10 Stunningly Sustainable Heels and Wedges — Sustainably Chic (2023)

10 Stunningly Sustainable Heels and Wedges — Sustainably Chic (1)

Let’s talk shoes! Even a few years ago, if you heard the words ‘sustainable shoes’, images of clunky, bland, unattractive shoes probably popped in your mind. Now you might think of sneakers or hiking boots as the shoe market is expanding.

What if I told you fun, fabulous shoes that you can feel good about actually exist? You might think it is like finding a unicorn, but it is not that hard anymore. How lucky are we to live in a time when more and more makers are pairing beauty with being thoughtful about the planet and environment? I would say very lucky!

What About Vegan Heels?

In searching for stunning and sustainable shoes for you, I made sure to include some vegan options that are not made using harmful chemicals, primarily petroleum-based, made with polyvinyl chloride, and use sustainable production. I myself am a vegan, and I know more and more people are choosing plant-based lifestyles. Vegan shoes are not necessarily sustainably made, though, as lots of chemicals can be used in production, and water usage can be excessive.

What Other Types of Eco-Friendly Materials Should We Look For?

For each pair of shoes, we made sure to include the material so you can learn a little bit more about why this shoe would be considered sustainable. For example, you can find veggie-tanned leather, vegan apple leather, recycled plastic, recycled cork, recycled rubber, and organic cotton. Also, each brand is known for its ethical production and quality making it a fully sustainable and worthwhile product!

Check out these brands for heels or wedges that can satisfy your need for both head-turning shoes and shopping choices you can feel great about.

Our Top Picks for Sustainable Heels & Wedges:

10 Stunningly Sustainable Heels and Wedges — Sustainably Chic (2)

1) All-Day Open Toe Clog

Brand | Nisolo

Price | $160

Materials | Memory Foam Insoles, Wooden Wrapped Sole, LWG Leather

Why not include a pair of clogs in this heel post?

Nisolo has always made such a beautiful, quality shoe, and these clogs are just another one to add to their already stunning collection.

Plus, their workers are paid beyond fair wages & are given healthcare in safe working environments.

10 Stunningly Sustainable Heels and Wedges — Sustainably Chic (3)

2) Jones Heel

Brand | Able

Materials | Leather & Raffia

Price | $45

The Jones Heel is a classic mule with a rounded heel for comfort and style. The style would easily work with anything from jeans to a flowy skirt. Able repurposes high-quality leather that would have otherwise been discarded, leading to a sustainable, long-lasting shoe. Able invests in women and is transparent about their manufacturing process and wages.

(Video) 10 Spring/Summer Shoe Trends that are WEARABLE and CUTE! + Fastic Review!

10 Stunningly Sustainable Heels and Wedges — Sustainably Chic (4)

3) Mariah Block Heel Sandal

Brand: Dr. Scholl’s

Price: $75

Materials: Recycled water bottles, BLOOM Foam (algae), Vegan Leather

Not only are these heels super cute, but they are built for comfort, too! They have anti-microbial, anti-odor Insole Technology with cushioning, comfort, & support. The insoles are crafted with cushy, algae-infused BLOOM® foam for cleaner air and water.

10 Stunningly Sustainable Heels and Wedges — Sustainably Chic (5)

4) Pointed-Toe Chunky Heels

Brand | Vivaia

Price | $145

Materials | Recycled Plastic Bottles

How cute are these (the bow is detachable, by the way)? These heels are antimicrobial & breathable and have an added back counter patch to help avoid blisters. The heel counter and toe box have been specially designed for ultimate comfort. Vivaia carefully picked its partner factory in China and is regularly audited for fair working conditions.

5) Ruffle Sandals

Brand | Will’s Vegan Store

(Video) ULTIMATE Spring Shoe Guide 2023 🌸 BEST Spring Sandals, Heels, Ballet Flats

Materials | Vegan leather from cereal crops, recycled rubber insoles, and rubber outsoles

Price | $82

The Ruffle Sandals are feminine & flirty for anything from wine tasting with friends to a date night. The ankle strap is adjustable for a great fit. The comfort insoles and block heel provide support for long wear. Will’s sets fair prices instead of using sales, as they don’t want to contribute to fast fashion or over consumption.

