18 Best Shoes Made From Recycled Plastic for 2024

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Are you looking for a pair of shoes made from recycled plastic? We’ve got you covered with a list of recycled shoes from brands’ that give old materials a brand-new life.

The footwear industry is estimated to produce more than 20 billion pairs of shoes yearly, with less than 5% recycled, with most shoes disposed of in landfills or other waste streams? You read that right.

The fashion industry also contributes to 35% of marine microplastic pollution, equating to approximately 190,000 tonnes per year.

Plastics, including PU, EVA, and PET, are some of the most used materials in the footwear industry behind leather. Combine the high use of plastic with the low percentage of shoes recycled, and it’s clear we have a problem.

One solution that brands are opting for is to create shoes from plastic that would otherwise go to landfill or end up in the oceans.

Absolutely! Thanks to innovative minds, recycling plastic has opened doors to endless possibilities, including creating durable footwear. Oh, and let’s not forget the cherry on top: recycled plastic shoes can be as comfy and trendy as their non-recycled counterparts.

The process is pretty simple.

Manufacturers take recycled plastic, for example, recycled ocean plastic, which is turned into flakes.

Now, it’s time for a little heat! Those recycled plastic flakes are melted and transformed into a molten gooey mixture.

With the filaments in hand, it’s time to weave some textile magic! They’re spun together and transformed into yarns. Now that we have our fantastic recycled plastic fabric, it’s time to cut and shape it into the various parts of our shoe.

Every shoe needs a sturdy sole, and recycled plastic is up for the task! Of course, no shoe is complete without a few finishing touches. Every detail is thoughtfully chosen to maintain sustainability magic, from laces made from recycled materials to eco-friendly adhesives.

And voilà! Stylish shoes made from recycled ocean plastic and bottles.

While the exact number may vary depending on factors like shoe size, design, and the specific recycling process, it typically takes about 8 to 10 plastic bottles to create a shoe.

Some shoe manufacturers might use recycled plastic to create additional components like insoles or other supportive features. Isn’t it incredible to think that those bottles, which might have polluted our planet, can find new life as stylish footwear?

Shoes made from recycled plastic bottles
Shoes made from recycled plastic bottles.

A regular pair of shoes can feature up to 40 different types of materials. However, according to a study, virgin plastic and rubber are the most used materials in the footwear industry, which are highly polluting, hazardous to the environment, and rely on fossil fuels.

Virgin plastic, such as polyester, damages the environment in producing raw materials and at its end of life.

Polyester is derived from non-renewable crude oil that requires huge amounts of energy. In 2015, The CDFA reported that global polyester production emitted 282 billion kg of CO2, which contributes directly to global greenhouse gas emissions. Plus, plastic-based footwear isn’t biodegradable and will hang around our planet for thousands of years.

As we shift our consumer habits towards alternative materials, footwear brands have chosen to use more sustainable resources and materials, one of them being recycled plastic.

Recycled plastic – while still not without its faults – helps eliminate vast quantities of plastic pollution that would otherwise fill up landfills and oceans. Using recycled plastic in footwear also helps save energy and reduces our dependence on crude oils.

Recycled polyester uses around 30% less energy to produce than virgin polyester, making it a more sustainable material than virgin polyester.

Let’s dive in.

1. Tropicfeel

Tropicfeel shoes made from recycled plastic

Sustainability: Shoes made from recycled plastic bottles and 20% recycled EVA foam soles. Ethical production and transparent supply chain. Climate-neutral certified brand.

Plastic material used: Up to 8 recycled plastic bottles per pair, 20% recycled EVA.

Best for: Travel shoes made from recycled plastics, recycled plastic sneakers

Ships to: Worldwide

Tropicfeel is a sustainable shoe brand taking the sneaker market by storm thanks to its stylish, practical designs and recycled materials, including recycled plastic bottles and recycled EVA foam in its lightweight, travel-friendly shoes. Using recycled EVA is essential, as EVA can spend many years in landfills without starting to degrade.

The brand started as the most funded shoe ever on Kickstarter and has evolved to create six unique travel shoes made from sustainable materials. With an excellent rating of 4.8/5 stars and over 1800 reviews, it’s clear to see why Tropicfeel is so popular.

Not only does that brand create its shoes from recycled plastic bottles, but Tropicfeel is a Climate-Neutral Certified company, meaning they measure and offset all carbon emissions produced in creating and shipping your shoes.

