Are your boots made for walking? Make sure they're made to last for a smaller footprintView all products
- It's estimated 24 billion pairs of shoes are manufactured each year – at roughly three times the amount of people on earth, that's hardly sustainable
- Approximately 90% of shoes end up in landfill, and the majority of them use materials which won't break down easily and which can leak strong chemicals, including plastics like PVC, as well as synthetic rubber, synthetic foam and others.
- The footwear industry has a well-trodden history of unethical labour. Workers for some of the most well-known footwear brands have been found to work in unsafe conditions for very little pay. Brands like Nike, Adidas and Puma have been embroiled in investigations about sweatshops, while brands like Dr Martens and Skechers scored less than 10% on Fashion Revolution's Fashion Transparency Index.
We would always encourage buying second-hand wherever possible. However if you're looking to buy new, there are plenty of sustainable shoes out there. From recycled offcuts to vegan leather, there are some great options and a number of brands that put their best foot forward when it comes to people and planet. While leather is a very hard-wearing and naturally-derived material, it's not vegan and may not be for you. Check out the options below to find the swap that works for you.
There are some great recycled materials used for footwear which may not be plastic-free but do extend the life of existing plastics, as well as cleaning up waste at sea and on shore. From recovered ocean plastics, to recycled rubber soles and laces made from plastic bottles
Most vegan leather is unfortunately a plastic product, using polyurethane (PU) or polyvinyl chloride (PVC), which requires some intensive processing to get it into a leather-like material ready for shoes. There are however more plant-based and plastic-free materials becoming available, from corn leather to mushroom, pineapple and apple fibres.