The 9 Best Vegan Shoes for Women of 2021

Step up your footwear with these vegan styles

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The Rundown
"Cute as a button but with eco-credentials, these dainty Mary Jane flats are delightful."
"Return to nature with these shoes designed to mimic the sensation of running barefoot."
"There’s no need for animal products when vegan leather looks this good."
Best Dress Shoe:
Veerah Venus at Veerah.com
"Turn heads with these vegan stilettos that use recycled plastic and sea extracted algae."
Best Tennis Shoe:
Avre Limitless at Avrelife.com
"A platform sole and stretchy fabric promise comfort in these shoes made from plastic bottles."
"There’s no reason to stay at home with these rain boots from Matt & Nat."
"Slip on comfort and a conscious approach to the environment with these iconic Toms."
"Bring vegan chic to the office with these kitten heel ankle boots in luxe vegan leather."
"Outdoor junkies can stay vegan and eco-friendly on the trail with these sandals."

Once upon a time, leather was an unavoidable part of the footwear industry. Luckily, times have since changed and a proliferation of vegan brands mean that buying vegan shoes is no longer the chore it once was. 

However, we do need to mention the elephant in the room: that vegan materials can often be a little less eco-friendly than we might hope. With plastics derived from the fossil fuel industry replacing animal products in many vegan designs, the waters can be well and truly muddied when it comes to selecting a truly ethical and environmentally sound pair of shoes. 

It’s for this reason we’ve searched high and low to find brands that don’t just avoid animal by-products. We’ve included those committed to using recycled plastics or other environmentally friendly fabrics in their designs, as well as those who focus on engineering shoes that’ll last for decades thanks to in-house repair programs. 

Here are the best eco-friendly vegan shoes, designed for everything from running to rain storms and fancy nighttime events.

Best Shoe: Rothy’s Mary Jane Flats

Rothy’s Mary Jane Golden Gingham Shoes

Cute and comfy: that’s what we all want in a shoe, right? Rothy's fit the ticket, and they’re made from plastic bottles that have been repurposed into a durable thread and then used to craft these perfectly pretty flats.

Bringing the traditional Mary Jane effortlessly into the 21st century — and part of the brand’s over 76 million plastic bottles recycled to date — these flats flexibly work well with many outfits. Cute as a button, they come complete with a bow for an extra dash of fun, but Rothy's also makes a similar style without a bow (view at Rothys.com).

Brown vegan leather outsoles make these shoes tremendously comfortable (and cruelty-free) and we love the fact that they’re 100% machine washable. Just throw them in the laundry when they need freshening up and they’ll be as good as new. Rothy's do tend to run a bit narrow and a bit small, so if you're between sizes, consider ordering a size up. However, shipping and returns are free in case you need to switch sizes.

Best Running Shoe: Vivobarefoot Geo Racer II

Vibobarefoot Geo Racer II

Feel closer to nature with a pair of Vivobarefoot running shoes. Designed to be foot-shaped — not shoe shaped — they’re built to mimic the sensation of running barefoot and allow you to reconnect with nature. Thin so you can feel the ground underfoot, flexible for natural movement, and with bonded, reinforced overlays for durability and to help you (and them!) last the distance, they’re designed for natural, healthy movement. 

They might take a little getting used to thanks to the 4-millimeter sole that puts barely a whisker between your feet and the earth beneath, but each step you take will be a reminder of the good you’re doing for the planet. And that’s some serious good. Sustainability lies at the heart of Vivboarefeet’s principles, with their range made from as much recycled PET and rubber compounds as possible, as they focus on avoiding virgin materials. They’re also the highest rated B Corp footwear company on the planet and are working towards a closed-loop manufacturing process with zero waste and zero environmental impact.

Best Leather: Nae Black Knee High Boot

Nae Vegan Shoes - Lou Black Knee High Boot

There’s no greater proof that animal products are not required in your wardrobe than these lovely vegan leather knee high boots from Nae. They have a deep lugged sole for extra grip on slippery ground, and a zipper closure. You can dress them up for the office, or down for a casual outing on a cool day.

The waterproof vegan leather upper is made from microfiber that's Oeko-Tex certified. It does require some care, so you'll want to consider also getting a jar of black creme polish (view on Nae).

Best Dress Shoe: Veerah Venus

Veerah Venus

Born to be worn with your beloved Little Black Dress, these cruelty-free stilletos command attention thanks to an elegant silhouette. Made by the 100% Vegan brand Veerah, it comes with a reversible strap and ribbon, so you can style this one shoe several different ways.

But it’s not just for aesthetic reasons that we like these heels. Nine plastic bottles were repurposed to make each pair of Venus sandals, while algae (yes, algae!) is used to fill the comfortable cushioned insoles. Algae can help reduce CO2 emissions and clean natural water supplies at the same time. The only drawback is that this pair costs nearly $350.