Tropicfeel shoes made from recycled plastic

2. Vivaia

Vivaia ballet flats

Sustainability: Ethical production, recycled materials, shoe recycling scheme Cyclon.

Plastic material used: Plastic bottles

Best for: Recycled plastic shoes in ballet flats, heels, and boots

Ships to: Worldwide

Looking for heels, boots, and ballet pumps made from recycled plastic bottles? Check out Vivaia.

The brand creates flexible, breathable, and machine washable shoes made from plastic bottles. The brand has released a new version of its best-selling model, the Aria, which features a wider toe box that won’t squash your toes, and the brand has added extra heel padding to reduce and eliminate blisters.

If you can’t decide between flats from Rothy’s or Giesswein, Vivaia’s recycled shoes retail slightly cheaper than both brands, and their shoes get good reviews with an average score of 4.8/5 with over eighty reviews for their new Aria shoe.

3. Allbirds

Allbirds Tree Dasher 2.0 made from recycled plastic laces

Sustainability: Natural materials including Merino wool, Eucalyptus fibers, recycled plastic, and sugarcane EVA sole. Certified B Corp.

Plastic material used: One recycled plastic bottle = Allbirds laces

Best for: Sneakers, running shoes, slip-on shoes

Ships to: Worldwide

Allbirds are not only making shoes recycled plastic. The brand also incorporates sustainable materials, including renewable merino wool and eucalyptus tree fibers, into its shoes.

By utilising natural and sustainable materials, the brand can reduce its carbon emissions and create shoes that will biodegrade at the end of their life.

The San Francisco-based shoe brand encorporates recycled plastic bottles into its shoes by creating its laces from recycled plastics. We’ve tested Allbirds shoes personally, and find that their laces are robust, don’t fray, and stay fastened tight.

One drawback for Allbirds is that the brand isn’t vegan and doesn’t offer any vegan shoe styles.

Allbirds tree pipers shoes like vans made from recycled plastic


SUAVS shoes made from recycled plastic

Sustainability: Vegan shoes made from post-consumer plastics

Plastic material used: Post-consumer plastics

Best for: Everyday sneakers, slip-on shoes

Ships to: The US

Texas-based shoe brand SUAVS joins the recycled water bottle shoe list by creating stylish recycled shoes for men and women.

Each shoe has a breathable and moisture-wicking knitted upper made from recycled plastic. Customers love how comfortable the shoes are, with reviewers giving an average of 4.8/5 with over one thousand reviews.

The SUAVS Zilker model comes in a great choice of colors, and the soles are available in white or gum. Unfortunately, the Barton slip-on model currently doesn’t offer the same range of colors and is now only available in black knit.

The Zilker recycled shoe also comes in half sizes, which is an excellent bonus as this is a feature many other brands don’t offer.

5. Addidas x Parley

Adidas x parley recycled plastic shoes

Sustainability: Adidas shoes made from recycled ocean plastic

Plastic material used: Recycled ocean plastics, including recycled fishing nets

Best for: Running shoes, casual shoes for everyday wear

Ships to: Worldwide

Adidas is one of the world’s most popular shoe brands, and you may not expect to see them featured on this list. However, Adidas has partnered with Parley, an initiative on a mission to save marine life by removing marine plastic in our oceans and reducing the amount of virgin plastic produced.

Adidas works with Parley to develop sneakers and shoes which feature recycled plastic uppers and soles. In Adidas’s most popular sneakers, you can find recycled plastic, including their Ultraboost prime blue range.

The removal of marine plastic is important to prevent ocean pollution and protect sea creatures. Every year between 57,000 and 135,000 whales are entangled by plastic marine debris, and millions of birds, fish, turtles, and other aquatic life are also seriously impacted by plastic marine debris.

6. Greats

Greats Knit sneakers made from recycled plastic

Sustainability: 7 plastic bottles make one pair of shoes

Recycled material used: Plastic bottles

Best for: Knit shoes

Ships to: Worldwide

You may have heard of Greats as the brand has a loyal following, but did you know the brand has released its signature shoe in a recycled knitted upper?

The Brooklyn-based brand now creates its best-selling Royal shoe in a recycled knit style. Each shoe is created from seven plastic bottles that would otherwise end up in our oceans.

One drawback is that the brand currently only have a limited colour choice in its recycled shoes.

Greats recycled shoe

7. Icebug

Icebug shoes made from recycled plastic

Sustainability: Bluesign® 100% recycled and solution-dyed PET polyester uppers and recycled rubber soles.

