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Black vegan leather high heeled luxury boots with gold chain accents designed by Stella McCartney.
15 Jun
Black vegan leather high heeled luxury boots with gold chain accents designed by Stella McCartney.

The Best and Worst Designer and Luxury Shoe Brands We’ve Rated

Our editors curate highly rated brands that are first assessed by our rigorous ratings system. Buying through our links may earn us a commission—supporting the work we do. Learn more.


Luxury shoes are a coveted investment for many shoppers, but in the burgeoning era of conscious consumerism, how do the top luxury footwear brands rate for their impact on people, the planet, and animals? The following brands’ ratings were published on the dates per listing and may not reflect claims the brands have made since then. Our ratings analysts are constantly rerating the thousands of brands you can check on our directory.

A luxury mission changed

When I started researching this topic, I was expecting to write a guide to the luxury brands doing better in the footwear category. Unfortunately, that’s not what came back after our expert ratings team reviewed the relevant brands.

The reality is, despite popular belief, luxury does not necessarily mean better—quality or ethics. In fact, of the top 28 luxury footwear brands we looked at, only two came out with “Good” or “Great” ratings. Eight rank “It’s a Start”, and the rest rate low on the scale with “Not Good Enough” or “We Avoid” ratings.

Some of the most common reasons luxury footwear brands rank so low on the ethics and sustainability ladder is their continued use of damaging and harmful materials like polyester, leather, and exotic animal skins, and their lack of action to ensure payment of living wages.

So, whether you’re searching for your next pair of luxury shoes or just curious how the popular brands score in Good On You’s methodology, this one’s for you.

Why you can trust our recommendations

At Good On You, our mission is to make it as easy as possible to buy products that meet your needs, from brands that live up to your expectations in relation to their environmental and social performance and how they impact animals. We also support the motto “buy less, buy better” which looks like opting for high-quality, timeless, trend-transcending pieces you need that are designed for longevity so they last for many years to come.

As ever, the most sustainable choice to make is the one already in your closet. Whether that means taking care of your clothes, getting them mended or tailored, or mixing and matching to keep things fresh. The next best option is to swap or shop second hand. But sometimes you must buy new, and that’s where our expert ratings system comes into play.

We’ve rated over 5,000 brands in an easy-to-understand five-point system, and below we have curated a list of t-shirts by some of the best rated brands in the Good On You directory.

As you know, ensuring fair wages and decent working conditions for the people behind our clothes is crucial for a more fair and ethical fashion industry. It’s not just about the materials or the environmental impact—it’s also about the human impact. That’s why our selection of brands creating more affordable and sustainable t-shirts have all received at least a “Good” rating for labour conditions. These brands prioritise more responsible practices. By choosing t-shirts from these brands, you can feel confident that your purchase supports a more equitable fashion industry, where the people making our clothes are treated with the respect and fairness they deserve.

Luxury footwear brands worth a look in

Brands rated ‘Good’ and ‘Great’

The following brands are leading the way in luxury fashion that is doing better for people, the planet, and animals, and are your best bet if you are in the market for new luxury shoes.

Stella McCartney

Rated: Good
sustainable espadrilles by stella mccartney

A member of the Ethical Trading Initiative and Sustainable Apparel Coalition, Stella McCartney has set some excellent environmental standards across the luxury fashion industry. Stella uses some lower-impact materials, including recycled polyester and organic cotton, and has a strategy in place to reduce waste across its entire supply chain. It has also adopted the ETI Code of Conduct that includes a living wage definition.

Find most items in sizes 34-52.

See the rating.

Shop Stella McCartney @ LVRSustainable.

Shop Stella McCartney Pre-Owned @ Vestiaire Collective.

Shop Stella McCartney.

Prota Fiori

Rated: Good
Three pairs of white pointed toe responsibly-made luxury heels in a circle by Prota Fiori.

Prota Fiori is a luxury women's footwear brand that believes in the ethos of sustainability.

Find the range in sizes 35-42.

See the rating.

