Apparel and footwear production currently accounts for 8.1 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. Like clothing, footwear is produced in high-volumes, and according to the latest trends. Shoes are disposable and often produced without consideration of environmental or labour conditions.
Thankfully there are many brands who are starting to develop environmentally friendly alternatives. They are transparent about the materials they use, how the shoes are produced, and what working conditions are like. They use quality materials so shoes last longer. Many also support environmental protection organizations.
While we were looking for the perfect sustainable sneaker, we found that despite the many options, it can still be difficult to find shoes that are both environmentally friendly and stylish. That’s why we decided to dive deeper into the topic and share our favourite finds with you. These are 5 sustainable sneaker brands you don’t want to miss:
This brand is a classic, and probably the most well-known amongst sustainable sneaker brands. Veja is a French shoe brand that was founded in 2004. They use a high proportion of eco-friendly materials including organic cotton and natural rubber. The rubber is bought in the Amazon forest, directly from Serinqueiro communities.
Transparency and ethics are valued by the brand, which is why they conduct a social audit every year and share it with their customers. They also started a section on their website called ‘Project’, which is an educational series outlining all aspects of the production of their sneakers including where materials come from and their upcycling process.
Our favourite sneaker is their V-10 Vegan White Marsala Butter Sole Sneaker:
Based in Barcelona, this brand just released a new vegan sneaker, which imitates the look of the classic Reebok shoe.
Saye values transparency and using sustainable materials. Their new pair is made from recycled vegan napa (leather), and recycled post-consumer PET (the material that plastic bottles are made from).
For each pair of shoes sold, 2 trees are planted. The brand has planted over +76.000 trees so far.
This brand is from Spain as well, and we love how their vegan sneakers are not just stylish but made from unique materials: corn waste and bamboo.
This sets them apart from other sneaker brands, which still make their sneakers from plastic.
The material they developed is biodegradable, and a comfortable, environmentally friendly alternative to leather.
The brand is also experimenting with other sustainable materials such as hemp - which helps save more than 60 litres of water compared to sneakers made with leather for example.
Flamingo’s Life has a variety of collections in different styles including classic 70’s, old 80’s and retro 90’s. Our personal favorite is this sneaker from their new F20 collection.
NAE Vegan Shoes
NAE is a Portuguese brand and focusses on developing a range of ethical and sustainable shoes, including sneakers. Piñatex is one of the unique materials they use to make their sneakers. It’s a natural fabric made of pineapple leaf fibres.
Other shoes are lined with 100% recyclable OEKO-TEX STANDARD 100, a certified microfibre manufactured in a system free of CO2 emissions.
NAE’s EDDA, low-top oxford sneakers:
Stella McCartney is also a leader in providing sustainable shoes. They are one of the high-end brands with shoes randing between €275 - €620. However, they have a unique style and variety of sneakers, which are also made from recycled materials.
Social sustainability is important for the brand - they value building a strong relationship with all members of their entire supply chain.
This is the Stella Adidas #stansmith model:
- by Katharina Alf