The 2020 Ultimate Guide to Ethical and Sustainable Shoes - Good On You
17 Feb

The 2020 Ultimate Guide to Ethical and Sustainable Shoes

They are everywhere and in overwhelming numbers, but somehow, shoes are never easy to find. The perfect pair of shoes is something of a unicorn, as it has to be perfect either for every occasion or a very specific one. Rain, shine, evening, casual, work out… Our shoes are our state of mind as well as our sole transportation mode.

When it comes to finding the perfect ethical shoe, it adds an extra layer of soul-searching, but one that will definitely bring you the fulfilment you could never find in the cheap and questionably-made non-choices that are under everyone’s noses.

To help you out on your quest, we’ve created the 2020 Ultimate Guide to Ethical Shoes. You’re welcome.



Rated: Good

Condor Mesh Light Grey Black – Ships internationally

Veja slowly became one of the main references in ethical shoe-making, sourcing its rubber-soles straight from responsibly-run forests in the Amazon, where workers can expect competitive wages and social protection. The brand recently presented a long-awaited addition to its permanent collection: The Condor, an ethical running shoe model that goes beyond its own standards and shows a futuristic design right on-trend, made from recycled plastic, natural materials like rubber, organic cotton or rice waste and a record-low of chemicals.

See the rating.

Shop Veja @ Farfetch.

Stella McCartney

Rated: Good

Eclypse 45 Chunky Sneakers – Ships internationally

Stella McCartney should always be included in any ethically-minded list, with its pioneer commitment to environmentally-friendly clothes. The Eclypse model is a mix of old and new—a retro 90’s style sneaker with contemporary multi-textured sophistication, featuring strap fastening and a chunky look rubber platform. Iconic.

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Shop Stella McCartney @ Farfetch.


Rated: Great

Low Cut Sneakers – Ships internationally

Etiko is a leading Australian designer of organic, eco-friendly and fair trade clothing and shoes. For the classic canvas sneaker done ethically, look no further than these low-cut ones from Etiko that are 100% vegan and made from fair trade, organic materials. They come in a range of colourways to suit your style.

See the rating.

Shop Etiko.


Rated: Good

Snik White Green – Ships to Europe

Fashion and sustainability can go together and Womsh is the footwear brand that proves it. Their sneakers are entirely designed and manufactured in Italy. The Snik is a modern interpretation of 1990s sneaker culture and is made from 100% sustainable & vegan leather from Appleskin.

See the rating.

Shop Womsh.

Shop Womsh @ Comovita.

Want more ethical sneakers ? Check out these 9 casual ethical shoes for men and women.


Alice + Whittles

Rated: Great

Outerwear with a purpose, Alice + Whittles wants you to enjoy the vast wilderness without being cold or wet. This brand has designed the rain boots you’ve always dreamed of. The low-ankled model brings comfort and a minimalist style, and also comes in trendy pastel colours of the moment.

See the rating.

Shop Alice + Whittles.


Rated: Good

Unisex Archie Boot – Ships internationally

Nae is a Portuguese footwear brand using innovative materials to create shoes with “No Animal Exploitation”. Their sustainable shoe materials include recycled PET from bottles, OEKO-TEX® certified microfibres, recycled car tyres, natural cork, recycled thermoplastic and even pineapple leaf fibre! Try these unisex military style boots on for size.

See the rating.

Shop NAE.

Will’s Vegan Store

Rated: Good

Vegan Work Boots – Ships internationally

Will’s Vegan Store produces animal and human friendly women’s and men’s footwear at affordable prices. These tan work boots are carbon neutral, ethically made in Portugal, and presented in sustainable non treated paper and cardboard packaging.

See the rating.

Shop Will’s Vegan Store.

Looking for more inspo? Discover our 5 favourite ethical winter boots.

Heels and sandals

Funky Kalakar

Rated: Good

Mudpie Heels – Ships internationally

Funky Kalakar brings alive the stories of the ancient craft in the form of contemporary designs by handcrafting them using natural materials.

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Shop Funky Kalakar.


Rated: Good

Beatrice Heels – Ships internationally

LA-based Reformation creates killer clothes that don’t kill the environment. The brand also ensures that a large proportion of its suppliers pay a living wage. Its recently launched shoe collection boasts some gorgeous styles, like this pointed toe pump with an open back and straps that wrap around the ankle. Swoon.

See the rating.

Shop Reformation @ Farfetch.


Rated: Good

Gobi Sandals – Ships internationally

The luxury US footwear brand RAFA uses recycled vegan textiles in its creations, made to order in Los Angeles. Check out these timeless strappy sandals with a suede look. The big plus: they contain no animal skins, instead using Polyurethane microfibre materials that are less toxic than the PVC usually utilised for faux-leather.

See the rating.

Shop RAFA.

Beyond Skin

Rated: Good

Cruelty-free, luxury shoes and boots that are handmade in Spain, with love. Speaking of love, we’re head-over-heels in love with these gorgeous golden pumps!

See the rating.

Shop Beyond Skin.


Rated: Good

Varick Clog – Ships internationally

Coclico offers sustainable eco-friendly shoes conceived in New York and handcrafted in Spain. Its footwear is high-quality and long-lasting, and it even offsets its carbon footprint. It also knows its suppliers for all stages of production! The brand seeks high standards of ethical and environmental responsibility, and the result is a union of modern minimalism and traditional quality.

See the rating.

Shop Coclico @ Made Trade.

Shop Coclico @ ourCommonPlace.

Going on a night out or heading to work ? Check out our favourite ethical heels.

Flats and flip flops


Rated: Good

Pantai Travel Shoes – Ships internationally

Indosole is on a mission to become the most responsible footwear company in the world by delivering high-quality environmental shoes for travel, adventure and life. These cute navy stripe beach shoes from Indosole are machine washable.

See the rating.

Shop Indosole.


Rated: Good

Viki Slide – Ships internationally

BHAVA is an innovative vegan women’s footwear brand founded by designer Francisca Pineda. The brand uses some environmentally friendly materials, such as organic cotton and recycled materials. It also does not use aromatic amines, PCP, formaldehyde, PVC, phthalates, azo-dyes, or chrome when creating its vegan leather. The Viki slide with a wooden heel is on-trend and pairs well with everything.

See the rating.

Shop Bhava.


Rated: Good

Light Red Flip Flop – Ships internationally

Thanks to recycled materials, Ecoalf creates sustainable fashion with the same quality, design, and technical properties as the best non-recycled ones. These flip flops are made from recycled tyres and come in all the colours of the rainbow.

See the rating.

Shop Ecoalf @ Farfetch.

Have a look at our 6 favourite ethical sandals for summer!

Concerned about your carbon footprint when buying from overseas? Your questions are answered in our guide to international shipping

Editor's note

feature image via Reformation, 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 more than 2,000 brands. To support our work, we may earn a commission on sales made using our offer codes or affiliate links.

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