Shop Prota Fiori.

Brands rated ‘It’s a Start’

The brands below are making a start in one or more areas, and have received our middling score of “It’s a Start”. We recommend purchasing them second hand from a platform like Vestiaire Collective, which authenticates pre-loved luxury goods and resells them for well below the market value.

Balenciaga (Pre-Owned)

Rated: It's A Start

Balenciaga is a luxury fashion house founded in 1919 by Spanish designer Cristóbal Balenciaga in San Sebastián. The Kering-owned brand has been making some efforts to reduce its environmental impact, setting targets to reduce its direct and indirect emissions, and implementing initiatives to reduce water use.

See the rating.

Shop Balenciaga Pre-Owned @ Vestiaire Collective.

Piferi (Pre-Owned)

Rated: It's A Start
Someone laying with their legs behind their head wearing luxury heels by Piferi.

Piferi is a UK brand that creates luxury, animal-free designer shoes.

The shoes are available in sizes 35-45.

See the rating.

Shop Piferi @ Vestiaire Collective.

Bottega Veneta (Pre-Owned)

Rated: It's A Start
Futuristic silver mules made by Bottega Veneta.

Born in Italy in 1966, Bottega Veneta prides itself on creating a new definition of luxury. Another Kering brand, Bottega Veneta has made progress for the environment, including releasing a public commitment to reduce its direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions.

Find the shoes in sizes 34-42.

See the rating.

Shop Bottega Veneta @ Vestiaire Collective.

Alexander McQueen (Pre-Owned)

Rated: It's A Start

The iconic British fashion house, owned by Kering and now run by Sarah Burton (who designed Catherine Middleton's dress for her wedding to Prince William), is characterised by theatrical and bright styling. Alexander McQueen is on the right path and stands out from the majority of luxury fashion houses.

See the rating.

Shop Alexander McQueen @ Vestiaire Collective.

Nomasei (Pre-Owned)

Rated: It's A Start
A pair of luxury shoes made in Italy by Nomasei.

Nomasei offers timeless and luxury shoes made in Italy.

Find the shoes in EU sizes 36-42.

See the rating.

Shop Nomasei @ Vestiaire Collective.

Gucci (Pre-Owned)

Rated: It's A Start

Founded in 1921, Gucci is an Italian luxury fashion house that produces menswear, womenswear, as well as shoes, bags, and other accessories. The brand has good policies to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, but still uses exotic animal skin. The good news is that you can find many of Gucci's modern luxury pieces second hand.

See the rating.

Shop Gucci Pre-Owned @ Vestiaire Collective.

Saint Laurent (Pre-Owned)

Rated: It's A Start

Yves Saint Laurent, or as it's now known, Saint Laurent, is a French luxury fashion house founded by Yves Saint Laurent and his partner, Pierre Bergé. The brand has good policies to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.

See the rating.

Shop Saint Laurent @ Vestiaire Collective.

Burberry (Pre-Owned)

Rated: It's A Start

Burberry is a British luxury fashion house known for its timeless beige trench coats. The brand has good policies to monitor suppliers, but it still uses exotic animal products. Shopping Burberry second hand allows us to add items to our wardrobe without using additional resources in the manufacturing process, to keep clothes out of landfills, and to (re)discover Burberry's unique and special pieces along the way.

See the rating.

Shop Burberry @ Vestiaire Collective.

Luxury shoes you’re better off avoiding

This list contains brands rated our bottom two scores of “Not Good Enough” and “We Avoid”. The conscious consumer should steer clear of supporting these harmful or secretive brands, which are either making no moves to change their production practices for the better or simply don’t publish enough (or any) information about their current practices. You have a right to know how the products you buy impact the issues you care about.

Brands rated ‘Not Good Enough’

Brands rated ‘We Avoid’

Editor's note

Feature image via Stella McCartnhey, other images via brands mentioned. Good On You publishes the world’s most comprehensive ratings of fashion brands’ impact on people, the planet, and animals. Use our directory to search thousands of rated brands.

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