6) V Mule (or build your own)

Brand | Alterre

Materials | Recycled plastic heels, leather uppers, rubber soles, and cushioned foam

Price | $225-255

Alterre designs interchangeable shoes - change the strap or base and get a new shoe for less money and less waste. The V comes in classic and bold colors, with many chic strap choices. Alterre’s leather is sourced from a LWG certified supplier and laser cut to reduce waste.

10 Stunningly Sustainable Heels and Wedges — Sustainably Chic (8)

7) Frida Heels

Brand | Veerah

Price | $278

Materials | Vegan neo-patent leather (low energy and water use, plus low VOCs) or apple peel, memory foam cushion, and repurposed algae insoleThe Frida, which pays homage to the incredible artist Frida Kahlo, is a classic pump with flair thanks to it’s V-cut design. This classic comes in a large variety of colors and you can add numerous accessories too - change up your shoes without having to buy a whole pair. Another plus, Veerah focuses on giving to causes that support women and girls.

10 Stunningly Sustainable Heels and Wedges — Sustainably Chic (9)

8) Jackie Vegan Sandals

Brand | NAE

Materials | GOTS certified organic cotton uppers, neolite for the sole

Price | $49

The Jackie is an enjoyable and unique casual shoe. It looks soft and comfortable, yet stylish enough to add flair to most outfits. I imagine myself having a picnic by a lake in either the blue or beige choice. NAE mission is to propose an animal-friendly and ecological alternative against human exploitation, making them a sustainable and ethical choice.

(Video) Why we can't have a pair of heels that feels like sneaker? | Heels Revolution

10 Stunningly Sustainable Heels and Wedges — Sustainably Chic (10)

9) Colada Platform Heel

Brand | Matisse

Materials | Vegan Leather

Price | $55

These beauties are made with Peta-Approved PU leather lining & textile upper. Matisse uses ethical manufacturing to create all their shoes.

10 Stunningly Sustainable Heels and Wedges — Sustainably Chic (11)

10) Yonce Glass Pumps

Brand | Cult of Coquette

Materials | PU Plastic

Price | $225

Want to feel like Cinderella? We found the perfect cruelty-free glass slipper! While these are made from plastic, they are made with PU rather than PVC. It’s a great heel for someone who wants a Vegan dress-up shoe!

What is Your Choice?

Day, night, leather, vegan, high heel, low heel, colorful, classic, whatever your style, you now have 10 great brands to choose from. Which is your favorite? Do you have other heel and wedge brands you love? Share in the comments. Let’s continue to support the growth of the stunningly sustainable shoe market.

About the Contributor: Mindy Redburn-Smoak has enjoyed a 20+ year career in corporate learning as a consultant, designer, and manager. She is passionate about sustainable living, family, travel, and dog rescue. She has been on a mission to live more sustainably for several years, and loves the journey of learning and trying new things in this space. She is on another journey pursuing her dream of writing about things she is passionate about and that can make a difference in the world. The best way to connect with Mindy is via email at mredsmoak@gmail.com.

(Video) 10 Classic French Wardrobe Essentials You Will Want To Have In Your Closet Now!


10 Stunningly Sustainable Heels and Wedges — Sustainably Chic (12)


Our Brand Directory is home to hundreds of sustainable brands, from makeup to cleaning supplies, from underwear to shoes. We have broken everything down by category for easy shopping, along with discount codes unique to Sustainably Chic viewers.

Sustainable Brands to Love

reading you may also enjoy:


12 Sustainable Workwear Brands for Your Professional Wardrobe

11 Sustainable Men’s Sock and Underwear Brands

The 7 Best Sustainable Outdoor Clothing Brands For Your Next Adventure

Fashion Three

Mindy Redburn-Smoak





10 Stunningly Sustainable Heels and Wedges — Sustainably Chic? ›

Shoes made from materials such as recycled plastic bottles, old shoes, or tires are considered sustainable because they do not require new raw materials to be produced. Sustainable footwear should also minimize negative environmental impacts during their design, manufacturing, and maintenance life cycles.

