Reaching for vegan shoes is not only a lot easier these days, but it can also be a great way of reducing our environmental footprint. As with all things, you still have to look out for phony brands who are greenwashing their products and keeping unsustainable practices. So I’ve put together some of the best vegan shoe brands, Eco Hub approved, and sure to put a smile on your face without sacrificing style or any animals.
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Why choose vegan shoe brands?
Before we jump into the fun stuff, let’s get into what you need to know when choosing vegan shoes.
By choosing vegan shoe brands, we cast a vote for cruelty-free products, where absolutely no animals are harmed in the process of making our next favourite pair of shoes. This also means avoiding the environmental perils associated with the production of leather.
Thanks to the many more mindful brands now available to choose from, we can avoid the perils of conventional fashion options as well. Think child labour, forced labour, unsustainable materials choices, environmentally destructive production methods, and poor, unsustainable design choices that make it difficult to get shoes repaired or recycled.
How to know if your shoes are vegan?
For vegan shoes, look for products where every component (including the upper, the lining & sock, and the outer sole) is made of textiles or any other materials derived from anything other than animals.
That means no suede, fur, leather, or coated leather unless explicitly labelled vegan. You can also use the handy shoe symbols printed on the bottom of the shoe to determine material composition.
How to choose vegan shoe brands
Not all vegan shoes are created equal, however, so let’s get into how to find the best vegan shoes.
We basically want to look out for shoes that are ethically produced all around. Not just made from vegan materials. PVC and polyurethane are vegan but not so great on us or on the planet.
Whether I’m looking for men’s sustainable fashion, sustainable jeans or some sustainable socks; ethical fashion comes down to three main criteria: materials and fabrics, ethical sourcing, and corporate responsibility. You can always refer to these criteria when shopping for sustainable clothing brands, to help avoid any of the worst of the worst fast fashion brands wherever possible.
Materials and Fabrics
The most and least sustainable environmentally friendly fabrics are always a good point of reference. Normally we would accept ethical wool here but since we are looking for vegan shoes, wool is a no-no.
I don’t imagine anyone wondering “Is Leather Ethical?” reading the article on vegan shoes but here, we would also be avoiding leather products, opting for sustainable faux vegan leather options instead.
Sustainably produced recycled materials are also acceptable especially since they tend to be vegan. Materials like recycled PET (most often from plastic water bottles), recycled polyester, recycled microfibers, and recycled EVA also help to reduce our environmental footprint and divert waste from landfills. Look for certifications from third parties like the Global Recycled Standard (GRS).
For ethical sourcing, we want to make sure the entire supply chain is using ethical environmental and labour practices throughout. Fair Trade is a great third-party certification to verify sourcing practices.
Brands that go beyond the sustainability of their product are even better. Look for in-house recycling programs, environmental initiatives to help the planet, sustainable shipping practices and other actions that point to a true commitment to conducting better business and being a force for good.
Vegan shoe brands we love from Canada
Best known for its washable women flats and shoes, Rothy’s offers a selection of vegan shoes made from recycled plastic bottles. You will find something for everyone in the family here, and with sustainable practices to boot, they make for one of the best ethical vegan shoe brands.
Rothy’s Materials and fabrics;
Rothy’s signature thread is made of recycled plastic bottles. Their outsoles are made of natural rubber. And their strobe boards (which go under their insoles) are made of algae-based foam. Some of their styles feature a bio-based TPU made from corn and a bio-based PU made from castor oil; as well as other materials like hemp, sand, and merino wool. Check the product description for more details on specific styles.
Rothy’s Ethical sourcing;
To produce its footwear, Rothy’s owns and operates its sustainable factory located in Dongguan, China. Using the best of hand-craftsmanship and machine assembly, they’ve created efficient and eco-friendly processes; and no other manufacturers have anything to do with the making of their shoes.
Rothy’s Corporate responsibility;
By using single-use plastic water bottles, Rothy’s diverts a ton of waste from landfills. Their boxes are also made of 95% post-consumer recycled materials; sealed using ribbon made from recycled materials. They also make sure to use 100% recyclable cardboard inserts. To help them reach circular production by 2023, they’ve launched a recycling pilot program for worn Rothy’s destined for the landfill.
Designed with lightness in mind, Native Shoes offers vegan options for everyone in the family, with the planet, people and animals in mind. Using innovative ideas to save the earth, their selection includes several styles and colours fit for different occasions. If you happen to be on the lookout for some vegan dress shoes for women, the ‘Audrey’ might make a good option.
