Feeling a little flat about your footwear? Wondering how you can avoid fast fashion? Enter: Sustainable flats… Image by The Root Collective #sustainableflats #sustainablewomensflats #bestsustainableflats #ecofriendlyflats #ethicalflats #fairtradeflats #sustainablejungle
Image by The Root Collective
Feeling a little flat about your footwear? Wondering how you can avoid fast fashion? Enter: Sustainable flats… Image by Rothy's #sustainableflats #sustainablewomensflats #bestsustainableflats #ecofriendlyflats #ethicalflats #fairtradeflats #sustainablejungle
Image by Rothy’s
Feeling a little flat about your footwear? Wondering how you can avoid fast fashion? Enter: Sustainable flats… Image by Nisolo #sustainableflats #sustainablewomensflats #bestsustainableflats #ecofriendlyflats #ethicalflats #fairtradeflats #sustainablejungle
Image by Nisolo

9 Sustainable Flats Designed For Your Eco-Conscious Comfort


Feeling a little flat about the fashion industry? 

Wondering how you can avoid fast fashion

Not all change starts from the top! 

Enter: Sustainable flats. 

A good pair of flats has got to be a staple for just about everyone. But for us, ‘good’ also has to mean ‘ethical’. 

And lucky for us, we found exactly that.

Allbirds’ carbon neutral Tree Breezers are arguably the comfiest flats constructed from eucalyptus tree fiber, sugarcane, and merino wool. 

While Rothy’s sticks to 100% post consumer recycled plastic to make their sustainable vegan flats.

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

We searched flat-out to find these eco flats. You can head to the end of this post to find out how (and why) these brands made the cut. 

*This post contains affiliate links

1. ALLBIRDS

Feeling a little flat about your footwear? Wondering how you can avoid fast fashion? Enter: Sustainable flats… Image by Allbirds #sustainableflats #sustainablewomensflats #bestsustainableflats #ecofriendlyflats #ethicalflats #fairtradeflats #sustainablejungle
Image by Allbirds

About Allbird’s Sustainable Flats  

Made from renewable materials, Allbird’s Women’s Tree Breezers 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 ballet flats, so if you’re prone to achy feet these won’t disappoint.   

At under $100 a pair, they’re also some of the most affordable eco friendly flats out there.

Allbirds’  Ethical and Sustainability Practices

Materials:

The Treebreezer’s uppers are made from a highly breathable eucalyptus tree fiber knit, sourced from FSC® Certified forests. The outsole is created from carbon negative green EVA foam.

The insole is made from cushiony Merino wool and castor bean oil, chosen because it generates less CO2 emissions than traditional petroleum-based foam. 

Supply chain & labor practices:

Behind everything Allbirds does is The Code: 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 Allbirds is really walking (or perhaps flying?) the walk. 

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

And they’re not stopping there. 

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

Available: Allbirds

2. NISOLO

Feeling a little flat about your footwear? Wondering how you can avoid fast fashion? Enter: Sustainable flats… Image by Nisolo #sustainableflats #sustainablewomensflats #bestsustainableflats #ecofriendlyflats #ethicalflats #fairtradeflats #sustainablejungle
Image by Nisolo

About Nisolo’s Sustainable Flats  

Based in Nashville, USA, Nisolo specializes in sustainable footwear for both men and women.

certified B Corp, Nisolo has been a driving force for more sustainable practices in the fashion industry, helping to bring about the Lowest Wage Challenge and achieving climate neutrality. 

Their wide range includes oxfords, loafers, sustainable rain boots, mules, ethical flats, sandals, heels, and eco friendly sneakers

Nisolo’s Ethical and Sustainability Practices

Materials:

Nisolo’s shoes are mostly made from leather obtained as a byproduct of the meat industry. 

95% of it is certified by the Leather Working Group but they are moving towards obtaining 100% certification in the near future and are also investigating other vegan fabrics.

Supply chain & labor practices:

Nisolo treats its supply chain like a problem that constantly needs solving. 

They’re committed to ongoing audits from farm to factory and are transparent about their findings. 

All of their workers are paid a living wage, while workers 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. 

Their Shoe Reclamation Program is helping to reduce the number of shoes that end up in the landfill, instead, allowing entrepreneurs in developing countries to clean, repair, and sell the shoes for profit.  

Read more about Nisolo’s Impact.

Available: Nisolo

3. BHAVA

Feeling a little flat about your footwear? Wondering how you can avoid fast fashion? Enter: Sustainable flats… Image by Bhava #sustainableflats #sustainablewomensflats #bestsustainableflats #ecofriendlyflats #ethicalflats #fairtradeflats #sustainablejungle
Image by Bhava

About Bhava’s Eco Friendly Flats  

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

 It’s no surprise then that Bhava is committed to vegan leather. In fact, all of their footwear is free from animal products. 