What is eco friendly footwear? ›

Shoes made from materials such as recycled plastic bottles, old shoes, or tires are considered sustainable because they do not require new raw materials to be produced. Sustainable footwear should also minimize negative environmental impacts during their design, manufacturing, and maintenance life cycles.

Have high heels gone out of fashion? ›

High heels are dead, long live heels! The trend cycle can be a fickle business, but, after lockdowns across the world forced us into Birkenstocks and Crocs, the footwear industry is pleased to announce that heels – the dangerously high kind you have to take a deep breath before buckling into – are back.

How can shoes be more sustainable? ›

Sustainable shoe materials can include natural fibers or upcycled and recycled materials. The plant-based vegan leather industry, for example, sources fibers from mushrooms, apples, and even cacti. In addition, shoe soles are being made with materials such as cork and algae.

What is sustainable sneakers? ›

Ethical sustainable sneakers are made to last with high-quality, sustainable materials or even recycled materials. Each pair is designed to have less impact on the environment, meaning less energy consumption, fewer natural resources, and a strong focus on recyclability.

What heels are in style 2023? ›

The Wedge Returns

Those seeking both height and comfort this season will love to hear that a wedge heel has made a comeback. Cult labels with strong accessories have embraced the trend from Khaite, Staud, to Alaia.

What toe shape is in style 2023? ›

The square toe shoe trend is back in fashion for 2023.

How do celebrities wear heels that are too big? ›

According to Brightside, celebrity stylists often add a silicone pad to the pumps to avoid any slipping. 'This simple trick ensures that the shoe fits snugly but stays on the foot, does not restrict blood circulation, and stops feet from swelling,' they say.

What is the most environmentally friendly option for getting rid of shoes that are too small? ›

TerraCycle. TerraCycle, a privately-owned social enterprise on a mission to eliminate the idea of waste, has the most robust recycling program, and zero-waste solution for your unwearable shoes.

Do people want sustainable shoes? ›

According to research by the FDRA, 64 percent of consumers say that they are willing to pay more for sustainable footwear.

What is unsustainable about shoes? ›

More than half of the materials used to make the majority of footwear are synthetics made from plastics. Those plastics come from oil–the fossil fuels that are impacting the planet–and accelerating climate change.

Does Nike have sustainability? ›

Nike's use of more sustainable materials increased from 41% to 59% in 2020. Nike apparel labelled with 'sustainable materials' has at least 50% recycled content. Nike significantly reduces its emissions and impact by reusing, recycling, and repurposing existing materials.

What is Nike's most sustainable product? ›

Nike Flyleather

Flyleather looks, feels and smells like natural leather, made by binding at least 50% recycled leather fibers with synthetic fibers using a water-powered process. This creates less waste and a lower impact on climate change compared to full grain leather.

Does Nike claim to be sustainable? ›

In order to combat their negative environmental impact, Nike has been working on the ecological & material innovation side of sustainability for 20 years. Now, according to their Chief Sustainability Officer, Noel Kinder, they are focusing on 13 targets across the board.

Are Birkenstocks sustainable? ›

Thanks to their durability, our products are environmentally friendly by nature. A high proportion of the materials that we use are from natural sources: cork, natural latex, jute, leather, wool felt, copper and brass are among our most important materials.

Are Skechers ethical? ›

Overall rating: Not Good Enough. Considering all of these factors, based on the publicly available information, we rate Skechers as “We Avoid” overall. The brand's lack of commitment to environmental sustainability, workers' rights, and animal welfare raises significant ethical concerns.

Are Crocs ethical? ›


In 2021, Crocs became a 100% vegan brand, eliminating all animal derived materials from our products.

What is the most sustainable brand in the world? ›

Siemens is ranked as the most sustainable company in its industry by The Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) published in November 2021.

What is the least eco-friendly company? ›

In the annual report mentioned above by Break Free From Plastic, Coca-Cola was ranked as the world's number 1 plastic polluter, it's second consecutive year at the top. In 2020, the company came under fire when it announced that it would not abandon plastic bottles, saying that they were popular with customers.