Recycled material used: Recycled PET plastic, recycled rubber

Best for: Running shoe styles, walking shoes, hiking shoes from recycled plastic

Ships to: Worldwide

Swedish brand Icebug creates durable, high-quality footwear using recycled and natural materials.

The brand engineers specialized running and walking shoes with exceptional grip, providing traction even suitable for performance in snow and icy conditions.

Each shoe comes in a range of colors with unisex styles to suit everybody.

Icebugs reduce their carbon footprint and work towards creating sustainable shoes by using natural materials and recycled plastic. The use of rPET (recycled polyester) is estimated to save up to 32% in carbon emissions compared to using virgin polyester.

8. Cariuma

Cariuma recycled plastic shoes

Sustainability: Certified B Corporation, which uses ethical production and sustainable materials, including recycled plastic. Every pair = 2 trees planted.

Recycled material used: Recycled plastic laces, recycled fabric, natural materials

Best for: Skate shoes, everyday shoes

Ships to: Worldwide

Cariuma is the cool new sneaker brand on the block. The sustainable brand creates eco-friendly skate-style shoes from recycled fabrics and natural materials and crafts its laces from recycled plastics.

Christmas shoes come in an array of vibrant colors, perfect for expressing yourself, and each style is available in men’s and women’s sizes.

One drawback of the flat sole is that the insoles have minimal arch support and, therefore, may not be suitable for people needing more arch support. However, Cariumas insoles are removable, so you can always switch them for orthopedic insoles.

Worldwide humans use approximately 1.2 million plastic bottles every minute. Currently 91% of plastic is not recycled and ends up in landfills or oceans. [Source]

9. Rens

Rens recycled plastic shoes

Sustainability: Shoes made from recycled plastic and coffee grounds.

Plastic material used: 6 Recycled plastic bottles in every pair

Best for: Waterproof shoes

Ships to: Worldwide

What if we told you your shoes could be made of recycled plastic AND coffee grounds? Well, now they can be.

Let us introduce Rens, a new sneaker brand on the block creating recycled shoes from a blend of coffee grounds and recycled plastic bottles.

Rens recycles coffee waste into yarn and blends it with recycled plastic to make its comfortable, trendy sneakers.

Don’t believe us? Check them out for yourself.

Rens recycled plastic sneakers

Top Tip: Many recycled shoes featured on this list are machine washable, including Allbirds, Rothy’s, Suavs, and more. Washing footwear made from recycled plastic can cause microplastics to be released into wastewater.

To prevent the release of microplastics into the environment, use a washing machine filter, for example, a Guppy Friend Bag, to catch the microplastics.

10. Sperry

Sperry shoes made from recycled ocean plastic

Sustainability: SeaCycled™ collection features shoes made from recycled polyester and recycled rubber soles

Plastic material used: Canvas upper made with 100% recycled polyester, 100% recycled polyester linings.

Best for: Casual recycled shoes, slip-on shoes, boat shoes, and sneakers

Ships to: the USA

Sperry is an American household name and has created shoes for over eighty years.

The footwear brand has released its SeaCycled™ collection, which consists of recycled shoes for men and women with uppers from 100% recycled polyester and soles featuring 70% recycled rubber.

It’s great to see a shoe brand improving its recycled material content rather than relying on virgin raw materials. Sperry’s has set the goal to have at least 50% of all models made as part of the SeaCycled™ collection by 2024.

11. Vivobarefoot

Vivobarefoot shoes made with recycled plastic

Sustainability: Barefoot shoes made from post-consumer plastic waste and algae bloom insoles. Vegan styles are available. Recyclable shoe through Revivo. Certified B Corporation.

Plastic material used: Post-consumer plastic waste

Best for: Minimalist shoes, barefoot shoes

Ships to: Worldwide

For a truly unique shoe experience, check out Vivobarefoot. A brand that designs minimalist shoes brings you closer to nature by creating a shoe with a minimalist thin sole, which allows you to feel the ground as you walk.

The brand creates recycled shoes from recycled plastic waste, leather and wool, and other eco-friendly materials.

One drawback we’ve recently noticed is some negative reviews circulating commenting on the issue around receiving the wrong size shoes, with some customers struggling to return shoes that don’t fit.

Worldwide humans use approximately 1.2 million plastic bottles every minute. Currently 91% of plastic is not recycled and ends up in landfills or oceans. [Source]

12. Giesswein

Giesswein flats made from recycled plastic

Sustainability: Ethical production of shoes made from sustainable materials, including styles from recycled plastic

Plastic material used: Marine ocean plastic

Best for: Recycled plastic flats

Ships to: Worldwide

Austrian brand Giesswein is known for creating sustainable shoes from wool and other natural materials. However, the brand also produces recycled shoes in the form of its Eco Ballerina Flat shoes made from recycled ocean plastic and featuring a 100% biodegradable sole.

