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If you’re looking for a new pair of sustainable sandals, you’ll want a pair made with eco-friendly materials that won’t start falling apart after a few wears.
Summertime is synonymous with airy, ethical dresses, stylish shorts, and wearing anything breathable and lightweight, which means sandal season is in full swing. However, it’s important to think twice about the types of materials your sandals are made from.
Why Choose Eco-Friendly Sandals?
Why choose a pair of eco-friendly sandals? Well, on average, 300 million pairs of shoes are thrown away every year, many of which will clog up landfills for hundreds of years.
In addition to hanging around the earth for hundreds of years, these landfill-bound shoes release chemicals into the soil and groundwater, causing harmful effects on the environment.
Not only that, but the dyes used in shoes also contribute to this issue by releasing toxic heavy metals. Yikes! Additionally, as shoe soles decompose, they release chemicals like polyurethane, further exacerbating the environmental hazards. It’s high time we address this problem and explore sustainable, ultra-fashionable, and made-to-last options, don’t ya think?
We’ve handpicked a selection of brands creating ethical, eco-friendly sandals that look great on your feet and are kind to the earth.
From barely there sustainable flip flops to recycled sandals, there’s a pair for every aesthetic, budget, and sartorial scenario. Even if you need a practical pair of waterproof eco-friendly sandals appropriate for lounging by the sea and a rainy dinner date, 2023’s best sustainable sandal brands have you covered!
The sustainable sandal brands we feature treat their workers fairly and use ethically sourced materials. We’ll update this article with new brands and review our existing choices regularly.
Looking for a vegan pair of sandals? Click here to check out our best vegan sandal recommendations.
As usual, if you know any other amazing sustainable sandal brands, make sure to let us know in the comments at the end of this post.
Our Favorite Sustainable Sandals For Summer
Sustainability: Long-lasting sandals with a repair program and straps created from recycled plastic bottles.
At a glance: Waterproof sustainable sliders
For affordable sustainable sandals, check out Chaco, a brand that specializes in creating waterproof sandals for life’s adventures.
Chaco creates sandals you can swim in, hike in, raft in, and more, making the sandals the perfect shoe for travel.
Chacos takes recycled plastic into its iconic webbing, which comes in a range of vibrant colors and patterns.
Plus, Chaco’s sandals have an orthopedic-approved footbed for added support.
Our editor’s pair of Chaco’s in olive is pictured and they’ve held up well for around two years of casual wear so far.
|✔️ Longlasting||❌ Relatively longer break-in period compared to other sandals|
|✔️ Personally tested and recommended by Ecothes team members|
|✔️ Customizable Fit & Great Arch Support|
Sustainability: Sustainable sandals and eco-friendly espadrilles made ethically in Spain
At a glance: Sustainable slides, responsible leather sandals
Whether you’re looking for eco friendly espadrilles or sustainable sandals, Alohas has you covered with its stylish selection of ethical sandals.
Alohas footwear stands out from the crowd with its super on-trend sandals designed with a modern yet cool twist.
Alohas crafts each of its sandals in Spain in small batches to reduce waste, each sandal is available to pre-order, and Alohas hand makes each shoe ethically with non toxic dyes and sustainable production practices.
|✔️ Stylish design||❌ No arch support|
|✔️ Sustainable and eco-friendly materials||❌ Sizes runs big|
|✔️ High-quality construction|
Sustainability: Sustainable sliders made from recycled plastic bottles
At a glance: Slider sandals
If you’re looking for a minimal sandal style, check out SUAVS, a shoe brand creating shoes from recycled plastic bottles.
SUAVS currently creates one sandal style, the Eddy, which comes in three neutral colors.
Each slider is crafted from a 30% Recycled EVA sole and features a knitted upper from recycled plastic. So far, SUAVS have diverted almost one hundred thousand plastic bottles from landfills.
While we haven’t owned a pair of sliders from the brand, I do have a pair of Suav’s sneakers, and they’ve been great for casual wear.
|✔️ Lightweight and cushioned sole||❌ Sandals can run wide|
Sustainability: Certified B corporation. Audited factories, sandals ethically made in Europe, recycled packaging
At a glance: Chic ethical and sustainable leather sandals
French fashion brand Sézane creates timeless sandals with a Parisian touch, perfect for summer strolls.
The brand creates its sandals ethically in its audited European ateliers using responsibly sourced leather from sustainable practices, including chrome-free leather and vegetable tanning.
|✔️ Comfy Sandals||❌ Can be expensive|
|✔️ Stylish||❌ Some sizing inconsistency|
Sustainability: Recycled materials, vegan, eco-friendly packaging
At a glance: Vegan sandals in retro and classic styles
Vivaia’s sandals are each made from six recycled plastic bottles, which are converted into a durable, high-quality material that looks great.
The sandals pictured (the Doris sandal) have a 100% vegan leather insole, and a carbon-free rubber outsole.
The packaging your sandals will arrive in is made with 100% recycled cardboard.
Vivaia creates a range of sustainable sandals in classic styles.
|✔️ Recycled materials||❌ Not ideal for wide feet|
|✔️ Many pairs have cushioned insoles and ergonomic footbeds||❌ Limited options|
Sustainability: 100% biodegradable sandals created ethically from vegetable-tanned leather
At a glance: Open-toe sandals and flip flops
If you’re looking for a genuinely sustainable sandal, check out Jivanas – a luxury brand that takes a different approach to its sandals. Instead of using traditionally harmful chrome-tanned leather, the brand uses 100% vegetable-tanned leather, which is safer for workers and the environment.
The brand partners with artisans in Nepal, who ethically craft Jivana’s sandals using 100% biodegradable materials, free from harmful glues or dyes.
|✔️ Ethically made||❌ Some might find barefoot sandals uncomfortable|
|✔️ Premium leather|
Sustainability: Ethically handcrafted in Guatemala with sustainably sourced materials
At a glance: Ethically made, stylish, comfortable sandals for women and men
The Root Collective’s unique business model means they partner with independent workshops in Guatemala that are owned and run by local small business owners to produce their sandals.
The Root Collective provides beyond fair trade wages and ensures opportunities are provided to the small businesses and artisans.
The sandals are made with real leather and woven fabrics, all sourced ethically.
You’ll find a range of styles that are all perfect for casual or smart summer occasions.
|✔️ Ethically made||❌ Most shoes are on pre-order|
|✔️ Fair Pricing|
Sustainability: Wage transparency, only use leather that would have otherwise been discarded, recycled packaging
At a glance: High-quality and stylish sustainable sandals for casual or smart occassions
ABLE is a sustainable fashion brand, founded to employ and empower women. The brand is devoted to their employees and supply chain, helping provide training and education to women they work with to help them break the cycle of poverty.
The brand publishes their wages in annual updates and are transparent about even their lowest wages — they then use this information to increase pay for workers at factories where wages may be lower than Nisolo’s standards. The leather that Nisolo uses is taken from discards from other industries, and certified by the Leather Working Group.
Their ethical sandals are comfortable, cute, and look great. The natural leather changes color over time and you can make these sandals uniquely yours.
|✔️ On trend designs||❌ Limited options|
Sustainability: Recycled materials, socially responsible supply chain
At a glance: Affordable ethical sandals, perfect for a day at the beach
Matisse only works with family-owned factories that are regularly audited for social responsibility.
The brand does use leather, but sources it from recycled sources where possible. They also use water-saving processes when they’re working with leather, and only partner with carefully nominated tanneries who share Matisse’s ethos around sustainability.
Matisse’s sandals won’t break the bank, and there’s a range of styles to help you get summer ready.
|✔️ Very affordable||❌ Reviews say uppers can be a bit stiff at first|
|✔️ Great selection|
|✔️ Stylish designs|
Sustainability: Certified B Corp, 1% for the planet member, recycled and natural rubber
At a glance: Sustainable flip flops, sliders, and platform sandals
Indosole are innovating the world of sustainable sandals by recycling old tires into their colorful flip-flops and sliders.
So far, the brand has saved over 80K+ tires from landfills where they would otherwise pollute the earth for thousands of years.
Indosole sandals are 100% waterproof, and because they’re made from robust recycled materials, they’ll last year after year. Plus, Indosoles are so sure of the quality of their footwear they offer a one-year warranty on each pair!
|✔️ Affordable||❌ Straps can cut into feet|
|✔️ Lightweight||❌ Not ideal for wide feet|
Sustainability: Recycled materials, ethical and transparent supply chain, no scraps policy, minimal waste packaging
At a glance: Durable, soft, and sustainable rope sandals made with traditional techniques
Nomadic State of Mind make soft, lightweight rope sandals with natural materials. The brand works with artisans in Nicaragua who handmake each pair of sandals.
I own a pair in Black and enjoy wearing them them. The rope build is comfortable and they give you a good level of support.
The Vibram soles are glued on using low-VOC glue and applied with traditional machinery. The rope is partly reclaimed polypropylene cord, which is extremely durable and will hold up for years.
Nomadic State of Mind’s ethical ethos extends all the way to their packaging. There’s no shoebox, and instead, the sandals are tired together with a single string in a the USPS mailbag.
|✔️ Tested and loved by the Ecothes Team||❌ Runs slightly small|
|✔️ Durable||❌ Rope can cut into feet|
|✔️ Great color choices||❌ Sole can be slippery|
Sustainability: 100% vegan and ethical sandals from sustainable materials including cork, pinatex, and GOTS certified organic cotton
At a glance: Block heel sandal and summer flat sandal styles
NAE vegan shoes is a Portuguese sustainable shoe brand focusing on environmental protection and ethical production.
The name Nae stands for No Animal Exploitation, and this is reflected through the brand’s choice in materials, as Nae is 100% cruelty-free and vegan.
The brand creates its products ethically in Portugal, using eco-friendly materials, including recycled, natural, and sustainable materials.
|✔️ Vegan brand||❌ Break-in period needed|
|✔️ Timeless designs||❌ Some styles run narrow|
|✔️ Super comfortable|
Sustainability: Natural materials, ethical production in the EU and USA
At a glance: Natural hemp sandals, eco-friendly clogs, flip flop, and sandals
If you’re looking for unique, sustainable sandals made from organic materials, check out Rawganique.
Rawganique is a leader when it comes to natural and organic clothing. The brand specializes in creating apparel and accessories from hemp, organic cotton, natural rubber, and other natural materials.
Rawganiques ethical sandals are made ethically and sweatshop-free, with workers paid a living wage, having access to healthcare, and more.
|✔️ Great to prevent sweaty feet||❌ Limited style options|
|✔️ Organic sandals options|
14. Native Shoes
Sustainability: Recyclable sandals from recycled material
At a glance: Vibrant slider sandals, practical walking sandals, waterproof sandals, Grecian sandal
Native shoes recyclable sandals are lightweight, water-resistant, and perfect for summer strolls. In addition, the shoe brand creates unisex sandals, including sliders and Grecian sandal styles in vibrant colors and patterns.
At the end of your sandals life, you can recycle your old shoes with Native shoes, who will break down the shoes and use the recycled material to create children’s playgrounds.
Here are my well worn Native sandals – they’re perfect for the beach or lakes because they’re waterproof! They give a good level of support thanks to the rubber sole, so you can wear them for hours without issue.
|✔️ Light and breathable||❌ Reviews say some issues with inconsistent sizing|
|✔️ Tested and loved by the Ecothes Team!|
Sustainability: Ethical sandals made with responsibly sourced premium leather
At a glance: Heeled sandals, ethical sandals, leather sandals
Nomasei is a French luxury footwear brand creating bespoke sustainable sandals from premium Italian leather.
Founded by two friends passionate about sustainability and design, Nomasei’s unique sandals are designed in Paris and made ethically in an Italian factory based in Monopoli.
Each sandal is crafted from locally sourced premium materials, and Nomasei is transparent about pricing and its supply chain.
|✔️ On-trend sandals||❌ More expensive than some brands featured|
|✔️ Classy sandals and mules|
|✔️ Sustainably sourced leather|
Sustainability: Sustainable sandals from a range of sustainable and ethical shoe brands
At a glance: Grecian sandals, heeled sandals, sliders
For a range of stylish ethical sandals, check out Urbankissed, a carefully curated online destination that allows you to shop from the best sustainable shoe favorites.
You will find popular brands such as Cano or up-and-coming labels, including Bohema and Grecian Sandals. Each brand creates stylish sandals from a range of ethically sourced materials, including premium leather and vegan leathers, including Desserto, Pinatex, and Vegea® grape (vegan materials made from cactus or pineapples and grape byproducts from the food industry).
Plus, all shipping and returns are 100% carbon neutral at no extra cost to the customer.
|✔️ Fantastic sustainable sandals options||❌ No cons – a great selection of ethical sandals|
|✔️ Ethically made|
Sustainability: Sustainable sandals and flip flops made with carbon negative sugarcane-based EVA
At a glance: Sustainable flip flops, sustainable slides
Meet Allbirds newest addition, the Sugar Series, which features two styles of sustainable sandals, an eco friendly flip flop style and a slider style, perfect for summer strolls, beach days, and pool parties.
Allbirds are a sustainable shoe brand that uses eco-friendly materials and ethical production to create comfortable shoes. For example, its Sugar Zeffers and Sugar Sliders are made with a carbon-negative bio-based sole and recycled plastics straps.
We’ve tested multiple pair of Allbirds shoes and have found them all to be comfortable and well-built, although we haven’t got our hands on a pair of the sliders yet.
Allbirds biobased EVA sole is created from Sugarcane and is biodegradable; this is a step in the right direction for footwear production because regular EVA foam used in many shoes is not biodegradable and may take hundreds of years to decompose in landfills.
|✔️ Affordable||❌ Some shoes do not have all sizes|
Sustainability: Leather from LWG tanneries, BCI cotton, recycled polyester
At a glance: Comfortable and on-trend sustainable sandals
Teva specializes in creating comfortable sandals with a focus on sustainability.
They seek sustainable and ethical alternatives for key materials and offer a range of vegan styles each season. In addition, every piece of leather sourced is from tanneries certified by Leather Working Group, whose mission is to promote sustainable and appropriate environmental business practices within the leather industry.
Teva also supports the Better Cotton Initiative, the largest cotton sustainability program globally, and has been recognized on the Textile Exchange LeaderBoard for using recycled polyester.
|✔️ Comfortable fit and cushioned footbeds.||❌ Lack of ankle support|
|✔️ Adjustable straps for a custom fit||❌ Straps or footbeds may initially feel stiff|
Sustainability: 100% living wages, 100% offset carbon emissions, climate neutral certified, Leather Working Group Certified
At a glance: Stylish range of artisanally crafted summer sandals
You can pick from a variety of classic and modern styles, but they all have one thing in common: glowing reviews.
Nisolo is a B Corp, with the highest standards for social and environmental responsibility, with 100% living wages in the brand’s supply chain, and 0% net carbon emissions. All of their products get raving reviews, and the brand has been praised in publications like Vogue and CNN.
|✔️ Soft footbeds, good arch support||❌ The leather sandals might require a break-in period|
|✔️ Timeless designs|
|✔️ Great for narrow feet|
What are eco-friendly sandals made from?
When it comes to eco-friendly sandals, you’ll be thrilled to know that plenty are made from more conscious materials that are gentle on our planet. Let’s look at some of the most popular materials you’ll find brands using.
How about embracing Mother Nature’s wonders? Eco-friendly sandals can be made from organic cotton, jute, hemp, or other plant-based fibers. These materials are not only sustainable but also soft and comfortable for your feet.
Cork is harvested from the bark of cork oak trees without causing any harm to the trees themselves. It’s lightweight, moisture-wicking, and has natural cushioning properties, making it an excellent choice for ethical sandals for women, men, and kids.
Recycled Plastic Bottles
Believe it or not, those plastic bottles you recycle can be transformed into super cool sandals! Sustainable sandal brands often use recycled PET (polyethylene terephthalate) to create the uppers of these sandals, giving those bottles a fashionable second life.
Some eco-friendly sandals and sustainable flip flops incorporate recycled rubber in their soles, reducing waste and making your every step more sustainable.
What are the different types of sandals?
Sustainable Flip-Flops: Ah, the classic beach companion! Flip-flops are casual, easy-breezy sandals perfect for those sunny days by the water. Look for eco-friendly flip-flops from recycled materials like plastic bottles or rubber to keep those beach vibes sustainable.
Slides: Slides are slip-on sandals that effortlessly elevate your look. Whether you’re running errands or lounging by the pool, sustainable slides made from eco-friendly materials like organic cotton or recycled fibers are an easy summer option.
Slingbacks: Time to add a dash of sophistication to your ethical sandal collection! Slingbacks have a strap that wraps around the back of your heel, providing a secure fit and a touch of elegance. Many options are available online, made from vegan leather or recycled fabrics.
Espadrilles: Prepare to channel some serious summer vibes! Espadrilles are lightweight sandals with distinctive woven jute soles or hemp soles. They come in various styles, including flats or wedges, and are perfect for adding a touch of boho-chic to your sustainable wardrobe.
Gladiator Sandals: Gladiator sandals feature multiple straps that crisscross up the leg, adding a stylish edge to any summer-weather attire. Opt for eco-friendly versions from cruelty-free materials or upcycled fabrics to rock your effortlessly cool look.
Which sustainable sandals are best for daily wear?
When it comes to finding the perfect sustainable sandals for daily wear, comfort and durability are key.
Adjustable Strap Sandals: Eco-friendly sandals with adjustable straps are great for daily wear as they allow you to customize the fit according to your foot’s needs.
Look for sandals with multiple straps or adjustable closures such as buckles or Velcro for a secure and comfortable fit.
Walking Sandals: If you have an active lifestyle or plan on doing a lot of walking, consider ethical walking sandals.
These sandals often have cushioned soles, arch support, and traction to provide stability and comfort during extended periods of walking.
Athletic Sandals: If you’re into sports or outdoor activities, athletic sandals can be a great choice for daily wear. They are designed with features like rugged outsoles, adjustable straps, and water-friendly materials, making them versatile and comfortable for various warm-weather activities.
Wrapping Up: Sustainable Sandals
We hope you’ve enjoyed the article and have found the perfect pair of sustainable sandals.
Looking for other summer ready shoes? Check out our sustainable alternatives to Toms.