Which company has the best sustainability? ›

2023 Global 100 most sustainable companies
2023 G100 Rank2022 G100 RankCompany
115Schnitzer Steel Industries Inc
21Vestas Wind Systems A/S
310Brambles Ltd
4Brookfield Renewable Partners LP
46 more rows

Are wedges back in style 2023? ›

Not to freak you out, but wedges are officially coming back from the dead. Thanks to the sleek and refined versions from Ferragamo and Khaite, 2023's wedges are far from the chunky espadrilles we used to know.

What style is in right now 2023? ›

2023 Fashion Trend: Maxi Skirts

In line with the aforementioned cargo and denim trends, expect lots of low-rise, pocket-adorned silhouettes and floor-grazing jean skirts, as well as styles in various prints and unexpected materials like velvet. Long live long hemlines!

What are the biggest fashion trends for 2023? ›

Look to this shoppable spring 2023 trend guide for an inside look at what our editors are shopping now and most excited about.
  • Skirt Suits But Make it Fashion. ...
  • Everyday Preciousness. ...
  • Extra Baggage. ...
  • Perfectly Imperfect. ...
  • Short n Sweet Jackets. ...
  • Buttoned Up Shirting. ...
  • Modern Boho. ...
  • Blazers Become Cinched.
Apr 5, 2023

What is not in style 2023? ›

High waisted jeans, turn up jeans, high waisted pants (carrot pants, paper bag pants), palazzo pants, gaucho pants, culottes, cropped pants, cropped jeans, high waist tennis skirts, skater skirts, knit pants, bleached denim jeans, short trench coat, hoodie sets, body fitting blazers, leggings, fur coats, collegiate ...

What color is in style 2023? ›

Digital Lavender, Luscious Red, Sundial, Tranquil Blue and Verdigris are the color names for 2023.

How does Meghan Markle walk in shoes too big? ›

And if you're wondering how Meghan manages to walk in heels that are too big for her, she has another trick up her sleeve. "Some stars have been known to stuff the toe with padding like cotton wool," Rachel says. "And then it can be taken out if you feel you need a bit more room."

Why are Meghan Markle's shoes always too big? ›

Podiatrist Dr. Suzanne Levine says Meghan has a habit of wearing shoes one size up or maybe one and a half size bigger than her feet to protect them. When the Duchess is at official events, she is on her feet walking and standing for long periods of time. This could cause swelling or inflammation.

Does being overweight make wearing heels harder? ›

The amount of stress we put on our feet and heels in a normal situation is a lot. Having too much weight on your frame, and especially being obese, can make this much worse and cause extreme heel pain, and a variety of other medical issues.

When should you throw away shoes? ›

As a general rule of thumb, shoes should be replaced every 8-12 months for most people or every 500-700 kilometres for running shoes. Some shoes will last longer, and some will wear out more quickly.

What does got sneakers do with the shoes? ›

Wondering what GotSneakers does with your old tennis shoes? They are shipped off to a developing country to make a positive difference in the lives of impoverished individuals who desperately need shoes.

What age group is sustainable fashion for? ›

Men aged 25-34 are the most likely demographic to buy sustainable fashion.

Who buys sustainable shoes? ›

Manufacturers of sustainable footwear principally target female shoppers around the world.

Who is the target audience for sustainable fashion? ›

Millennials (39 percent) made the biggest effort to buy eco-friendly clothes, followed by Boomers (27 percent), Gen X (24 percent), and Gen Z (21 percent).

What culture wears no shoes? ›

In most Asian, European and Middle Eastern homes, shoes are never worn inside as it can be a sign of disrespect from the guests to the owners of the home.

Why you shouldn't wear cheap shoes? ›

Cheap shoes do not provide enough support to your arch in the foot. Overtime and with regular use of cheap shoes, your arch may flatten. The loss of this natural arch strains the ligaments and is the primary cause of conditions such as Achilles tendonitis and other serious problems related to foot and leg.

