22 Sep

10 Sustainable Sandals Like Birkenstocks You’ll Love

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In the era of comfort fashion, Birkenstock sandals are everywhere. But the brand is “Not Good Enough”, so we hunted down Birkenstock alternatives you’ll love even more.

Why you’re best steering clear of Birkenstocks

We get it: these chunky German sandals are comfy, hippy-chic, and go with just about any outfit. Sorry to burst your Birkenstock bubble, but the brand is “Not Good Enough” across the board for people, the planet, and animals.

In our article that dives into their most recent rating, we discovered that the lack of eco-friendly materials, living wages, or animal welfare regulations put a damper on the whole outlook for this iconic style. Being fans of the look ourselves, we went on the hunt for more sustainable and ethical brands making sandals like Birkenstocks that match our ‘fits and our morals, and our beloved brands did not disappoint.

This style of shoe has been around in Germany for hundreds of years, designed to support and contour the foot, rather than relying on a flat sole. Luckily for us and conscious consumers everywhere, the below brands have taken the popular style into their own hands and created conscious alternatives to Birkenstocks that deserve a spot on our tootsies. From the similarly contoured vegan Juno sandals by Good Guys (France) to ABLE’s (US) simple-yet-stylish take on the classic to the Will’s Vegan Store (UK) cork and vegan leather based versions, you’re bound to find a pair of slides to tick all your boxes.

As ever, don’t take this as a sign to toss your existing Birk’s: the most sustainable fashion is what’s already in your closet, so use those puppies until they’re falling apart at the seams and only shop new if you need to.

Sustainable alternatives to Birkenstocks

NAE

Rated: Good
A pair of cork soled sustainable alternatives to Birkenstocks.

Darco Cork Sandals – Ships internationally from Portugal

If you love the cork sole look of a Birkenstock but hate the rating, NAE has you covered with the Darco sandals. They are double-strapped and unisex, the perfect comfy and trendy companion for your wardrobe.

NAE is a Portuguese footwear, bags, and accessories brand using innovative materials to create goods with “No Animal Exploitation”. Its sustainable materials include recycled PET from bottles, OEKO-TEX® certified microfibres, recycled car tyres, natural cork, recycled thermoplastic, and even pineapple leaf fibre. Find most of the shoes in sizes 36-46.

See the rating.

Shop NAE.

Shop NAE @ Staiy.

Shop NAE @ Urbankissed.

NOAH

Rated: Good
A pair of black and white sandals with wooden soles by NOAH.

For Her & Him Maxi – Ships internationally from Germany

Slides have to be the least complicated shoes on the market, and these Her & Him wooden sole ones by NOAH are practically slippers. But you can wear them outside, we promise.

NOAH creates cruelty-free and 100% vegan shoes and accessories. This German brand’s high-quality and long-lasting shoes are hand-crafted in Italy, using a small proportion of eco-friendly material. Find them in EU sizes 35-42.

See the rating.

Shop NOAH.

Shop NOAH @ Immaculate Vegan.

Good Guys

Rated: Good
A pair of brown vegan double strap sandals by Good Guys.

Juno Vegan Buckled Slide-On – Ships internationally from France

Offers

Three pairs of vegan leather loafers by Good Guys.

Good Guys – Shoes & Boots

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The Juno provides that contoured footbed we all know and love about Birkenstocks with none of the questionable production practices.

Good Guys creates cruelty-free shoes for women and men, founded and designed by Marion Hanania in Paris. Through Good Guys, Hanania aims to create the perfect cruelty-free, made in Europe closet, where no animal product is involved, and the production guarantees fair trade working conditions. Find most shoes in EU sizes 36 to 46.

See the rating.

Shop Good Guys.

Shop Good Guys @ Immaculate Vegan.

Shop Good Guys @ thegreenlabels.

Thesus (Alice + Whittles)

Rated: Good
A pair of white alternatives to Birkenstock's mules by Thesus.

The Terrus – Ships internationally from Canada

Thoughtfully designed clogs, the Terrus shoes by Thesus are made for the outdoors to stay easy, cool, and comfy all day.

Thesus favours transparency, ethical manufacturing practices and sustainable materials as a means of creating long-lasting, positive change. Find the boots in EU sizes 36-46.

