Looking for a pair of eco-friendly or ethical slippers? Good news – I’ve rounded up my favourites for you! From vegan-friendly slippers to recycled slippers and slippers that can be recycled at the end of their life.
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This winter it certainly feels like staying comfortable and cosy has never been as important as it has now. I was updating my guide to ethical pyjamas and loungewear and my guide to ethical socks and thought why stop here. I, therefore, carried out some research and found some of the best eco-friendly and ethical slippers for both women and men available in the UK right now.
What I’ve found is that much like the ethical clothing market, the ethical slippers market is small. To make things harder, this already small market has been hit by Brexit. Many ethical slipper choices are made in the EU and shipped to the UK. However, because of Brexit, many EU-based retailers have stopped shipping to the UK.
For those EU-based retailers that are still shipping to the UK, import duties must now be paid on purchases from the EU coming into the UK. This means that when you order from the EU you are hit with these hidden charges. As such, for this guide, I’ve focused on what’s accessible within the UK. It therefore might be small, but I’ve managed to cover all bases I hope!
What Makes for a Pair of Ethical Slippers?
I’m 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.
Some of the slippers I’ve recommended are vegan-friendly. For these, I’ve sourced those made using recycled plastic bottles, rather than virgin plastic. And for those looking for plastic-free slippers, I’ve sourced ethical slippers made considerately using wool, suede, and/or sheepskin. Where sheepskin has been used, I’ve focused on those upcycling byproducts from other industries.
Guide to Ethical Slippers
Mercredy’s Ethical Slippers
Mercredy’s eco-friendly slippers* (£34.95) are handcrafted in Spain using recycled plastic bottles. They use plastic bottles collected from the ocean to create the heavy-duty felt fabric for the slippers. In fact, each slipper is made from at least 2 recycled bottles.
This fabric, which is used in both the upper and lining for the slippers is certified 100% recycled by the Global Recycle Standard. What’s more, the sole is made from natural rubber, which is sustainably sourced.
My verdict? Mercredy makes for a great pair of vegan slippers.
Allbirds Dweller Slippers
Allbirds super fluffy ethical Dweller slippers* (£65), are made from upcycled scraps from the making of Allbirds wool shoes, and a blend of recycled polyester. Even the sole is made from FSC-certified natural rubber for a truly sustainable slipper.
Allbirds is also a certified B-Corp, which means that they have been independently verified to meet the highest standards of social and environmental performance and public transparency, allowing you to shop with confidence.
Mahabis* (from £99) have been on a journey to improve the eco-friendly credentials of its slippers, and they’ve made some brilliant steps forward.
For a start, all its wool slippers are now made from ReWooly™ felt. This is a Global Recycling Standard certified fibre that contains at least 50% recycled wool fibres from clothing that would have otherwise headed to landfill.
Mahabis winter slippers ranges are lined with certified organic Italian wool, which is sourced from certified non-mulesed sheep. The summer range is now made with sustainable Tencel. Meanwhile, the old plastic sole has been replaced with one made from Pura-Latex™ rubber. This natural material is responsibly sourced from the Hevea tree, and is also 100% recyclable.
Production has been moved to Portugal, to reduce the carbon footprint associated with shipping. Now, over 90% of Mahabis slippers are ethically made in Portugal.
Other improvements made include full recyclable packaging and the planting of one tree for every pair of Mahabi slippers sold.
What I love most is that when your slippers come to the end of their life, there’s no need to send them to landfill. Mahabis has teamed up with recycling organisation First Mile to offer a take-back scheme. UK customers can send their pre-loved Mahabis, free of charge, and these will be recycled. You’ll even get a voucher for 15% off your next pair of Mahabis.
These then get sent to the First Mile processing centre in Cheshire, where they are processed and shredded. Your old slippers then get transformed into playground surfacing, roads, boxing bag inners, and a whole lot more.
Egos wool slippers (£39 – available in the UK from Wild Swans) are ethically made by hand in Nepal by skilled craftswomen. In fact, Egos have been certified by The World Fair Trade Organization.
Each pair takes time and skill to make. As such, each employee can only make 2 pairs of shoes a day. It’s definitely a case of quality over quantity.
The raw wool is dyed with environmentally friendly colours, before being moulded into the slipper shape. Another inner layer of felt is then added, for extra comfort. Finally, the outer suede sole is stitched on these incredibly cosy slippers.
Each pair of Gumbies ethical unisex vegan slippers (£35) are made from recycled plastic derived from post-consumer plastic bottles. In fact, 8 bottles are used to make each pair. What’s more, the soles are even made from recycled rubber.
Rather than stop there, the insoles are made from beans. Yes, beans, you read that correctly! The soft foam Gumbies uses for their insoles is made from 100% Castor Bean, a naturally derived material.
Onaie’s beautiful felt slippers* (£31.49) are made and finished in the Polish Highlands using age-old techniques. Onaie says “we take the ethical manufacture of footwear very seriously. We know our craftswomen, we know their business practices and we work side by side with our suppliers to ensure ongoing ethical, social and environmental compliance.”
These beautiful slippers would make such a lovely ethical gift idea for someone special, or as a treat to yourself.
The Small Home
The Small Home sells beautiful handmade embroidered slippers. Each unique pair is made from the softest shearling sheepskin, using off-cuts from Rolls Royce car interiors to ensure the highest grade skins and to minimise waste.
The Small Home says “The natural materials we use to make our sheepskin slippers are designed to last and offer a sustainable and ethical alternative to fast fashion. Our hand-stitched sheepskin slippers are an everyday luxury suited to slow, mindful living.”
What Else Can I Do?
The single most eco-friendly choice of slippers are the ones you already have. If your existing pair have started to wear out, why not look at how you can repair them?
Beyond your own ethical choices, you can also help to engender change on the High St. One way you can do this is to ask High St brands who make their clothes (see Fashion Revolution for their great resources). This will help press for transparency and sustainability on the High Street.
Even if you can’t afford to shop for ethical slippers, you can also support the brands that align with your values. Even if you can’t afford to purchase ethical alternatives, you can also like, comment on, and share their social media posts to help boost their exposure.