What brands are trying to be sustainable? ›

These companies, large and small, show the potential for sustainable fashion that looks good and does good.
  • Rothy's. From their materials to production to the way they treat their employees, Rothy's has been sustainable since day one. ...
  • Tentree. ...
  • Everlane. ...
  • Pact. ...
  • Patagonia. ...
  • Levi's. ...
  • H&M Conscious. ...
  • Reformation.
Feb 24, 2020

What brands are becoming sustainable? ›

35 Sustainable Clothing Brands Betting Against Fast Fashion
  • Patagonia. Best For | Fair trade outdoor clothing. ...
  • Pact. Best For | Fair trade organic cotton basics. ...
  • Reformation. Best For | On-trend sustainable clothing. ...
  • Quince. Best For | Affordable silk & cashmere. ...
  • Sézane. ...
  • tentree. ...
  • Amour Vert. ...
  • Kotn.
Jun 22, 2023

Is Lululemon an ethical brand? ›

Is Lululemon Ethical? No, Lululemon is not ethical. None of its factories are fair trade certified by labor standards and ethics, so there's no guarantee that workers' health and safety are taken care of. This also makes the application of fair living wages and other crucial labor rights doubtful.

Does Adidas have sustainability? ›

In addition to using recycled content or more sustainable material for our products, we steadily expand our circular service offering. As part of our Own the Game strategy, we aim to move to a comprehensive sustainable offering at scale. Our ambition is that 90% of our articles will be sustainable by 2025.

How many of Adidas shoes are sustainable? ›

In December, Adidas announced plans to make 60% of its products using sustainable materials. They join a growing list of corporations changing their strategies to help build a healthier planet.

Is Adidas environmentally friendly? ›

Adidas also scored a B for its Carbon Disclosure Project climate and water questionnaires. Brands that we have rated “Good” this year for environment tend to be scoring A or A-.

When did Nike stop using sweatshops? ›

Beginning in 2002, Nike began auditing its factories for occupational health and safety. The backlash and its public relations impact forced the company to change methods, improve conditions, and implement social responsibility reports in 2005. Nike has since began initiatives to improve their factory conditions.

What ethical things does Nike do? ›

Nike uses some more responsible materials, including organic and recycled cotton and polyester, and has water reduction initiatives in its supply chain. The brand has also set a deadline to eliminate hazardous chemicals by 2025 and the good news is that it is on track to meet its target.

What is Nike doing to go green? ›

Nike has also committed to using 100% sustainable cotton, leather alternatives, and other such low-impact materials by 2025. Considering the size of Nike, the introduction of small changes like recycled materials can help in making a significant impact.

What are the features of eco-friendly shoes? ›

Eco-friendly shoes are made of entirely natural materials and do not require a lot of resources. The materials are often biodegradable, which means the product breaks down and does not remain on the planet, causing further damage.

What does eco-friendly items mean? ›

Eco-friendly products have a lower impact on the environment throughout their life cycle, i.e., from the raw materials used in their manufacturing, to their design, transport to the end-user, their length of use and their capacity to be recycled.

What does eco-friendly brand mean? ›

Eco-Friendly or Earth-Friendly – Products and services that are not harmful to the environment. This is a broad definition, but it's possible to define a brand's eco-friendly initiatives with official certifications, like the ones found here.

What are the benefits of eco-friendly shoes? ›

They reduce toxic waste due to the usage of recycled materials. These shoes also use less water, and no harmful chemicals are involved in the manufacturing process. Sustainable shoes are not made using animal products and do not involve animal killing. Most brands are now venturing into making sustainable shoes.

Is Nike really eco-friendly? ›

Nike's use of more sustainable materials increased from 41% to 59% in 2020. Nike apparel labelled with 'sustainable materials' has at least 50% recycled content. Nike significantly reduces its emissions and impact by reusing, recycling, and repurposing existing materials.

How does Nike make sustainable shoes? ›

Nike Flyleather

Flyleather looks, feels and smells like natural leather, made by binding at least 50% recycled leather fibers with synthetic fibers using a water-powered process. This creates less waste and a lower impact on climate change compared to full grain leather.

How ethical are Ecco shoes? ›

ECCO promotes the health, wellbeing, and safety of our employees and we respect all races, religions, and genders and wish to provide a workplace free of any harassment or abuse. ECCO has a strong commitment to the environment in its Code of Conduct and works to constantly become more sustainable.

