Five young sustainable shoe brands to watch
Nowadays, it is no longer enough for shoes to be stylish and trendy, they must also respect the environment and be partially or totally recyclable at the end of their life. More and more consumers are ensuring that their shoes are made in this way and from materials that do not harm animals. FashionUnited has found five young shoe brands around the world that promise a brighter future.
The life of flamingos
Flamingos Life is a Spanish footwear brand specializing in the production of vegan footwear since 2015, and each step is carried out exclusively in Spain. But not only that, each footwear project is also linked to a social project to compensate for any negative impact on the environment. Currently, the shoe brand is working with Agua NGO to build wells in Uganda, with Eden Reforestation on reforestation projects in Madagascar and Mozambique, and with Waste Free Oceans to rid the world’s oceans of waste.
Flamingos Life currently ships to the UK, US and Canada as well as 18 European countries (including the Netherlands, Ireland, Italy, Germany and France) and is available at select retailers . The different models of unisex shoes cost between 100 and 150 euros (86 and 120 pounds sterling/116 and 162 US dollars) and are available in sizes 36 to 46 (3.5 to 11 UK/5.5 to 12 US).
Native Shoes was founded in Seattle in 2009 with the goal of minimizing the environmental footprint of the footwear brand for men, women and children. As a result, the company only uses alternative vegan materials, and by next year has set a goal to have every pair of Native Shoes reused in various projects through Project Remix.
The shoes are made in selected factories in China and Vietnam that produce ethically and fairly. Native Shoes is available worldwide through the company’s online store and selected retailers. Prices range from around 50-150 Euros (48-130 Pounds/50-135 US Dollars).
The Yatay shoe brand is the result of two years of diligent research and development. Founded in 2018, the shoe brand uses only recycled or Peta-certified vegan materials such as recycled car tires and sustainably grown plastic, corn and wood. The goal was to combine the best “Made in Italy” quality with the most advanced green technology to create timeless, comfortable and durable sneakers for men and women. Plus, for every pair sold, the company plants a tree.
Yatay shoes are available through the brand’s online store and ship worldwide. They are also available at selected retailers in various cities in Italy and Switzerland as well as in Vienna, Sydney and Dubai. Handmade in Italy, unisex shoes range from 270-330 Euros and sizes 35-47 (2-12 UK/4-13 US).
Munich-based sneaker brand Nat-2 was founded in 2007 by Sebastian Thies, whose family has been making shoes for six generations since 1856. The brand is dedicated to discovering unusual and natural materials for shoe design, including stone, coffee grounds, corn, cork, mushrooms, fish leather, flowers, cannabis, red pepper, oxblood, leaves, moss and more.
Nat-2 shoes are available through the Coilex online store via carbon neutral delivery worldwide or at select international retailers such as Rinascente, Galeries Lafayette and Manufactum. Prices range from around 40 euros for children’s shoes to 440 euros for women’s and men’s shoes. Pure vegan models are also available.
Founded in 2011, Nisolo is a sustainable brand dedicated to making shoes and accessories that are produced under fair conditions and pay a living wage. Factories are located in Peru, Mexico, Kenya and the United States. The Nashville, Tennessee-based company currently still uses leather, but it’s vegetable tanned and doesn’t yet offer purely vegan items. However, this is planned for the future.
Each product comes with a “Sustainability Fact Sheet” that customers can read about its environmental impact. The brand works with Ecosphere+ to offset the impact of its products, for example through reforestation projects. The prices of the shoes vary from around 100 to 250 US dollars. (approximately €88-220/£74-185) Items are currently only available through the US online store or select retailers such as Nordstrom, Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters.