9 Sustainable Flats To Stay Cute, Comfortable, & Eco-FriendlyImages by Darzah#sustainableflats #ecofriendlyflats #sustainableballetflats #affordableecofriendlyballetflats #sustainablewomensflats #sustainablejungle
Image by Darzah
9 Sustainable Flats To Stay Cute, Comfortable, & Eco-Friendly Image by Nisolo #sustainableflats #ecofriendlyflats #sustainableballetflats #affordableecofriendlyballetflats #sustainablewomensflats #sustainablejungle
Image by Nisolo

9 Sustainable Flats To Stay Cute, Comfortable, & Eco-Friendly

The SJ Team


Feeling a little flat about the fashion industry? 

Us, too, so join us on our quest to avoid fast fashion by starting at the bottom—literally—with sustainable flats.

A good pair of flats is a minimalist wardrobe staple for just about everyone, but for us, “good” refers to not only cute and comfortable durable flats, but eco-friendly ones, too.

And lucky for us, we found exactly that.

While you won’t see any sustainable ballet flats under $30 on this list, you will find high quality shoes made of durable materials that will last you years.

Everything we recommend to you on Sustainable Jungle is independently researched and we ask all brands to confirm their claims. To avoid waste, we test products on an as needed basis. This post contains affiliate links. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a small commission. Learn more about why we do this here.

The Best Supportive Flats For Your Feet & The Planet

Allbirds carbon-neutral Tree Breezers are arguably some of the most eco-friendly comfortable flats, constructed from eucalyptus tree fiber, sugarcane, and merino wool. 

Neutral flats are Nisolo’s footwear forte, but don’t take that to mean they’re boring. These cute ethical flats come in ultra classic styles for any occasion.

And we can’t get past Bhava’s use of eco Ultrasuede and cork in their luxe ethical flats.

We searched flat-out to find these brands and you can step to the end of this post to find out how.

The Full List Of Sustainable Women’s Flats


1. Allbirds

9 Sustainable Flats To Stay Cute, Comfortable, & Eco-FriendlyImages by Allbirds#sustainableflats #ecofriendlyflats #sustainableballetflats #affordableecofriendlyballetflats #sustainablewomensflats #sustainablejungle
Images by Allbirds

About Allbirds

Price Range: $100–$105

Made from renewable materials, Allbirds’ are undoubtedly some of our favorite sustainable flats with arch support.  

Their flexible texture and supportive insole will give you more support than your typical flats, so if you’re prone to achy feet, these won’t disappoint.   

They’re also some of the most affordable eco-friendly ballet flats out there.

Allbirds’  Ethical & Sustainability Practices

Materials:

The uppers of the Tree Breezers are made from a highly breathable eucalyptus tree fiber knit, sourced from FSC® Certified forests. 

The outsole is created from sugarcane-based carbon negative eco EVA foam.

The only non-vegan component is the insole, made from cushioning ZQ Merino wool and castor bean oil, which generates fewer carbon emissions than traditional petroleum-based foam. 

This same wool makes up uppers of their Wool Breezers, too.

Supply chain & labor practices:

Behind everything Allbirds does is a set of requirements each of their suppliers and partners must adhere to. 

Ensuring all workers are well treated, and paid fair wages and benefits is a central component of this code, including for sub-suppliers. 

Mutual transparency is encouraged, and factories are subject to onsite audits by an independent, third-party social assessment firm.   

Green business practices:

Many brands talk the talk, but this ethical shoe brand is really walking (or perhaps flying?) the walk. 

Their green business practices work on reversing climate change, reducing their environmental footprint and energy consumption, focusing on renewable materials and regenerative agriculture, and offsetting the carbon they do emit.  

Already 100% carbon-neutral, they plan to reduce their carbon footprint by half by 2025, and to near zero by 2030. 


2. Bhava

9 Sustainable Flats To Stay Cute, Comfortable, & Eco-Friendly Images by Bhava #sustainableflats #ecofriendlyflats #sustainableballetflats #affordableecofriendlyballetflats #sustainablewomensflats #sustainablejungle
Images by Bhava

About Bhava’s  

Price Range: $165–$195

Bhava’s founder, Francisca, lectured on Ethical Fashion and Sustainable Design at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York.