Native Shoes Materials and fabrics;
Their vegan-friendly shoes are made of alternative materials like EVA (ethylene vinyl acetate; a safer plastic), Bloom Foam made from algal blooms, plant-based polymers, and recycled materials like recycled EVA and recycled PET Yarn. Check the product description for more details on specific styles.
Native Shoes Ethical sourcing;
Native Shoes are produced in China and Vietnam where Native ensure safe working conditions and no forced labour. They also make sure to use materials that are safer and innovative, in order to reduce their environmental footprint.
Native Shoes Corporate responsibility;
By 2023, Native Shoes wants every pair of theirs to be 100% life cycle managed. As such, they offer a recycling program called The Remix Project, where well-loved Native Shoes can be recycled and given new life in different projects across their community.
If you read this blog often you know we talk about Rawganique quite a bit and that's because they are killing it when it comes to sustainable clothing and eco-friendly home goods. Not only do they carry vegan shoes made from hemp, but you can also find ethical slippers and summer sandals!
Rawganique's Materials and fabrics;
Their handmade organic hemp high-top sneakers (for men and women) are so cute and made from plant-based canvas. Footbed lining and shoe upper are 100% hemp and so are the shoelaces. They are also biodegradable and made using 100% organically grown hemp that comes from Europe.
Rawganique's ethical sourcing;
All of their products are designed for sustainability and hand-crafted in sweatshop-free ateliers in USA, Canada & Europe, using only organic materials. They believe in kindness to animals, to each other, and to the earth.
Rawganique's corporate responsibility;
Rawganique is plastic-free and makes its products entirely free of any harmful chemicals. Their products are also cruelty-free and animal-friendly making it a great option for our vegan friends as well. Be sure to check them out if you’re on the market for some fair trade pyjamas or zero waste gifts.
Vegan shoe brands we love from USA and Europe
Also featured as one of our favourites for sustainable sneakers, 8000Kicks offers a first-of-its-kind: a waterproof sneaker made of hemp. Teaming up with his grandmother who boasts over 50 years of experience in textiles, founder Bernado also created timeless sneakers that are perfect for anyone looking for versatile and casual vegan shoes.
8000Kicks Materials and fabrics;
8000Kicks’ waterproof hemp sneakers are made of strong, all-natural cannabis fibers. In partnership with Bloom Foam, the soles are made of algal blooms. This offers a super light, durable and more sustainable take on conventional options; while helping to remove harmful algae from marine ecosystems.
8000Kicks Ethical sourcing;
8000Kicks travels the world to look for the right growers for the premium hemp used in their products. As for manufacturing, 8000Kicks guarantees safe working conditions at both of their factories in Portugal and China. They also ensure quality and safety by conducting regular inspections.
8000Kicks Corporate responsibility;
To reduce its carbon footprint, 8000Kicks offset emissions from the manufacturing and shipment of its products with Ecologi. A significant amount of the energy used to power their factories also comes from renewables. Their Portuguese factory uses 45% to 55% clean energy and their Chinese factory uses 30% to 40%. In 2020, they also donated 30 pairs of their sneakers to City Rescue Mission, which works to provide food and clothing to unhoused people in their community.
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Founded in New York, Bhava is committed to offering cruelty-free shoes with the interest of workers and the environment in mind. Using timeless designs, and tested for comfort and durability on the tough streets of New York City, this US vegan shoe brand might be just what you’re looking for. Plus, all of their shoes are made with repairable soles so you can get the most bang for your buck. A great option for vegan shoes for women and vegan dress shoes.
Bhava Materials and fabrics;
Their selection of boots, hikers, heels, and other styles are made using materials like Italian vegan leather, organic cotton, eco-suede, embossed cork and premium recycled microfibers. Check the product description for more details on specific styles.
Bhava Ethical sourcing;
To bring its timeless designs to life, Bhava uses high-quality materials. For example, they ensure their Italian vegan leather is free of any toxic ingredients like PCP, formaldehyde, aromatic amines, PVC, phthalates, chrome, and azo-dyes. Where manufacturing is concerned, Bhava works with two manufacturing partners in Spain and Mumbai; where their products are expertly handcrafted by experienced artisans, who are ensured safe working conditions.
Bhava Corporate responsibility;
With a commitment to ethical and environmentally conscious designs, there is lots to love over at Bhava.
Inspired by LA Culture and street style, BC Footwear is another great vegan women’s shoe brand. Their bold and playful styles are also PETA-certified and sure to be 100% cruelty-free, making them a great option for some of the best vegan shoes for women.
BC Footwear Materials and fabrics;
BC Footwear uses materials like synthetic leather, cotton, raffia, jute, bamboo, microfiber, recycled natural fibers, high-grade polyurethane, and natural and recycled rubber. The glue used in their products is also casein, gelatin, and beeswax-free.
