sustainable shoes

Sustainable shoes: Examples and brands

Where can I buy sustainable shoes? Liz wants to buy sustainable sneakers, but doesn’t know where to look for them. Don’t worry, Liz. Below I’ll give you all the information you need on my favorite sustainable shoes brands, including links to buy them yourself.

Sneaker industry: polluting as ever?

Every year, more than 23 billion pairs of sneakers are produced, of which over 300 million are thrown away each year. Even though it takes 30 tot 40 years for a sneaker to fully decompose on a landfill.

Sneakers are wasteful products, so it’s even more hurtful that so many of these rubber, plastic and petroleum products ends up on landfills. However, this doesn’t seem to slow down the shoe industry at all. They continue to thrive, producing more shoes than ever before.

Read also: What is sustainability and why is it so important?

So I understand where Liz’s question is coming from. Sustainable shoes fit in a sustainable lifestyle. Several shoe brands produce sustainable shoes. In this blog article I’ll give you my favorite sustainable shoes. And you’ll see, some of these shoes are made by top-end sneaker brands that decided to make sneakers with more sustainable production methods and eco-friendly but innovative materials.

That makes great eco-friendly, sustainable shoes!

9 examples of sustainable shoes

Times are changing, even in a big industry as the shoe industry. As young buyers are becoming more eco-friendly, shoe manufacturers are changing their production methods to meet these changing preferences.

Big shoe brands like Nike and Adidas have recently introduced eco-friendly shoes. But also smaller startups are setting the new trend, like Allbirds and Everlane.

Continue reading and discover your new sustainable shoe brand.

Adidas sustainable shoes

Adidas x Parley collaboration on sustainable shoes

Adidas doesn’t hold back in telling the world about their sustainability efforts. In this new shoe line, Adidas is collaborating with the environmental organization Parley, which focusses on ending plastic waste in oceans. In this collaboration, Adidas produces shoes form recycled plastic waste from oceans.

And it works great. They started production in 2016 and have sold already millions of pairs of Adidas x Parley sneakers of recycled ocean plastic.

Today, Adidas has produced several sustainable shoes in this collaboration with Parley, of which my favorites are the Alphabounce+ Run, the outdoor sustainable shoes Terrex Two and the Ultra Boost

Everlane Tread sustainable shoes

Tread by Everlane

Everlane produces sustainable shoes made of leather, in combination with recycled plastic. Sustainable leather shoes makes the Thread line by Everlane unique. Everlane really focuses on a zero impact production method. Are these the lowest environmental impact sneakers in the world?

And also very important: the sustainable leather shoes of Everlane look great. These are well cut shoes of a minimalistic style.

Reebok NPC sustainable shoes

Reebok NPC UK Cotton + Corn: The vegan sustainable shoes

This is a vegan shoe! The upper part of the Reebok NPC UK Cotton + Corn vegan shoe is made of cotton, while the sole is derived from corn and castor bean oil. They’ve also made the packaging of 100% recycled materials.

Sustainable shoes made out of corn! How great can innovation in the shoe industry be!

Nothing new

Nothing new: sustainable & durable shoes

This is a startup that wants to have a positive impact on the planet and people. Most brands in this list are trying to simply improve their eco-friendly production methods. Nothing New, however, has sustainability at its core.

Nothing New shoes are made of only recycled materials. So no new materials, like the name suggests. These shoes are made of recycled plastic, rubber, cotton, fishing nets and cork.

Another great thing: Nothing New offers you a $20 discount if you send back your old pair of sneakers. They will donate your sneakers or reuse the materials in new sneakers.

Converse Renew shoes

Converse Renew

The popular Converse shoe is a timeless shoe, and therefor quite sustainable in itself already. With the Converse Renew they’ve produced a sustainable shoe made 100% out of recycled plastic bottles in a great production method, making the typical Converse canvas out of plastic.

The good thing is also that the Converse Renew is available in all sizes, custom designed and even in children sizes.

Nike sustainable shoes

Nike Flyknit

Nike has always pushed boundaries in the production of sportswear and sneakers. There is no doubt Nike is at the forefront of sustainable production methods in the sportswear industry and shoe industry. And Nike does not hold back.

And we’ve noticed that for years already. In 2018, Textile Exchange recognized Nike for using the most recycled polyester in the industry. Not only recently, but already for six years in a row! Nike has recycled 6.4 billion plastic bottles in their production of shoes and apparel.

You’ll therefor find recycled plastic used in all items by Nike.

I’d like to show you the Nike Flyknit, made of flyknit material.

Allbirds shoes

Allbirds: sustainable and really comfortable

Allbirds is a popular sneaker startup, producing sustainable footwear.

They produce unique shoes, with high comfort levels. These are incredibly comfortable shoes, made of a wide range or recycled and eco-friendly materials, like merino wool, eucalyptus trees, sugar cane, recycled plastic, castor bean oil and recycled cardboard for the packaging.

Greats shoes

Greats: affordable high-end sustainable shoes

Greats aims to product affordable sustainable shoes, as an alternative for the luxury sneaker market. These are high-end sneakers, but definitely in the high-end price range.

However, they look great and are made with eco-friendly production methods and recycled plastic. Each pair of Royale Knit by Greats is made of seven plastic bottles removed from the ocean.

Rothy's shoes


In 2016, Rothy’s went viral on social media with their recycled plastic flats for women. They focus on sustainability and style, and have produced a wider range of shoes every since.

The vegan Rothy’s The Sneaker is made of recycled plastic and looks like a Vans shoe. Since the start, Rothy’s has recycled more that 35 million plastic bottles to produce sustainable shoes for women and kids. Men need to take a look at the other brands above.

So, you have a lot of choice in sustainable shoes. Which are your favorite? Buy them and show this new trend to others!