Top 7 Eco-Friendly Shoe Brands for Stylish Summer Footwear: Ethical Choices for 2024

We’re focusing on warm weather sandals and slides

Let’s get this out of the way first: there is no perfect shoe brand when it comes to sustainability. Trust us, we’ve searched! Sustainability in footwear is more than a trend; it’s a necessity, and although the perfect “green” shoe brand is elusive, several pioneers in the industry are setting commendable standards.

For example, if you’re vegan, you won’t want leather. Yet many vegan brands are just using plastic so we have to see who is doing more than that. For example, we’ve chosen a brand that recycles plastic water bottles along with discarded fishing nets to create their material. We’re not a fan of using water bottle recycling but “yes” to discarded fishing nets. And both are better than using virgin synthetic materials.

And beyond materials we looked at their transparency around production and fair pay for their workers. We also prioritize companies based in the US or that ship here easily.

Our curated list features casual yet fashionable summer flats and sandals from brands that are making a difference:

Zou Xou

Ethical sustainable shoe brand Zou Xou - millenial pink mary janes and tomato red thong sandal
Simona Mary Jane Flat in Millenial Pink | Una Thong Sandal

We literally just discoved Zou Xou (pronounced zu-zu) and are obsessed. There are so many super chic styles of shoes – the kind that demand you take care of them so you have them for years. Founded by designer Katherine Theobalds who, after becoming disillusioned by the fashion industry, decided to create “sensible shoes”. Which she defines as practical, comfortable and highly versatile. Bonus for us that she has great taste!

On the website she shares “Even more important to me is to manufacture our shoes responsibly by ensuring wellbeing for our artisans, rejecting overproduction & creating shoes that bring lasting value and joy to your life. I believe that what we choose to wear should express who we are and align with what we value. You are here because you probably already understand the impact those choices have on the planet and other human beings.” Yes, we do –and we’re thrilled to add this brand to our list.

Nomadic State of Mind

Ethical sustainable sandal brand Nomadic state of mind with rope sandals
JC Platform Double Decker with Sole | Bondi Denim

If you want a pair of rope sandals –and we do– Nomadic State of Mind will have a style that suits you. The rope itself is made in North Carolina and it is partly reclaimed polypropylene cord. While we would prefer a more natural material, they explain in detail on their website about their choice of materials and their ongoing progress towards more earth friendly practices. They’re also dedicated to fair trade & the environment, vegan and close to zero-waste in their production practices.


Ethical sustainable sandal brand ABLE which supports women
Laurel Braided Heel | Whitney Sandal

ABLE, based in Nashville, says their purpose is to provide better opportunities for women. A staff made up of 96% women in the home office, they choose their manufacturers in part by their wage levels and specifically how they care for women in the workplace. Beyond shoes they sell an array of fashion and accessories.


Ethical sustainable shoe brand Vivaia
Square-Toe Block Heel Slides | Leah 2.0

Vivaia is a 100% vegan shoe company that ships direct-to-consumer. It creates using Repreve materials from discarded plastic water bottles. According to Repreve the plastic bottles are collected by hand from areas within 50km of coastlines that do not have a formal waste or recycling system.

Vivaia has a lot of styles and many of them are machine washable. Also because they are knitted their is less waste in production.


Ethical sustainable sandal brand NISOLO
Huarache Sandal | All-Day Open Toe Clog

Nisolo is B-Corp with twin aims – to provide consumers with the highest quality tailor-made products and to revolutionize the fashion industry with its model of ethical production.  On their website they have detailed information on their commitments to People, Planet, Transparency, Accountability and Collaboration. Their leather comes from tanneries that are Leather Working Group Certified.

Their focus is shoes and accessories for men and women. If you are okay with wearing leather, this is an easy pick for great shoes at decent prices. Also offers discounts to students and others.


Ethical sustainable shoe brand Rothys
The Weekend Slide | The Point II

Rothy’s is another vegan brand that makes adorable shoes from recycled plastic bottles and other nylon waste. When it comes to production they are unique in that they fully own and operate their factory in Dongguan, China, which sets the standard for responsible manufacturing. Continually striving for zero waste, they combine the best of 3D knitting technology and handcrafted assembly to create machine washable styles that don’t compromise on comfort.


The Criss Cross Sandal | The Woven Slide

We think E I T H E R / O R explained themselves so well on their website we’re quoting it directly!

E I T H E R / O R is just three people, working together to provide the best quality shoes directly to you. Selling direct-to-consumer gives us more freedom to run our business ethically. We employ a social cooperative to weave custom textiles, use the best quality vegetable-tanned leathers, pay beyond fair wages, and offset our shipping carbon footprint. We also use post-consumer, plastic-free packaging.

All shoes are handmade.

This season, make a conscious choice to support brands that are not only fashionable but also forward-thinking in their approach to sustainability and ethics. Step into summer with style and responsibility!

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