But just as relevant, they’re pain-free for you, too! 

Every pair of their durable, eco friendly flats for women is taken for a punishing ‘test trudge’ on New York City’s streets.

Bhava’s thoughtful footwear includes vegan eco flats, slides, clog sandals, and strappy sandals.

Bhava’s Ethical and Sustainability Practices

Materials:

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

Most of their eco flats and sandals 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 supply chain remains compact and 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. 

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

Available: Bhava

4. ABLE

Feeling a little flat about your footwear? Wondering how you can avoid fast fashion? Enter: Sustainable flats… Image by ABLE #sustainableflats #sustainablewomensflats #bestsustainableflats #ecofriendlyflats #ethicalflats #fairtradeflats #sustainablejungle
Image by ABLE

About ABLE Eco Flats 

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 of course, eco friendly women’s flats. 

ABLE’s Ethical and 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.

ABLE sells shoes made from a range of materials, including ‘cow-based’ snake leather, napa leather (sheep, lamb, or kid skin), and synthetic materials such as microsuede. 

We’re not sure how these alternative leathers are sourced so we’d suggest sticking with their range of shoes made of the leather from the LWG. We’ll reach out to get more details.    

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 paying the women they employ better than living wages. They back this up with their transparent employment practices. 

Green business practices :

ABLE is currently focused on the sustainability of their packaging. They’re moving towards all packaging being 100% recyclable and FSC-certified. 

Shipping boxes are repurposed, and they are in the process of changing over to cloth dust bags from poly bags.

Inclusivity:

Many of ABLE’s garments carry labels as to whether they are curve friendly, bump friendly, breastfeeding friendly, petite, tall, or tummy-friendly.

Available: ABLE

5. DARZAH

Feeling a little flat about your footwear? Wondering how you can avoid fast fashion? Enter: Sustainable flats… Image by Darzah #sustainableflats #sustainablewomensflats #bestsustainableflats #ecofriendlyflats #ethicalflats #fairtradeflats #sustainablejungle
Image by Darzah

About Darzah’s Ethical Flats 

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

Darzah’s Tatreez Flat is particularly eye-catching. 

Tatreez is an ancient form of Palestinian embroidery, passed down from mother to daughter for over 3,000 years. 

It requires incredible skill, and plenty of time – these fair trade flats take at least 18 hours to embroider. For this reason, most of Darzah’s artisans work from home.   

Darzah’s Ethical and 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. More on how they responsibly manage this below.

Supply chain & labor practics:

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.  

All animal hides are sourced as byproducts from local butchers and the finished leather comes from family-owned leather processers in Khali, Hebron, on the West Bank of Palestine.

These leather processors all comply with international sustainability standards.

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 also seeks to create jobs and economic opportunities for refugee and low-income mothers in Palestine. 

Available: Darzah

6. ROTHY’S

Feeling a little flat about your footwear? Wondering how you can avoid fast fashion? Enter: Sustainable flats… Image by Rothy's #sustainableflats #sustainablewomensflats #bestsustainableflats #ecofriendlyflats #ethicalflats #fairtradeflats #sustainablejungle
Image by Rothy’s

About Rothy’s Recycled Plastic Flats

San Franciso based Rothy’s uses 100% post consumer recycled plastic to make their signature knit material. 

Their goal is to move towards complete circularity. 

They are currently piloting a shoe recycling program which will hopefully close the loop. 

Rothy’s Ethical and Sustainability Practices

Materials:

Rothy’s signature thread is created from repurposed plastic water bottles. To date, this means that more than 78,000,000 (!) plastic bottles have been kept out of landfills and our beleaguered oceans. 

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

Supply chain & labor practices:

Whilst their shoes are designed in San Francisco, the rest of their supply chain is taken care of in the factory they own in Dongguan, China. 

They score points for transparency by sharing on their website exactly how their factory runs. 

Green business practices:

Aside from their closed loop aspirations, Rothy’s supports the Envira Amazonia Project. This means they’re committed to minimizing waste and using recycled materials for both product and packaging. 

Their comfortable vegan sandals and ethical flats are also partially carbon offset, due to their 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. 