It’s no surprise this vegan shoe brand is committed to boots, heels, sandals, and chic flats that are free from animal products. 

Pain-free for animals and pain-free for you, too! 

Aside from creating vegan flats with arch support—like the luxuriously comfortable Sunday Soft Loafer—every pair is taken for a punishing ‘test trudge’ on New York City’s streets.

Bhava’s Ethical & Sustainability Practices

Materials:

Bhava’s REACH-certified vegan leather is free of PVC, AZO-dyes, chrome, formaldehyde, aromatic amines, and phthalates.

Most of their vegan sandals and flats also utilize a combination of wood, cork fabric, organic cotton, eco Ultrasuede, and natural rubber.

Supply chain & labor practices:

Some of Bhava’s shoes are made in India where Bhava has partnered with the first 100% female-owned-and-run footwear workshops.

However, most of Bhava’s eco flats are made in Spain. 

The bulk of their materials are sourced in Spain or nearby Portugal, in the case of cork. This ensures their manufacturing remains easy to monitor. 

Green business practices:

By using sustainable, natural, renewable materials and vegan leather, Bhava limits its water and chemical use. This is not just kind to our planet, but also highlights their concern for their employees. 

Bhava’s commitment to longevity by equipping all of their shoes with repairable soles gets a big high five from us. 


3. Nisolo

9 Sustainable Flats To Stay Cute, Comfortable, & Eco-Friendly Images by Nisolo #sustainableflats #ecofriendlyflats #sustainableballetflats #affordableecofriendlyballetflats #sustainablewomensflats #sustainablejungle
Images by Nisolo

About Nisolo

Price Range: $90–$180

Based in Nashville, USA, Nisolo makes ethical flats and sustainable shoes and accessories for both men and women.

They’ve been a driving force for more sustainable practices in the fashion industry, helping to bring about the Lowest Wage Challenge and achieving climate neutrality across their huge range.

If you’re like us and think it’s time to remind that world that eco-friendly granny flats aren’t just for the elderly, check out the Go-To Woven Slip-On.

Nisolo’s Ethical and Sustainability Practices

Materials:

Like their sustainable bags, Nisolo’s durable, eco-friendly flats for women are mostly made from LWG leather obtained as a byproduct of the meat industry. 

They are also investigating other vegan fabrics to use in the future.

Supply chain & labor practices:

A Certified B Corp, Nisolo is committed to ongoing audits from farm to factory and are transparent about their findings. 

Workers are paid a living wage and those in their Peruvian factory also have access to educational programs ranging from technical skills to nutrition and yoga.   

Nisolo collaborates directly with independent artisans in Nairobi, Kenya, applying the same fair work principles.

Green business practices:

Aside from their climate neutrality, Nisolo contributes a portion of the profit from each product they sell to help protect the forests of the Amazon Basin. 

Using leather and ultra-classic styles puts Nisolo among other repairable shoe brands aiming to make it easy to extend the life of your shoes.

Read more about Nisolo’s Impact.

Community & charitable giving: 

Aside from ensuring shoes stay in use longer, they also help give unwanted pairs a second life through the Shoe Reclamation Program which cleans, repairs, and rehomes them to those in need through Soles4Souls.


4. Darzah

9 Sustainable Flats To Stay Cute, Comfortable, & Eco-Friendly Images by Darzah #sustainableflats #ecofriendlyflats #sustainableballetflats #affordableecofriendlyballetflats #sustainablewomensflats #sustainablejungle
Images by Darzah

About Darzah

Price Range: $189–$229

Darzah is a non-profit that was created to empower women in Palestine’s West Bank. 

Darzah’s Tatreez ethical flat is particularly eye-catching, named after and made using an ancient form of Palestinian embroidery, passed down from mother to daughter for over 3,000 years. 