Giessweins’ new recycled ballet shoes are their answer to the famous recycled flats Rothy’s creates. Similar to Rothy’s, Giesswein pumps are available in vibrant colors.

13. On Running

On Running shoes

Sustainability: Ethical production, recycled materials, shoe recycling scheme Cyclon.

Plastic material used: Recycled polyester and Recycled Polyamide

Best for: Recycled plastic running shoes and hiking boot styles

Ships to: Worldwide

On Running are a Swiss brand engineering high-performance running shoes and hiking boots from recycled materials.

The brand currently uses recycled polyester, including some shoes produced with up to 70% recycled polyester. The brand is pushing further to eliminate virgin polyester and polyamide and switch to 100% recycled Polyester and 100% recycled Polyamide.

Using recycled polyester ensures a reduction in plastic waste and crude oil consumption.

Also available to shop on Zappos.com.

14. Rothy’s

Rothy's recycled plastic shoes

Sustainability: Shoes made from recycled plastic bottles spun into yarn.

Best for: Sneakers, Ballet shoes and flats from recycled plastic, and loafer styles

Plastic material used: Recycled plastic bottles and marine plastic

Ships to: Worldwide

You may have heard of Rothy’s thanks to the brand’s signature flat pumps styles, which are loved by celeb fans, including Meghan Markle. But did you know the company uses recycled materials to create its shoes?

Rothy’s uses recycled plastic bottles, which are crushed into chips and then spun into Rothy’s signature thread used to create its sneaker, pumps, and loafer styles.

The brand is trialling a shoe recycling program, an important initiative to close the loop and prevent shoes from landfills at the end of life.

15. Casca

Casca recycled platic sneakers

Sustainability: Knit uppers from recycled plastic bottles and mountaineer grade soles

Plastic material used: Recycled post-consumer plastic bottles

Best for: Walking, hiking, and everyday shoes

Ships to: the US & Canada

Meet Casca, the new recycled shoe brand on the market. Casca stands out from the crowd with its unique 3D Smart fit technology, which prints a bespoke insole to match your exact fit.

With the cool 3D printed technology, Casca shoes come equipped with mountaineering grade soles with a 9mm heel drop and a 2-year warranty to ensure your shoes last.

The footwear brand also creates a leather sneaker in addition to its recycled shoes, which is created from leather that is LWG gold certified.

16. Chaco Footwear

Chacos chillos sandal

Sustainability: Rechaco repair program, recycled plastic straps

Plastic material used: REPREVE® webbing

Best for: Waterproof sandals, hiking sandals

Ships to: Worldwide

If it’s recycled plastic sandals you’re looking for, then look no further than Chaco Footwear, a brand specializing in waterproof sandals for hiking, rafting, and living.

The brand uses REPREVE®, a strong material from recycled plastic bottles, to create its iconic webbing straps, which you can customize to different colors and patterns.

Chaco footwear features its super comfortable orthopedic-approved arch support for all-day comfort.

Ecothes editor Georges has a pair of Chaco Chillos and loves the style and comfort of the sandals.

Chaco recycled plastic sandals

17. Wildling Shoes

Wildling Shoes made from recycled materials

Sustainability: Recycled cotton and ethical manufacturing

Recycled material used: Recycled cotton, recycled polyester

Best for: Recycled cotton shoes, Barefoot recycled shoes

Ships to: Worldwide

Looking for a recycled shoe in a barefoot style? Check out Wildling.

The brand creates its barefoot shoes from recycled materials like recycled cotton and organic cotton. Barefoot shoes restore your natural alignment by reconnecting yourself with the earth.

Ecothes Reviewed: “I’ve tried a pair of Wildling barefoot shoes and love how well-made the shoes are. The sole is super flexible and protective, without compromising the barefoot feeling.” – Georges

18. SeaVees

SeaVees recycled shoes

Sustainability: Recycled plastic shoes which help support our oceans

Recycled material used: Recycled plastic

Best for: Recycled shoes like Vans or Converse

Ships to: the US & Canada

Forget Vans or Converse and meet SeaVees – a sustainable footwear brand creating super on-trend shoes from recycled materials.

Rediscovered in 2008 after the brand had closed for 40 years, today SeaVees are stronger than ever and have a great selection of recycled shoe styles.