BC Footwear Ethical sourcing;
Made in the Fujian province, BC’s shoes are made by some of the best factory partners; ensuring strict social compliance standards set by the company. They also comply with all international and local labour laws for safe and fair working conditions. Under normal circumstances (that is — no global pandemic), BC visits its factory partners twice a year.
BC Footwear Corporate responsibility;
BC Footwear is constantly looking for new ways to lessen its environmental footprint. For that reason, your BC shoes will arrive nestled in a recycled cardboard shoebox, printed using plant-based ink. Their packaging is also entirely recyclable and paper-based.
You might not know this world-renowned designer brand makes for a great vegan shoe brand but it does. Since 2001, their products have featured absolutely no leather, feathers, fur, or skin. They’ve also banned the use of mohair, released the first vegan Stan Smith, and produced the very first handbag made of Bolt Thread’s Mylo™️ mushroom leather.
Stella McCartney Materials and fabrics;
Stella McCartney uses a ton of recycled materials including recycled industrial waste and 100% recycled polyester for their vegan leather. Check out the product description for more details on specific styles.
Stella McCartney Ethical sourcing;
Stella McCartney works to ensure that their materials and fabrics are responsibly sourced; using sustainably certified materials and ethically produced materials and fabrics as well. Stella McCarthy also does a lot to ensure the human rights of all the people involved in their supply chain, for safe and fair working conditions.
Stella McCartney Corporate responsibility;
To the rejoice of eco-conscious fashion lovers everywhere, Stella McCartney is committed to offering products with as little impact on the planet as possible, as they journey toward greater and greater circularity. So far they’ve banned plastic water bottles, joined the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI), and made sure to use all certified sustainable paper and cardboard packaging, just to name a few.
Yatay offers cruelty-free vegan sneakers made entirely in Italy. Using minimal designs, sustainable production methods and ethical practices, their PETA-approved leather alternatives make them a great vegan leather shoe brand to reach for. With several classic shapes and lots of colours to choose from, the eco-conscious sneaker lover might find themselves very pleased here.
Yatay Materials and fabrics;
Materials used include rubber, corn-based polymers to substitute for petroleum-based vegan leather, recycled plastic, recycled tires, and tree pulp harvested from 100% sustainable plantations. They also use BioVeg, a fabric used in all of their sneakers, made using “bio-polyols originating from no-food and GMO-free grains combined with textiles sourced from natural or recycled materials.”
Yatay Ethical sourcing;
Yatay sources all of its materials from Italy where all of its products are handmade by master shoemakers, using “time-honoured traditions handed down from generation to generation reinterpreted using modern technology”. Materials used also hold certifications from the USDA, PETA and the Global Recycled Standard (GRS).
Yatay Corporate responsibility;
Yatay is committed to reducing its environmental impact beyond sustainable production practices. With the unique code associated with your sneaker, you can help neutralize CO2 from the atmosphere. They even offer the option to choose what tree you plant and to monitor its growth and its impact on carbon emissions.
BAHATIKA is a sustainable lifestyle brand offering responsibly produced footwear made in Europe. Based in Germany, they’ve made it their purpose to provide cruelty-free sustainable products, with a timeless aesthetic. For every pair of shoes purchased, a tree will be planted in partnership with ONE TREE PLANTED to help fight deforestation.
BAHATIKA Materials and fabrics;
Materials used include Vegan Eco Leather, eco microfiber, natural cork, rubber and a water-based adhesive.
BAHATIKA Ethical sourcing;
To make its shoes, BAHATIKA uses materials that are entirely free of animal content, sourced from suppliers who meet European standards for environmental protection and fair trade. As for manufacturing, their shoes are made in Italy and Spain in family-owned factories.
BAHATIKA Corporate responsibility;
Along with its tree planting partnership, BAHATIKA uses DHL Green whenever available in order to reduce its carbon footprint. BAHATIKA also uses compostable mailer bags to reduce waste. A great option in vegan leather shoe brands.
Final thoughts on vegan shoe brands
For vegan shoes, there are now lots of options for anything from office wear like ethical heels to casual wear like vegan sandals, sneakers and slip-ons. There is something for everyone here. Even if you are not vegan, these brands offer a great selection of products for anyone looking to lighten their environmental footprint.
If you need any other sustainable living essentials or are shopping for some gifts be sure to check out the brand directory. You will find everything from sustainable home goods and plastic-free essentials, to green beauty products, intimates and sustainable jewelry. And don't forget, you can also scour your local thrift shop for good deals and special finds. Need some help thrifting? These 10 tips will help!
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