See the rating.

Shop Thesus.

Elk

Rated: Good
A pair of colourful sandals with blue soles from Elk.

Mostro Slide – Ships internationally from Australia

If loud shoes are your vibe, Elk has your back—or rather, your feet. The Mostro slides feature a striking upper design with a moulded footbed for all day comfort.

A pioneer of independent Australian design, Elk was founded in Melbourne in 2004. Elk creates bi-annual collections that are informed by a design ethos where simplicity and sustainability meet innovation. Find the shoes in sizes 36-42.

See the rating.

Shop Elk.

ABLE

Rated: Good
A pair of white wide double strap sandals by ABLE.

Whitney Sandal – Ships within the US and Canada from the US

A simple yet stylish take on the classic slip-on sandal, the Whitneys are especially handy for wide feet owing to their adjustable straps.

ABLE is a US-based clothing and accessories brand that works with communities all over the world to make a meaningful impact, producing slow fashion that pays a living wage to women who have faced extraordinary circumstances. It uses eco-friendly materials, and reuses water and materials to minimise waste. With thoughtful design and a level of quality that guarantees its products for life, its pieces aren’t just an investment for your wardrobe, they are an investment in women around the world. Find the footwear in US sizes 5-11.

See the rating.

Shop ABLE.

Will’s Vegan Store

Rated: Good
A pair of sandals with comfort cork footbeds and a bio-based vegan leather upper from Will's Vegan Store.

Huarache Footbed Sandals – Ships internationally from the UK

With shock-absorbing, comfort cork footbeds and a bio-based vegan leather upper, the Huarache sandals will match just about anything, much like the classic Birkenstock. Score.

Will’s Vegan Store produces animal and human friendly women’s and men’s footwear, clothing, and accessories at affordable prices. Find the women’s shoes in US sizes 5-10, and men’s in 7.5-14.

See the rating.

Shop Will’s Vegan Store.

Shop Will’s Vegan Store @ Immaculate Vegan.

Ecoalf

Rated: Good
A pair of white sandals made from recycled PET plastic by Ecoalf.

Aricalf Sandals – Ships internationally from Spain

Made from recycled PET plastic and algae, the Aricalf sandals are a must-have for any fashion lover who cares about the impact of their wardrobe. Impact aside, how cool do they look in this raspberry pink? But there are also three neutral tones if that’s more your style.

Thanks to recycled materials like rescued ocean plastic, Ecoalf creates sustainable fashion with the same quality, design, and technical properties as the best non-recycled ones. Find the shoes in 36-41.

See the rating.

Shop Ecoalf @ Farfetch.

Shop Ecoalf @ Labell-D.

Shop Ecoalf.

Stella McCartney

Rated: Good
A pair of white sandals with lilac chunky soles by Stella McCartney.

Trace Strap Sandals – Ships internationally from the UK

Want to splurge on a designer sandal like Birkenstocks? The Trace Strap sandals by Stella McCartney are bound to turn heads with their quirky design.

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 eco-friendly 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. The shoes are available in sizes 35-41.

See the rating.

Shop Stella McCartney @ LVR Sustainable.

Shop Stella McCartney @ Labell-D.

Shop Stella McCartney Kids Pre-Owned @ Retykle.

Shop Stella McCartney Pre-Owned @ Vestiaire Collective.

Shop Stella McCartney.

Balenciaga

Rated: Good
A pair of black leather sandals with silver studs by Balenciaga.

Cagole Sandal – Ships internationally from France

We thought we’d round out the list with a real doozy: Balenciaga’s ultra cool Cagole sandals. If they are out of your price range or you prefer not to buy new animal-based fashion, why not check out the list of pre-loved finds by Balenciaga on Vestiaire Collective?

The French Kering-owned brand has been making some good efforts to reduce its environmental impact over the years, setting targets to reduce its direct and indirect emissions, and implementing initiatives to reduce water use. It has also recently paid more attention to its labour conditions and animal welfare policies by phasing out harmful animal materials and encouraging diversity and inclusion in its direct operations. The shoes are available in sizes 35-41.

See the rating.

Shop Balenciaga.

Editor's note

Feature image via Thesus, all 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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