It requires incredible skill and time. These fair trade flats take at least 18 hours to embroider. For this reason, most Darzah artisans work from home.   

Darzah’s Ethical & Sustainability Practices

Materials:

80% of the leather for their products is tanned using vegetable-based tanning agents.

The rest is tanned with 3rd-level non-poisonous Chrome or Zarnikh at the first level of tanning (hair removal) only. 

All animal hides are sourced as byproducts from local butchers and the finished leather comes from family-owned leather processors in Khali, Hebron, on the West Bank of Palestine, which comply with international sustainability standards.

Supply chain & labor practices:

Darzah is Fair Trade Federation certified and employs a talented team of artisans. 

Thanks to their non-profit structure, 80% of each dollar you spend with them goes directly to the women of Palestine and their families.  

Green business practices:

For the 20% of leather tanned with non-vegetable agents, all metalloids are separated from groundwater and stored in a special container until they can be responsibly disposed of in accordance with Israeli law.

Community & charitable giving:

Darzah is part of the Child’s Cup Full project, which seeks to create jobs and economic opportunities for refugee and low-income mothers in Palestine. 


5. ABLE

9 Sustainable Flats To Stay Cute, Comfortable, & Eco-FriendlyImages by ABLE#sustainableflats #ecofriendlyflats #sustainableballetflats #affordableecofriendlyballetflats #sustainablewomensflats #sustainablejungle
Images by ABLE

About ABLE

Price Range: $88–$135

ABLE is all about empowering women, both the women who make their products and the women who wear them. 

Having started with scarves made by ex-sex workers in Ethiopia, ABLE now markets an impressive range of leather bags, clothes, jewelry, and eco-friendly women’s flats and house shoes—in the case of the Jess Slide.

ABLE’s Ethical & Sustainability Practices

Materials:

ABLE sources its leather as a byproduct from the meat industry and uses tanneries in Portugal and Brazil that are members of the Leather Working Group (LWG) and use recycled water in a closed loop system.

Other shoes feature “cow-based” snake leather, napa leather (sheep, lamb, or kid skin), and synthetic microsuede. 

We’re not sure how these alternative leathers are sourced (and have not heard back after several inquiries), so we’d suggest sticking with those made of LWG leather.

Supply chain & labor practices:

ABLE’s ethical claim to fame is its stance on fair labor, having been the first fashion brand to reveal their lowest wages. 

ABLE is committed to changing the industry by providing better than a living wage and benefits like full health insurance, company stock options, and maternity leave.

They back this up with transparent practices across factories in the USA, Portugal, Ethiopia, Brazil, India, Mexico, and China.

Green business practices:

With 100% fit and lifetime guarantees, ABLE is confident in the craftsmanship of their shoes.

While no women’s flats made from recycled materials, much of their clothing and sustainable jewelry is, and any denim manufacturing scraps become housing insulation.

They’re moving towards all packaging being 100% recyclable and FSC-certified, and are in the process of swapping poly bags for cloth dust bags.


6. Rothy’s

9 Sustainable Flats To Stay Cute, Comfortable, & Eco-Friendly Images by Rothy’s #sustainableflats #ecofriendlyflats #sustainableballetflats #affordableecofriendlyballetflats #sustainablewomensflats #sustainablejungle
Images by Rothy’s

About Rothy’s

Price Range: $79–$89

San Francisco based Rothy’s crafts eco-friendly recycled plastic flats made from recycled water bottles.

While their lack of recycling program means they’re not there (yet), the goal is to complete circularity.

Almost as impressive is their huge range of colors and styles, from washable and recycled ballet flats to pointed-toe power shoes.

Rothy’s Ethical & Sustainability Practices

Materials:

In these comfortable women’s flats, recycled materials are king (or queen).

These knitted flats from recycled plastic water bottles have kept almost 500,000 pounds of them out of landfills and our beleaguered oceans. 

Their eco flats are crafted with a biodegradable algae-based foam footbed, while other styles utilize plant-based materials and vegan leather outsoles.

Supply chain & labor practices:

While Rothy’s flats are designed in San Francisco, the rest is taken care of in the factory they own in Dongguan, China. 