Available: Rothy’s

7. THE ROOT COLLECTIVE

Feeling a little flat about your footwear? Wondering how you can avoid fast fashion? Enter: Sustainable flats… Image by The Root Collective #sustainableflats #sustainablewomensflats #bestsustainableflats #ecofriendlyflats #ethicalflats #fairtradeflats #sustainablejungle
Image by The Root Collective

About The Root Collective’s Ethical Flats

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

And if you’re after more than just flats, they also make women’s boots, sandals, ethical heels, bags, and men’s boots.  

The Root Collective’s Ethical and Sustainability Practices

Materials:

For most of their flats, The Root Collective uses leather and handwoven fabric together with a wood and rubber outsole. 

Their leather is purchased at local markets in Guatemala so there isn’t a way to really know how it’s tanned, unfortunately. Because of their small-scale production, they don’t yet have the production demand to be able to partner 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:

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

Available: The Root Collective

8. NIDA LU HANDMADE

Feeling a little flat about your footwear? Wondering how you can avoid fast fashion? Enter: Sustainable flats… Image by Nida Lu Handmeade #sustainableflats #sustainablewomensflats #bestsustainableflats #ecofriendlyflats #ethicalflats #fairtradeflats #sustainablejungle
Image by Nida Lu Handmeade

About Nida Lu’s Eco Friendly Flats 

Nida Lu brings the ancient art of traditional Turkish shoemaking to the world. 

All their shoes are handmade by a family of Turkish artisans, who have been passing their art down through the generations for 700 years.

The brand moniker comes from the names of the founder’s two children… Nida and Lu!

Nida Lu’s Ethical and Sustainability Practices

Materials:

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

The leather is moistened and softened for comfortability, and 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:

We love that Nida Lu shoes are easy to re-sole, so you really can enjoy them for a lifetime. 

Community & charitable giving:

Nida Lu runs fundraising raffles and events to support the Willow Domestic Violence Center, and Women Support Women, which assists women in Afghanistan.

Available: Made Trade

9. FORTRESS SHOES

Feeling a little flat about your footwear? Wondering how you can avoid fast fashion? Enter: Sustainable flats… Image by Fortress Shoes #sustainableflats #sustainablewomensflats #bestsustainableflats #ecofriendlyflats #ethicalflats #fairtradeflats #sustainablejungle
Image by Fortress Shoes

About Fortress of Inca’s Sustainable Flats   

If you’re into classic designs and neutral colors, Fortress of Inca’s handmade shoes from Peru are for you. 

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

Fortress of Inca’s Ethical and Sustainability Practices

Materials:

Fortress’ women’s flats are made from sustainably sourced leather in Peru. 

Many of their shoes also feature wood and rubber, so we’re hoping to see more details on the origins of these materials from Fortress soon.

Supply chain & labor practices:

All Fortress’ eco friendly womens flats are handmade by local artisans who are paid fairly for their work.

If you want to know which employees and workshop made the shoes you’re purchasing, you can read their stories.  

Green business practices:

A great initiative from this Fair Trade certified brand is their Pre-Loved store, where you can buy and sell second hand Fortress of Inca shoes. 

If you want to reduce waste, cut your footprint, and get sustainable flat shoes at a steal, pay it forward by paying this brand a visit.   

Available: Fortress Shoes

HOW WE FOUND THE BEST SUSTAINABLE FLATS

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, but here’s a quick snapshot of the highlights. 

Materials

Firstly, the fewer materials a shoe contains, the better. Each material needs to come from somewhere, and usually, that’s a factory elsewhere in the world. 

Typically we prefer natural, organic, or renewable materials over synthetics ( be sure to use a Guppy Friend bag to capture microplastics if you’re washing any type of synthetics).

The main exception is vegan leather (though the leather debate is a tricky one and all vegan leathers are not made equal). 

First prize goes to recycled or upcycled leather. Otherwise, real leather should at the very least be sourced from tanneries within the Leather Working Group

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 brands that let you pull back the curtain, and see their workers (and the conditions they work in) for yourself. 

Brands that are serious about ethical labor practices often third party certifications.

Green business practices 

The reality is that every business (and every product) has an impact on the environment. 

Acknowledging that and actually doing to reduce their carbon footprint about it is a good indicator of a company that cares. 

Some of the ways these sustainable flats brands do so include carbon offset programs, waste reduction, using renewable materials and clean energy, eco friendly, packaging, regenerative agriculture, committing to clean water practices, and local sourcing.

Community & charitable giving

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 (or in your cupboard).

And 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 from!


Feeling a little flat about your footwear? Wondering how you can avoid fast fashion? Enter: Sustainable flats… Image by Bhava #sustainableflats #sustainablewomensflats #bestsustainableflats #ecofriendlyflats #ethicalflats #fairtradeflats #sustainablejungle

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