Best Tennis Shoe: Avre Limitless

Avre Limitless

Stylish, vegan and eco-friendly tennis shoes are words that come together in AVRE’s cute and comfortable range. Made from yarn spun from up to 10 plastic bottles, these shoes have a textured, stretch knit and a seamless finish. Their moisture-wicking properties of the shoe's body help keep your feet dry.

Available in seven colors (we love the light pink "shell") and with a platform sole for extra support, they also come in recycled, minimised packaging for that extra environmentally conscious push. Like Rothy's, they're machine-washable.

Best Waterproof: Matt & Nat Denver Rain Boots

Matt & Nat Denver Rain Boots

There’s no reason to stay at home with these rain boots from Canadian vegan clothing stalwarts, Matt & Nat. Featuring perforated detailing around the toe cap and a tartan-patterned, elasticated gore, these Chelsea boots are a modern take on a classic piece of British footwear. Bonus points for the fact Matt & Nat eschews the leather traditionally used in this design. 

Made from squeaky-clean, polished black PVC that’s been made from recycled materials, these shoes are an outstandingly functional and snappy alternative to the too-often-drab rain boot.

Best Slip On: Toms Alpargata Heritage Canvas

Toms Alpargata Heritage Canvas

Simple in design and even simpler when it comes to impact, the iconic Alpargata slip on from Toms is the classic style that’s been rebooted to become 100% vegan and even more eco-conscious than before. With a canvas upper made from jute (a material that requires significantly less water and chemicals to grow than traditional fibers), they’re designed for cosy comfort even after a day on your feet, and available in a range of lively colors.

When it comes to Toms, they probably need little introduction. B Corp certified, the company has helped an estimated 100,000,000 people through both the one-for-one giving model and, more recently, by donating one third of all profits to community projects across the United States. For extra eco-friendly brownie points, its supply chain is Fair Labor Association certified, too.

"I'm completely obsessed with how comfortable Toms Alpargatas are, they are my favorite shoes to wear. Toms canvas styles tend to stretch with wear, so you may want to buy a half size smaller than you typically wear. My only quibble with them is that I wish the lasted longer, but every time I replace them I like knowing my purchase is also helping someone in need." ~ Margaret Badore, Treehugger Senior Editor

Best Work Shoe: Beyond Skin Jezabel Black Faux Leather Vegan Ankle Boots

Beyond Skin Jezabel Black Faux Leather Vegan Ankle Boots

Bring vegan chic to the office with these kitten heel ankle boots in luxurious black vegan leather. They’re made from polyurethane leather, which is still a product of the oil industry but is significantly better for the environment than PVC, as well as a recycled polyurethane liner. The leather alternative is made in Italy, and the shoe is crafted in Spain.

All materials that go into these boots are sourced as locally to their factory as possible, making them an eco-conscious and vegan-friendly alternative to conventional leather boots. We also love them in gold, for an extra dazzle that’ll liven up any dressy outfit. However, they are among the pricier pairs on this list.

Best Active Sandal: Chaco Women's Z/Cloud X2

Chaco Women's Z/Cloud X2

For the outdoor lover, nothing beats a sandal that looks and feels good on your feet, even after hours on the trail. That’s where the Z/Cloud sandal comes in. They're available in seven colors and have an adjustable strap system and pillowy, arch-supporting footbed. 

All of the materials are 100% vegan and use durable polyurethane that, unlike disposable foam, doesn’t compress after wear, making these shoes built to last. They're available in both medium and wide widths.

Chaco also offers the ReChaco repair service, where they’ll make your sandals as good as new. In fact, in 2020 alone, they repaired over 21,000 sandals, giving them a new lease of life for years to come and, most importantly, keeping them out of landfill.

Final Verdict

No wardrobe is complete without a dainty pair of flats, which is why The Mary Jane shoes from Rothy’s (view at Rothy's) are our top pick for any sustainable footwear collection.


If you're willing to splurge, the Venus sandals from Veerah (view at Veerah) are a beautiful investment, although we’re still baffled by how they’ve crafted such gorgeous shoes using only repurposed plastic bottles and algae.

Why Trust Treehugger?

By going vegan, many of us are demonstrating our commitment to the health of our planet as much as to the lives of the animals that inhabit it and we aim to reflect this fact in the products we recommend. Swapping leather for materials that are derived from the petroleum industry and will take decades to break down in landfill doesn’t feel right, which is why we look to only include animal alternatives that are both ethical and environmentally conscious. 

Author Steph Dyson writes widely about sustainability, focusing on non-polluting substitutes for traditional fabrics, materials, and day-to-day items. She believes through small and conscious changes to our day-to-day lives, we can all have a large impact on the planet.