There’s been a seismic shift in recent years towards sustainability in fashion.
With a host of brands such as H&M and Gucci taking meaningful steps towards reducing their carbon footprint, and further developing sustainable practices, we’re seeing more and more sustainable options pop up on the market.
And while pleather fabrics and recycled textiles have long been a thing, it’s only recently that we’ve seen the same treatment for footwear.
Perhaps because, unlike say, a t-shirt, our shoes need to be able to endure the elements, keep us protected, maybe even deal with an over-zealous pet or two, and, ideally, look good on top of all of that—not a simple feat.
But as we look around now, it’s never been a better time to switch to more ethically-produced footwear.
With so many eco-friendly options, we can all get on board the bandwagon in some way or another, whether it’s swapping out your sneakers or dressy shoes.
So, here is a roundup of ten of our favourite brands that are undeniable proof that chic and sustainable are not mutually exclusive.
From designing to curating responsibly sourced materials and shipping, every stage of creating a Cariuma shoe is well-considered. From going above and beyond when employing fair working conditions to using recycled paper, PET and nylon and even planting 2 million trees (to date), there’s plenty to feel good about when buying a pair of these sneakers.
SHOP: Off-White Canvas, $109 at Cariuma
A staple of the Australian style set, St Agni was born out of a desire to not only create chic and conscious styles but do so with a positive environmental and social impact.
SHOP: Brassiere Wedge, $379 at St Agni
Founded in Hawaii in 2015, Alohas are known for their strappy sandals and 70s-inspired boots, but more importantly for utilising an on-demand, pre-order system to minimise waste and combat overproduction—one of the biggest environmental threats the fashion industry poses on the environment.
SHOP: East Boot, $551 at Alohas
With a focus on social projects, economic justice, and ecological materials, every element of a Veja sneaker as well as its production process maintains a sustainability or ethical focus.
SHOP: Veja Venturi, $250 at THE ICONIC
Built on the ethos of “beautiful footwear, crafted with respect”, Nelson Made’s stylish sandals are made locally in their clean energy Melbourne studio, while their heels are assembled in their family-run partner factory in China. Designed in defiance of fast fashion, Nelson Made’s shoes are durable, timelss and crafted from materials that are kinder to the planet.
SHOP: Nelson Made Juliette Midi, $299 at theUNDONE
There’s only one thing we covet more than a pair of authentic, Italian-made shoes and that’s Italian-made shoes that are also sustainable. Dear Frances creates luxury pieces for the modern woman, aimed at slowing the fast fashion cycle and utilising sustainably sourced materials. We’re obsessed with their Harlow Pump.
SHOP: Harlow Pump, $720 at Dear Frances
Edie’s vegan leather has a 30% lower impact on the environment than animal-based leathers (plus, the obvious benefit of not harming any furry friends). Beyond the leather uppers, the soles of each of heels and loafers are 100% recyclable. Even their dust bags are crafted from 100% recycle organic cotton so you can look and feel good.
SHOP: The Jane Loafer, $480 at edie