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*.

OFKT Footwear

Price Range: £££

OFKT Footwear* design and make contemporary classic footwear with sustainability at the heart of the brand ethos. Each shoe 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. Even the dustbags, information labels, and shoeboxes are all made from the recycling of waste materials.

Find OFKT Footwear at Young British Designers* from £145. You can use the exclusive discount code MORAL10 for 10% off at Young British Designers. However, please note this code cannot be used in conjunction with any other offers.

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!

Sign up for Po Zu’s newsletter and take 15% off your first order.

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, giving them a lower carbon footprint than shoes made further afield. 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 priorities 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.  Encouragingly, 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 are 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 has 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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Image of a persons legs in jeans wearing trainers, with a blue text box that says guide to stylish and sustainable ethical shoes
Ethical Fashion, Life & Style

Sustainable Socks and Tights Guide

ethical socks tights uk

On the lookout for sustainable socks and ethical tights?  Good news: I’ve got you covered with this handy guide.

I write lots of sustainable shopping guides. From ethical underwear, to ethical pyjamas, right the way through to UK-based ethical clothing brands. And today I wanted to turn my attention to socks and tights. Specifically sustainable socks and tights.

Socks and tights are as much of an autumn and winter staple as cups of tea, blankets, and nice woolly jumpers.  I’m never without a pair of socks.  So, as a wardrobe essential, I’ve hunted down ethical socks for men and women to feature here.  I’ve also thrown in sustainable tights for good measure too.

Listed below are a few of my favourite brands for 2022. And I’m always on the lookout for more to feature here:

ethical socks uk
Ethical socks from Thought

Guide to Sustainble Socks

To help support the running costs of the blog any links marked with a * after them are affiliate links. This means I may get a very tiny percentage of the sale price if you buy anything using the links below.  This doesn’t affect the price you pay for items or your consumer rights, such as your right to return items.

Bam: Bamboo

Bam: Bamboo* sells soft socks from sustainably sourced bamboo.  Packs of four cost around £18. What’s more, if you buy any 3 selected mix and match garments from Bam Bamboo – these don’t have to be socks – you will receive 20% off.

Boody

Are you overwhelmed by choice and just want plain black socks? Try Boody*. Here you’ll find ethically made plain black socks in every style under the sun. From everyday socks, to sports ankle socks, to even ballet pump liner socks – they’re plain, and they’re only available in black. Prices start from £4.95, and take 10% off your first order when you sign up to their mailing list.

Heist

Heist*, who has a strong commitment to sustainability, sells lightweight pop socks that despite their thinness, are designed to last. Think reinforced toes and heels.  Their stay-up ankle band also means no digging or your socks rolling down, which is great because this is always a problem with this type of sock.  Each pair is £7.

Jollies

Jollies sell colourful organic cotton socks that are made in England.  What’s more, for every pair sold, one pair of Jollies socks is donated to local homeless shelters.  So far thousands of pairs of socks have been donated to over 50 shelters nation-wide.  Prices start from £9.

Leiho

Leiho’s* sustainably sourced & vegan-friendly bamboo socks are not only fun but charitable too.  For every pair of socks sold, a pair is donated to homeless shelters.  The prices are around £12 per pair.

Organic Basics

Danish-based Organic Basics* sell soft and durable socks ethically and sustainably made in Turkey and Portugal from organic cotton. Prices start at £12 for a pack of two. What’s more, take 10% off your order with discount code WENDYOBC at the checkout.

People Tree

Ethical stalwarts People Tree* sell super soft organic cotton socks in a wide range of colours, prints, and designs.  Their ethical socks start from £7 per pair.

Thought

Thought* have a great selection of men’s and women’s ethical socks, like the beautiful ones pictured above.  All their socks are ethically made from organic cotton, and super soft bamboo or hemp. You’ll also find a wide selection of funky prints and patterns. There’s definitely a pair of socks to suit everyone.  The prices are around £6.95 for a pair.

Sustainable Tights Guide

ethical socks and tights uk
Ethical Tights from Heist

The market for sustainable tights is small, but I have found some gems for you:

Heist

Heist’s* specialty is their Italian-made tights.  I love a lot of things about Heist. Where to start?! From their range of nude tights in seven representative shades. To their thicker 80 denier tights. To fishnets made from sustainable pre-consumer recycled waste. What’s more, all of their tights come in more inclusive sizes, catering for a UK size 4 up to a UK size 22.   

Swedish Stockings

Swedish Stockings* sustainable hosiery range is made from pre- and post-consumer nylon waste that is non-biodegradable. They recycle this waste nylon to create their range of tights, socks, and leggings. All of this reduces water consumption and energy., making them a great sustainable choice. They also run a great tights recycling scheme, where you can recycle your old tights.

Another option in autumn and winter, if you’re wearing boots, is to wear leggings with socks.  Ok, it’s not so attractive when you take off your boots, but I like wearing leggings as they are nice and cosy and don’t snag or run like tights do, making them much more durable.  I don’t mind spending a bit more on something that I know is going to last and are as versatile as leggings.  If you’re after leggings too then check out my guide to the best ethical leggings.

Found any more sustainable socks and tights brands? Do let me know!