15 Best Sustainable Shoes For Men & Women You’ll LOVE

Environmentally-friendly fashion is trending up. With studies showing the industry’s true impact on the environment, and a general culture shift towards more intentional and thoughtful lifestyles, designers are adopting practices to meet the growing demand for sustainable styles – shoes included.

Our list of the best sustainable shoes for men and women includes a variety of gorgeous styles from well-known brands and buzz-worthy start-ups. Between the “world’s most comfortable shoe,” sustainable sneakers made from merino wool, innovative fabrics featuring self-regenerating bamboo, and wow-worthy styles perfect for any and all occasions, we’ve got it all.

And, before you think eco-friendly shoes can’t be completely fashionable, think again. These sustainable looks make “going green” the must-have style of the year. For all the coolest and most fashionable sustainable shoes available today, read on.

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Brand Spotlights: Sustainable Shoes, Sneakers & More

While many well-known and established brands are moving towards sustainable practices, there are a number of incredible start-ups and new fashion labels putting sustainability front and center. And, to be honest, we're most excited about them.

Creative and environmentally-focused, these companies are changing the fashion game with innovative processes and material applications that are not only lowering their own carbon footprints, but inspiring others to do the same. Allbirds, Cariuma, and Baabuk are three of the top brands to watch right now.

Manufacturing stylish and comfortable sustainable shoes and sustainable sneakers, these three brands offer consumers chic alternatives to traditional footwear. We're featuring several of each brands' most popular sellers on our list, but for a breakdown of each company, read on. 

Allbirds

Sustainable shoes were first made popular by Allbirds. Founded in 2016, Allbirds is a New Zealand-American company that makes shoes using merino wool, eucalyptus tree fiber, sugarcane, recycled plastic bottles, recycled cardboard, and castor bean oil. The merino wool used by Allbirds - the material most synonymous with the brand - is ethically sourced from New Zealand, and is favored for its natural wicking properties and the ability to keep the proper temperature no matter the weather.

Touted as the "world's most comfortable shoe," Allbirds definitely lives up the hype. We own several pairs, and here's what we personally love about this brand and their shoes: they are just as comfortable as they promise and they go with everything. With intentionally understated designs that lack flashy colors and logos, you can wear them with all kinds of outfits.

Perfect for walking, everyday life, and all kinds of activities, Allbirds makes some incredibly fashionable sustainable shoes. They've even expanded their line to include legitimate running shoes, too. The Tree Dasher, launched just last year, is available in sizes for both men and women. While only having been on the market for a short time, the shoe is already receiving rave reviews.

We've included several Allbirds styles on our list, and honestly, you can't go wrong with any of them. 

Cariuma

Cariuma doesn't just make gorgeous sustainable sneakers for men and women, their mission and sustainable efforts are completely inspiring, too. Based in Rio de Janeiro, Cariuma was founded in 2018 by two footwear executives who saw a need for fashionable, comfortable, and "cool" shoes made in ethical ways with sustainable materials. And, that's what Cariuma is all about - redefining and reimagining classic styles that anyone would be proud to wear.

Using materials like self-regenerating bamboo, recycled bottles, natural gum rubber, sugarcane, memory foam, cork, mamona oil, cotton canvas, and more, Cariuma's shoes are incredibly lightweight and comfortable to wear. We're currently rocking and loving the IBI Low. Made with a knit fabric that's constructed with self-regenerating bamboo, these sustainable shoes once had a 14,000-person waitlist - seriously. Our review: definitely worth the wait. Every bit as fashionable and comfortable as they claim to be. These shoes are back in stock, but colors are selling fast.

Here's one of our favorite things about Cariuma: for every pair of shoes they sell, they plant two trees in the Brazilian rainforest. Launched just last year, Cariuma's reforestation program is something to be admired, for sure. We've included several styles on our list, and honestly, we think you'll love them all.

Baabuk

Featured in dozens of publications, Baabuk's line of sustainable shoes actually started with a pair of slippers. Having been inspired by the warmth and comfort of Valenkis, traditional Russian felted footwear, this Switzerland-based company completed a series of Kickstarter campaigns to launch their line of eco-friendly shoes. They've been making must-have styles since 2015.

Similar to Allbirds in that the primary sustainable material used in their shoes is wool, Baabuk calls the material "nature's magic fiber." Favored for its natural wicking properties and the ability to keep the proper temperature no matter the weather, wool pops up a lot in the sustainable shoe segment. For Baabuk, everything from how their wool is sourced to how it's processed is a conscious effort to remain ethical and responsible. 

Something unique about Baabuk's shoes is the no-tie design. Featuring elastic shoelaces, these shoes slip on easily so you can get going with your day. These shoes are also machine washable. While we haven't tried Baabuk ourselves, everything we've read about the brand and shoes is incredibly positive. Additional reviews can be found here.

B Corp Certification

It's worth mentioning that Allbirds and Baabuk are both B Corp certified, and Cariuma is on it's way to that distinction, too. What does that mean? B Corp companies meet the "highest standard of social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose." They're basically really good companies doing really good things to make the world a better place. 

Sustainable Fashion Is More Than A Trend

Based on a 2019 Wall Street Journal article, it's estimated that the average person buys 68 pieces of clothing per year and wears each item seven times before getting rid of it. And, thanks to new fashion trends and the industry's proclivity for "fast fashion" - clothing manufactured at a warp speed and sold at super low price points - this doesn't appear to be changing any time soon. 

Given manufacturing practices and consumer habits, it's no surprise 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions are attributed to the fashion industry. It's for that reason, processes are being discussed at length, changes are happening, and sustainable fashion brands and styles are trending up.  

From upcycling materials to new application processes to growing mushrooms to make leather goods, it's incredibly cool to see designers at all levels getting creative in how they approach their products. We're especially excited about the shoe industry. With so many incredible ethically-focused and sustainably-motivated start-ups reinventing the shoe-game, sustainable footwear is chic, comfortable, and the must-have style of the year.

Our list of the best eco-friendly shoes features a number of incredible brands making footwear we know you'll flip for. From sneakers to boots to dress shoes and more, there's a style for everyone.

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