Where To Find Environmentally Friendly(ish) Shoes


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Let’s face it — we all need to buy shoes from time to time. Some more than others of course, but even if you wear a single pair of shoes for years you will eventually need to buy another pair, right? And while I always check out the local Goodwill or used clothing store to see what shoes I can find, I also do need to buy new ones once in a while. And that’s where this post comes in, as I wanted to mention a few of the more popular environmentally-friendly(ish) shoes you can find on the market before you just rush out to buy any old shoes without even considering your “green” leanings. Let’s take a look at several companies trying to do the right thing when it comes to footwear.

OAT Shoes

Based in Amsterdam, OAT Shoes combines attractive style and biodegradable materials to produce sneakers that not only look good, but leave no mark on the environment when you throw them out. “Bury them in the garden, woods or compost, water regularly and flowers will bloom from your old kicks.” Certainly can’t beat that, right?

Simple Shoes

I have written about my Simple Shoes before, but here is a new shoe called the GUMshoe Organic Cotton casual shoe with hemp and certified organic cotton blend uppers. With no animal products or byproducts, water-based glue, recycled car tire rubber soles, and foot form inserts made of post consumer recycled paper, it’s pretty close to a perfectly “green” shoe.

Timberland Earthkeepers

The Timberland Earthkeepers collection features “tough, rugged footwear made with the environment in mind.” Made from some recycled materials, outsoles made with Green Rubberâ„¢, organic cotton, and linings made with 100% recycled PET, Timberland makes a solid boot that also works hard to be environmentally friendly.

Patagonia Shoes

Patagonia makes the Naked Maui Moc from hemp and recycled EVA, and of course provides information on their products via Patagonia’s Footprint Chronicles, which allows you to follow the path of where and how your purchases are sourced and created.

El Naturalista Shoes

El Naturalista makes many different kinds of eco-friendly shoes, but here is one example in the women’s shoe collection for this year. The
N096 Iggdrasil Clog feature items like recycled rubber outsoles and recycled PU footbeds, while their other shoes are made from 100% jute and semi-vegetable leather “Papyrus”.

soleRebels Shoes

soleRebels Whole Rebel Sandal is made with bright, artisan loomed fabric, hand-loomed straps made from artisan spun cotton, and a recycled rubber tire sole. SoleRebels, based in the village of Zenabwork, Ethiopia, produces footwear using only eco-sensible materials.

So, now you’ve seen some of these, do you have a favorite eco-friendly shoe/shoe company of your own that I didn’t mention? Please let us know in the comments so we can check them out!

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  1. Thank you for the list. Now, I have names and good definitions of these type of shoes. I always have a thing for simple shoes. They are so comfortable to wear and suitable for a walk in the park or even going to the grocery to buy stuff. They are very practical when you’re not in the mood to dress up and you don’t feel like showing off your toenails but you still look neat and presentable.

  2. I recently bought new shoes after I wore through my last ones, purchased over two years ago at this point. I wish I’d seen this list before doing so! I think my brain, which is usually pretty well attuned to greening whatever I do, switched off when I found a really comfortable pair at REI.

    The price tags of these shoes seem high to me, but since I no longer buy multiple pairs of shoes a year, I’ll keep them in mind when I need a new pair in a few years. Any idea how comfortable/durable the brands you showcased are?

  3. Buy good shoes / boots first off – sturdy footwear that will last. I am no0t so terribly sure it matters what it is made of – as long as you get more than 4 years out of it. Maintainance is also important. Keep the shoes properly waterproofed – and polish that leather. Olive oil works suprisingly well for leather. I reccomend finding a local shoe/boot repair store and getting old boots refurbed – rather than buying anything new. A seam that is coming apart is not an excuse for a new pair of shoes. Holes – maybe a little better reason.

  4. I saw a pair of shoes on a girl visiting from Europe – they were from recycled materials – I could swear she called them Furry Bear, but I can’t find that brand. They were darling shoes and she spoke to the fact that you could hike and walk on rocks without slipping – anyone heard of these or a similar brand??

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