Green business practices:

Rothy’s supports the Envira Amazonia Project, having committed to minimizing waste and using recycled materials for both product and packaging. 

To keep their affordable flats sustainable, they are partially carbon offset through progressive 3D printing and handcrafting. 

Community & charitable giving:

Rothy’s frequently takes part in community projects and has an ongoing partnership with the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. 


7. The Root Collective

9 Sustainable Flats To Stay Cute, Comfortable, & Eco-Friendly Images by The Root Collective #sustainableflats #ecofriendlyflats #sustainableballetflats #affordableecofriendlyballetflats #sustainablewomensflats #sustainablejungle
Images by The Root Collective

About The Root Collective

Price Range: $138–$168

From a Fortune 500 company to founding a social enterprise, Bethany Tran, started The Root Collective to provide meaningful employment to communities in need. 

Their sustainable women’s flats are handmade in small community workshops in Guatemala City, Pastores, and Antigua.

Whether classic leather looks or bright florals (as in the case of the Thea) match your definition of cute sustainable ballet flats, The Root Collective provides.

They also make boots, sandals, heels, and bags.

The Root Collective’s Ethical & Sustainability Practices

Materials:

For most of their shoes (from flats to sustainable boots), The Root Collective combined leather and handwoven fabric with a wood and rubber outsole. 

Some leather comes from their tannery, but a lot of it is purchased at local markets in Guatemala, so there isn’t a way to know how it’s tanned or sourced, unfortunately.

Because of their small-scale production, they don’t yet have the production demand to be able to partner solely with a larger sustainably certified tannery, but it is their goal to reach this point in the future.

Supply chain & labor practices:

As a “people first” company, The Root Collective’s employees in Guatemala earn 50-400% more than the Fair Wage minimum, which enables them to support their families and other community businesses too. 

The fabric for their shoes and bags is handwoven by local women through their partner cooperatives. 

The soles of their ethical flats are made by partner factories that also pay their workers above Fair Wage standards.   

If you want to see the impact these jobs are having on real people’s lives, read their worker’s stories on their website.  

Green business practices:

To avoid fast fashion, The Root Collection focuses on small-scale, hand-produced items.


8. Nida Lu Handmade

9 Sustainable Flats To Stay Cute, Comfortable, & Eco-FriendlyImages by Nida Lu Handmade#sustainableflats #ecofriendlyflats #sustainableballetflats #affordableecofriendlyballetflats #sustainablewomensflats #sustainablejungle
Images by Nida Lu Handmade

About Nida Lu Handmade

Price Range: $140–$155

Named after the founder’s two children, Nida and Lu, Nida Lu brings the ancient art of traditional Turkish shoemaking to the world. 

All their eco-friendly comfortable flats—in the form of either slip-on loafers or backless mules—are handmade by a family of Turkish artisans, who have been passing their art down through the generations for 700 years.

If you’re brave enough to wear white eco-friendly flats (and after Labor Day no less!), check out the Women’s Deniz Mule in quartz.

Nida Lu Handmade’s Ethical & Sustainability Practices

Materials:

Nida Lu’s partially recycled flats make use of recycled yarn and one of five different kinds of leather (goatskin or cowhide), which are tanned using all-natural, organic vegetable dyes. 

The leather is moistened and softened, then sewn together by hand with cotton thread soaked in beeswax.    

Supply chain & labor practices:

Nida Lu’s leather is sourced only as a byproduct of the meat industry. 

Many of their cobblers are refugees. This brand gives them and their families an income, as well as hope for a better future. 

Aside from their shoes, Nida Lu also offers traditional Turkish rugs, or kilims. These are handwoven by women from agricultural families, providing a valuable source of income.

Green business practices:

The shoes are easy to re-sole, so you really can enjoy them for a lifetime. 

Community & charitable giving:

This woman-owned company runs fundraising raffles and events to support the Willow Domestic Violence Center and Women For Women, which assists marginalized women in Afghanistan.