What are 4 eco-friendly products? ›

Eco Friendly Home Items
  • Certified Compostable Bin Liners. ...
  • Recycled Toilet Tissue. ...
  • Recycled Plastic Toothbrush. ...
  • Recycled Sari Table Linen Collection. ...
  • Recycled Plastic Rugs. ...
  • Ballpoint Pens Made From Recycled Water Bottles. ...
  • Eco Friendly Decking. ...
  • Recycled Floor Mats.

What items are not eco-friendly? ›

  • Plastic straws. © Shutterstock / Krzysztof Bargiel / WWF. ...
  • Plastic drink stirrers. ...
  • Balloons. ...
  • Plastic cotton buds. ...
  • 5 & 6. ...
  • Plastic cutlery. ...
  • Plastic cups. ...
  • Plastic containers.

What does 100% eco-friendly mean? ›

According to Merriam-Webster, the official definition of eco-friendly is: “not environmentally harmful.” When it comes to products, that means everything from production to packaging needs to be considered safe for the environment.

How do you know if a brand is eco-friendly? ›

A textbook way to check a brand's eco-friendly credentials is to familiarise yourself with certifications to look out for within their industry. For example, when shopping for bamboo products, an OEKO-TEX 100 certification ensures the products are free of harmful substances.

What is the difference between eco-friendly and sustainable products? ›

What's the Difference Between Eco-Friendly & Sustainable Products? The term “eco-friendly” is a very cut and dry term that means the product doesn't harm the planet. Sustainability, however, represents a broad aspect of activities and issues that, when their needs are met, doesn't impact future generations.

How do I choose eco-friendly products? ›

Check the label, tag or packaging of your product—if it contains toxic pesticides or herbicides, it is detrimental to the environment. The more natural and fewer ingredients, the better! Look for items that are biodegradable, 100 percent organic, all-natural or made from recycled materials using renewable resources.

What is one of the most successful eco-friendly shoe companies in California? ›

Keep your environmental footprint to a minimum with these eco-friendly and sustainable shoes you'll love to wear every day.
  • The People's Movement. Best for: Everyday wear. ...
  • Zuzii. Best for: Both upscale and casual occasions. ...
  • Rothy's. Best for: Work and school. ...
  • Freewaters. ...
  • Allbirds. ...
  • Toms. ...
  • Matisse Footwear. ...
  • Taylor + Thomas.
Apr 9, 2021

Are leather shoes environmentally friendly? ›

Is leather sustainable? Leather as a raw material is renewable, and in products it is long-lasting and repairable. It is made from a by-product of the food industry. If this by-product were not converted into leather, it would be thrown into a landfill, a significant environmental risk.

How do you clean eco leather shoes? ›

Mix a tablespoon of natural detergent with several cups of water. Moisten a cloth with the detergent mixture, and wipe the length of the shoe. Use a clean, dry cloth to wipe away any excess moisture. Let the shoe air dry.


1. VIVAIA | Margot 2.0 True Feedback
2. Sustainable & Ethical Brands That I Love | Gemary
(Gemary Ermus)
3. AFFORDABLE Summer 2023 Fashion Finds *ALL Under $150* (Tops, Dresses, Jeans, & Shoes!)
(Busbee Style)
5. VIVAIA Shoe Review - Minimal & Sustainable Shoes
6. MLV Shoes | 2021 Spring-Summer Collection | PATTY19 Wedge Sandals
(MLV Shoes)


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Chrissy Homenick

Last Updated: 10/14/2023

Views: 6184

Rating: 4.3 / 5 (54 voted)

Reviews: 85% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Chrissy Homenick

Birthday: 2001-10-22

Address: 611 Kuhn Oval, Feltonbury, NY 02783-3818

Phone: +96619177651654

Job: Mining Representative

Hobby: amateur radio, Sculling, Knife making, Gardening, Watching movies, Gunsmithing, Video gaming

Introduction: My name is Chrissy Homenick, I am a tender, funny, determined, tender, glorious, fancy, enthusiastic person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.