8 ethical and sustainable shoe brands with style and substance

Good social and ethical practices by brand definition can mean different things. Tom’s is built on a one-to-one model, but some brands take their definition of social good and ethics a step further. Brands make products in different ways, using fair trade practices, organic materials, donating profit and doing everything possible to achieve B certification and Fair trade certification.

They have found a place to exist in the ethical brand market, especially among conscious young consumers. In the future, it will be fun to see brands innovate in the sustainable footwear industry with new, ethically made sneakers, sandals and other forms of footwear. Below we have highlighted a few of those sustainable shoe brands that are making great products in innovative ways. Check them.


Johnny’s recently announced the world’s first fully biodegradable shoe that turns into a tree when planted underground. Designed to take on anything you throw at it; this revolutionary new product is soft, light and water resistant.

Shoes do not biodegrade on your feet. A revolutionary new compound has been developed that remains dormant until the shoes are planted underground. When activated, they attract natural microbes to break down the entire outsole in 3 years instead of the typical 1,000 years plastic takes to biodegrade. Halfway through, an apple seed coated with a natural fertilizer is released and begins to take root.

Comfort is an apparent priority in the composition of the shoe. Cork soles conform to your feet over time for a personalized fit, while fighting foot odor. The organic cotton canvas uppers are ethically sourced and coated with a water resistant beeswax coating.

Not only does the shoe give you the option to plant a shoe, Johnny will plant a tree in your name for every shoe sold.


Sustainable shoes ECOALF

ECOALF was born to prove that a truly sustainable fashion brand is possible without sacrificing aesthetics. Where others see trash, they see potential luxury goods. Using the most advanced recycling technologies, ECOALF turns waste like fishing nets, plastic bottles, tires and even leftover coffee into high-quality fabrics and then into sustainable designer clothing and footwear.

All birds

Durable Shoe - Allbirds

For the daddy who is concerned about climate change, we love Allbirds. They offer a range of carbon neutral sneakers that implements its CO2 omission processes throughout its supply chain. These sneakers are made from eucalyptus fibers, which makes them breathable, soft and cool to wear in hot climates. Learn more about the brand’s initiatives here.


Durable Footwear - Indosole

Indosole takes old tires that would otherwise contribute to Indonesia’s massive landfill problem, and turns them into beautiful sandals and shoes through an organic, non-toxic and environmentally friendly production process. Not only that – the process provides decent work for many in Indonesia.


Durable Footwear - Veja

Since 2005, VEJA’s goal has been to create sneakers differently by mixing social projects, ecological materials and design. Use of organic cotton and Amazonian rubber directly from producer associations based in Brazil and Peru. But also innovative materials such as recycled plastic bottles to create a mesh.

VEJA relies on social inclusion to take care of all its logistics for its e-shop and its Parisian stores. From the start, we have allocated our financial resources to the production line and not to advertising. We have no stock and never overproduce.

VEJA is 15 years of adventure, failure and success, working with amazing people, traveling to crazy places and creating crazy projects. As stated by its co-founders Sébastien Kopp and François Morillion: “We have just tried to create the company in which we would have dreamed of being employed.

8000 Kicks


In order to make this planet a better place, 8000Kicks has taken a 360º approach to defining its responsibility as a business. It means empowering customers to opt for a more sustainable lifestyle by providing a premium quality eco-friendly footwear solution. It means looking to their own footprint but also that of their partners, to minimize our carbon emissions. This means taking care to protect the most needed members of the community, providing them with comfortable and durable hemp products.

To reduce the impact of brands, they are working with partner factories to increase reliance on renewable energy sources. So far, their Portuguese factory uses 45-55% clean energy sources, but plans to improve those numbers.

They are also investing in CO2 capture with hemp farms and tree planting. Each new plant removes an average of 50 kilograms of CO2 from the atmosphere each year during its 20- to 50-year growth period.


Po-Zu sustainable shoes are made from carefully selected natural and sustainable materials that are healthy for your feet, environmentally friendly and safe for all of our workers throughout the supply chain. The brand only works with carefully selected factories that abide by our ethical charter of conduct, guaranteeing fair wages and conditions for workers, among others.

The manufacture of modern footwear is very damaging to the environment. Traditional shoe making has been replaced by mass-produced, lower-quality, more harmful materials. Fast fashion has accelerated the rate at which people consume shoes, sending an average of three pairs of shoes per person to the landfill each year.

The quest for cheaper and faster production has also encouraged the exploitation of vulnerable workers through longer hours, lower wages and unsafe working conditions. At Po-Zu, their mission is to challenge this trend.

Po-Zu believes shoes should be things you fall in love with and hold onto because they are built to last. They believe that you can create comfortable and stylish shoes with love for people and the planet.

Their name is at the heart of the way they do business. “Po-Zu” comes from the Japanese word ポ ー ズ, which means to take a break. It is their mission to provide your feet with a unique respite from the hectic pace of hectic life and to end the damage that modern shoe making causes to people and the planet.


PANAFRICA - Sustainable footwear

A little over five years ago, Hugues Didier and his co-founder Vulfran de Richoufftz, decided to quit their promising jobs and careers to start something both creative and impactful for society. They chose to found PANAFRICA, a company dedicated to making sneakers differently, respecting those who make them and taking into account the social, economic and environmental impacts of their actions.

Not only do they continue to invest in innovations around its textiles and materials, as evidenced by their reusable and recyclable sneakers – L’ARUSHA, but they also invest time and energy in its workers and their future.

In order to support the development of the workshop and guarantee long-term employment, PANAFRICA undertakes to produce a collection over six months. This allows the company to avoid the pitfalls of mass production over short periods of time and ensures each worker: on-the-job training specific to the PANAFRICA production chain, improved working conditions (transparency and sustainability contracts), a workload spread over a period of time.

The purchase of PANAFRICA sneakers supports projects of access to education and vocational training in Africa through the WALK FOR SCHOOL program. For each pair of sneakers purchased, PANAFRICA donates 10% of its profits to various associations.

Listen to our podcast with sustainable shoe brands here.

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