The first time I realized that dressing sustainable isn’t always fun and easy, was when I for the millionth time fell in love with a ‘one of a kind’ pair of shoes, but wasn’t sure if they were really sustainable. During those moments I try to forget about them and if I ‘really’ need shoes, I try to look for a ‘green’ substitute. Although there are plenty sustainable shoe brands out there, I still find it a challenge to find a brand that’s really my taste. I have a thing for soft leather (please don’t be mad vegans) Italian designed shoes and logically a lot of vegan or fair shoe brands often just don’t resemble that at all. Most of the sustainable shoe brands to me look like brands extreme tree-huggers would love. Nothing wrong with hugging trees by the way! You do you. They just seem a bit too plain and coarse to me. However, while scrolling through Facebook last week I came across the new collection of Veja and I immediately felt sad that I didn’t need them. In all of my excitement, I also remembered some sustainable shoe brands I completely forgot about, like the heels from https://www.eco-vegan-shoes.com/ which Nadia is wearing in the picture above, for instance. My memory can be blamed for this, but also the zero advertising policy a lot of sustainable brands live by. Which isn’t a bad thing at all, since otherwise a lot of sustainable brands wouldn’t have affordable prices equal to their competitors. Now for the sake of never forgetting again and some free advertising (because they deserve it), here are some awesome sustainable shoe brands you should consider purchasing when you really, really, really need shoes!
Discovering Veja, really made me regret buying mainstream sneaker brands such as Puma, Nike and Asics for all these years. Not only for my karma and mama earth, but also considering Veja has a broad collection that represents a lot of different styles similar to Adidas Stan Smiths, Nike Air Force 1 and New Balance. Looking at Veja vegan collection, I see the reason, besides them not advertising, why I forgot about them. Only until recently did I know that Veja also has a leather line. Now you might think, what is sustainable about leather? I want to discuss that in another post soon, since it’s quite a lot to discuss. In the meantime you can check our post on other materials! I don’t mind not wearing leather at all, on condition that its durability is the same as leather, its strength and beauty remains, and has the look of leather. When I compare Veja’s leather line to their vegan line, I’m saddened to admit that the vegan line is not really my taste. The vegan line somehow seems a bit plain to me, but I am sure many others like the line because of its simplicity. Before I seem too negative, there is one shoe from the vegan line I do like, which is made from cotton, linen and recycled plastic (the left bottom one).
Matt & Nat
Did you know that Matt & Nat stands for Mat(t)erial and Nature and some brand ambassadors of the brand are Natalie Portman, Olivia Wilde, Charlize Theron and Tobey Maguire? Besides being known for their minimalistic vegan bags, Canadian (Montreal) based Matt & Nat also has a shoe line. Just like their bags, their shoe collection is vegan and is made from PU. I absolutely love their new spring/summer ’17 shoe collection. It has only released recently and seems to be running out fast, so be quick!
It seems like the Canadians are on a roll! Another Canadian based shoe brand from Vancouver, is Native. The shoe brand mainly produces casual shoes designed for the outdoors. Native is PETA approved Vegan, but if that really makes them sustainable? That remains debatable. Native does claim to design with an eye for sustainability, by having a low-emission manufacturing process and using recycled materials for their packaging. Whether they are really sustainable or not, that can still be questioned. But I think we can all agree if I say they really design for what the eye wants.
The story behind Africanas is probably one of the greatest things about the brand and I can’t continue before telling it. In 2007, co-founder and director Paul met a young shoemaker from Zimbabwe named Arnold, on the Green Market Square in Cape Town. Arnold had just arrived in Cape Town and tried to lift his shoemaking business off the ground. Paul, who was a regular customer, saw Arnold’s struggles in manufacturing and finding customers at the same time. Paul then started to think of ways to generate more orders for Arnold. After collecting more than hundreds of orders, Paul and Arnold became business partners and started to build up Africanas. What makes Africanas sustainable, is in the way they support the local community of Cape Town by creating employment and opportunities. But also by funding and mentoring local entrepreneurs. They do this by each year selecting three local start-ups that demonstrate sustainability and growth potential. Isn’t that awesome?
Now we all know TOMS, but there are still plenty people that don’t know that just like Africanas, TOMS organizes a lot of social projects. When TOMS started in 2006, they donated a pair of shoes to a child in need, for every pair of Toms they sold. After that, they started an eyewear collection in 2011, where they improved the eyesight of 400.000 people in need by selling TOMS glasses. Moreover, for every coffee package of Toms Roasting Co. sold, 140 Litres of safe drinking water is secured, which someone in need uses in a week. These are people from seven countries where TOMS gets their coffee beans from. Lastly, by purchasing a Toms bag, consumers contribute to safer births in third world countries. The brand does this by providing materials, and training and education for local midwifes. By organizing these projects, TOMS is not only taking, but also giving back. Which is something a lot of companies could look up to.
According to Good Guys, good guys don’t wear leather. Do you agree? Even if you don’t, you almost can’t disagree on their sense of style. Which is not surprising, considering the brand won the Fashion.net award for ‘Best Vegan Brand of 2015’ and the PETA Award for ‘Best Stylish Casual Shoes’. From boots to sneakers and from minimalistic to colourful stripes, Good Guys has something in store for everyone. Good Guys shoes are vegan and for their vegan leather and suede they use microfibers which are 100% recyclable.
Yes, finally! By now you’re probably wondering where all those lovely sustainable high heels appear in this post. It was an investigation all right, but I found some lovely vegan pumps and other feminine shoe wear from SUSI Studio. The brand is Los Angeles based and designs shoes that are fit for modern and stylish women. For their shoes, SUSI Studio uses sustainable materials like canvas, denim, hemp and faux leather made from recycled plastic bottles. For every purchase of the Brigitte Platform (see below), SUSI will donate 30% of proceeds to Los Angeles non-profit organization, Mercy for Animals. How sweet.
Just like SUSI Studio, Portuguese shoe brand Nae offers vegan shoes with the environment in mind, with a feminine touch as well. They work with alternative materials such as cork, ecological microfibers, recycled plastic bottles and yes, here it comes, pineapple leaves. Oh how I love our earth and smart people that combined can do the unthinkable. The two pair of shoes beneath are made from pineapple leaves fibres or cork.
That was it! I hoped you liked the brands I showed you and thought they are different than the regular sustainable shoe brands you’re used to. If you know other sustainable shoe brands that I haven’t mentioned yet and reckon we might like, please let us know!