9 brands that make ethical casual shoes and sneakers

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Ethletic fair trainers in green
credit: Ethletic


Shoes are often forgotten in the discussion about ethical fashion. Even when they are included, most of the ethical brands that I've seen featured make fancy-looking sandals, wedges, heels, or dress shoes that are not suitable for daily use, at least not for the kinds of things I do (like chasing after little kids, shopping for groceries, and going to the gym). Rarely does everyday footwear -- functional shoes built for comfort, not style, like running shoes -- get any attention. They should, however, since a shoe is even longer-lasting and less biodegradable over the long term than a single article of clothing; and many are made of synthetic materials that are meant to be tough and long-lasting -- not exactly what one wants kicking around the planet for centuries.

So I had to delve deeper than usual to find these companies and was thrilled to find they do exist! In fact, I've been pleasantly surprised by many of the initiatives shown by these companies and the high standards for ethical production that they uphold. Some focus on vegan and organic materials; for some, it's fair trade that matters most; for others, it's all about repurposing and upcycling waste products. There's something here for everyone. For me, I know that these discoveries will permanently change the way I shop for all my shoes.

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