9. Fortress

9 Sustainable Flats To Stay Cute, Comfortable, & Eco-Friendly Images by Fortress #sustainableflats #ecofriendlyflats #sustainableballetflats #affordableecofriendlyballetflats #sustainablewomensflats #sustainablejungle
Images by Fortress

About Fortress 

Price Range: $130–$250

If you’re into classic designs and neutral colors, foray into Fortress’ collection of handmade sustainable flats for women.

The founders were inspired to start the company after traveling through South America, where they discovered exceptional quality in a pair of handmade Peruvian boots.

Besides ethical flats, you can also find boots, heels, mules, sandals, and booties. 

Fortress of Inca’s Ethical & Sustainability Practices

Materials:

Fortress’ flats are made from sustainably-sourced leather in Peru combined with wood and natural rubber outsoles.

Unfortunately, they don’t specify the origins of these materials or elaborate on why their leather is sustainable.

Supply chain & labor practices:

These flats are handmade by Peruvian artisans who are paid fairly for their work.

Green business practices:

This Fair Trade certified brand offers a Pre-Loved store to buy and sell second hand Fortress shoes. 


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How We Found The Best Sustainable Flats

We search high (using our ethical heels) and low to get the lowdown on the best sustainable flat shoes.

One of our biggest challenges is figuring out which brands are genuinely making an effort for the good of our planet, and which are simply greenwashing.

To sort through all the potentials, we refer to our sustainable and ethical fashion criteria.

Materials:

First, the fewer materials a shoe contains, the better. Even sustainable materials need to come from somewhere, and usually, that’s a factory elsewhere in the world. 

We typically prefer natural, organic, or renewable materials over synthetics, but when it comes to footwear, we understand its appeal in footwear for durability. That’s why flats made from recycled plastic (like repurposed plastic water bottles) made an appearance here.

The only exception to our no-virgin synthetic rule is vegan leather—and even then we conceded grudgingly and only for non-PVC fabrics.

While leather is rarely what we might classify among sustainable materials, it does make for some of the most durable flats.

First prize goes to recycled or upcycled leather. Otherwise, real responsibly-sourced leather should be sourced as a byproduct and tanned using chrome-free or vegetable agents.

Supply chain & labor practices:

Sadly, the fast fashion industry is notorious for its poor treatment of workers, who often work long hours, in unsafe conditions, for next to no money. 

We look for ethical fashion brands that pay living wages and let you (and third-party auditing agencies) pull back the curtain on their transparent fashion production practices.

Green business practices:

Eco-friendly flats made of recycled bottles are good and all, but having a way to dispose of that plastic is better.

Whether the most complex sustainable running shoes to the simplest sustainable flats, shoes are usually made of a complicated mix of materials that make end-of-life disposal frustrating. That’s why we like to see repairable designs and recycling programs.

Other ways these sustainable flats brands are working to reduce their carbon footprint include carbon offset programs, using clean energy and water practices, green packaging, regenerative agriculture, and local sourcing.

Community & charitable giving:

Accessories brands which use their success to support those less fortunate or organizations trying to do good are extra-special, and make you feel even better about your purchase!


Final Thoughts On Eco-Friendly Flats

We bet you won’t feel flat after supporting one of these brands. 

But remember, the most sustainable and eco-friendly flats are the ones already on your feet. As long as they don’t have holes, they’re still fine for your feet.

Speaking of holes…resoling your old flats is another sustainable solution, or buying second-hand via an online thrift store

To avoid envy, be sure to share the love and tell your friends where you got your sustainable flats.

Pin these:
9 Sustainable Flats To Stay Cute, Comfortable, & Eco-Friendly Image by Nisolo #sustainableflats #ecofriendlyflats #sustainableballetflats #affordableecofriendlyballetflats #sustainablewomensflats #sustainablejungle
9 Sustainable Flats To Stay Cute, Comfortable, & Eco-Friendly Image by Nisolo #sustainableflats #ecofriendlyflats #sustainableballetflats #affordableecofriendlyballetflats #sustainablewomensflats #sustainablejungle

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