Along with increasing its use of recycled materials, the brand helps to support nonprofit organizations such as 1% for the planet and SeaTrees, an organization that’s restoring kelp forests to help fight against climate change.

Seavees recycled shoes

While recycled plastic shoes are a step towards sustainability, the ability to recycle them again depends on many things. Generally, most shoes made from recycled plastic can be recycled, but the process may vary depending on the shoe design and materials used.

The shoe’s composition, including the types of plastics used and any additional components like adhesives or reinforcements, plays a huge role. Some shoe brands have specific recycling programs where you can return your worn-out shoes for recycling. Sometimes, even if the entire shoe cannot be recycled, certain parts, like the soles or other components, may be separable and recyclable individually.

Many recycled shoes featured on this list are machine washable, including Allbirds, Rothy’s, Suavs, and more.

However, washing footwear made from recycled plastic can cause microplastics to be released into wastewater (this is still the case for recycled plastic shoes).

To prevent the release of microplastics, use a washing machine filter, for example, a Guppy Friend Bag, and place your recycled shoes inside to catch the microplastics when washing.

If you don’t want to wash your recycled shoes, check out our tips below for how to alternatively care for your shoes at home.

Sneakers, sandals, hiking boots, running shoes, flats, loafers – you can find a diverse range of shoes made from recycled plastic waste. Brands like Allbirds, Cariuma, Vivobarefoot, and Rothy’s have collections of 100% recycled shoes for every lifestyle and aesthetic.

If you want to keep your shoes made from recycled plastic in tip-top shape, it’s essential to maintain their appearance to prolong their lifespan.

Start by checking the manufacturer’s care instructions specific to your recycled plastic shoes. All recycled shoe brands provide specific guidance or recommendations for cleaning and maintenance.

  • Before diving into any cleaning methods, use a soft-bristle brush or a dry cloth to gently remove any loose dirt or debris from the surface of your shoes—this way you’ll prevent scratching during the cleaning process.
  • You can use a damp cloth or sponge with mild soap or a gentle detergent for minor stains or dirt. Gently scrub the recycled shoes in a circular motion. Avoid harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners, as they may damage the shoe’s material.
  • To keep your recycled plastic shoes fresh and odor-free, sprinkle some baking soda or use shoe deodorizers for athletic shoes. This will work wonders on absorbing moisture and neutralizing odors.
  • After cleaning, allow your shoes to air dry naturally at room temperature. Avoid placing them near direct heat sources as it can cause warping or damage to the materials. Of course, your footwear needs to be completely dry before wearing or storing them.
  • If your shoes made from recycled plastic bottles and waste have removable insoles, take them out regularly to air them out and prevent odor buildup. If necessary, You can gently hand wash the insoles with mild soap and water.
  • When not in use, store your recycled plastic shoes in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. Avoid stacking them or placing heavy objects on top to prevent deformation.

While using recycled plastic is a better alternative than virgin plastic, it is still not without its downsides.

Recycled plastic is still not biodegradable and not infinitely recyclable, so it will end up being discarded at some point in its life. On the other hand, using recycled plastic does divert plastic, such as bottles and textiles away from landfills in the first place.

Another downside of recycled plastic, such as recycled polyester, is that the material still releases microfiber microplastics when washed. These microplastics pollute waterways and marine environments. However, it is suggested that recycled polyester may shed slightly less microplastics when washed compared to virgin polyester.

Overall, choosing a pair of shoes made from recycled plastic is a more eco-friendly option than choosing a pair made from virgin plastic.
If you want to look for the most sustainable shoes, we’d recommend shopping for sneakers made from natural materials like hemp or organic cotton.

We hope you’ve enjoyed reading our guide to the best shoes made from recycled materials.

If you’re looking for biodegradable shoes, or shoes made from natural materials, we recommend looking at our hemp shoes guide, and our wool shoes article.

If you’re looking for recycled clothing brands, check out this guide.

If you to discover more sustainable shoe brands, check out our guides on sustainable sneakers, running shoes, and heels.

We’ve also got a guide on how to repair your shoes, and keep shoes out of landfill!

Feel free to leave us any feedback or ask any questions in the comments below.


Bethany Worthington BSc (Hons) (she/her) is the Sustainable Fashion Editor and Co-founder of Ecothes. She has a passion for the environment, and a long love of all things clothing, and combines those two interests with Ecothes. In her free time she loves dancing, hiking in the countryside, and laughing with friends.

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